Taylor Livingston

Entered Program: 2008
BS in Anthropology, College of Charleston, 2008
MA in Anthropology, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2011

Statement of interest:
My research examines the intersections of race, class, and gender in the Deep South through the lens of breastfeeding. Specifically, I research why and how women choose (or choose not) to breastfeed. I am particularly interested in how the lived reality of breastfeeding women’s lives intersects with our current political, economic, and cultural system that does not support the lactating body. Further, my research seeks to understand how public health discourses and the legacy of slavery and racism in the South shape African American mothers feeding decisions and practices.

My dissertation fieldwork (in Durham, NC) explores what it means to be a “good African American mother” and who/what influences the practices that this ideology incorporates. Using as my foundation and guides the theoretical notions of “the embodiment of history,” Black Feminist Theory, and “authoritative knowledge,” I explore possible explanations for African American women’s approaches to, and beliefs surrounding infant feeding.

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