Prof. Ellen Block


Ellen Block received her PhD in Anthropology and Social Work from the University of Michigan in 2012.  She joined us in 2014 from Brown University in Providence, RI, where she was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Population Studies and Training Center.

Her ongoing research examines how the AIDS pandemic has affected orphan care and the structure and makeup of the family in rural Lesotho. From an ethnographic perspective, she explores how everyday strategies of household caregiving practices have led to wider demographic shifts in the wake of the AIDS pandemic. Ellen's most recent fieldwork, funded by a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant, investigates a potentially devastating emergent shift. Grandmothers, who currently carry the majority of the burden of care for AIDS orphans, are part of the last generation of virtually HIV-free southern Africans. As this generation of grandparents passes away, her research investigates the impact this shift will have on everyday practices of orphan care.  Her work has most recently appeared in JRAI, Anthropological Quarterly, AIDS Care, Death Studies, and Social Dynamics.  

She is coauthor of the book "Infected Kin: Orphan Care and AIDS in Lesotho." (2019, Rutgers University Press).


SJU Office: 118 Simons

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More information about Prof. Ellen Block, including her publications, can be found on her CV or her page.