Entered Fall 2016
Stephanie Schiavenato is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology at New York University. She received a BA (2005) from Middlebury College in Gender Studies and Film and an MA (2016) from The New School for Social Research in Anthropology. Stephanie was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship that funded a year of documentary film work in Latin America. She continued her work in film as a curator for a human rights film festival in Buenos Aires (DerHumALC) and at a documentary arts collective (UnionDocs) in Brooklyn. Stephanie’s commitment to reproductive rights led her to train as a labor and post-partum doula. After working for nearly a decade, assisting hundreds of families give birth in New York City and in rural birth clinics in Uganda and Senegal, her focus shifted toward exploring the loss of burgeoning life. Her research currently asks: How does one mourn the end of a life that never came to be? As a doula, she repeatedly witnessed the fraught space opened up by reproductive loss. These experiences led her to conceptual questions concerning the politics of mourning, the permeable boundaries of religion and secularism, and the juridical implications of grieving incipient personhood. While at The New School, she conducted preliminary fieldwork on emerging post-mortem practices in the United States dealing with pregnancy and infant loss that seek to immerse families in the temporality, materiality, and sense-making of the death. What happens when one comes out from the shadows of shame associated with reproductive loss?