- Research field insécurity and violence
- Institution Colby College
- Position professor of anthropology
- Theme Uses and misuses of memory
Catherine Besteman, Francis F. Bartlett and Ruth K. Bartlett Professor of Anthropology, has taught Anthropology and African Studies at Colby since 1994. Her research focuses on racism, immigration/mobility, inequality, violence, and social transformation, topics she has studied in South Africa, Somalia, and the US. After conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Somalia in the late 1980s, she reunited with her former neighbors from Somalia when they began moving to Maine as resettled refugees in 2006.
Her new book, Making Refuge: Somali Bantu Refugees and Lewiston, Maine, chronicles their journey from war-torn Somalia, to Kenya’s massive refugee camps, and, finally, to Lewiston. Her previous books include Transforming Cape Town (2008) and Unraveling Somalia (1999), and the edited volumes The Insecure American (2009), Why America’s Top Pundits are Wrong (2005), and Violence: A Reader (2002). A 2012 Guggenheim Fellow, her work has also been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Wenner Gren Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, Sigma Xi, the School of Advanced Research, and the Tinker Foundation.