Tess Kulstad
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641-269-9267

Tess Kulstad

Assistant Professor

Tess M. Kulstad Gonzalez is a sociocultural anthropologist with a longstanding interest in the social construction of relatedness, childrearing, and the human rights of children. Her research explores the ways in which local and global sociocultural, economic, political processes affect family structure and child wellbeing in the Caribbean.  More specifically, her work focuses on child fosterage arrangements on the Haitian-Dominican border, whereby parents place offspring with both relatives and non-relatives, in informal and mostly temporary adoption arrangements. Her research examines the factors that influence fosterage decision-making processes and child wellbeing.

The 2010 earthquake that destroyed Port-au-Prince added a new dimension to her research on parenting and children.  Currently, she looks at the earthquake and cholera epidemic’s short and long term impacts on family life on the Haitian-Dominican border.  In particular, her research examines how humanitarian aid, displacement, border control policies, and public health measures had (and continue to have) on parents’ fosterage decisions and on foster child wellbeing.

Tess grew up in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She graduated magna cum laude from the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo with a degree in business administration. After working several years in the Dominican financial sector, she pursued a master’s degree in Latin American studies with a concentration in anthropology at the University of Florida. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in August 2013.

Education and Degrees

Tess M. Kulstad Gonzalez is a sociocultural anthropologist with a longstanding interest in the social construction of relatedness, childrearing, and the human rights of children.  Her research explores the ways in which local and global sociocultural, economic, political processes affect family structure and child wellbeing in the Caribbean.  More specifically, her work focuses on child fosterage arrangements on the Haitian-Dominican border, whereby parents place offspring with both relatives and non-relatives, in informal and mostly temporary adoption arrangements.  Her research examines the factors that influence fosterage decision-making processes and child wellbeing. 

 The 2010 earthquake that destroyed Port-au-Prince added a new dimension to her research on parenting and children.  Currently, she looks at the earthquake and cholera epidemic’s short and long term impacts on family life on the Haitian-Dominican border.  In particular, her research examines how humanitarian aid, displacement, border control policies, and public health measures had (and continue to have) on parents’ fosterage decisions and on foster child wellbeing. 

Tess grew up in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  She graduated magna cum laude from the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo with a degree in business administration. After working several years in the Dominican financial sector, she pursued a master’s degree in Latin American studies with a concentration in anthropology at the University of Florida.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in August 2013.

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