Africa; HSHM; ethnobotany; oral history; gender; Indian Ocean slave trade networks; traditional medicine and healing systems in Madagascar and Tanzania
Breeanna is a fourth-year doctoral student in the History of Science and Medicine Program. She specializes in African history and studies transformations in healing cultures born from migrations and environmental change. Her broad focus is on the history of East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean, specifically that of Madagascar and Tanzania. Her doctoral research emphasizes the role of ancestral spirits in histories of regional pharmacopeia and bioprospecting by recognizing them as active and independent political agents in the cross-cultural negotiations of health, healing, and illness in the Western Indian Ocean. Her methodologies include ethnography, archival research, oral history, and ethnobotany, and she works across the disciplines of anthropology, history, and science and technology studies. Her primary research languages are French, Malagasy, and Swahili.
Prior to Yale, Breeanna received her A.B. in History and African and African American Studies from Harvard College. She wrote her undergraduate thesis on the legal precarity of enslaved women’s lives during the 19th and 20th century British-led abolition along the Swahili Coast.
She is passionate about education and also earned her teacher licensure from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2015. She currently works as a Writing Fellow at the Graduate Writing Lab and a McDougal Teaching Fellow at the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning.
Since arriving at Yale, her research and language studies have been generously funded by the Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration, the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, the Critical Language Scholarship Program, and the Social Science Research Council.