Samantha L. Grace

About Samantha L. Grace

Dissertation: The Citizen Life Course: Growing Up in Quito's Schools

Coming of age in high school is widely understood as an important period for defining and producing a nation's citizenry, and it is a process that is increasingly globally uniform. However, how age itself is shaped by state governed educational institutions remains unexamined. This project theorizes how citizenship and the life course are tied together as a new generation of Ecuadorian youth and their families navigate the changes that came with the "educational revolution” of the last five years. Participant observation in multiple urban Ecuadorian high schools and student homes as well as intergenerational interviews with students and their families reveal the connections between the implementation of new educational policies and age-based identities. 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.

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.

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

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Contact Information


2005 B.A. (Oberlin College)

2012 M.A. (University of Arizona)

anticipated 2016 PhD (University of Arizona)