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Diane M Nelson, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology

Diane M Nelson
Contact Info:
Office Location:  106 Social Sciences
Office Phone:  (919) 684-2069
Email Address: send me a message

Teaching (Spring 2015):

  • CULANTH 254.01, THE AM Synopsis
    East Duke 204B, MW 11:45 AM-01:00 PM
    (also cross-listed as LSGS 254.01)
  • CULANTH 302.01, FIELDWORK METHODS Synopsis
    Friedl Bdg 204, WF 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
Education:

PhDStanford University1996
MAStanford University1992
BAWellesley College1985
Junior year abroadUniversidad de Sevilla, Seville, Spain1983
American Field Service 4-month student exchangeMérida, Mexico1980
Specialties:

Identity
4120
Gender
Central America & the Caribbean
Political Economy
Popular Culture
Research Interests:

I began fieldwork in Guatemala in 1985 exploring the impact of civil war on highland indigenous communities with a focus on the more than 100,000 people made into refugees and 200,000 people murdered in what the United Nations has called genocidal violence. Since then my research has sought to understand the causes and effects of this violence, including the destruction and reconstruction of community life (Guatemala: Los Polos de Desarrollo: El Caso de la Desestructuracin de las Comunidades Indigenas CEIDEC1988). In A Finger in the Wound: Body Politics in Quincentennial Guatemala (University of California Press 1999) I describe the relationship between the Guatemalan state and the Mayan cultural rights movement. When asked about indigenous organizing many Guatemalans call it "a finger in the wound." How do material bodies those literally wounded in 35- years of civil war, and those locked in the fear-laden embrace of sexual conquest, domestic labor, mestizaje, and social change movements relate to the wounded body politic? My work draws on popular culture like jokes, rumors, global TV, and subjugated dreams of a "new race" as well as contemporary theories of political economy, subject-formation, the post-colonial, memory, and ethnic, national, gender, and sexual identifications. It explores the relations among Mayan rights activists, ladino (non-indigenous) Guatemalans, the state, and transnational contexts including anthropologists. My new project grows from my interests in cultural studies and cyborg anthropology and explores science and technology development in Guatemala and Latin America more generally. I am focusing on laboratory and clinical research on vector and blood-borne diseases like malaria and dengue and the intersection of this knowledge production with health care in the midst of neo-liberal reforms and popular demands.

Areas of Interest:

Cultural anthropology
ethnic national identities
critical theory
gender
popular culture
power and subject formation
Mesoamerica

Keywords:

Cultural anthropology • ethnic national identities • critical theory • gender • popular culture • power and subject formation • Mesoamerica

Curriculum Vitae
Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

  • Stephanie Friede  
  • Jason Cross -- JD/PhD  
  • Diana Gomez  
  • Erin D. Parish  
  • Tamar Shrinian  
  • Layla D. Brown  
  • Attiya Ahmad  
  • Dwayne Dixon  
Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. D.M. Nelson, Reckoning: The Ends of War in Guatemala (February, 2009), Duke University Press [PDF[abs] [author's comments]
  2. D.M. Nelson, “Mayan Ponzi: A Contagion of Hope, a Made-off With Your Money,”, e-misférica, on-line journal of NYU Hemispheric Institute (2009) [nelson]
  3. D.M. Nelson, Los efectos especiales del horror, in Re-pensando la violencia, edited by Julian Lopez García and Santiago Bastos (2010), University of Cordoba, Spain [PDF]
  4. D.M. Nelson, Stumped Identities: Body Image, Bodies Politic, and the Mujer Maya as Prosthetic, Cultural Anthropology, vol. 16 no. 3 (August, 2001), pp. 314-353 [PDF]
  5. D.M. Nelson, Maya-Hackers and the Cyberspatialized Nation-State: Modernity, Ethnostalgia, and a Lizard Queen in Guatemala, Cultural Anthropology (May, 1996), pp. 287-308 [PDF]


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