Students and Alumni News and Highlights

Doug Bafford
Doug Bafford, visiting instructor at College of the Holy Cross

June 10, 2022

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

Houman
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.

Aneil Tripathy
Aneil Tripathy PhD '21 receives fellowship

Aneil Tripathy PhD '21 has received an MIT Climate and Sustainabiity Program Impact Fellowship. The MIT Climate & Sustainability Consortium (MCSC) Impact Fellowship Program is 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 will 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."

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. 

Halloween
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!

Chimpanzee

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