Cultural Anthropology Graduate Students Database
Cultural Anthropology
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Name and Description Email Address
Kelly Alexander
Joella Bitter
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Research Interests: Sound/noise, reconstruction, political ecology/economy, materiality and sensation, time/space, postcolonial/social theory, Uganda/Africa
Hannah Borenstein
Jieun Cho
Mackenzie Cramblit
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Land and property; conservation, development, natural heritage; technology and renewable energy; Science and Technology Studies; Scotland, UK
Christopher Daley
Anna Dowell
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Research Interests: Evangelical Protestantism, citizenship, political imaginaries, neoliberalism, Middle East, Egypt
Can Evren
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.
Yidong Gong
RESEARCH INTERESTS: China, East Africa, humanitarianism, global health,socialism
Sophia Goodfriend
Jay Hammond
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
Parker Hatley
Ana Huang
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Queer women's activism in china, affect and temporality, collective imaginaries
Carla Hung
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Research Interests: Migration (N Africa/Italy), Performativity, Humanitarianism
Xiao Ke
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
Zachary Levine
RESEARCH INTERESTS: secularism, energy, carcerality, justice, law and intimacy, ayahuasca, drugs and capitalism, psychoanalysis, Amazônia, Brazil
DEGREES: BA at Columbia University. , 2012
Boyang Ma
Derya Mentes
Alyssa Miller
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Islam, Migration, Iraq, Egypt
DEGREES: Ph.D. at Duke University. , 2018M.A. at University of Texas at Austin. , 2010
Koffi Nomedji
Spencer 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.
Matthew Sebastian
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Humanitarianism, Violence, Youth, Futurity, East/Central Africa, Northern Uganda
Tamar Shirinian
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.”
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
Brian Smithson
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Media, Religious Encounter, West Africa
Summer Steenberg
Christina Tekie
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Research Interests: US-Ethiopia deportees & subjective identity
Christopher 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
Jason Woerner
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Working class motorcycle gangs in Bangkok
Naledi Yaziyo

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