Department of Anthropology

New Faculty Fall 2024

The Department of Anthropology is pleased to announce four new faculty members joining the department in Fall 2024.

Michael Berman
Michael Berman
Visiting Assistant Professor in Anthropology

Expertise: Semiotics; linguistic anthropology; alienation; compassion and empathy; religion; Japan

Berman holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California San Diego and a master’s degree in social sciences from the University of Chicago.  He is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology and the Cogut Institute for the Humanities at Brown University. He previously held positions at the University of California, San Diego, CUNY Hunter College, CUNY City College, and the University of Tokyo.

Michael Berman researches the relationship between compassion and alienation as aspects of governance, broadly understood. His research links questions about the nature of form, relations, generality, language, and history to questions posed at the level of experience and interaction. More specifically, he asks why it is sometimes difficult to sustain meaningful relationships despite the desire to do so; how the processes involved in creating a form of relations, like a religion or humanitarian movement, sometimes lead to its undoing; and why many people come to feel isolated despite being surrounded by other people in their daily lives.

Michael has published multiple translations, including Yuki Masami’s book Foodscapes of Contemporary Japanese Women Writers (2015), and recently completed a draft of his first book manuscript, Heart of a Heartless World. His original work has appeared in several top-tier journals, including American EthnologistLanguage and Communication, and positions: asia critique.

Bradley Cardozo in front of a tree
Bradley Cardozo
Florence Levy Kay Fellow in Transpacific Studies

Expertise: Climate justice; environmental justice; anthropology of climate change; sustainability & resilience; political & postcolonial ecology; race & ethnicity; gender & sexuality; religion; Southeast Asia; Philippines; Indonesia 

Cardozo received his PhD in Anthropology from UCLA in December 2022, with a dissertation titled “Coal Is Not the Answer--Renewable Energy for the People Now!”: The Struggle for Climate Justice in the Philippines. His work sits at the intersection of climate justice, colonialism, and displacement, with a regional focus on the Philippines and the Transpacific more broadly. His research and teaching interests also include Filipinx and Asian American experiences, indigenous sovereignty in the Transpacific, and U.S. militarism in the Transpacific and Global South more broadly.

Grazia Deng
Grazia Deng
Lecturer in Anthropology

Expertise: Migration; race & ethnicity; labor and global capitalism; diversity & conviviality; urban anthropology; anthropology of food; Southern Europe; Italy; Chinese Diaspora; global China

Deng is currently a European Commission Marie Curie Fellow at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and a former postdoctoral research associate at Brown University’s Population Studies and Training Center. She received her Ph.D. degree in anthropology from The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Her forthcoming book Chinese Espresso (Princeton University Press, 2024) investigates the conditions, mechanisms, and implications behind the rapid spread of Chinese-managed coffee bars in Italy since the Great Recession of 2008. It examines why and how racialized Chinese immigrant labor is filling in the business niche of running existing “traditional” coffee bars regarded by native Italians as both rooted in a distinctively local taste and constituting a uniquely Italian social space. In this book, she describes an immigrant group which relies on reciprocal and flexible family labor to make coffee, deploying local knowledge gleaned from longtime residents who have come, sometimes resentfully, to regard this arrangement as a new normal. Her articles on racial formation, immigrant labor and entrepreneurship, the everyday production of value and difference, business and ethics, methodology and fieldwork have also appeared in Anthropologica, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Ethnography, Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, and International Migration.

Yesmar Oyarzun
Yesmar Oyarzun
Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Expertise: Biomedicine; race/racism; human difference; United States

Yesmar Oyarzun holds an MPH and will receive her doctoral degree in the Department of Anthropology at Rice University in August. Yesmar conducts research on social difference and the relationships between race, science, and biomedicine, incorporating a mix of ethnographic and humanistic methodologies. Her dissertation project-- "'All You See Is White Skin': Race and Dermatology in the United States"-- is funded by the National Science Foundation and the American Association of University Women. The dissertation investigates the nature of dermatology’s so-called “problem with skin color.” The project followed dermatologists and trainees as they taught, learned, and did dermatology across the United States from 2020-2023. With the support of the Baylor Institute for Oral History, Yesmar has also conducted an oral history project documenting the development of ethnic skin and skin of color dermatology.