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Leigh Campoamor, Instructor

Leigh Campoamor

My research focuses on the ways that childhood and child labor figure within global discussions about work, progress and value. As a cultural anthropologist, I privilege children’s everyday lived experiences. In particular, my work shows how children's everyday struggles for recognition in Peru’s overcrowded capital require engaged, if subtle, responses to the dominant understandings of childhood, family roles, and urban order that stigmatize them in the first place. My research sites range from the busy urban intersections and public buses where children juggle and sell candy, to the shantytowns and homes in which they live with their families. I also explore institutional spaces such as NGOs, schools, and social service offices where policies are implemented. My work reveals how topics such as family, gender, mobility, and responsibility play out in the everyday lives of poor Peruvians in ways that challenge the universalizing assumptions evidenced in transnational policy and seemingly mundane interpersonal exchanges. My newest ethnographic research, related to my ongoing project, looks into the rise of corporate social responsibility discourse in Peru as well as Colombia. I focus on the telecommunications industry, and specifically the role of the Spanish Telefónica Corporation in child labor eradication projects.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  International Comparative Studies, Box 90405, Durham, NC 27708
Email Address: send me a message

Typical Courses Taught:

  • ICS 195, Comparative Approaches to Global Issues
Office Hours:

Mon. & Fri. 2:45-3:45

Ph.D.Duke University2012
MADuke University2006
BABrown University2000
Areas of Interest:

Latin America and Peru
children and childhood
development and progress
public space
charity and giving

In addition to advising ICS majors, I am teaching the ICS Gateway course, Comparative Approaches to Global Issues (ICS 195), during Fall 2013 and the ICS capstone seminar (ICS 495S) in Spring 2014. My teaching, like my research, stresses global connections. My courses have focused on how socially constructed categories – such as the nation, the family, and the child – serve as a lens through which to grasp broader historical and international processes, while maintaining a focus on the agency of the people whose subjectivities are caught up these discourses. I encourage students to think critically about the ways that difference is produced and put to use through dichotomies such as universal and particular; representation and experience; nature and culture; and man and woman. My own academic interests began to take shape when studying Latin American history as an undergraduate. I went to Peru for the first time while studying abroad at a Chilean university and conducting research on Peruvian immigrants to Chile. After graduating college, I returned to Peru with a Fulbright Fellowship. From my personal experiences and those of students I have taught and advised at Duke, I believe that an interdisciplinary and global education provides an exciting and valuable foundation for imagining future possibilities. For this reason, it’s a pleasure for me to teach and advise Duke undergraduates.

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