International Relations, School of International Service (ABD)
Year of program entry: 2008
Kia Hall holds a BA with a concentration in mathematics from Sarah Lawrence College, an MS in Computer and Information Sciences from Temple University and an MA in International Communications from American University. She has been awarded the Sylvia Forman Prize for best graduate student paper in feminist anthropology at the American Anthropological Association meeting in Chicago in November 2013, the Kuklys Prize runner-up for the best graduate student paper at the Human Development and Capabilities Association (HDCA) meeting in Managua in September 2013, and a U.S. Student Fulbright Grant to conduct research in Honduras from October 2011-August 2012.
Her dissertation, “Making Ereba: An Exploration of Food, Culture & Capabilities among Honduras’ Garifuna Community” explores grassroots development from the perspective of the Afro-indigenous Garifuna women who practice their ancestral agricultural tradition of making cassava bread, or ereba (in the Garifuna language). Through a Black feminist analysis, she explores how this traditional form of “women’s work” is improving development opportunities, and especially educational opportunities, for the rural, Garifuna communities of Honduras.
Kia hopes to expand her dissertation project through postdoctoral research that further explores grassroots development in Garifuna communities in Guatemala, Belize and Nicaragua. There has been little work done on the collaborative development efforts within Central America. The efforts of the Garifuna communities in Nicaragua and Belize were responsible for having the language, music and dance traditions of the community recognized by the United National Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as “a masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage” in 2001. She hopes to investigate other forms of transnational collaborative development work.
Identifying as a Black feminist scholar-activist, her research is linked to ongoing engagement with the Garifuna community of Honduras. Her goal is to be as active in scholarship as in her activist work to create better living conditions for the communities she engages. In August 2013, she launched a fundraising effort to provide critical funds to the groups that make ereba. Every month, you can find updates about Kia’s work at , a website she developed in collaboration with the Ereba Makers of Iriona, Honduras.