UCL Anthropology


Maria Angel

UCL Email: maria.angel.09@ucl.ac.uk
First SupervisorProfessor Susanne Kuechler (Department of Anthropology, UCL) 
Second SupervisorDr Rodney Reynolds (Institute Global Health, UCL)
Subject: Material Culture/Digital Anthropology
Fieldsite: Palmira, Colombia and London, United Kingdom

PhD Research 

Colombia's Digit@l Orph@ns and Childless P@rents: Maintaining sentiments across national borders

As a social and digital anthropologist, my interest focuses on the impact of the use of new media on tech-mediated relationships. My research calls attention to the changing nature of migrants' family structures, with a special interest in Colombian trans-national families and the London-Colombian Diaspora. I am particularly interested in the culture created by children through their separation from their parents and their adoption of new media in order to maintain their filial bonds. My research is concentrated on the varying ways that family members express their emotions through digital channels such as Skype, Facebook, mobile phones, Instagram, What'sApp, etc. My project aims to establish an account of the digital practices between transnational parents and the children they leave behind and how these practices alter the ways they express emotions and communicate at distance. These methods of communication, in turn, affect how the parents construct and frame their new experiences and their existing familial relationship. This project bridges some areas of Anthropology. In this instance, I must establish semiotic patterns for these channels of digital communication, as they are essential in the construction of ideas of self, identity and the way that a person reflects upon their emotional life. It is also an interdisciplinary study, which integrates -among others, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Anthropology of Emotions, Anthropology of Time, Anthropology of Migration, Colombia's Kinship, Anthropology of Childhood and Digital Anthropology and Childhood. This study compares and develops their work to establish a new theory of emotions through the digital age. Digital channels contribute to the maintenance and reunification of families separated by migration, but it also allows family members to disguise uncomfortable realities about their lives from one another. I have a particular interest in instances such as these and the impact that this has on the complete migratory itinerary. 

Research Interests

    • Digital Anthropology
    • Anthropology of Children and Childhood
    • Anthropology of Emotions
    • Anthropology of Time
    • Kinship
    • Migration Studies
    • Transnational Families
    • Colombian Diaspora in UK
    • Latin America Studies

    Collaborations in Research and Publications

    Presentations & Conferences

    Education History

    • PhD Candidate in Anthropology (University College London) 
    • Master of Research in Anthropology (University College London) 2012
    • Master of Science in Digital Anthropology (University College London) 2011
    • BA in Social and Cultural Anthropology (University of Barcelona - Spain) 1996


    • 2016-17 UCL Studentship Department of Anthropology
    • 2015-16 UCL Doctoral School Award
    • 2010-11 UCL Fieldwork Grant Department of Anthropology

    Additional Information

    2014 -2015 Treasurer UCL Colombian Society