Rachel Reynolds

Wolf Humanities Center Regional Fellow

20192020 Forum on Kinship

Rachel Reynolds

Associate Professor of Communication, Drexel University

 With overarching interests in the anthropology of youth, families and human development, Reynolds has conducted field based research on the political economy of Nigerian migration, higher education in Cameroon, and how familial experiences affect educational choices of immigrant children in America, Canada and the U.K. She co-edited the books Everyday Ruptures: Children, Youth, and Migration in Global Perspective, and Emerging Perspectives on Children in Migratory Circumstances. In her current work she asks how the social imaginary around sexual violence conditions human experiences, including gendered and generational perceptions of judgement and belonging within families, and the sense of self as actor within social institutions like the family, the courts, and the schools.

Rape Starts at Home?  Kin Experience and Rape within the Social Imaginary

How is rape experienced as a phenomenon symbolically and discursively involved with kinship? How and why is rape within the family and among kin defined through ideas like denial or acknowledgement, survival or covering up?  In turn, how have recent social movements around the expression of gendered violence been connected to changing notions of the role of the family in gendered and biological reproduction? How do portrayals and discourses of rape (and the ways they are circulated) touch upon difficult issues of sexuality, belonging, and protection/persecution of vulnerable kin (rape victims) or kin who are perpetrators (rapists)?  Are discourses of rape within and around families part of broader judgements about class, race, region, and political stances towards power? Within a larger project on narrative and changing myths around rape, Reynolds will be examining the framing of sexual violence in academic, institutional and social psychological counseling approaches to rape and kinship.  These frames will then be contrasted with rape as portrayed in popular media to ask what persists and what is changing within the ideas of family in the social imaginary of sexual violence.