Magdalena Zegarra , Doctoral Candidate in Anthropology, Receives ACLS/Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship
For over 100 years, providing fellowships for scholars in the humanities and related social sciences has been one of the signal activities of ACLS. The DCF award supports PhD candidates in their final year of dissertation writing.
Grounded in rigorous ethnographic fieldwork for a period of 24 months in a decrepit facility in Lima, Peru, that houses 335 elderly adults who come from the most marginalized sectors of the city, Surviving the Margins examines the life-worlds and subjective experiences of one of the most invisible, unmapped, and understudied population of Peruvian society: the elderly urban-poor. Zegarra argues that, at this institution, people strive to exist and survive amid the unfathomable uncertainty in which their lives unravel. This demand for acknowledged existence is both a moral challenge and a lost cause for these individuals. Her project, thus, explores the significance and possibilities of growing old being rendered as citizens when everything has been lost: families, health, and rights. What are the limitations and possibilities of remaining intelligible actors at the end of life in an environment of perpetual loss? Zegarra aims to answer this question by centering her analysis on how relations of care, processes of social and family abandonment, and day to day intimacy at this institution are often fraught but, sometimes unexpectedly, they are also being recreated in ways that enable people in the margins routes for belonging and recognition.