Vigdis Broch-Due is a candidate for Prorector in the 2013 election, and Professor in the Department of Social Anthropology. She also holds a special Professorship in International Poverty Research at the Faculty of Social Sciences. She defended her thesis for the Dr. Philos degree at the University of Bergen in 1991. Her fields of study include anthropology, sociology, geography, philosophy and comparative literature. Professor Broch-Due has a broad professional background both in Norway and internationally.
Before being appointed as Professor at the University of Bergen in 2003, she held senior teaching and research positions at the universities of Oslo, Uppsala, Cambridge, and London. In the United States she was visiting professor at Washington State University and at Rutgers University. Her research interests range from epistemological issues in the social sciences and humanities, to a wide variety of empirical studies in Africa and India. In addition to these, Broch-Due has undertaken numerous aid and relief consultancies in East Africa and beyond related to a variety of sectors – fisheries, irrigation agriculture, road building, as well as water supply and sanitation. Amongst other assignments, she was involved in designing IFAD’s future Focus on Rural Poverty. She was a member of a select group of researchers appointed by the Commission for the European Union to assess their poverty alleviation policies and has served on expert panels on global poverty at the UN in New York.
Vigdis Broch-Due has long experience with research leadership. She is Deputy Leader of the National Council (Nasjonalt fagråd) of Development Studies and an External member on the board of the Department of Social Anthropology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). At the University of Bergen, she has served on the University Library Board since 2004 and, for the last four years, has been a board member for the Centre of Women and Gender studies (SKOK). She also heads the Poverty Politics research group http://www.uib.no/fg/poverty at the Department of Social Anthropology. As well as these positions, she is also in charge of the international masters program, “the Anthropology of Development”, which brings together students from Africa, Asia, South-America, USA, Europe and Norway. She teaches a large portfolio of courses at the Masters and PhD levels, combined with an active supervisory role and involvement in research training. She has been engaged in the evaluation of research applications for various centers and research councils both nationally and internationally.
For almost three decades, Vigdis Broch-Due’s central field of research has been the pastoralist communities of Northern Kenya. Her work there has involved both qualitative and quantitative approaches to data collection. She has carried out several major ethnographic studies but also drawn actively on other sources of information such as historical archives, interviews and surveys. Her main focus has been on diverse Turkana communities (herders, cultivators, and fishers) and, more recently, on the pastoral borderlands where Turkana intersect with other ethnic groups such as Samburu, Borana, Somali and Pokot. Her research themes have evolved over her many years in the field, as experience and her different research projects have led her down different avenues of research. These range widely over a variety of topics. She has published articles on gender, embodiment and cosmology, cultural models of the relations between people, animals and nature; the unruly effects of colonialism, commodification, aid interventions, tourism and globalization on pastoralist livelihoods in East Africa; and, finally, global poverty in historical and ethnographic perspectives. Her current research project, funded by NCR, focuses on the psycho-social effects of endemic violence, identity management and inter-ethnic relations in Kenya. The history and ethnographies of poverty constitute another specialty, both as it pertain to Europe since medieval times and the British empire with focus on India and Africa.
Her books include Carved Flesh/Cast Selves: Gendered Symbols and Social Practices (1993), The Poor Are Not Us: Poverty and Pastoralism in Eastern Africa (1999), Producing Poverty and Nature in Africa (2000), and Violence and Belonging: The Quest for Identity in Post-Colonial Africa (2005). She is currently working on 3 book manuscripts arising from her work in Northern Kenya.
Vigdis Broch-Due has also participated in several documentary film projects not only in Kenya but also in India and South America. The latter involved extended visits to Native American communities including the Kogi of Colombia, Huichol of Mexico, and Maya of Guatemala. These encounters only widened her keen appreciation for the remarkable variety of cultural forms around the globe and the vast range of life-solutions and challenges faced by humanity.