Raffaella Taylor-Seymour received a 2018-2019 Field Research grant from the Center for Interantional Social Science (CISSR). Her research examines negotiations surrounding the morality of fertility, sexuality, and ancestry in contemporary Zimbabwe.  She spent several weeks there this summer.

Above, Taylor-Seymour (left) discusses traditional attitudes to fertility and infertility with a spirit medium, Gogo Matshuma (right), in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Gogo Matshuma channels the spirits of precolonial ancestors to provide spiritual guidance to members of her community and is a raindancer who helps secure rainfall in annual ceremonies at the Njelele rain shrine in the Matopos region of Matabeleland. Gogo Matshuma is a long-term collaborator in Raffaella’s doctoral research.

Taylor-Seymour is also a UK-US Fulbright Scholar and PhD Candidate in the Departments of Anthropology and Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. She received her undergraduate degree in Archaeology & Anthropology from King’s College, University of Cambridge, and received the inaugural Diamond Family Foundation-Fulbright Award for research in Africa. Her research has been funded by the Committee on African Studies and the Pozen Family Center for Human rights at the University of Chicago. 

Learn more about Taylor-Seymour and CISSR HERE.