Miroslava Prazak is a scholar of economic development and cultural change in East Africa. Employing multidisciplinary research strategies, her work addresses globalization; inequality; social, health, and human rights issues; culturally based ways of knowing; gender-based violence; and politics of the body. She teaches anthropology at Bennington College since 1996.
Prazak was born in the Czech Republic and educated there and in Pakistan, United States, and Australia. Aside from Bennington College, she has taught at Yale University, the Australian National University, the University of Nairobi, Williams College, and the Community College of Vermont.
Prazak’s work in East Africa centers on globalization, inequality, gender- and age-based hierarchies, reproduction, and family formation. Her work has been funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation and has been conducted under the auspices of Yale University, the Australian National University, the University of Nairobi, and Bennington College.
Her monograph Making the Mark: Gender, Identity, and Genital Cutting was published by Ohio University Press in 2016. She has contributed chapters to Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Failures as Lessons Learned from Cautionary Tales (2020), in Study Abroad: Service, Student Travel, and the Quest for an Anti-Tourism Experience (forthcoming), and African Families at the Turn of the 21st Century and Africa Today: A Multi-Disciplinary Snapshot of the Continent in 1995, and published in academic journals including Africa Today, African Studies Review, Journal of African Cultural Studies, The Anthropology of Work Review, American Anthropologist and the Journal of African Studies.
Currently, she is working on a monograph, provisionally titled “Gooko: Womanhood at the edge of colony, state, and the neoliberal world.” Based on a life history collected in rural Kenya over the course of 25 years, it is her aim to explore the construction of gender-based identity and opportunities against the background of the lifetime of one woman, whose life spanned three major eras in East African history. Based on over forty hours of taped interviews and hundreds of hours of participant observation she is writing a biography of a Kuria elder who passed away in 2010, who was a dynamic and articulate Kuria woman whose life spanned much of the 20th century. Read more!
Smith College, Northampton, MA
A.B. in Anthropology
New York University, New York, NY
Certificate in Filmmaking
Yale University, New Haven, CT
Ph.D. in Anthropology
Dissertation: Cultural Expressions of Socioeconomic
Differentiation Among the Kuria of Kenya
Development and cultural change
Inequality, especially gender- and age-based hierarchies
Sexuality, reproduction, and family formation
Impact of HIV/AIDS pandemic
Multidisciplinary research strategies
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University