Conference Coordinating Committee 2015

Convenor Dr. Aviva Sinervo’s research and teaching focus on childhood, poverty, international aid and NGOs, volunteer tourism, urban economies, and affect, with a regional interest in Peru, the Andes, and Latin America. She has published in The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, Childhoods TodayChildhoodTourist Studies, and is a contributing author for Oxford Bibliographies in Childhood Studies. She is currently a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at San Francisco State University, and a Research Associate in the Psychology Department at University of California, Santa Cruz.  Contact her at

Convenor & Webmaster Dr. Rebecca Mantel  recently completed her Ph.D. at Rice University.  Under support from the NSF Graduate Student Fellowship Program, she conducted her doctoral research in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Caracas, Venezuela on the development of emergency infrastructure in the post-crisis context.  Focusing on emerging micro-NGOs and the Bolivarian-influenced Cuban medical brigade, Rebecca examined the competitive tensions and connections of a humanitarian system that is scattered, ill-defined, and self-perpetuating.  Contact her at

Amanda Lashaw is a Research Associate at CCREC and a Lecturer at California State University, East Bay. Her research interests include political anthropology, U.S. urban education, NGO/nonprofit studies, progressive identities, ethics and reform, critical social theory, ethnographic methodology, optimism, hope and affect. She is currently writing about the ways that professional education reformers establish the moral authority of a movement for educational equity. She earned her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, in Social and Cultural Studies in Education.

Siobhán McGuirk is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at American University, where she also works as a Teaching and Research Assistant. She received her BA and MA in Visual Anthropology from the University of Manchester. Her current research focuses on sexuality and migration, in particular how LGBTQ-identified asylum seekers navigate life in the US, both with and without NGO support. In her research she examines NGO’s role in discursively constructing “deserving” immigrant populations. While focusing on completing her dissertation, Siobhan also works as a Commissioning Editor for Red Pepper. See her work at: and follow her on Twitter at @s_mcguirk.

Rebecca Nelson is a Ph.D. candidate in cultural anthropology at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on volunteer tourism in Guatemala and how it is opening up new avenues for tourists and hosts to develop more cosmopolitan understandings of the world (as well as opening up new forms of friction over the circulation of knowledge). She is also investigating how cooperatives are dispersing “NGOized” feminisms to women in rural areas.  See her work at:

Mark Schuller is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and NGO Leadership and Development at Northern Illinois University and affiliate at the Faculté d’Ethnologie, l’Université d’État d’Haïti. Supported by the National Science Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and others, Schuller’s research on globalization, NGOs, gender, and disasters in Haiti has been published in two dozen book chapters and peer-reviewed articles as well as public media, including a column in Huffington Post. He is the author of Killing with Kindness: Haiti, International Aid, and NGOs (2012) and co-editor of three volumes, including Tectonic Shifts: Haiti since the Earthquake (2012). He is co-director / co-producer of documentary Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy (2009). Schuller is co-editor of Berghahn Books’ Catastrophes in Context: a Series in Engaged Social Science on Disasters, board chair of the Lambi Fund of Haiti, and active in several solidarity efforts.

Christian Vannier is a lecturer at the University of Michigan-Flint whose work focuses on the principles of community-based organization in the African cultural continuum.  Published in a diverse set of fields including anthropology of religion, development, and economics in both Haiti and West Africa, Christian is currently conducting research in southern Togo where actor-centric networks of traditional religious and micro-economic organizations provide moral values and mutual aid practices for members in a context of political repression and economic penury.

Kimberly Walters is an assistant professor of International Studies at California State University, Long Beach. She graduated from the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago in August 2015.  Her doctoral research traces the many impacts of transnational funding for anti-trafficking on community-based organizations (CBOs) of female sex workers in South India.  In part, her work documents the use of trafficking interventions as a state tool to discipline unruly female sexualities.  Her new research explores resistance to the entrance of an HIV prophylactic (PrEP) on the Indian pharmaceutical market from an unexpected corner: CBO heads in the MSM and hijra (third sex) community.