Cresa Pugh

Cresa Pugh

Doctoral Student in Sociology & Social Policy
Cresa Pugh

Research Interests: International peace and conflict, ethnic and religious minorities, social inequality, justice and punishment, globalization and transnationalism, migration and development, global human rights, collective memory and identity, political and cultural sociology, and qualitative research methods

Cresa Pugh is a PhD Candidate in Sociology and Social Policy with a secondary field in History of Science at Harvard University. Her research examines the social legacies of imperialism in postcolonial Africa and Southeast Asia, cultural heritage and museums, and violence. Using archival and ethnographic data collected across three continents, Cresa's dissertation, entitled "‘Guardians of Beautiful Things’?: The Politics of Postcolonial Cultural Heritage Theft, Refusal and Repair," examines the politics of cultural theft, specifically thinking through how debates about artifacts looted from the Benin Kingdom (Nigeria) by British forces now housed in Western museums help us understand and grapple with the vestiges of cultural imperialism. The project interrogates questions of ownership, appropriation, and violence through the medium of 16th-century brass and ivory artifacts whose displacement continues to serve as an archival record of a dispossessed cultural body. Cresa's research fundamentally examines narratives of restitution and repair and the ways in which healing and the reclamation of memory and communal historiographies materialize in the postcolonial context. Her work sits at the intersection of transnational historical and cultural sociology; postcolonial theory; materiality; race, ethnicity and indigeneity; and museum, art history and heritage studies.

Previous Degrees: 
Bates College, BA, Anthropology and Religion
University of Oxford, MSc, Migration Studies

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482 William James Hall

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