Associate Professor, Director: Disasters, Displacement, and Human Rights Program
I am a cultural anthropologist whose work falls broadly in the area of engaged political and legal anthropology. Regionally, my research focuses on East Africa (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda) and among refugee and diaspora communities in North America and Europe. Thematically, I am interested in political conflict and violence, militarism, forced migration, and post-conflict transitional justice and development issues. I have two active research foci. First, for more than twenty years I have been studying the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa country of Eritrea and struggles around nationalist identity, nation-state building, and human rights. In addition to doctoral research conducted in Eritrea in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I have also conducted fieldwork in Eritrean diaspora communities in the United States, Germany, and Ethiopia. My other research focus is on post-conflict northern Uganda and the problem of improper burials related to the 1986-2006 Lord’s Resistance Army civil war. Working with a collaborative, interdisciplinary team of cultural, forensic, and archaeological anthropologists, including Dr. Dawnie Steadman (Director of the Forensic Anthropology Center), since 2012 I have led an ethnographic investigation into the political, legal, and spiritual significance of mass graves, internal displacement camp burials, and other war-related graves for survivors of the civil war in the Acholi sub-region. My anthropological approach is interdisciplinary and I seek to combine ethnographic analysis with rigorous theoretical framing and ethical application of anthropological knowledge in contexts such as asylum and refugee determination procedures and human rights/humanitarian forensic investigations.
Political and legal anthropology; Northeast Africa and the Great Lakes Region of Eastern Africa; African diasporas; forced migration (refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced); human rights; conflict, peace, and transitional justice; politics and governance; militarism; development; ethnographic dimensions of forensic investigation
- B.A. 1996, Anthropology, Barnard College, Columbia University.
- M.A. 2000, Anthropology, Michigan State University.
- Ph.D. 2004, Anthropology, Michigan State University.
- Certificate in Forced Migration and Refugee Issues, June 2009, Centre for Refugee Studies, York University.
- 2015 Berger, Iris, Tricia Redeker Hepner, Benjamin Lawrence, JoAnn Tague and Meredith Terretta, eds. African Asylum at a Crossroads: Activism, Expert Testimony and Refugee Rights. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press.
- 2013 Omeje, Kenneth and Tricia Redeker Hepner, eds. Conflict and Peacebuilding in the African Great Lakes Region. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press.
- 2009 Hepner, Tricia Redeker. Soldiers, Martyrs, Traitors and Exiles: Political Conflict in Eritrea and the Diaspora. Ethnography of Political Violence Series. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
- 2009 O'Kane, David and Tricia Redeker Hepner, eds. Biopolitics, Militarism and Development: Eritrea in the 21 st Century. Dislocations Series. New York: Berghahn Books.
Selected Articles and Chapters
2018 Hepner, Tricia Redeker, Dawnie Wolfe Steadman, and Julia R. Hanebrink. “Sowing the Dead: Massacres and the Missing in Northern Uganda.” In Massacres: Bioarchaeological Interpretations of the Human Past: Local, Regional, and Global Perspectives. Cheryl P. Anderson and Debra L. Martin, eds. University Press of Florida. Pp. 136-154.
- 2015 Hepner, Tricia Redeker. “The ‘Asylum-Advocacy Nexus’ in Anthropological Perspective: Agency, Activism, and the Construction of Eritrean Political Identities.” in Berger et al., eds. African Asylum at a Crossroads: Activism, Expert Testimony and Refugee Rights. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press.
- 2015  Hepner, Tricia Redeker. “Generation Nationalism and Generation Asylum: Eritrean Migrants, the Global Diaspora, and the Transnational Nation-State.” Diaspora 18: 2/: 184-207. Special issue, “Migrant Political Generations,” edited by Susan Eckstein and Mette Louise Berg.
- 2014 Hepner, Tricia Redeker. “Religion, Repression and Human Rights in Eritrea and the Diaspora.” Journal of Religion in Africa 44: 151-188.
- 2013 Hepner, Tricia Redeker and Samia Tecle. “New Refugees, Development-Forced Displacement, and Transnational Governance in Eritrea and Exile.” Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development 42: 1-2.
- 2013 Tricia Redeker Hepner. “Emergent Eritrean Human Rights Movements: Politics, Law and Culture in Transnational Perspective.” In Worlds of Human Rights: Ambiguities of Rights Claiming in Africa, edited by William Derman, Anne Hellum, and Kristen Bergtora Sandvik. Leiden: Brill Publishers. Pp. 277-302.
- 2013 Opiyo, Lindsay McClain and Tricia Redeker Hepner. “Youth in Transition: The Arts and Cultural Resonance in Post-Conflict Northern Uganda.” In Conflict and Peacebuilding in the African Great Lakes Region, edited by Kenneth Omeje and Tricia Redeker Hepner. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Pp. 179-196.
- 2012 Hepner, Tricia Redeker. “Militarization, Generational Conflict, and the Eritrean Refugee Crisis.” African Childhoods: Peacebuilding, Education, and Development in the Youngest Continent. Marisa O. Ensor, ed. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Pp. 152-175.
- 2009 Seeking Asylum in a Transnational Social Field: New Refugees and Struggles for Autonomy and Human Rights. In O'Kane and Hepner, eds. Biopolitics, Militarism, and Development: Eritrea in the 21st Century. Dislocations Series. New York: Berghahn Books. pp. 183-206.
- 2008 Transnational Governance and the Centralization of State Power in Eritrea and Exile. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 31: 3: 476-502.