Tag Archive for Anthropology

Harris ’98 Studies Multinational Trade Route

harris.tina

Tina Harris ’98

In her new book Geographical Diversions  (The University of Georgia Press), Tina Harris ’98 employs cultural anthropology, human geography, and material culture to explore the social and economic transformations that take place along one trade route that extends through China, Nepal, Tibet, and India. She makes connections between the seemingly mundane motions of daily life and more abstract levels of global change by focusing on two generations of traders and how they create “geographies of trade that work against state ideas of what trade routes should look like.”  She observes the tensions between the apparent fixity of invisible national boundaries and the mobility of the local individuals. The book as a whole challenges and confronts established theories on an innovative smaller-scale perspective.

Book by Tina Harris '98

Book by Tina Harris ’98

Harris considers what allows the traders along one trade route to make their own places through their markets and their way of life. She focuses on the effects of new infrastructure due to the economic rise of China and India on places that are rarely covered by international media. Alongside her detailed written analysis of the trade route, Harris provides numerous photographs to give readers a more visual sense of the world they are reading about. These pictures include a mule caravan loaded with Tibetan wool near Pharia, circa 1930s; a sign on National Highway 31A on the road to Gangtok, and the reopening ceremony that took place in July of 2006.

Author website

Behar ’77 Writes New Memoir

Ruth Behar '77 (Photo: Gabriel Frye-Behar)

Ruth Behar ’77 (Photo: Gabriel Frye-Behar)

Storyteller and cultural anthropologist Ruth Behar ’77 is the author of Traveling Heavy: A Memoir Between Journeys (Duke University Press), in which she recounts her life as an immigrant child and later, as an adult woman who loves to travel but is terrified of boarding a plane. Behar shares moving stories about her Yiddish-Sephardic-Cuban-American family, as well as the kind strangers she meets on her travels. The author refers to herself an anthropologist who specializes in homesickness and repeatedly returning to her homeland of Cuba. She asks the question why we leave home to find home.

Kirkus Reviews writes: “A heartfelt witness to the changing political and emotional landscape of the Cuban-American experience.”

Memoir by Ruth Behar '77

Memoir by Ruth Behar ’77

Behar is the Victor Haim Perera Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. She is the author of many books, including An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba; The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Breaks Your Heart; and Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza’s Story, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Behar also is a poet, a fiction writer, and a documentary filmmaker. She wrote, directed, and produced Adio Kerida (Goodbye Dear Love), a film that has been shown at film festivals around the world. She has received many prizes, including a MacArthur “Genius” Award.

Ruth Behar website

Tenure Awarded to Huge, Juhasz, Stemler, Weiss, Wu

The Wesleyan Board of Trustees reviews tenure cases three times each year during its meetings on campus, scheduled as the cases arise. At the most recent meeting in March, the Board awarded tenure — effective July 1, 2013 — to these faculty members:

Elijah Huge, associate professor of art, has taught at Wesleyan since 2006.  A licensed architect, his work includes private commissions and award-winning competition entries for the High Line (New York, N.Y.), the Bourne Bridge|Park (Bourne, Mass.), and the Tangshan Earthquake Memorial (Tangshan, China).  His writing and design work have been featured in PraxisThresholdsPerspectaArchitectural RecordLandscape ArchitectureDwellJournal of Architectural Education, and Competitions.  His current scholarly research examines the historical emergence of architectural emergency devices, from the automatic sprinkler to the Vonduprin panic bar. He founded the atelier North Studio as part of the architecture curriculum within the Department of Art and Art History. Through it, students work in collaboration with each other and Huge to develop and produce research-driven and conceptually-driven projects with real-world clients. The work of the studio has been published widely and received awards from the American Institute of Architects, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. His B.A. and M.Arch. are from Yale University, where he received the AIA Henry Adams Medal and was editor of Perspecta 35: Building Codes.

Barbara Juhasz, associate professor of psychology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, came to Wesleyan in 2006. She studies the cognitive processes involved in word recognition during reading. In particular, she is interested in the interpretation of the visual input of written language. She is author or co-author of more than 35 articles and book chapters, eight of which include Wesleyan students as co-authors, as well as more than 40 conference presentations. She holds a B.A. from Binghamton University; her M.S. and Ph.D. are from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Steven Stemler, associate professor of psychology, came to Wesleyan in 2005.

Sarah Croucher Discusses Community Archaeology in the Beman Triangle

In this video, Sarah Croucher, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of archaeology, discusses her community archaeology project in the “Beman Triangle” in Middletown, Conn. The houses built on this land from the 1840s were home to a community of African Americans living in Middletown, tied to the nearby A.M.E. Zion Church. Artifacts discovered in the area from 19th century trash pits shed new light on the lives of the community members, and the longstanding relationship between the church, Middletown and Wesleyan. Read more about Croucher’s project in this past Wesleyan Connection article.

#THISISWHY

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Kauanui Named Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer

J. Kehaulani Kauanui

J. Kehaulani Kauanui, associate professor of American studies, associate professor of anthropology, was appointed an Organization of American Historians (OAH) Distinguished Lecturer by the OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program.

In an e-mail to Kauanui, Alan M. Kraut, president-elect of the OAH wrote, “Since 1981, OAH presidents have appointed their most illustrious and dynamic colleagues to our program, making it one of the longest running and most successful efforts of its kind among scholarly associations. It has proven to be an ideal way to reach a broader audience while raising money for the organization’s initiatives on behalf of historians.”

As part of the appointment, Kauanui agrees to give one lecture per academic year for three years, donating those speaking fees to the OAH, and maintain membership in the organization.

“I’m thrilled to have been nominated for this appointment and to accept,” she said.

Kauanui also is also is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society.

Ulysse to Perform Avant-Garde “Voodoo Doll” Meditation in Brazil, Ghana

Gina Athena Ulysse performs "Voodoo Doll, What if Haiti Were a Woman?" in the Center for the Arts.

Gina Athena Ulysse performs “Voodoo Doll, What if Haiti Were a Woman?” in the Center for the Arts.

Gina Athena Ulysse, associate professor of anthropology, associate professor of African-American studies, was invited to perform her avant-garde meditation, “Voodoo Doll, What if Haiti Were a Woman?” at two international conferences in 2013. Ulysse’s piece focuses on coercion and consent inspired by Gede, the Haitian Vodou spirit of life and death. She intersperses the story with Haiti’s geopolitical history, statistics, theory and Vodou chants.

On Jan. 12-19, Ulysse will attend the 8th Encuentro of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil. There, she will join more than 400 artists, performers, scholars and activists who will examine the broad intersections between urban space, performance and political/artistic action in the Americas. The Encuentro is an interdisciplinary academic conference and performance festival that is focused on experimentation, dialogue and collaboration. Learn more at this link.

On May 16-19, Ulysse will participate in an international symposium of women writers from Africa and its diaspora titled “Yari Yari Ntoaso: Continuing the Dialogue.” The symposium will be held in Accra, Ghana, West Africa and include panels, readings, performances and film screenings. “Yari Yari Ntoaso” will be a gathering devoted to the study, criticism and celebration of the creativity and diversity of women writers of African descent. Learn more at this link.

Ulysse performed “Voodoo Doll” at Wesleyan on July 24. For more information see this Wesleyan Connection post.

Weiss’s Book Honored by Association for Queer Anthropology

Book by Margot Weiss

A book by Margot Weiss, assistant professor of American studies, assistant professor of anthropology, received the 2012 Ruth Benedict Book Prize by the Association for Queer Anthropology.

Her book, Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality (Duke University Press, 2011) was honored in the category “Outstanding Monograph.” This prize is presented each year at the American Anthropological Association’s national meeting to acknowledge excellence in a scholarly book written from an anthropological perspective about a topic that engages issues and theoretical perspectives relevant to LGBTQ studies.

Techniques of Pleasure is a vivid portrayal of the San Francisco Bay Area’s pansexual BDSM (SM) community.

Vodou Spirit, Haitian Culture in Ulysse’s Meditation Performance

Gina Ulysse, chair and associate professor of African American studies, associate professor anthropology, spoke to Wesleyan students, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows, and area high school students on July 24 in the Center for the Arts. Ulysse, who also is a poet, performance and multi-media artist, performed her avant-garde meditation, “Voodoo Doll, What if Haiti Were a Woman: On ti Travay sou 21 Pwen or An Alter(ed)native in Something Other than Fiction.” The piece focused on coercion and consent inspired by Gede, the Haitian Vodou spirit of life and death. She interspersed Haiti’s geopolitical history, statistics, theory and Vodou chants.

Ulysse spoke with many students after her performance.

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows Ernst Pierre and Henrico Joseph listen to Ulysse’s performance. Like Ulysse, Pierre was born in Haiti.

Video Feature on Wesleyan’s Ritual, Health and Healing Course

In the Spring semester of 2012, Assistant Professor of Anthropology Gillian Goslinga and Creative Campus Fellow Jill Sigman, co-taught a course titled Ritual, Health and Healing. The course consisted of a weekly seminar and movement lab where the students explored the moral and material worlds of ritual and religious healing through assigned reading, writing and physical exercises. A video of the class is below:

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Anthropology Class Completes Service Learning Project in Brooklyn

Community members Guido and Tish Ciancotta of GREC (sitting), Laura Hofmann of OUTRAGE, Chris Henderson of St. Nicks Alliance, and Pat Dobosz of GEM, pose with ANTH 289 students and faculty Gillian Goslinga and Jill Sigman at the close of the community ritual.

The students in ANTH 289, “Ritual, Health, and Healing” stepped outside the Wesleyan campus this spring to participate in a service learning project in the North Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint.

According to Assistant Professor of Anthropology Gillian Goslinga—who co-taught the course with Artist-in-Residence Jill Sigman, a North Brooklyn-based performance artist—Greenpoint is a neighborhood facing multiple health, social and environmental challenges. The students in this Creative Campus anthropology course, which is cross-listed with Science in Society and Dance, had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of community organizations, each dedicated to addressing a different issue. This is the first time Goslinga and Sigman have taught the course, which covers topics such as shamanic ritual and traditional medicine, as well as community health and social and environmental justice, and tackles questions of the efficacy of ritual and the traditional ritual/modern medicine dichotomy. The course also has a weekly movement lab, led by Jill Sigman, where students use choreographed movements to explore course concepts.

The service learning project in Greenpoint grew out of Sigman’s artistic work. A multi-media artist and choreographer, Sigman had been commissioned to create the seventh hut in her “Hut Project” by the Arts@Renaissance unit of St. Nicks Alliance, a community organization that works on affordable housing issues in North Brooklyn. For her Hut Project, Sigman builds sculptures, dwellings and stages out of repurposed and found materials, which then become sites for performance and community discussions on the critical issues of garbage, environment and housing. Goslinga says, “The tie-in with the themes of the course was obvious.”

“One of my goals for the course had been to invite students to query default biomedical framings of health and healing, where individual biology tends to be over-privileged even in epidemiological studies, and to broaden thinking about causalities for suffering, extending these to social, historical and environmental traumas, where suffering can also be about loss and shock, forced displacement and discriminatory policy decisions, structural poverty and environmental degradation (often all are related),” she says. “In these contexts, community ritual can be a restorative response.”

Weiss Book Nominated for Lambda Literary Award

Margot Weiss

A book by Margot Weiss, assistant professor of American Studies, assistant professor of anthropology titled, Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality (Duke University Press, 2011) is a finalist for the 24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards in the LGBT Studies category.

According to the announcement nominating Weiss for the 24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards, “the Lambda Literary Award is the most prestigious book prize in the LGBT community with over 600 total nominations.”

Coe ’92 Co-Edits Publication on Effects of Migration on Children

Book by Cati Coe '92

Cati Coe ’92 is a co-editor (with Rachel Reynolds, Deborah Boehm, Julia Meredith Hess, and Heather Rae-Espinosa) of Everyday Ruptures: Children, Youth, and Migration in Global Perspective (Vanderbilt University Press), which illuminates the wide-ranging continuities and disruptions in the experiences of children around the world, those who participate in and those who are affected by migration.

When children, youth, and adults migrate, that migration is often perceived as a rupture, with people separated by great distances and for extended periods of time. But for migrants and those affected by migration, the everyday persists, and migration itself may be critical to the continuation of social life. The book is organized around four themes: 1) how children’s agency is affected by institutions, families, and beliefs; 2) how families and individuals create and maintain kin ties in conditions of rupture; 3) how emotion and affect are linked to global divisions and flows; and 4) how the actions of states create ruptures and continuities.

The volume will be useful to scholars from multiple fields, such as anthropology, sociology, geography, migration studies, psychology, and childhood studies.