Anthropologists have studied the ways in which globalization and modernization influence the intimate lives and subsequently the health and well-being of individuals and communities around the world (Hirsch and Wardlow 2009; Padilla et al. 2007). Additionally, scholars from a wide range of disciplines working in the Americas have documented the pervasive health disparities existing at the intersection of race, gender, and class (Caldwell 2017; Mullings and Schulz 2006). In this presentation, Dr. Medeiros will draw connections between these two lines of inquiry and use an intersectional lens to examine how globalization and modernization influence the intimate lives of working-class, black women in rural Northeast Brazil, explaining how shifts in gender roles and marriage expectations contribute to marital conflict and divorce. She will discuss how the embodied distress these women endure with marital conflict and divorce, is also an expression of suffering caused by the structural vulnerability they experience due to their race, gender, and class.
Melanie A. Medeiros is an associate professor of anthropology at SUNY Geneseo. Her book, Marriage, Divorce and Distress in Northeast Brazil: Black Women's Perspectives on Love, Respect and Kinship (Rutgers University Press 2018) explores women's rich stories of desire, love, respect, suffering, strength, and transformation to provide a glimpse of the way divorce affects the social and cultural lives of the women of Latin America.