Anthropologists Grapple With Drawing the Line Between Research and Advocacy

Anthropologists Grapple With Drawing the Line Between Research and Advocacy 1

Benjamin Rasmussen for The Chronicle

Susan Dewey, an assistant professor at the U. of Wyoming who studies sex workers, says she sometimes wonders if there is "something parasitic" about making her living from the struggles of others.

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Benjamin Rasmussen for The Chronicle

Susan Dewey, an assistant professor at the U. of Wyoming who studies sex workers, says she sometimes wonders if there is "something parasitic" about making her living from the struggles of others.

Seven years ago, Susan C. Dewey met a sex worker in Armenia who needed help regaining custody of her children.

The woman, whom she called Liana, had been taken to Dubai by her "Mama Rosa," or sex-trafficking madam, where she was forced to pay off her debts. There, Liana was caught in a dragnet and sent back to Armenia, Ms. Dewey recalled here last month during a session of the American Anthropological Association's annual meeting.

Ms. Dewey had been working at the