Anna Jacobsen

Director of Anthropology’s Medicine and Society Program
Senior Lecturer in Sociocultural Anthropology
PhD, Washington University in St. Louis
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    • Washington University
    • CB 1114
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis MO 63130
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    Anna Jacobsen is a sociocultural anthropologist who works on issues pertaining to faith, morality, and personhood among Somali refugee women living in exile in the Eastleigh neighborhood (estate) of Nairobi, Kenya.

    She completed her Masters and Ph.D in Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis and a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, funded by the Volkswagen Institute, in Göttingen, Germany. Anna has recently expanded on her dissertation research and is looking at youth activities within Somali communities locally, internationally, and transnationally.
    Anna’s research and teaching interests cover topics including religion, faith, piety, morality, spiritual and religious healing, conflict and violence, migration and refugee studies, language, urban anthropology, Islam, Africa, Somalia, and Kenya.
    Anna is working on a number of monographs and papers, including her book, “Making Moral Worlds: Individual and Social Processes of Meaning-Making in a Somali Diaspora,” and an edited volume about conducting anthropological fieldwork in Urban Africa tentatively titled “Writing Fieldnotes on the Streets.” She has received several fellowships and research grants for her work, including a Fulbright-Hays, a grant from the American Philosophical Society, a Foreign Language Area Studies grant, and her dissertation was named one of Anthroworks’ top dissertations in 2012.
    In January 2015 and the summer of 2015, Anna began research in the Twin Cities with Somali young people that explores the myriad ways people are creating and participating in dialogues about moral personhood.