Courtney Stafford-Walter

Teaching Fellow (MSc Education)

Background

Dr Courtney Stafford-Walter recieved her PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of St Andrews in 2015 and her BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Virignia in 2009. She is also a member of the Centre for Amerindian, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies (CAS) at the University of St Andrewsand a Co-founder and researcher at the Center for Research and Collaboration of the Indigenous Americas at the University of Maryland (CRACIA). 

She is interested in the intersection between education, development and social change with a particular focus on the way that ethnographically grounded research approaches can shed light on the interplay between education and international development.

Qualifications

PhD in Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews, UK;

Thesis title: “The Sickness: Sociality, Schooling and Spirit Possession amongst Amerindian youth in the Savannahs of Guyana”

BA in Cultural Anthropology, University of Virginia, USA; Distinguished Major

Responsibilities & affiliations

Member of the Centre for Amerindian, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies (CAS) at the University of St Andrews

Co-founder and researcher at the Center for Research and Collaboration of the Indigenous Americas at the University of Maryland (CRACIA)

Undergraduate teaching

Introductory Anthropology Courses at the University of St Andrews

Teaching about Education and Development on the Emerging Scholars Programme at the University of St Andrews

Postgraduate teaching

Primary Teaching on MSc in Education at Moray House:

Comparative Education and International Development

Anthropology of Education 

Research Methods Courses with a focus on Ethnography and Qualatative Methods

Additonial Teaching:

Teaching about Education and Development on an Interdisciplinary MLitt in Developmental Practice at the University of St Andrews

Areas of interest for supervision

Courtney welcomes discussions that engage with different kinds of learning and different perceptions of what knowledge is or can be. She is interested in projects about education and indigenous people- historically as well as currently; the ways in which different forms of education perpetuates certain expectations of people. Qualitative methodologies: ethnography, participant education, interview, desk based studies, historical investigations.

Current research interests

The current focus of my research engages directly with indigenous education and the interplay between schooling, development and social change. A cursory glance at the policies and practice of major stakeholders in the development world highlights the centrality of education in a wider discussion about the efficacy of developmental programmes and the achievement of the Sustainable Development goals. Through my research, I illustrate how an ethnographically grounded exploration of teaching and learning practices can engage with the dominant discourses of development, challenge Western-centric approaches and perspectives, and interrogate categories we use to build these discussions on the global stage.

Past research interests

My doctoral research focused on indigenous education in a Wapishana village in Southern Guyana, and explores how the state-run boarding school system perpetuates and informs hierarchies of power within Guyana, thus highlighting the interplay between a state-imposed structure and indigenous agency, and situating these ethnographic particularities within the wider scope of the anthropology of education. The research also focuses on the migration associated with these boarding schools and how it impacts the health and well-being of Amerindian youth, showing a particular relationship between development, global health, and education.

Conference details

I have presented at and am interested in presenting at educational, anthropological, regionally focused, interdisciplinary and qualitative and ethnographically oriented conferences. 

Organiser

I have organized conferences and workshops on various scales and with varied focuses, such as:

Educated People and Disciplined Bodies: Self-governance(s) and Local Re-appropriations of Schooling

Write to Publish: Turning qualitative research writing from your thesis into publishable, article-quality work

Safety and challenges of the field Workshop

Scottish Training in Anthropological Field Research 3: Creative Writing

Participant

I have presented at or have forthcoming presentations at the following: ASA, AAA, SALSA, Ethnography and Education, SCS, IUEAS and several smaller conferences.

Papers delivered

Forthcoming conference papers:

“Climate shifts and schooling: intergenerational change in Southern Guyana”: To be presented on an Executive Session on the panel entitled: Changing Climates, Changing Childhoods: Indigenous Children’s Responses to Environmental Transformations at the AAA conference in Vancouver, Canada.

“Separation and Sociality: Boarding schools and Indigenous youth in Southern Guyana”: To be presented at the Ethnography and Education Conference at Oxford University in Oxford, UK.

“From the farm/forest to school: spirit relations and reciprocity in Southern Guyana”: To be presented at Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America (SALSA) conference in Vienna, Austria.

Previous conference papers presented:

“Forgetting Kin, Becoming Other: Schooling, Sociality and Transformation amongst Amerindian youth of Southern Guyana”: Presented at the Migration and Urban Transformation Workshop in Brasilia, Brazil

““Granny got her”: intergenerational relationships and spirit possession in lowland Guyana”: Presented at the Matthew Restall History and Anthropology Symposium at the University of St Andrews

“Boarding Schools and The Sickness: Schooling, Separation and Spirit Possession in lowland Guyana”: Presented at the Educated People and Disciplined Bodies: Self-governance(s) and Local Re-appropriations of Schooling Conference

“'The Granny Got Her': Gender Politics of Spirit Possession in Southern Guyana”: Presented at SALSA Conference in Lima, Peru

“The Sickness: Separation and Spirit Possession in Guyanese Boarding Schools”: Presented at the Society for Caribbean Studies at Essex University

“The Sickness: Separation and Spirit Possession in Guyanese Boarding Schools”: Presented at the Trilateral Conference in Montevideo, Uruguay

“‘The Sickness’: Spirit Possession through the Lens of Sociality”: Presented at CRACIA at the University of Maryland

“‘The Sickness’: Attachment and Separation in Guyanese Boarding Schools”: Presented at the ASA 2016 Conference, University of Durham

“The Sickness: Spirit Possession in A Guyanese Boarding School”: Presented at the ‘Teaching and Learning in Amazonia’ workshop in Oxford

“The Sickness: An Ethnographic Glance at Possession in Guyanese Boarding School”: Seminar for the Centre for Amerindian Studies, St Andrews

“Boarding Schools: The Impact of Separation on Family Life”: Presented at the IUAES 2016 Conference

“Different Forms of Knowledge: An Indigenous Perspective on Power”: Presented at the conference Steve Rubenstein and the Neo-Colonial Frontier