Sarah O'Sullivan is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology and completing a collaborative specialization in Global Health at the University of Toronto. Her research responds to long-held assumptions about aid dependency and HIV stigma in post-conflict societies. She is particularly interested in how a history of HIV-exceptionalism in the Acholi region of northern Uganda has influenced current politics of post-conflict ethical living for HIV-positive Acholi people. Sarah’s project is based on archival and long-term ethnographic research in Uganda since 2011. Her research reveals that HIV stigma persists in Acholi, in part, due to a history of an over-saturated—yet incredibly uneven—landscape of humanitarian and development aid where an HIV-positive status often opened doors to material aid not afforded to others.
Sarah commits herself to promoting and engaging with ethical, anti-colonial, anti-oppressive research and teaching practices and has taught several courses both at the undergraduate and graduate level that interrogate colonial epistemology. She was also a visiting lecturer at Gulu University in Uganda where she taught a course about the social determinants of health to the Master of Medical Anthropology and International Health student cohort.
Sarah regularly gives guest lectures to health care providers and development workers both within Canada and Uganda where she talks about HIV, structural violence, and decolonization. She is a graduate associate at the UTSC Centre for Critical Development Studies, a former New College Senior Doctoral Fellow, and is currently the Director for Got Anthropology, a public speaker series that seeks to make anthropology accessible to the public.