Cultural Anthropology Graduate Students Database
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Name and Description Email Address
Yakein M. Abdelmagid
YEAR: 4
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Neoliberalism and Immaterial Labor, Public Art and Media Production, Politics, Hope and Despair in Egypt.
yakein.abdelmagid@duke.edu
Kelly L Alexander
YEAR: 1
kelly.alexander@duke.edu
Joella W Bitter
YEAR: 2
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Research Interests: Sound/noise, reconstruction, political ecology/economy, materiality and sensation, time/space, postcolonial/social theory, Uganda/Africa
joella.bitter@duke.edu
Hannah R. Borenstein
hannah.borenstein@duke.edu
Jieun Cho
jieun.cho@duke.edu
Mackenzie Cramblit
YEAR: 3
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Land and property; conservation, development, natural heritage; technology and renewable energy; Science and Technology Studies; Scotland, UK
mackenzie.cramblit@duke.edu
Christopher J. Daley
YEAR: 1
christopher.daley@duke.edu
Anna J. Dowell
YEAR: 2
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Research Interests: Evangelical Protestantism, citizenship, political imaginaries, neoliberalism, Middle East, Egypt
anna.dowell@duke.edu
Can Evren
YEAR: 2
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Research Interests: My research is on the history of soccer in Turkey and how this popular sport circulates contrasting ideas about European culture and is subjected multiple European-inspired models of social and political organization. I explore the contrasting functions of Germany and England as both diplomatic and economic collaborators or rivals in Turkish history, rival transnational routes for soccer exchanges, and as historically enduring tropes for distinguishing between different models of competitive organization in soccer.
can.evren@duke.edu
Stephanie J. Friede
YEAR: 4
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Globalization, Neoliberalism and poltics of memory, Spain
stephanie.friede@duke.edu
Yidong Gong
YEAR: 3
RESEARCH INTERESTS: China, East Africa, humanitarianism, global health,socialism
yidong.gong@duke.edu
Jere (Jay) W. Hammond
YEAR: 3
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Sound Studies, Cultures of Circulation, Politics of Recognition, Anthropology of the Body, Early Jazz/Old Time Music, Appalachia, New Orleans, New York City
jay.hammond@duke.edu
Parker P. Hatley
thomas.hatley@duke.edu
Ana Huang
YEAR: 3
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Queer women's activism in china, affect and temporality, collective imaginaries
ana.huang@duke.edu
Carla M. Hung
YEAR: 2
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Research Interests: Migration (N Africa/Italy), Performativity, Humanitarianism
carla.hung@duke.edu
Xiao Ke
YEAR: 1
RESEARCH INTERESTS: I study Tibetan nationalist movement after the Chinese occupation/liberation in the 1950s. I look into relevant practices like trans-plateau traveling, waiting, immolating, Buddhism learning/teaching, renunciation, reincarnation, etc. The historical transformation of the connection between Diaspora community in India and China's Tibet informed my inquiry of different forms of sociality corresponding to their changing material metaphors. My broader anthropological question would account for the intersection of subjectivity/personhood and materiality, more specifically, rage and flame, precarity and fire, genealogy and lineage, discourse and text, transgression and madness.
DEGREES: BA at Peking University. , 2011
xiao.ke@duke.edu
Zachary E. Levine
YEAR: 1
RESEARCH INTERESTS: secularism, energy, carcerality, justice, law and intimacy, ayahuasca, drugs and capitalism, psychoanalysis, Amazônia, Brazil
DEGREES: BA at Columbia University. , 2012
zachary.e.levine@duke.edu
Ameem Lutfi
YEAR: 5
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Politics, Local Understandings, Post-Colonialism, Pakistan
ameem.lutfi@duke.edu
Fatma Derya Mentes
YEAR: 1
fatma.mentes@duke.edu
Alyssa M. Miller
YEAR: 4
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Islam, Migration, Iraq, Egypt
amm85@duke.edu
Koffi A. Nomedji
koffi.nomedji@duke.edu
Spencer D. Orey
RESEARCH INTERESTS: My dissertation examines the spiritual economy of Hollywood dreams: how contemporary spiritual organizations and media industries co-create mass aspirations that circulate globally and convince subjects to buy into and pursue their fulfillment in Los Angeles.
spencer.orey@duke.edu
José A. Romero
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Michoacán has been both hailed for its rich mineral resources and denigrated as a site of purportedly exceptional cartel violence. This has inspired my current anthro-poetic research intimately exploring late liberal extractive economies (e.g., drugs, food, labor-power, mining), the formation and maintenance of community self-defense groups, and broader ecologies of care in an increasingly militarized Michoacán, MX. From butterflies and farmworkers to iron ore, pesticides, and recipes, this project ultimately aims to unfold and insurgently activate the inhuman interplay at the heart of the making and manipulating of borders for and through the human across at least four continents.
DEGREES: B.A. Anthropology at University of Pennsylvania. , 2015
jose.a.romero@duke.edu
Matthew R. Sebastian
YEAR: 1
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Humanitarianism, Violence, Youth, Futurity, East/Central Africa, Northern Uganda
matthew.sebastian@duke.edu
Samuel J Shearer
YEAR: 5
RESEARCH INTERESTS: My research focuses on the Kigali City Master Plan . Specifically, the relationships between everyday life and urban design; popular economies and planned capitalism; and utopian desires and global capital.
DISSERTATION TITLE: The Arcane Capital: An Ethnography of a Twenty-first Century African Metropolis
samuel.shearer@duke.edu
Tamar Shirinian
YEAR: 6
RESEARCH INTERESTS: My dissertation project, "Survival of a Perverse Nation: Sexuality and Kinship in Post-Soviet Armenia," traces the ways in which contemporary Armenian anxieties are congealing into the figure of the “homosexual.” As in other post-Soviet republics, homosexuality has increasingly become defined as the crisis of the times, and is understood by many as a destructive force linked to European encroachment. In Armenia, a growing right-wing nationalist movement since 2012 has been targeting LGBT and feminist activists. I suggest that this movement has arisen out of Armenia’s concerns regarding proper social and biological reproduction in the face of high rates of emigration of especially men in search of work. Many in the country blame this emigration on a post-Soviet oligarchy, with close ties to the government. This oligarchy, having quickly and massively privatized and liquidated industry and land during the war over the region of Nagorno-Karabagh (1990-1994) with Azerbaijan, created widespread un(der)employment. A national narrative attributing the nation’s survival of the 1915 Genocide and dispersion of its populations to strong morality preserved by institutions such as the Church and the family has now, in the post-Soviet era, ruptured into one of moral “perversion.” I explore the ways in which a missing father of the household is discursively linked to the lack of strong leadership by a corrupt government, producing a prevalent feeling of moral disintegration that nationalists displace onto the “homosexual.”
tamar.shirinian@duke.edu
Jake Silver
RESEARCH INTERESTS: My research concerns the intimate dynamics of mediation, specifically how we feel that we come to know the world and the violence, beings, and things that populate it through forms of, and at the limits of, representation. The formation of mass imaginaries is at the center of my work. I'm primarily interested in the ways that individual narratives become neat and tidy portrayals of crisis, destruction, and colonialism. Ethnographically, I'm currently exploring how stories of those that have been injured or killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict come to be harnessed in a global theatre and affect engagement with Israeli and Palestinian politics. At the anthropological level, I am interested not only in the social dissemination of these narratives, but how mass gossip is consumed, worked with, and becomes an affective means of relating to the world. The ways these stories circulate through publics illuminate how individuals treat facticity in a mediated world, and reactions to these forms of media point to the power of mass publicity in the formation of identity. Pursuing these themes has driven me to question what the limits of life and death are in a mass mediated age, especially in relation to how the public attempts to (re)animate the dead by building politics around the dead, their identities and desires, and their (after)lives. I have previously explored the politics of citizenship through my work with queer Palestinian activists, and so a strand of queer theory and method—particularly a critical eye towards reproductive and exclusionary national projects—ties all of my thinking together.
DEGREES: BA at Reed College. , 2012
jake.silver@duke.edu
Brian C. Smithson
YEAR: 4
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Media, Religious Encounter, West Africa
brian.smithson@duke.edu
Christina Tekie
YEAR: 2
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Research Interests: US-Ethiopia deportees & subjective identity
christina.tekie@duke.edu
Elena Turevon
YEAR: 4
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Climate change, the Andes, social imagination
DISSERTATION TITLE: When Mountains Fall Apart: Life on the Brink in the Peruvian Andes.
Christopher M. Webb
RESEARCH INTERESTS: My research investigates the reintegration of veterans into civilian society in the United States. As an ethnographer, I explore how systems of meaning that are created in the traumatic environment of war are experienced through fieldwork with repatriated combat veterans. Through this research, I wish to cultivate greater understandings of the effect of militarism/militarization on society and violence/trauma on human beings, including those who perform it.
DEGREES: BA (Magna Cum Laude) at University of North Carolina Asheville. , 2014AA at Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College. , 2012
christopher.m.webb@duke.edu
Jason L. Woerner
YEAR: 3
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Working class motorcycle gangs in Bangkok
jason.woerner@duke.edu

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