Holly Donahue Singh

Former student director

Sociocultural Anthropology, Graduate Student

Regional focus: South Asia, India

Topical interests: Reproduction, kinship studies, medical anthropology, South Asian anthropology, Anthropology of Islam.

My topical interests developed out of many hours of conversation with female Indian university students who became my neighbors and friends in the dorm where I lived in 2000-2001 as a Fulbright scholar in the north Indian city of Lucknow. My dissertation, “Aulad: Infertility and the Meanings of Children in North India,” draws on 16 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, the state capital city and administrative center of India’s most populous state and a major center of Indo-Muslim culture and population.  I examine how people suffering from infertility describe their desire for children and attempt to fulfill that desire through strategies ranging from biomedical treatments, including new reproductive technologies, to adoption and other forms of child circulation.  I analyze how religion, class, and consciousness of social stigma shape the experiences of people suffering from infertility who seek novel ways to actualize or approximate their goal of acquiring aulad (progeny).  In doing so, I critically examine the construction of aulad as a cultural category through popular culture, perceptions of gossip in society, and experiences of infertility.

I have taught the following independent courses at UVA:

HIND 1010/1020: Introductory Hindi-Urdu (co-instructor)
HIND201/202: Intermediate Hindi
ANTH 239: Introduction to the Anthropology of Sex and Gender (co-instructor)
ANTH 252: Men and Masculinities in South Asia
ANTH2858/SWAG 2858: Anthropology of Reproduction: Fertility and the Future
SWAG 302: Gender in Muslim Lives
SWAG 2848: Technology and Reproduction: Global Perspectives
SOM 3507: Culture and Medicine
MA Paper: 2004. Our Two, Your Twenty-five? Hierarchy and the Politics of Reproduction “Writ Large” in Contemporary India

In press,     Review of Poor and Pregnant in New Delhi by Helen Vallianatos.  To appear in 2011, Medical Anthropology Quarterly.
2007          “Notes from the Field.” Council on Anthropology and Reproduction Newsletter 14(2):10.
2006          “Give Me Your Sorrows.” Translation of Urdu short story, “Apne Dukh Mujhe De Do” by Rajinder Singh Bedi.  Annual of Urdu Studies 21: 250-272.

Languages: Hindi, Urdu

Undergraduate degree: A. B., Kenyon College; Religious Studies, summa cum laude, with distinction, concentration in Asian Studies

Holly Donahue Singh CV

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