Ara Eagan

ara eagan

DPhil Student

St Antony's College

Working Thesis Title: "Inheriting ‘Bosorkanja’: Apprenticing in the Ritual Ethnobotanical Heritage of the Lemko"

Research: My research hinges upon the ritual and belief-based ethnobotanical practices of the Lemko, an ethnic minority autochthonous to an area titled Lemkovyna, the southeast of what is now acknowledged to be the Polish State. I particularly investigate the convergences of spirituality, supernatural belief systems in folk traditions, and ethnobotanical medicinal practices through forced and voluntary diasporic assemblages in Poland, Ukraine, and North America, mapping the centralised ideas in these assemblages to analyse the ritual negotiation of nationality, ethnic and cultural identity, State nationalism, and religious and spiritual pilgrimage in transnational beliefs. I particularly focalise the role of these modern ritual negotiations to interrogate them as not only methods of cultural preservation, but as possible acts of protest against historical and contemporary Nationalist erasure and suppression.

I read for Masters of Research at University of St Andrews in Social Anthropology, conducting intensive fieldwork in southeastern Poland and northernmost Slovakia investigating Lemko weaving practices as means of navigating multigenerational trauma. At Princeton University, I completed my Bachelor of Science in Sociology with minors in Russian Language and Culture, Spanish Language and Culture, and Cognitive Science. There, my penultimate year thesis was on feminist and queer spiritual assemblages as methods of protest; my final year thesis focalised methods of protest in crisis.

Research Interests: Ethnobotany, Ethnobotanical Medicine, Herbalism, Spirituality, Folk Belief, Folklore, Religion, Spirituality, Ritual, Belief, Protest, Nationalism, Ethnic Minority, Apprenticeship, Autoethnography, Carpatho-Rusyn, Rusyn, Lemko, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine.

Scholarships and Awards: SAME Doctoral Scholarship, Deans List Award, Scottish Civic Scholar Award, University of St Andrews Global Merit Ambassadorial Grant, Phi Beta Kappa, Princeton University Distinguished Scholar Award

Ara is co-supervised by Nicolette Makovicky