BARS: Brandeis Anthropology Research Seminar

All events will be held in Schwartz 103.

The Brandeis Anthropology Research Seminar (BARS) is a year-long seminar that meets most Friday afternoons at 3 pm. The seminar series includes our anthropology colloquia presented by invited guests as well as presentations by Brandeis anthropology faculty and graduate students. Moises Lino e Silva, curator of the Anthropology Research Seminar for the coming year, describes the seminar as “a venue for rigorous and creative intellectual engagement with current anthropological research.” Often we will close the Friday afternoon seminar with an opportunity for socializing with the invited speaker and each other, sometimes off campus at a nearby pub or other gathering place.

limbertFriday, January 23 at 3:00 pm

Mandana Limpert, Queens College

Mandana E. Limbert received her PhD in Anthropology and Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan in 2002 and joined the Queens College (CUNY) faculty the same year. She became a member of the faculty of the CUNY Graduate Center in 2007. She has also been a fellow and visiting scholar at The University of Michigan’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender (1999-2000), New York University’s Center for Near Eastern Studies (2000-2001), the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies (2001-2002), and Duke University’s Department of Cultural Anthropology (2008-2010). She joined the History department at North Carolina State University (2009-2010).
In addition to numerous articles, Professor Limbert has co-edited Timely Assets: The Politics of Resources and their Temporalities (2008), published by the School of American Research, Advanced Seminar Series. Her book, In the Time of Oil: Piety, Memory, and Social Life in an Omani Town was published by Stanford University Press (2010). And, with support from the American Council of Learned Societies, Professor Limbert began writing her next book, Oman, Zanzibar, and the Politics of Becoming Arab on changing notions of Arabness in Oman and Zanzibar over the course of the twentieth century.

Friday, January 30 at 3:00 pm

"Localized Integration of Olmec and Maya Traditions at Rancho Búfalo, Chiapas, Mexico"

Jeff Dobereiner '09, Harvard University Archaeology Doctoral Student 

How do geographically remote communities integrate non-local practices from powerful neighbors?  I explore how this process of cultural negotiation unfolded at Rancho Búfalo, Chiapas, Mexico, a Preclassic (1000 BC - AD 250) borderland center between the Olmec and Maya heartlands.  Archaeological research at the site has revealed architecture, burials, ceramics and imported obsidian which demonstrate a local material style that articulated with broader cultural currents of Preclassic Mesoamerica.  A comparative approach to these data generates a meaningful anthropological case study for how frontier processes unfold over the longue durée.

Jeffrey Dobereiner is a doctoral candidate in the Harvard University Department of Anthropology and a member of the Proyecto Arqueológico Busilja - Chocolja, directed by Charles Golden (Brandeis University) and Andrew Scherer (Brown University).  His research interests include the ancient Maya, the emergence of social complexity, and comparative anthropology.  His research  has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Sigma Xi, Dumbarton Oaks, and The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.   In addition to his ongoing scholarship in Mexico, Jeff has collaborated with research projects in Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, and Thailand.


Friday, February 6 at 3:00 pm

Anita Hannig, Brandeis University

Professor Hannig's research investigates a set of specialized hospitals in Ethiopia dedicated to treating women who suffer from obstetric fistula, a maternal childbirth injury that leads to chronic incontinence. Her most recent scholarship includes  "Spiritual Border Crossings: Childbirth, Postpartum Seclusion, and Religious Alterity in Amhara, Ethiopia." Africa 84. 2 (2014): 294-313. and "The Pure and the Pious: Corporeality, Flow, and Transgression in Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity." Journal of Religion in Africa 43. 3 (2013): 297-328. At Brandeis Hannig teaches Medicine, Body, and Culture; The Anthropology of Gender; Dirt, Disgust, and Contagion: The Anthropology of Pollution; Medicine and Religion; and Integrative Seminar on Health.

meiuFriday, February 27 at 3:00 pm

George Paul Meiu, Harvard University

George Paul Meiu is assistant professor in the Department of African and African American Studies and the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University. He holds a BA in anthropology from Concordia University in Montreal and an MA and a PhD in anthropology from the University of Chicago. Meiu’s research focuses on the intersection of race, ethnicity, sexuality, and political economy in East Africa. Within this larger field, his current project explores how the tourist commodification of ethnic sexuality shapes collective identity and relations of age, gender, and kinship in Kenya. Combining ethnographic and historical methods, Meiu investigates how young Samburu men brand their ethnic identity through colonial images of the "primitive," sexual warrior, in order to initiate intimate relationships with European women, acquire wealth, and build futures. He also explores the multifaceted outcomes of ethnic and sexual commodification with a focus on ritual, politics, and everyday life in Samburu. Currently, Meiu works on a book manuscript entitled Ethno-erotic Economies: Ethnicity, Sexuality, and Commodification in Postcolonial Kenya, which makes ethnicity and sexuality central to understanding economic production and social reproduction in the postcolonial world. His recent work appeared in Anthropology Today, the Canadian Journal of African Studies, and in edited volumes on tourism and African sexualities. See his faculty website for more information.

Friday, March 6 at 3:00 pm

Moises Lino e Silva, Brandeis Univeristy

Fieldwork Workshop

Moises Lino e Silva will present a workshop on gender, sexuality, and romance in the field.

Friday, March 13 at 3:00 pm

Graduate Student Research Presentations

Brandeis University graduate students will present on their research projects.

KlaitsFriday, March 20 at 3:00 pm

Frederick Klaits, Buffalo University, Saler Lecture in Religious Studies

Klaits's animating questions center on why, how, and with what consequences people come to feel that their well-being is or is not bound up with that of others.  His research investigates these issues in medical, religious, and political dimensions.  He has conducted long-term fieldwork in Botswana, exploring the ways in which members of an Apostolic healing church have made efforts to sustain relationships of care and love in the context of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Currently, with the support of a grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Klaits is exploring how members of African-American charismatic churches in Buffalo, New York understand tithing as a means of eliciting blessings for themselves and members of their families and communities under circumstances that deeply jeopardize them.  He serves as director of the Medical Anthropology lab in the Department of Anthropology at the University at Buffalo. For additional information, check out his website.

auslanderFriday, March 27 at 3:00 pm

Mark Auslander, Central Washington University

Mark Auslander is the author of The Accidental Slaveowner: Revisiting a Myth of the American South (University of Georgia Press, 2011), winner of the Delmos Jones and Jagna Sharff Memorial Book Prize from the Society for the Anthropology of North America, and the second book prize of the 2012 Victor Turner Ethnographic Writing Award from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology. His research and areas of expertise include sociocultural anthropology, museum anthropology, art and aesthetics, meaning in the material world, symbolic mediation, ritual and performance theory, historical anthropology, race and class, engaged anthropology, slavery studies, contemporary African and Diasporic art. Ethnographic areas: Sub-saharan Africa, Zambia and South Africa; African Diaspora, United States; African American communities; U.S. South

cantonFriday, April 17 at 3:00 pm

Steve Caton, Harvard University

Caton is Professor of Contemporary Arab Studies and author of Peaks of Yemen (1990), Lawrence of Arabia: A Film's Anthropology (1999) and Yemen Chronicle (2005).

Since the beginning of his career, Caton has been a specialist of Arabic and the Middle East, with an emphasis on Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula. His earliest work was in anthropological linguistics and poetics which culminated in his first book, an ethnography of Arabic, oral poetry and political culture of a Yemeni highland tribe.

When Caton returned to Yemen in 2001 for the first time in twenty years after his fieldwork on oral poetry, he was shocked to see how dire the water situation had become and wondered what he, a social anthropologist, could do about it. This represented a significant departure from his earlier interests and has required a good deal of re-education in the fields of environmentalism, political ecology, hydrology and science studies. He is currently collaborating with a colleague, anthropologist Ben Orlov (University of California, Davis), on an article reviewing anthropological work on problems of water use and sustainability and is beginning new fieldwork in the Gulf with another colleague, architect Nader Ardalan, on burgeoning cities and their impacts on the environment (including water sustainability). Caton foresees research on water sustainability to take up most of his future research and writing in anthropology, and is planning to teach a course on the anthropology of water sustainability in the near future.  For additional information, please see Professor Canton's website.

Friday, April 24 at 3:00 pm

Holly Walters Proposal Defense

Walters will present on her dissertation research proposal focused on issues of nation-building, identity, and religious syncretism at the Hindu-Buddhist pilgrimage site of Muktinath, Nepal.

Past Events: 

kocamanerFriday, January 16 at 3:00 pm

Hikmet Kocamaner, Junior Research Fellow at the Crown Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Brandeis University


Friday, November 21 at 3:00 pm

AAA Practice Talks

Friday, November 14 at 3:00 pm


"Japan’s Debt as an Anthropological Problem"

Hiro Miyazaki, Hunt Lecture in Economic Anthropology, Cornell University

Friday, November 7 at 3:00 pm


"Posters, Banners, and Scribbles: Urban Inscription and the Public Sphere in Indonesia"

Karen Strassler, Queens College


moisesFriday, October 31 at 3:00 pm

Fieldwork workshop: Moises Lino e Silva, Brandeis University


Friday, October 24 at 3:00 pm

"Brandeis Vinography of Israel Project: Rediscovering the sublime wines of old"

Andrew Koh, Brandeis University

Friday, October 17 at 3:00 pm

Graduate Student Fieldwork Presentations Part 2

Ryan Collins will speak on archaeological fieldwork at Yaxuná in Yucatan, Mexico, Jessica Bray will discuss queer activism in Mumbai, and Paige Henderson will cover cyberstalking in India.

Friday, October 10 at 3:00 pm

"The Life of Cheese: Negotiating the Values of American Artisanal Production"

Heather Paxson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Friday, October 3 at 3:00 pm 

"Christianity, curative ritual, and newly emergent Kalinga traditions in highland Luzon, Philippines"

Rikardo Shedden, Brandeis University

Friday, September 19 at 3:00 pm

Graduate Student Fieldwork Presentations Part 1

Doug Bafford will speak on discourse of creationism among Kentuckian evangelical Christians, Lauren Bader will discuss folk narrative in Dresden, Germany, and Holly Doerflinger will cover undocumented immigrants in Providence, RI.

Friday, September 12 at 3:00 pm

mcintosh"Linguistic reconciliation? Moral nationalism and language essentialisms from post-apartheid South Africa"

Janet McIntosh, Brandeis University