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Samantha L. Grace

About Samantha L. Grace

Our rights and responsibilities change with age, that much is clear, but what exactly is age? Ethnographic research with Ecuadorian 10th graders and their families shows how many different ways of understanding age change our expectations of ourselves, intersecting with gender, class, race, and citizenship. The changing school policies of Ecuador's "educational revolution" have changed the calculus for youth responsibilities, and those changes reach out to impact parents and grandparents as well. Time, changing bodies, family roles, and social structures like schools all work together to shape age identity. Meanwhile, participant observation that follows students from school to home suggests that age also shapes our experiences of time, instead of age simply reflecting objective chronological change. Age - particularly the anticipation and memory of identities that change through time - provides a powerful tool for governments to hold populations accountable for the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. The stories of grandmothers who remember being young, the promises of the state for a socially mobile future, and the intergenerational responsibilities that organize the daily present all provide the empirical underpinnings for a new theory of age that I explore in my dissertation, "The Citizen Life Course: Age Identity in Ecuador's Educational Revolution."

Twitter@ailiathena SamanthaGrace


My Master's research encompassed questions of age, morality, and citizenship based in ethnographic work with white and Latina pregnant and parenting adolescents in Tucson, AZ. My Master's thesis is titled, "Living Lessons of Age and Citizenship." 

My advisor is Dr. Susan Shaw.  I have also been a research assistant in the Crossroads Collaborative: Youth, Sex, Health, Rights and in the Stealth Health project at the University of Arizona.  Before moving to Tucson, I worked as an educator, case worker and HIV counselor with Spanish-speaking immigrant youth in the D.C. metropolitan area.

Selected Publications

2016        Grace, Samantha L. “How Old Am I? A Methodological Solution.” Neos 8, no. 2 (October): 4.

2016         Grace, Samantha L. “Changing How? Concerns of a Pregnant Anthropologist,” Arizona Anthropologist 27 (October).

2013        Hingle, Melanie, Mimi Nichter, Melanie Medeiros, and Samantha Grace. Texting for Health: The Use of Participatory Methods to Develop Healthy Lifestyle Messages for Teens. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 45, no. 1.

Courses Taught

Lead Instructor:

ANTH438A: “Women’s Health in a Global Perspective,”

ANTH395B: “Bodies, Genders, Sexualities,”

ANTH150B: “Many Ways of Being Human.”


Teaching Assistant:

ANTH170: “Human Variation in the Modern World” with Dr. E. Eadie
ANTH314: “Race and Language,” with Dr. J. Roth-Gordon

ANTH150: "Race, Ethnicity, and the American Dream," with Dr. J. Roth-Gordon

INDV102: "Many Ways of Being Human," with Dr. T. Woronov


Guest Lecturer:

FSHD377: “Adolescence” by Dr. M. Kelly

Areas of Study

Southwest US
South America
Northeast US
Latin America & the Caribbean
North America (general)

Research Interests

life course, citizenship, gender and sexuality, education, age, youth, motherhood, transnational identity, kinship

Samantha L. Grace's picture


2005 B.A. (Oberlin College)

2012 M.A. (University of Arizona)

anticipated 2017 PhD (University of Arizona)