Susan Cotts Watkins
My current research is focused on the role of social networks in the responses of rural Malawians to the AIDS epidemic. Of particular interest have been locally-formulated strategies of HIV prevention and intergenerational transfers to mitigate consequences of morbidity and mortality. With other collaborators we have now collected 6 rounds of a panel survey, as well as a variety of other types of data (biomarkers for HIV and other STDs, village characteristics, qualitative data). The central hypotheses concerned the importance of local social networks vis-a-vis individual characteristics. Substantively, they have shown in a series of papers that social networks play an important role in responses to the epidemic, often dominating individual characteristics or measures of HIV program effort. Using an innovative adaptation of classical ethnography, they have documented the content of conversational interactions within local social networks. I benefit from an office provided by CCPR, from the support of the staff in administering her grants, and from the CCPR seminar series, at which I am an active participant. My research has benefited from interactions with several CCPR affiliated students in sociology and political science, for whom she has provided opportunities for field work in Africa as well as mentorship for their research and dissertations.
Most Recent Publication:
- Watkins, S.C. and A. Swidler. March 2017. A Fraught Embrace: The Romance and Reality of AIDS Altruism in Africa. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
- Weinhardt, L.S., L.W. Galvao, A.F. Yan, P. Stevens, T.N.o. Mwenyekonde, E. Ngui, L. Emer, K.M. Grande, L. Mkandawire-Valhmu, and S.C. Watkins. 2017. “Mixed-Method Quasi-Experimental Study of Outcomes of a Large-Scale Multilevel Economic and Food Security Intervention on HIV Vulnerability in Rural Malawi.” AIDS and Behavior. Forthcoming.