Fall 2021 Events

Brandeis Anthropology Research Seminar (BARS)

The Brandeis Anthropology Research Seminar (BARS) is a year-long seminar that meets on Fridays at 2:00.  The series includes anthropology colloquia presented by invited guests and Brandeis anthropology faculty, alternating with workshops, reading groups and presentations by graduate students. Often we will close the seminar with an opportunity for socializing with the invited speaker and each other. For more information contact Laura Woolf.

photo of Isar Godreau

September 10, 2021

Non-Sovereign Racecraft: How Colonialism, Debt, and Disaster are Transforming Puerto Rican Racial Subjectivities

Using the concept of “racecraft,” Prof. Godreau argues that the state production of racial subjectivities has been increasingly compromised in Puerto Rico by a lack of sovereignty and by the current socioeconomic crisis.  She will discuss the sharp decline of people in Puerto Rico who identified as white in the 2020 census (from 76% in 2010 to 17% in 2020) to argue that the state-sponsored idea that Puerto Rican white and mixed-race identities operate separately from the U.S. racial framework is receding.

Dr. Isar Godreau is a researcher and former director of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey. Her research explores issues of “race,” racism, and cultural nationalism in Puerto Rico. She has published on hair, racial terminology, the folklorization of blackness, census racial categories in Puerto Rico, and racism in the elementary school setting. She is the author of Arrancando mitos de raíz: guía para la enseñanza antirracista de la herencia africana en Puerto Rico (2013) and Scripts of Blackness: Race, Cultural Nationalism, and US Colonialism in Puerto Rico (2015), which was awarded the Frank Bonilla Book Award from the Puerto Rican Studies Association. She has also co-authored articles exploring the effects of the current debt crisis and austerity measures on the University of Puerto Rico.

Prof Godreau will be presenting over Zoom, but in-person viewing is welcome in Schwartz 103.

Zoom Link:  https://brandeis.zoom.us/j/99601905417

Applying to Doctoral Programs

September 24, 2021

Anita Hannig, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of Graduate Studies
Janet McIntosh, Professor of Anthropology

photo of Jacqueline Fewkes

October 8, 2021

American Mosques, The Sacred and The Mundane

What does it mean to engage in the "anthropology of religion" today? As a global pandemic continues to shape everyday lives—including religious experiences and their anthropological study—anthropologists are increasingly faced with new challenges to conducting fieldwork with religious communities. Many of these challenges are not, however, unique to the historical moment, but linked to long-standing trends in the anthropology of religion, including a growing recognition of the need for public engagement and an increase in attention to digital religious practices. I will explore such issues through a discussion of the sacred spaces and mundane places associated with the American Mosques project, an ongoing multi-sited group research and teaching project conducted for over a decade at mosques throughout the United States. 

Jacqueline H. Fewkes is Professor of Anthropology at the Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University. She earned her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania.  Jacqueline’s areas of interest include regional histories, digital religion, religious spaces/places, Muslim women’s roles as religious scholars/leaders, and Muslim communities in Asia. Interested in global issues, she has conducted research predominantly in India, Indonesia, the Maldives, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. She is the author of the books Trade and Contemporary Society along the Silk Road: An Ethno-history of Ladakh and Locating Maldivian Women’s Mosques in Global Discourses, and editor of several publications, including the recent co-edited volume Muslim Communities and Cultures of the Himalayas.  

Professor Fewkes will be presenting over Zoom, but in-person viewing is welcome in Schwartz 103.

Zoom Link:  https://brandeis.zoom.us/j/99601905417

Nuts and Bolts of the Doctoral Program in Anthropology

October 22, 2021

Jon Anjaria, Associate Professor of Anthropology
Anita Hannig, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of Graduate Studies

All are welcome, including MA students who may consider PhD programs in the future. Pre-field PhD students are expected to attend.

Zoom link: https://brandeis.zoom.us/j/99601905417

photo of Brian Horton
Brian Horton, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Brandeis University

November 5, 2021

Shimmers in the Dark: On the Possibilities of Intimate Touch in Bombay’s Queer Sexpublics

 In Bombay’s cruising parks, gay parties, pride events, and virtual spaces—what I call queer sexpublics—queer sex, touch, and intimacy flourish. Though queer and trans people perpetually negotiate risk and rejection in search of love, sex, and intimacy, queer sexpublics enable practices that allow them to both endure as well as play with state and social violences. Drawing from 28 months of fieldwork conducted in queer and trans spaces in Bombay, between 2013 and 2019, this talk asks: How might queer and trans lives be lived outside of and against the reaches of cultural intelligibility and legal and social recognition? And how might queer studies and anthropology engage this abundance of life in the face of violence, risk, and erasure—“More Life” (Chambers-Letson 2018)—as a means of recognizing minoritarian lives not just in the moments when they are in crisis, but also when they brim with unbridled possibilities?

Dr. Brian A. Horton is a sociocultural anthropologist working across queer anthropology, South Asian Studies, and “otherwise anthropology”—or an anthropology of the political, social, ethical, and aesthetic possibilities that emerge from ongoing structural violence, precarity, and crisis. Across each of these broad domains, his research and teaching center the thresholds between pleasure and violence; he asks how gender, sexual, and racial minorities experience and endure myriad forms of violence while simultaneously enacting new possibilities and futures. Currently, he is working on his first book-length monograph, Shimmers of the Fabulous: Public Sex and Intimate Touch in Queer and Trans Bombay. His work has appeared in Sexualities, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, and QED: Journal of GLBTQ Worldmaking

Professor Horton will be presenting in Schwartz 103, but online participation is available to those who can't join in person.

Zoom Link:  https://brandeis.zoom.us/j/99601905417

Writing Op-Eds

November 12, 2021

Anita Hannig, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of Graduate Studies
Elizabeth Ferry, Professor of Anthropology

photo of Gemmae Fix
Gemmae Fix, Applied Medical Anthropologist from the Department of Veterans' Affairs

December 3, 2021

Exemplifying Anthropology Through Practice 

Only 20% of recent Anthropology doctorates obtain tenure track positions (Speakman et al. 2018), leaving most anthropologists applying their training in other contexts.  A cadre of these anthropologists are embedded within the US Department of Veteran Affairs, where they write research grants, conduct fieldwork, directly inform healthcare policy, and publish findings in both healthcare and social science literature. This presentation uses Dr. Fix’s work as a VA anthropologist as an ethnographic case to examine how anthropological principals are not only used in applied contexts, but embody disciplinary hallmarks of theory, research design, and methods. Through a series of examples, she will explore anthropological practice, drawing lessons for students, practitioners, and training programs.

Gemmae M. Fix, PhD is an Applied Medical Anthropologist with postdoctoral training in Health Services Research. She is an Investigator at the Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research (CHOIR), a VA Health Services Research and Development Center of Innovation, based at the Boston and Bedford VA Medical Centers. She also has an appointment at Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Fix is a Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA), where she was elected to the Board (2021-2024). Additionally, she serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Dr. Fix will be presenting in Schwartz 103, but online participation is available to those who can't join in person.

Zoom Link:  https://brandeis.zoom.us/j/99601905417