The Carter G. Woodson Institute, U.Va.

The Carter G. Woodson Institute

for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia

Palmer

Seth Palmer is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology and the collaborative programs in Women’s and Gender Studies and Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto. Seth’s dissertation, provisionally titled “In the Image of a Woman: Sarimbavy Subject-Formation and Embodied Interpellation in the Betsiboka Valley,” is an ethnographic account of the lives of sarimbavy – same-sex desiring and/or gender non-conforming male-bodied persons – in northwestern Madagascar. The project is based upon sustained, multi-sited fieldwork in three sites: a rural, riverine town and nearby villages in the Upper Betsiboka Valley, a small, regional port city on the Mozambique Channel, and the nation’s capital Antananarivo, and traces the peregrinations of sarimbavy-as-figure and representation, as a linguistic category and cultural logic impregnated with sex/gender theories, and, centrally, as human lives identified and interpellated under its sign. The dissertation project centers around the perplexing and compelling convergence between burgeoning, “modern” MSM (Men Who Have Sex with Men) and HIV-prevention activism and the “traditional” practice of tromba spirit possession. An experiment in historical ethnography, In the Image of a Woman draws upon queer theories of temporality to reconsider the import of mediumship and its idioms in the social worldings of sarimbavy subjects and the spirits that possess them.

First Name: 
Seth
Position: 
Pre-Doctoral Fellow (Anthropology/ Women and Gender Studies)
Photo: 
Classification: 
Institution: 
University of Toronto
Dissertation Title: 
“In the Image of a Woman: Sarimbavy Subject-Formation and Embodied Interpellation in the Betsiboka Valley"