2021 Elaine Combs-Schilling Memorial Fellowship Winner

Columbia ISSG
June 10, 2021

The Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender announces the winner of the 2021 Elaine Combs-Schilling Memorial Fellowship: Chloé Samala Faux.

Chloé Samala Faux is a 6th year doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology. Her work investigates the double bind that has historically both demanded and condemned Black women’s reproductivity in South Africa, even as the masculinist project of national redemption is coded as rebirth. Her work is oriented by the convergences between race and gender, sacrifice and ritual, violence and desire. She is especially interested in the ways in which ‘traditional healing,’ mobilized and regulated by the state in the current conjuncture, intersects with the psychoanalytic and other forms of care. She contends anti-black claims on life, birth, and kinship coalesce to articulate the structural precarity that constitutes and devalues black life through the metric of risk. Taking into account the active role amadlozi (ancestral spirits or the living-dead) play in the lives of black South Africans, she asks, what ontologies of life and death might the ancestral realm offer that an actuarial framework cannot. Ancestrality is at once an “explanatory idiom”, that troubles a linear relation between living, dead, and not-yet-born, and instead foreground its fracture; it is also a methodology for examining the logic and exercise of sexual violence constitutive to the place called “South Africa.”

The Elaine Combs-Schilling Memorial Fellowship, established to honor the memory of Elaine Combs-Schilling (1949-2016), Professor of Anthropology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, is awarded annually to an ISSG graduate student. The fellowship provides an opportunity to pursue summer archival research and travel in support of their doctoral work with a stipend of $2,000. Funding for the fellowship comes from the Elaine Combs-Schilling Memorial Fund.