My research is focused on the Peace Corps, specifically looking at the experiences of volunteers in order to see how they are reinforcing and/or resisting white saviorism and American imperialism. I used an intersectional approach in order to understand how the experiences of volunteers are shaped by racial and national relations of power. I have used discourse analysis to analyze blogs made by Peace Corps volunteers in order to see if narratives of the US needing to save the world and spreading American values were present. My preliminary findings suggest that many PCVs are critically examining their work as volunteers, while others are continuing to perpetuate attitudes of Americans needing to help poor people in Africa and American superiority over other countries. This research is significant in understanding how volunteers may be unwittingly reproducing ideas that American volunteers are needed in other countries.
Svoboda, Madison, "White Saviorism and American Imperialism: An Analysis of the Peace Corps" (2020). Student Scholars Day Posters. 6.