Department of Anthropology

Students and Alumni News and Highlights

Hannah Klempnauer Miller '25 Wins Giumette Academic Achievement Award

May 9, 2023

students posing in two rows

Each spring, a group of outstanding sophomores is selected for the Giumette Academic Achievement Award, which provides $5,000 each semester for their remaining two years at Brandeis. The award recognizes students who have distinguished themselves and made a significant contribution to the community during their first two years at Brandeis.

This year, anthropology major Hannah Klempnauer Miller is one of the winners! As director of accessibility for the Student Union, she has spearheaded initiatives including the provision of free prescription medication delivery to campus and securing a $100,000 grant to make the Brandeis Counseling Center accessible. Additionally, she works as the advocacy lead for the Brandeis Chapter of Partners in Health Engage, where she helps promote global health legislation, and as an editor on the Brandeis Law Journal.

Read more about Hannah and the other award recipients

fellowship logos
Emily Atieh '23 Receives Boren Award

May 8, 2023

Anthropology major Emily Atieh '23 received a Boren Award, which funds specialized study and increased language proficiency in parts of the world underrepresented in study abroad programs. Emily, who is minoring in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies and Arabic language, literature, and culture, will study Arabic in Jordan.

Read more about undergrads and graduate students who were awarded prestigious fellowships and scholarships this spring. Also on the list is anthropology doctoral student Medha Asthana, who received the Fulbright (see 4/21 item below).

Asthana and Ranganathan Admitted to MLA Institute on Reading/Writing Pedagogy

April 26, 2023

MedhaGowthamanDoctoral students Medha Asthana and Gowthaman Ranganathan are two of the eight graduate students (out of 29 applicants) admitted to the MLA Institute on Reading/Writing Pedagogy to be held at Brandeis in June. Their successful applications are a result of their deep commitment to creating equitable and accessible learning environments.

This unique week-long institute will be a collaboration between Brandeis and Middlesex Community College. There will be one Brandeis facilitator and one Middlesex facilitator. There will sixteen participants (eight Brandeis PhD students and eight Middlesex faculty). The Institute is made possible by the Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the Mandel Center for the Humanities.

Changhong Zhang Wins Graduate Dissertation Innovation Grant

April 25, 2023

Doctoral student Hong Zhang has been awarded a 2023 Graduate Dissertation Innovation Grant from the Mandel Center for Humanities for "Hidden Labor, Hidden Lives: The Everyday Isolation and Stigma Facing Chinese Miners in Colombia." Her dissertation examines the everyday lives of the Chinese miners brought to the camp by the Chinese state-owned mining company Zijin to Buriticá, Colombia in 2019. Read more about the award and project. The project received a supplemental award from COMPACT because of the depth of the community engaged aspect of the research.

Hong also won a Connected PhD award for the project, “Creating Multimodal (Hi)stories of a Rural Village in Transition: An Art-Based Community Film Project in Wenjiashan.” The award will allow her to gain experience in video storytelling, creating interactive documentaries, and designing community centered curricula. This project also won the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences PhD Research Award.

Medha Asthana Awarded Fulbright

April 21, 2023

Doctoral student Medha Asthana has been selected for a Fulbright award for their project, "Lucknow’s Queer Daughters: Everyday Negotiations in Domestic Spaces." Medha will use the award for their fieldwork in India in 2023-24. Their research examines everyday relational dynamics among queer daughters (which includes cisgender women, nonbinary people, and transgender men) and their older female kin (mothers, grandmothers, and aunts) in domestic spaces as they negotiate gendered expectations and narratives of care, exclusion, and belonging. Examining the queer daughter set in the domestic spaces of a non-metropolitan city pushes forth the disciplines of queer studies, kinship studies, and gender and sexuality in North India to illuminate the daily lived realities of sexual and gender minorities in the intimate context of family and home.  

Julie Scesney Wins 2nd Prize at 3MT

April 11, 2023

MA student Julie Scesney came in second place in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition for the whole shared Social Sciences, Humanities, and Creative Arts division! Her 2nd prize finish comes with a $750 award.

Houman Oliaei, PhD '22, Accepts Tenure-track Job Offer

March 30, 2023

Houman Oliaei, PhD '22, has accepted a tenure-track position at Babson College located in Wellesley, MA. Starting in the fall of 2023, Houman will join the Division of History & Society as an Assistant Professor of Anthropology. Houman is a cultural anthropologist with a research focus on statelessness, forced migration, and humanitarianism. His work centers on the lived experiences of displaced Yezidis, an ethnoreligious minority in northern Iraq, in the aftermath of collective violence and mass displacement. Read also about his work on displaced Yezidis' experiences in post-ISIS Iraq.

Salvatore Giusto Analyzes the Digital Life of Italian Populism in Postdoctoral Fellowship at University of Amsterdam

March 30, 2023

Salvatore Giusto, MA ‘11, earned his PhD in anthropology from the University of Toronto in 2019, and now has a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the University of Amsterdam’s Department of European Studies. He has analyzed state-regulated and organized-crime-sponsored modalities of cultural production, publishing in numerous journals, including Visual Anthropology, PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, and History and Anthropology. He has also produced content as a digital magazine editor and documentary filmmaker. His current project, entitled Scar-Facebook, explores how legal and illicit processes of digital networking cooperate in the ongoing entrenchment of far-right populist politics in Naples, Italy.

Gowthaman Ranganathan Wins Robert B. Sherman Memorial Prize

March 29, 2023

Doctoral student Gowthaman Ranganathan has been chosen as the winner of this year’s Robert B. Sherman ’67 Memorial Prize. This award is given to a “student who has demonstrated a strong commitment to enhancing social diversity and cooperation, to promoting social welfare through political thought and activism, and to helping people achieve their rights.” Gowthaman will be celebrated for this achievement at the Prizes & Awards Ceremony on May 4, 2023.

Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek's Optimistic Worldview

March 28, 2023

Simon Sinek '95 reflected during an event with the Brandeis community on the power of positivity. He cited his cultural anthropology major with teaching him how to cope with uncomfortable situations.

Sinek is a popular TED Talk speaker and author of multiple best-selling books including Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action and The Infinite Game.

Read "Five Big Takeaways From the Optimistic Worldview of Simon Sinek." 

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Nhi Le and Ji Chen Report on "Multilingual Life on a Monolingual Campus"

March 24, 2023

Anthropology MA student Nhi Le and Undergraduate Departmental Representative Ji Chen '23 have worked the past few years on a project sponsored by Brandeis' Language, Culture and Justice Hub: Multilingual Life on a Monolingual Campus (MLMC). The project, led by department affiliate Leigh Swigart, explores the linguistic experiences of international students in English language-medium universities. Visit the MLMC site to read the project's final report, which was prepared by Nhi, Ji, and Leigh. Meet all the Brandeis students on the MLMC research team

Bazarsky digging
Alex Bazarsky and Charles Golden on the Lost Maya city of San Tz'i'

March 14, 2023

Alex Bazarsky '23 and Professor Charles Golden explore the secrets of the lost Maya city of San Tz'i' and the implications it has for our understanding of the ancient Maya population. Watch the video on BrandeisNOW.

Deniz Kizildag Receives Connected PhD Grant

March 10, 2023

The Connected PhD Program has granted doctoral student Deniz Kizildag a fellowship to carry out her project, "Healthcare on the Move: Skin Cancer Education around the Boston Area." The project will give Deniz hands-on experience in the current state of cancer prevention efforts.

Gowthaman Ranganathan Publishes Opinion Piece on Caste Capital

March 6, 2023

"Capital manifests in its most embodied form at the stage of even wanting to desire western education. To dream of studying, to believe, is a luxury for marginalised students." Read more from doctoral student Gowthaman Ranganathan's "Caste capital and myth of merit: What stops Dalits from accessing western education," in The News Minute.

Gowthaman's tweet from Nov 7, 2022: Remembering when youth for equality, an anti-reservation youth group, visited NLS and were supported by a celebrated Brahmin consti prof whose comments received thunderous applause. It made me want to disappear. Today I feel that applause again through the court’s ews judgment.

book cover
Ryo Morimoto, PhD '16 Publishes "Nuclear Ghost"

March 2, 2023

Ryo Morimoto, PhD '16, has a new book out, Nuclear Ghost: Atomic Livelihoods in Fukushima’s Grey Zone. It's based on several years of fieldwork in coastal Fukushima after the triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident and shows how residents of the region live with and through the “nuclear ghost” that resides with them. Learn more about Ryo's work by listening to his conversation with Professors Elizabeth Ferry and John Plotz, co-hosts of the podcast Recall This Book

Journal of Religion cover
Holly Walters, PhD '18, Publishes in The Journal of Religion

January 27, 2023

Holly Walters, PhD '18, publishes in The Journal of Religion about sacred Shaligram fossils viewed primarily as manifestations of Hindu gods. According to her article abstract, "These aniconic deities are obtained by pilgrimage to Himalayan Nepal and are then brought home, to families and communities all over South Asia and the diaspora, to become both deity and kin. Shaligrams also act as conversants, if inanimate ones, during the course of ritual and everyday talk. Therefore, the semiotic separation of bodies and persons in Shaligram religious practice, discussed here in relation to Tulsi Vivah (the marriage of Tulsi and Shaligram) festivals and in daily puja and darshan rituals, reimagines individuals as represented by but distinct from their physical forms. This practice then links language and ritual objects with broader understandings of human and divine personhood in South Asia as it is conceptualized both within and between physical bodies." Read more.

Houman Oliaei
Houman Oliaei on the Connected PhD

January 13, 2023

In a GSAS interview about the Connected PhD, Houman Oliaei PhD '22 discusses his summer 2022 work as a researcher and consultant for Yazda, a global Yezidi non-governmental advocacy and relief organization.

"A few months into my Connected PhD experience, Yazda asked me to collaborate on a report on the issue of missing Yezidis; currently, there are 3,000 Yezidis that are missing, abducted, or kidnapped by ISIS, and we don’t know where they are. The report, The Unknown Fate of Missing Yazidis: 8 years on and still waiting, was an evaluation of the efforts of national and transnational stakeholders in responding to this issue, and was published in September 2022. It was a very productive research experience and good introduction for me in learning about NGOs and how they operate. That was a really productive experience!"

Read the interview

cane stalks and feet

Gowthaman Ranganathan. Caned: Incomplete (2022). Charcoal on Paper, 18 x 24” inches.

Ranganathan's "Cane Juice" published

December 30, 2022

"They bit the edge of the cane stalk with their molars, getting a grip and ripping the dark bark to reveal the white fibrous juicy inside."

Unfolding over a handful of minutes, "Cane Juice," by doctoral student Gowthaman Ranganathan, leaps between sites—real, virtual and remembered—that hold desire, belonging, and anticipation. The story was published in ASAP Connect, an editorially driven application for thinking about lens-based art and media with a focus on South Asia.

The story was written for the class Sugar: Cultivation, Circulation, Power (ANTH/HIS 143b) co-taught by Professors Elizabeth Ferry and Gregory Childs. The first draft emerged from the graduate writing seminar facilitated by Professor Janet McIntosh. The work in progress sketch at right was created in Introduction to Drawing taught by Professor Ariel Freiberg. The sketch is inspired by artists Robyn O’Neil and Firelei Báez. Gowthaman’s work is also influenced by scholar and artist Jordache Ellappen. They are grateful to their friends, faculty, and staff at Brandeis Anthropology for their enthusiastic support for this piece.

Gowthaman Ranganathan receives COMPACT Community Engaged Research Fund

December 8, 2022

Doctoral student Gowthaman Ranganathan has been awarded a Samuels Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation (COMPACT) Community Engaged Research Fund.

Gowthaman will collaborate with queer organizations in South Asia on archival projects over the winter break.

book cover
Casey James Miller, PhD '13 and Assistant Professor at Muhlenberg College, publishes book about queer culture and activism in China

November 7, 2022

Drawing on over a decade of ethnographic fieldwork in northwest China, Casey James Miller offers a novel, compelling, and intimately personal perspective on Chinese queer culture and activism. In Inside the Circle: Queer Culture and Activism in Northwest China, Casey tells the stories of two courageous and dedicated groups of queer activists in the city of Xi’an: a grassroots gay men’s HIV/AIDS organization called Tong’ai and a lesbian women’s group named UNITE. Taking inspiration from “the circle,” a term used to imagine local, national, and global queer communities, Casey shows how everyday people in northwest China are taking part in queer culture and activism while also striving to lead traditionally moral lives in a rapidly changing society. (Order the book at Rutgers University Press and use code RFLR19 for 30% off and free shipping.)

Aneil Tripathy
Aneil Tripathy PhD '21 begins fellowship at MIT

November 4, 2022

Aneil Tripathy PhD '21 has begun his fellowship with the MIT Climate & Sustainability Consortium (MCSC) Impact Fellowship Program, a postdoctoral opportunity for individuals who want to transcend academia and industry to apply their expertise to near-term change for a more sustainable future. MCSC Impact Fellows work with MIT researchers and consortium industry members – in collaboration with external organizations and communities – to implement solutions needed for global economic transformation to address the global climate change and sustainability crisis. Read also about Aneil's position at the University of Bologna European Research Council, and his panels and podcasts on "impact investing."

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New book by Daivi Rodima-Taylor PhD '08

October 21, 2022

Daivi Rodima-Taylor PhD '08 co-edited Land and the Mortgage: History, Culture, Belonging (Berghan). The volume features anthropologists, historians, and economists exploring origins, variations, and meanings of land mortgage, and the risks to homes and livelihoods. Daivi is Researcher and Lecturer at the African Studies Center of the Pardee School of Global Studies of Boston University. She has conducted longitudinal field research in East Africa, and co-edited special issues of numerous journals. Her work has been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. Read the press release.

Hui Wen
Hui Wen receives Wenner-Gren Grant

October 14, 2022

Doctoral student Hui Wen received a Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant for "Supplements of Care: Fashioning Self-eldercare in a Care Vacuum amid Historical Discontinuity." Hui's research focuses on Chinese elder self-care across various social, political and economic dimensions and adds to the burgeoning anthropological study of aging. The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research advances anthropological knowledge, amplifies its impact, fosters inclusivity, and addresses the precariousness of anthropology as a career and a field of study. Dissertation Fieldwork Grants fund doctoral or thesis research that advances anthropological knowledge and furthers our understanding of what it means to be human.

Yura Yokoyama
Yura Yokoyama publishes in Economic Anthropology

August 16, 2022

"When ten thousand Bitcoins were traded for two large Papa Johns pizzas in 2010, no one could have anticipated that it would become one of the legal tenders of El Salvador in 2021." Read more from PhD student Yura Yokoyama in his article, "From money to culture: The practical indeterminacy of Bitcoin's values and temporalities," published in Economic Anthropology.

Alex Bazarsky doing fieldwork
Alex Bazarsky '23 on her summer excavating in Mexico

August 11, 2022

After two years of research funded by the Provost's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, anthropology major Alex Bazarsky joined Prof. Charles Golden on his excavation team in Chiapas, Mexico in summer 2022. She and the team dug with local Tzeltal community members, uncovering answers about the ancient Maya civilization that inhabited the area.

Read more in BrandeisNOW, and learn about Alex's pre-trip research on Lidar technologies.

Rebecca Friedlander Digs in Walla Walla, Washington

August 7, 2022

Rebecca Friedlander MA '20 works with the cultural resources department at the civil engineering firm Anderson Perry. The team of archaeologists consults with the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and with local tribal authorities to dig in sites designated for construction projects. Their task is to preserve remnants from the past before the sites are covered over.

Their work was featured in a recent article in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin:

"While the garbage of native or colonial peoples might not seem significant, a dead man’s trash is an archaeologist’s treasure. Much of what today is known about ancient civilizations — that wasn’t contemporaneously carved into a plinth or painted in hieroglyphs — comes from rooting around in long-buried waste."


Medha Asthana
Medha Asthana receives awards and gives presentations

Doctoral student Medha Asthana has received the following grants to fund preliminary fieldwork research in India for their doctoral research: Brandeis Department of Anthropology Research Grant (GTR), Brandeis–India Fellowship, Mandel Center for the Humanities Dissertation Research Grant, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences PhD Research Award. This summer fieldwork, which Medha is conducting in New Delhi and Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, is part of their doctoral research, “Daughter Dearest: North Indian Domesticities, Intergenerational Care, and Queer Worldmaking,” about North Indian LGBTQ+ people socialized as daughters and their relationships with their mothers and biological kin in and beyond the domestic space. Medha has also received grants towards their passion for teaching, even outside their direct doctoral research. Last fall they were awarded the university's Provost Innovation Teaching Grant to present guest lectures on the topic of anti-racism in undergraduate courses, seminars and large lectures alike. Medha's guest lecture, "Transforming Our Schools: Class, Race, and Education Justice,” addressed systemic education inequities and presented case studies of racial justice campaigns based on their grassroots community organizing experience with BIPOC high school age youth. Medha also presented related preliminary research entitled, "Not the Closet but the Door: Indian Women’s Queer Presence in the Natal Home,” at the 2021 Annual Conference on South Asia at the Symposium under the theme of "Mind the Gap: Queer Erasure and Abundance."

kids raising foam swords
Alissa Fagin '20 and Claire Ogden '21 Team up on Documentary Film Project

July 12, 2022

Recent anthropology alumnae Alissa Fagin and Claire Ogden are teaming up as producers on an independent documentary film, Hero Camp! The film explores kids’ adventures in the world of “Sidleterra,” a LARP (live action role-play) summer camp with its own real-world challenges. It follows both kids and staff as they go through this transformational journey together.

Their team just launched a one-month Kickstarter campaign to fund post-production costs.
Learn more and contribute.

Van Kollias
Van Kollias wins multiple awards

July 7, 2022

Doctoral student Van Kollias has won more than a handful of awards this year! He received a Graduate School of Arts and Sciences PhD Student Dissertation Research Award, the Provost Doctoral Research Award, the PhD Conference Award, and the Connected PhD Student Experience Grant. His research has also been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). He additionally received the GSAS Professional Development Fellowship and attended the Society for American Archaeology conference, where he presented research titled, "Political Boundaries and a Varied Landscape on the Usumacinta."

Doug Bafford
Doug Bafford, Visiting Assistant Professor at College of the Holy Cross

June 10, 2022

Anthropology doctoral student Douglas Bafford, who successfully defended his dissertation on May 31, will continue instructing this fall at the College of the Holy Cross, now as Visiting Assistant Professor. He teaches courses titled "Anthropology of Law," "Anthropology of Religion," and "The Anthropological Perspective."

Houman Oliaei awarded Mellon postdoctoral fellowship

June 7, 2022

Anthropology doctoral student Houman Oliaei has been awarded a two-year Mellon funded postdoctoral fellowship in the Kalamazoo College Department of Anthropology and Sociology. Houman will teach one course per quarter while working on his research and publications on displacement, belonging, and humanitarian intervention among Yezidis in northern Iraq.

Amy Hanes
Amy Hanes PhD '20, faculty at Harvard College Writing Program

Amy Hanes PhD '20 has accepted a multi-year position as a faculty member in the Harvard College Writing Program. Amy is a cultural anthropologist whose work focuses on multispecies relationships between humans and great apes and the politics of wildlife conservation in Central and West Africa. Read also about her work with orphaned chimpanzees in Cameroon. 

Van looking over his map with a flashlight

Van Kollias

Graduate students selected for David Jacobson award

May 4, 2022

Professor Emeritus David Jacobson was dedicated to scholarship and teaching. He also was adept at pursuing other interests good for one's self outside of the work sphere, including walking in the woods, many other forms of exercise, photography, cooking, and travel. In his honor, the department established an annual award aimed at enlivening the spirits of a graduate recipient among our anthropology community. Doctoral student Van Kollias received the Jacobson award in May 2021. He shares a slideshow illustrating his use of the award for an adventure in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The winner of this year's award is Mariah Morse, and she will present about her experience at the departmental welcome reception in the fall.

Arantxa Ortiz wins fellowship for work in visual and multimodal anthropologies

Anthropology doctoral student Arantxa Ortiz was awarded the Society for Visual Anthropology Robert Lemelson Fellowship for 2021-2022 for "Undocumented Histories Archive." The Fellowship provide graduate students working in the field of visual and multimodal anthropology with funding to pursue exploratory research for and/or methods training to prepare for their doctoral dissertation research. Research projects supported by the Fellowship have the potential of advancing the field of visual and multimodal anthropologies.

Hui Wen

Hui Wen, one of five anth dept graduate student award winners

Anthropology grad students rake in Mandel Grants

March 23, 2022

No fewer than five Mandel Center for the Humanities Dissertation Research Grants have been awarded to anthropology grad students:

Medha Asthana, Sophie Katz, Houman Oliaei for "Yezidis in Iraq: A Story of Genocide an Resilience," Gowthaman Ranganathan for "Tamil Queerness in Jaffna," and Hui Wen for "Supplements of Care: Fashioning Self-Eldercare In a Care Vacuum Amid Historical Discontinuity."

And read about anthropology faculty members who won Mandel Grants, too!

Changhong Zhang

Changhong Zhang

Anthropology PhD students Moriah King and Changhong Zhang were two of eight doctoral students in the Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences who were part of a pilot program coordinated by GSAS, the Rabb School, and the Mandel Center for the Humanities that attempted to close the skills gap between doctoral and professional training. The students each took one of three online courses at The Rabb School for Continuing Education: Cognitive and Social Psychology of User-Centered Design, Principles of Learning Experience Design, and Writing for Digital Environments. Zhang took the Cognitive and Social Psychology class, which is designed to investigate how psychological and social principles play important roles in influencing human decision making in both physical and digital environments. She said, “We were not simply analyzing anymore; we became designers who have an eye for user experience in terms of cognitive, social, physiological and psychological factors.” King said of the experience, "The partnership between GSAS and Rabb gives graduate students an opportunity and a space to confirm, change, and explore the connections between their interests, skills, and ever-changing career goals.”

Ryan Collins
Ryan Collins PhD '18 to join Southeastern Archaeology Research Inc.

Ryan Collins PhD '18 has been offered a position with Southeastern Archaeology Research Incorporated (SEARCH, INC.). He will join as a Principal Investigator and Senior Creative Specialist working with SEARCH teams on a wide variety of projects and initiatives across the United States and globally. Over land and under water, SEARCH deploys the full spectrum of cultural heritage services worldwide.

Olivia Spalletta
Olivia Spalletta PhD '21 to join "MeInWe" research project

Olivia Spalletta PhD'21 has been offered a postdoctoral position at the University of Copenhagen in the Center for Medical Science and Technology Studies and Department of Public Health. She will join the multidisciplinary "MeInWe" research project aimed at critically assessing how genomic medicine draws boundaries around the person (the me) and how it shapes and negotiates collectivities (the we) in creating knowledge about the individual. The project will also contribute to discussions of how personalized medicine introduces new ways of understanding and approaching health and disease.

Maya Dworsky

3MT participant Maya Dworsky

Maya Dworsky (PhD candidate), Kalie Jamieson (MA candidate), Van Kollias (PhD candidate), and Houman Oliaei (PhD candidate) will present at the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition in March-April 2022, showcasing their research in just three minutes. Learn about the research interests of our MA and PhD students. 

Alex Bazarsky

February 8, 2022

Anthropology major Alex Bazarsky is working with Professor Charles Golden on his archaeological research into the fall of the ancient Maya. When the research team's trip to Mexico was canceled because of the pandemic, Alex taught herself drone and Lidar technologies, which allow researchers to analyze geographical locations remotely. “I noticed one area had been less inhabited despite having a suitable area for civilization,” she said. “This sparked my curiosity. Why wasn’t anyone living there?” Her research hypothesized that there may have been larger issues resulting in the lack of civilization, such as conflict among societies. Her findings not only contributed to the overall project, but were also part of a paper published in the journal Remote Sensing.

maritime lab

February 7, 2022

The pandemic has made it impossible to take students into the field or underwater, but Professor Charlie Goudge has built three scale models of shipwreck sites to create a mini-research project for students to investigate in ANTH 124a: Maritime Archaeology: The Salty Relationship Between Society and The Sea. The sites each consist of a historically accurate shipwreck, local landscapes, and artifacts sunk in a transparent acrylic tank. Using the models, students learn skills such as survey and mapping, excavation, GIS and Illustrator, and site photography. A student reported, "I learned how to use new technologies (including the plum bob) that I wouldn’t have another chance to learn unless I actually end up going to field school."

Sonia Pavel

January 25, 2022

Sonia Pavel 20 and recipient of the Betty and Harry S. Shapiro Endowed Award in Anthropology, is now a thriving doctoral student in philosophy at MIT. She has just published an article in Journal of Political Ideologies entitled "Two concepts of meritocracy: telic and procedural." In her abstract, Sonia writes that "most critics of our contemporary meritocratic practices and institutions believe their arguments speak to the defects of the ideal of meritocracy itself. I argue that this is a misguided generalization because meritocracy can take many forms depending on the conception of the good and broader theory of justice to which the distributive principle of merit is attached."

Yazidi people in refugee camp

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Seivan Salim

December 14, 2021

Photo: Tens of thousands of members of Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority are now living in shelters and camps. 

Anthropology Graduate Students Celebrate Halloween 2021!

November 18, 2021

Students costumed up and enjoyed Halloween festivities at Cholmondeley's, the student-run coffee shop in the "castle."  Our MA and PhD cohorts are a close knit and supportive community!


October 14, 2021

Dr. Hanes' work in primate sanctuaries in Cameroon explores interspecies care and what happens when humans try to help orphaned chimps become chimps. In a 2018 post for Sapiens she wrote about how our overwhelming similarities make it difficult for humans to know how to care for chimpanzees. 

Shawn Dunlap

August 30, 2021

Shawn Dunlap has revised his Master's Paper on autoethnographic reflections as a soldier and veteran for publication in the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship. His paper "argues that those who choose to take part in military service exist as a unique, emergent form of life. This form of life often stands at the intersection of nationalistic mythmaking and the lived realities of service members prior to, during, and after their service." Shawn now works as a Research Coordinator at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Professor Ikeuchi

July 13, 2021

Professor Ikeuchi's book also won the 2020 Francis L.K. Hsu Book Prize, sponsored by the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Society for East Asian Anthropology. After earning her degree at Brandeis, Suma went on to earn her PhD at Emory University in 2016. She is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara.

Academic poster

May 25, 2021

Their poster focused on the excavation and understanding of the Sak Tz’i’-Lacanjá Tzeltal Marketplace

Delande Justinvil

May 21, 2021

Delande Justinvil ’13, MA’18, has  published a co-authored  article in Nature magazine calling for an African American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Delande is now a a third-year doctoral student in Anthropology at American University.

Aviva Weinstein

April 22, 2021

For the 15th year, catchupa, an iconic West African dish, joined charoset on the Passover Seder plate as Boston-area Jews and Cabo Verdeans celebrated the holiday virtually Sunday. “Jews and Cabo Verdeans have much in common,” said Aviva Weinstein, a Brandeis University sophomore who helped lead the event. Both have “histories of enslavement and liberation, far-flung diasporas, the challenges of migration to the United States, and heritages prevailing over tremendous hardships.”

Simon Sinek

March 26, 2021

Do you have an idea that can change the world? Focus on converting the innovators and early adopters first.

That was the advice Simon Sinek ’95 delivered March 20 to a group of 155 Brandeis students participating in the DeisHacks 48-hour social good hackathon.

Sinek is a popular TED Talk speaker and author of multiple best-selling books, including Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action and The Infinite Game

“You actually don't aim your efforts at the majority, which is what most people do,” said Sinek, who studied cultural anthropology at Brandeis. “The law of diffusion proposes that if you can hit 15 to 18 percent market penetration, there's a social phenomenon called a tipping point, and it just goes off from there."

January 13, 2021

Ara, a three year resident of Cambridge, has been involved in a range of volunteer experiences, all of which are related to immigrant concerns. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and proficient in Portuguese. She hopes to contribute to CIRC through outreach to immigrant communities and to help raise awareness of the concerns of those communities. Congratulations Ara!

Sarah Lewinger

December 16, 2020

This article, Refugee and Internally Displaced Women's Abortion Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices: Addressing the Lack of Research in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, focuses on the need for more research on refugee and displaced women's abortion knowledge, attitudes, and practices in low and middle-income countries.

Aneil Tripathy
Aneil Tripathy, PhD '21, Takes Position at University of Bologna, Organizes Panels and Podcasts

November 24, 2020

This October, Aneil Tripathy formally joined the University of Bologna European Research Council funded project IMPACT HAU:.  He also put together two recorded panels entitled "Whose Money? Whose Morals?" for the American Anthropological Association Raising Our Voices event of November 2020. The two-part series investigates "impact investing," a growing phenomenon in global finance that promises to reconcile capitalism with social and environmental sustainability. The panels can be heard at the following links: Whose Money? Whose Morals? Part 1 Whose Money? Whose Morals? Part 2 . Additionally, Aneil will be the main editor for the first Mergers & Acquisitions podcast series launched by the Society for Economic Anthropology. Series 1 focuses on economic anthropology and climate change. 

Adam Gamwell

October 18, 2020

Adam discusses Design, Podcasting, Organizational Culture, Language, and communicating Anthropology's value to Companies.

Medha Asthana
Doctoral student Medha Asthana receives prestigious Alexander and Shirley Leaderman President's Scholarship and Fellowship Trust

October 20, 2020

Medha received this honor based on recommendations from faculty and staff. This scholarship is part of the Brandeis named donor fellowhip fund, established by alumni, parents and friends of the University.  The scholarship supports a portion of existing financial awards for doctoral students. 

Ryan Collins

September 16, 2020

Ryan has conducted archaeological field research in the northern Maya lowlands since 2011, he graduated with his doctorate in anthropology from Brandeis University in 2018. Currently, Collins's research focuses on the role of ritual and identity in the development of urbanism and complex society in the ancient Maya world with a regional focus in the Northern Lowlands of Eastern Mesoamerica.

Aneil Tripathy
Doctoral candidate Aneil Tripathy publishes three articles in the Journal of Environmental Investing
Aneil's expertise is economic, urban, and environmental anthropology, transportation, anthropology of finance and development, and climate finance and green bonds. He also has an anthropology blog and a radio show. He recently published three articles:
Doctoral student Arantxa Ortiz selected to participate in the AAA's 2020 OpEd Project

With 19 other anthropologists, both students and faculty, Arantxa will participate in "Write to Change the World" workshops led by five anthropologists with public writing experience. The OpEd Project's mission is to increase the range of voices and quality of ideas we hear in the world. Their “Write to Change the World” workshops are based on time-tested models of transformational learning. Participants will explore the source of credibility, the patterns and elements of persuasion, the difference between being “right” and being effective, and how to think bigger about what they know to have a greater impact in the world.

Jessica Hardin

August 18, 2020

Her 2019 book is titled Faith and the Pursuit of Health: Cardiometabolic Disorders in Samoa (Rutgers University Press); she has a 2019 article in American Ethnologist titled "'Father Released Me': Accelerating Care, Temporal Repair, and Ritualized Friendship among Pentecostal Women in Samoa," and was awarded an NSF.

Jessye Kass

August 6, 2020

Jessye notes that "2020 has definitely been an intense year for the entire world, but we're proud to present this accomplishment and sliver of excitement.  We're excited to be providing community & services in-person as best we are able to!"  Outdoor programming at the Center opened on Monday, August 3; in three days 15 people received 64 different care points ranging from food, material assistance, laptop time and emotional support.

Jessye was recently recognized for her work in the New York Times article, Legacy Of Suffrage, for contining her great great grandmother's advocacy on behalf of women.  Good work, Jessye!

Katherine Martineau

August 6, 2020

Katherine is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies; Translation Research and Instruction Program at SUNY Binghamton. She received her PhD in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan. 

Casey Golomski

July 21, 2020

We are delighted to announce that Casey Golomski (PhD’13) has been promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure at the University of New Hampshire. Casey is the author of  Funeral Culture: AIDS, Work, and Cultural Change in an African Kingdom (Indiana University Press, 2018) and numerous ethnographic articles and works of poetry.

Holly Walters

July 15, 2020

Holly Walters, PhD18, is now a Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology at Wellesley College. She is a cultural anthropologist whose ethnographic work focuses on pilgrimage and politics in the Nepal Himalayas, as well as material culture, divine personhood, and ritual practice in South Asia. Her new book focuses on the veneration of sacred fossil ammonites called Shaligrams - an important part of Hindu and Buddhist ritual practice throughout South Asia and among the global Diaspora for roughly two thousand years.

Ieva Jusionyte

Ieva Jusionyte's book, Threshold: Emergency Responders on the US-Mexico Border, is the product of some of the most rigorous, humane, and original fieldwork in the anthropology of work. Jusionyte’s firsthand experiences as an emergency responder at multiple sites along the U.S.-Mexico border inform her compelling narratives of the daily experiences of these workers in the communities they serve.

Jonathan Jacob ’17, completed his MA in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago

July 15, 2020

Jonathan's Master's Thesis is titled "Beyond the Gridiron: Race and the Costs and Benefits of American Football."  He has been admitted to the doctoral program at the Heller School and will be returning to Brandeis in Fall 2021 to begin his path toward a PhD in Social Policy!

Jessica Priestley

June 3, 2020

Jessica Priestley received this prestigious fellowship for her project, "And Science Makes Three: Discovering Kin through DNA Testing, a Digital Story Archive."  In collaboration with Associate Professor Anita Hannig, Jessica will develop an audio archive of family experiences with genetic ancestry testing.

January 24, 2020

Jeffrey Dobereiner 09 is an anthropologist studying the role of cultural diversity in the emergence of social complexity.

PhD Student Jessica Priestley MA’17 Awarded GSAS Fellowship

Jessica was named the recipient of the Edward A. Schaffer Teaching Fellowship in the Humanities for the 2019-20 academic year based on faculty recommendations.

Doug Bafford

August 29, 2019

The fieldwork Doug conducts with his National Science Foundation funding will inform his Spring 2020 University Prize Instructorship course, African Ways of Knowing.

August 8, 2019

Ieva Jusionyte, MA07, PhD12, was awarded 3rd place in the Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing, while Steven Gonzalez, MA17, earned honorable mention for Ethnographic Fiction and Creative Nonfiction, and Casey Golomski, PhD13, took 1st place in the society's poetry competition.

Yiyi Wu
Yiyi Wu ’19 awarded 2019 Richard Saber Undergraduate Research Grant

March 13, 2019

Yiyi Wu was awarded the 2019 Richard Saber Undergraduate Research Grant. Yiyi Wu ’19, is a senior with majors in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Anthropology and International and Global Studies. The project she was awarded the grant for presents the narratives of a population of heterosexual women, referred to as  tongqi (同妻) who marry homosexual men aiming to fulfill their societal obligations of marriage and fatherhood. Using these narratives, she aims to challenge heterosexual norms in China and trace the impact of civil society in the country. This is a critical issue for the formation to this type of marriage has a lot to do with the stigma against homosexuality in China and an anti-gay agenda in China. The main goal of this project is to understand the motivations for marriages between gay men and homosexual women and the factors that lead to their divorce and separation. Based on the results drawn from the analyses, this project aims to support the establishment of a non-governmental organization to support tongqi and their civil society. Publication of the results from this project also seeks to promote international awareness about phenomenon that are similar to tongqi and the need for laws permitting gay marriage.

Adam Glamwell
Adam Gamwell, PhD’18, co-host of the popular podcast "This Anthropological Life," offers audio workshop

March 1, 2019

In this workshop media producer and podcaster Adam Gamwell, PhD’18, (This Anthro Life, Missing Link Studios) introduced participants to narrative audio and voice styles across public media and podcasting, recording and  interview techniques, and crafting narrative audio.Whether to interview a family member for oral history, start a podcast, or make one's scholarship more public, this workshop provided the framing and techniques to hit the ground recording.

Aneil Tripathy

February 19, 2019

Aneil's dissertation is tentatively titled "Assembling the Green Bond Market: Work and Personhood in Climate Finance." Aneil's research centers on understanding the development of the green bond market and how investment bankers, policy analysts, and environmental engineers in this market go about making climate change legible in finance. He is fascinated by processes of social change and how people try to make sense of our world. Aneil is a cofounder of the anthropology podcast This Anthro Life.

Amy Hanes sits with another researcher in the rainforest with chimpanzees
Amy Hanes' doctoral fieldwork at chimpanzee sanctuaries sheds light on how one species cares for — and about — another

December 23, 2018

AAA 2018 Book celebration for Ieva Jusionyte's Threshold, Keridwen Luis' Herlands, Casey Golomski's Funeral Culture, Jessica Hardin's Faith and the Pursuit of Health

November 17, 2018

A group of people holding books and smiling at the camera
Amy Hanes publishes in Sapiens on her fieldwork in Cameroon

November 2, 2018

"For Chimps, Human Touch Can Hurt"

George Cowgill

George Cowgill

Amy Hanes

Amy Hanes

May 17, 2018

Doctoral student Amy Hanes is awarded a Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, the nation's largest and most prestigious award for PhD candidates in the humanities and social sciences addressing questions of ethical and religious values. Amy's project is entitled: Caring for Their Sake: Interspecies Care, Race, and Conservation in Cameroon's Chimpanzee Sanctuaries.

Noam Sienna

Noam Sienna

March 8, 2018

Noam Sienna ’11 is publishing a groundbreaking work with the support of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, tentatively titled: "The LGBTQ Jewish Anthology: a Reader of Primary Sources from the Talmud to Stonewall."

Megan McClory stands with 3 other women in traditional Japanese clothes, in Japan

Megan McClory (right) in Japan.

Photo Credit: Megan McClory

Marcelo Brociner, wearing headphones, stands in front of a wall that has been drawn on

Marcelo Brociner

Brenton Easter stands in front of large artifacts

Brenton Easter

January 2, 2017

Sarah Magda Zainelabdin

Sarah Magda Zainelabdin