Tag Archive for Anthropology

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

YouTube Preview Image

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:

YouTube Preview Image

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.

Weiss Authors Book on San Francisco’s Pansexual Community

Book by Margot Weiss

Margot Weiss, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of American Studies, is the author of Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality, published in January 2012 by Duke University Press.

Techniques of Pleasure is a vivid portrayal of the San Francisco Bay Area’s pansexual BDSM (SM) community. Margot Weiss conducted ethnographic research at dungeon play parties and at workshops on bondage, role play, and flogging, and she interviewed more than sixty SM practitioners. She describes a scene devoted to a form of erotic play organized around technique, rules and regulations, consumerism, and self-mastery. Challenging the notion that SM is inherently transgressive, Weiss links the development of commodity-oriented sexual communities and the expanding market for sex toys to the eroticization of gendered, racialized, and national inequalities. She analyzes the politics of BDSM’s spectacular performances, including those that dramatize heterosexual male dominance, slave auctions, and US imperialism, and contends that the SM scene is not a “safe space” separate from real-world inequality. It depends, like all sexual desire, on social hierarchies. Based on this analysis, Weiss theorizes late-capitalist sexuality as a circuit—one connecting the promise of new emancipatory pleasures to the reproduction of raced and gendered social norms.

Östör’s “Living with Pictures” Article in Museum Catalog

The exhibition catalog has 160 pages.

A chapter written by Ákos Östör, professor of anthropology, emeritus, is featured in the Flavours of the Arts: 
From Mughal India to Bollywood exhibition catalog for Geneva’s Musée d’ethnographie. This pertinently illustrated book focuses on the close relationship between music, painting and film in northern India.

His chapter is titled, “Living with Pictures. Study, Film and Life in Naya (West Bengal).”

Dowdey, Cheong ’12 Researching Prints, Sculptors in China

Pictured at right, Patrick Dowdey, curator of the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies, visits with students and faculty at the Southwest University for Nationalities in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China on July 6. Dowdey lived on Soutwest University's campus during his dissertation research in 1995-6 and has lectured, attended conferences and met with anthropology students there every year since.