Help scholarship offer-holder fund MA at Chicago

by Phoebe Beckett Chingono in London, England, United Kingdom

Help scholarship offer-holder fund MA at Chicago

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Financial Constraints: I was delighted to be offered a merit-based scholarship to the MAPSS (the Master of Arts Program in Social Sciences)...

by Phoebe Beckett Chingono in London, England, United Kingdom

Financial Constraints:

 I was delighted to be offered a merit-based scholarship to the MAPSS (the Master of Arts Program in Social Sciences) at the University of Chicago for 2020-21. Financial constraints currently prevent me from taking up my place. I come from a low-income background, a single-parent family on benefits living in a council home. Therefore, I need to seek financial support in order to finance my degree.

Academic Background:

 I earned a first class honors degree in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics and Political Science, my experience as a student there went well beyond my expectations. 

Academic Interests and Values: 

Anthropology challenges the taken for grantedness of made worlds. A feminist way of noticing is available wherever we’re reminded that worlds don’t make themselves it takes work to make a thing possible, work which is often rendered invisible. I’m interested in what anthropological insights can do for questions of activism and policy-making that are centering care work. My specialised field is economic anthropology, issues of concern to me so far have been ‘how do different values come to be attached to different sorts of labour’ and ‘how is the value of some types of labour both made to vanish, and then to reappear in displaced forms’.

My Research Objective:

 I have begun preparing a research proposal which attempts to open up conversations in anthropology to potential other registers. The MAPSS is one of the only courses that allows me to take modules across the social sciences including economics, a chance to see up close the ideas and methods economists work with and to interact in a genuinely multi-disciplinary atmosphere. I’m considering that there are different forms of knowledge at stake and learning how to collaborate might be about finding a new language in which to speak them.

My Research Proposal:

My research proposal problematizes the concept of production - tracing its roots in theological notions of Creation, mirrored by self-valorising processes in narratives of finance capital - and questions its usefulness of economics considering profits increasingly come not from producing stuff but wealth redistribution within a system of rental extraction. Turning from production, I consider anthropological cases of mediation, as in, the mediums, economic devices, financial instruments, and fetishes used for value creation in West African, Native American, and European history, with specific attention to their performative value in bringing about their own objects. 

Why Chicago?

The University of Chicago is a frontier of original thought, it’s cutting-edge in its pursuit of inquiry and impact and some of my greatest academic influences came from this school. They provide educational opportunities, in the form of financial support, to “students who will go on to be leaders in their fields” so it was an honour to receive a scholarship based on the merit of my research proposal. 

My Career Goal ( what this master's will allow me to go on to do):

I hope to carry out research for innovation and public purpose, tackling societal challenges by changing how public value is imagined, practised and evaluated. The MAPSS will provide me with the training and skills to fulfill my ambition of implementing feminist economic policy through economic remodelling that centres care. As the daughter of a parent with a mental health illness and as someone who has experience being in foster care, I care deeply about improvement of healthcare provisions and support mechanisms for struggling families and care-leavers. At the intersection of economics and anthropology, I will be well placed to account for the realities that exceed modelling, ensuring models proceed not from narrow, singular logics but diverse lifeworlds. I currently help run a collective which organises events in political education as mutual aid. I hope to continue this work of creating zones for creative expression and the manifestation of found perspectives through advancing dialogue. I have a dance background and have worked in Brazil as a dance teacher for underprivileged children and have continued a relationship with the dance school. Recently, I’ve assistant directed a play at the Edinburgh Fringe and curated audio-visual art projects based on the Black Lives Matter movement and new intimacies through isolation during the pandemic. I am committed to the task of story-telling, gathering up the lesser-known stories in the ‘carrier bag of life’.

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