Graduate Student Talks and Workshops
Friday May 10, 2013
Casey Miller dissertation defense, 1 pm, Mandel G12.
Title: "Inside the Circle": Sexuality, HIV/AIDS, and Civil Society in Post-Socialist Northwest China
Wednesday May 15, 2013
Bea Moolenaar dissertation defense, 4 pm, Mandel G12.
Title: Journey to Belonging: Chinese American Heritage Travel to Guangdong, China
Sunday May 19, 2013
Brandeis University Commencemen
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Anna Jaysane-Darr will defend her dissertation "National Bodies: Raising South Sudanese in America". 2:00 pm, Lown 2.
Thursday, April 25
Signs and Society Symposium.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Soldiering Sustainability: Urban Ecologies and Political Imaginaries in Kathmandu and Mumbai (Open session, ANTH 151). 3:30 pm, Mandel G12.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
SANA preview session. Terrance Hall, Nicole Welk and Allison Taylor will workshop their papers in advance of delivering talks at the Society for North American Anthropology conference. 9:00 am, Brown 115
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Life on Death Beach screening. Anthropology alumni Jeff Arak '07 will screen his documentary, followed by a Q&A sesssion.
Friday, March 15, 2013
Graduate Open House. Day-long event includes breakfast, a lunch time panel, and a 4 pm reception.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Casey Golomski will defend his dissertation "Right Passages: Work and Ritual in Swaziland's Age of HIV/AIDS". 12:00 pm, Mandel 303.
For more information contact:
(781) 736-2232 (fax)
Events and Colloquia
Spring 2013 Series
Wednesday, March 6th, 2 pm in Shiffman 219
Anthropology Colloquium Series: Susan Gillespie
"The Entanglement of Jade and the Rise of Mesoamerica"
The rise of complex societies across Mesoamerica in the Middle Formative period (c. 900 -500 BC) coincided with the establishment of fundamental organizing principles for socio-cosmic order that were widely shared and set a trajectory for future developments. This “Formative Revolution” was materially enabled by public architecture, monumental sculptures, and new media of wealth, particularly jade. Jade, understood here as “social jade” to include various minerals (principally jadeite and serpentine), was valued for its utilitarian affordances of hardness and durability, but human-jade interactions revealed other “enchanting” qualities that were caught up in human-jade interdependencies, contributing to ideas of social difference and hierarchy.
How jade became a “shaper of civilizations” has not previously been investigated holistically. Scholarly attention has focused instead on certain shared “symbolic” meanings of jade as these were expressed in pan-Mesoamerican cosmology. A genealogy of jade is required to understand how jade reached a pinnacle of value in Mesoamerican thought and practice that was never superseded, not even by gold. Theories drawn from studies of “materiality”–in particular, the notion of entanglement–provide a comprehensive framework to examine how jade and humans were drawn into interdependent relationships.
This presentation sketches different aspects of the entanglement as they may have developed in the Early and Middle Formative Periods, emphasizing the physical qualities of jade and jade-working, their salient effects in human-jade interdependence, and the innovated temporalities and subjectivities that resulted.
Susan Gillespie is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Florida. Her research interests include archaeology, ethnohistory, iconography, and epigraphy of Mesoamerica (focusing on Aztecs, Mayas, and Olmecs); kinship, kingship, and socio-political organization; cosmology and political ideologies; symbolic, structural, and semiotic anthropology; archaeological and social theory; the anthropology of history; the anthropology of art and technology. Gillespie's book, The Aztec Kings: The Construction of Rulership in Mexica History (1989), won the 1990 Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin Prize awarded by the American Society for Ethnohistory.
Thursday, February 7th, 12 noon, Rapaporte Treasure Hall
Third Annual Robert C. Hunt Lecture in Economic Anthropology: Parker Shipton
Likeness that Isn’t: A Reflection on Value, Entrustment, and the Partitioned Conscience
Questions about value and equivalency can be asked in more than one way, not always openly expressed. What is worth what? Who is worth what? And who is worth whom? Reflecting back over experiences studying culture and economic life since the 1970s in several agrarian settings in tropical East Africa, West Africa, and South America, this discussion treats contexts where values deemed equivalent in one way are not in another. Edibles are compared with others (“like apples and oranges”). Money is compared with other money, money with time, movables with immovables, and tangibles with intangibles. Dealings between intimates are compared with others between relative strangers. Food sharing, credit, and other forms of entrustment are all are seen to involve brittle imaginings about equivalence. But transfers where animals become involved, as in marriage payments and sacrifice, also involve denying possible equivalence in value, for instance in consciousness, as yet not well understood.
Parker Shipton is Professor of Anthropology and Research Fellow in African Studies at Boston University. Shipton’s current and continuing research interests include economic, legal, and symbolic anthropology and the history of social studies. He has conducted most of his field research in equatorial East Africa and in West Africa. Among the books he has authored are his recent trilogy, published by Yale University Press, of which the first volume, The Nature of Entrustment (2007), received the Melville J. Herskovits Award of the African Studies Association. The second and third volumes are Mortgaging the Ancestors (2009) and Credit Between Cultures (2010).
A former Marshall Scholar, Dr. Shipton has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Humanities Center, the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, the Social Science Research Council, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. He has also served as a researcher for various international aid organizations. He is a former president of the Association for Africanist Anthropology, a section of the American Anthropological Association. Shipton has taught at Harvard University and held visiting appointments at the University of Virginia and Yale University, as well as the University of Nairobi, Kenya; University of Padua, Italy; and Waseda University, Japan.
Monday, November 5th, 12 Noon, Heller G4 Glynn Amphitheater
12th Annual Saler Lecture in Religious Studies: Richard Sosis (University of Connecticut)
"Ritual and Coping with Uncertainty"
Many scholars have argued that religious rituals and magical practices serve to alleviate stress and help individuals cope with challenges they face, especially challenges that arise under conditions of uncertainty. Here I discuss a series of studies that examine this claim with data collected on how Israeli women used magico-religious practices to cope with the stress of the second Intifada and the 2006 Lebanon War. I show that the most frequently employed practice, psalm recitation, is associated with less disruption of daily routines, less cautiousness following attacks, lower rates of self-reported anxiety, and is more effective than other religious coping strategies employed. However, results suggest that psalm recitation is only efficacious when stress is caused by uncertain conditions. These findings will be discussed in light of anthropological and evolutionary models which examine ritual as a coping mechanism that enables performers to gain some control over an otherwise uncertain situation.
Richard Sosis is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut. The central theme in his past and current research is human sociality and cooperation. Sosis has examined the ecological conditions that favor the emergence and stability of cooperative resource acquisition in an effort to understand variation in cooperative production across societies. His current work explores the relationship between religion, trust, and intra-group cooperation. Sosis' primary fieldwork has been conducted on Ifaluk Atoll of the Federated States of Micronesia and Israeli communes known as kibbutzim.
Friday, October 26
Massachusetts Archaeology Month Graduate Research Conference
Contact: Colony, Commerce, and Conflict across Archaeology.
This annual conference features graduate student work from area universities. Research will address issues of disciplinary, geographic and theoretical boundaries in archaeology. Topics may include how cultures have come into contact with one another, and their subsequent reactions to such contact: trade, warfare, or settlement. Click here to view the conference program.
Monday, October 22
Anthropology Colloquium Series: Kathleen Hall
12 noon; Mandel Reading Room (Mandel 303)
Rendering Education Technical: Scientism, Quantification, and Managerialism in US Federal Education Reform
Signed into law in 1965, The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was a centerpiece of President Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” Over the past 50 years, ESEA has been amended and reauthorized many times, most recently in the form of Bush’s “No Child Left Behind Act” of 2001. Across this history, various quantification techniques have been deployed in a continual effort to evaluate federal education policies and programs through quantifying quality, rendering education visible and technical and thereby measurable and improvable. In this era of neoliberal governance, the No Child Left Behind Act interventions and other federal education policies have sought to be more rigorously quantitative data driven and evidence-based. From the findings of randomized field trials aiming to determine whether interventions work, to value added measures attempting to assess teacher quality on the basis of student test scores, educational value and success are increasingly established on the basis of what is measurable. How are educational practices, priorities and politics transformed in seeing educational processes through quantification? And what might be the consequences of rendering the “art” of education technical?
Kathleen Hall is Associate Professor of Education and Anthropology and the Director of South Asia Center at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Lives in Translation: Sikh Youth as British Citizens (2009). Hall's research and publications focus on four major areas: immigration, citizenship, racial and class inequality, and national incorporation in the United Kingdom and the United States; the politics of knowledge in public sector policy and governance; risk management, human rights, and anti-terrorism law in the United Kingdom; and concepts of "global citizenship" and related efforts to "internationalize" K-16 education in the U.S. and the U.K.
Thursday, August 30
Anthropology Welcome Reception
12 noon; Rapaporte Treasure Hall, Goldfarb Library
Please join anthropology faculty, staff, university colleagues and new and returning graduate students for our annual welcome reception as we begin the new academic year.