Tag Archive for Anthropology

Fellowship has Croucher Focused on 19th Century East Africa

Second from left, Sara Croucher, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of archaeology, assistant professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, received a SAR Weatherhead Fellowship to Study Archaeology in 19th Century East Africa. She's pictured here with Rachel Miller-Howard '10, third from left.

Second from left, Sarah Croucher, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of archaeology, assistant professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, received a Weatherhead Fellowship to study the archaeology of 19th Century East Africa. She's pictured at the Ujiji excavation site in Western Tanzania during 2008 with, from left, Hajj M. Hajj, Tanzanian research associate; Rachel Miller-Howard ’10; and Florah Kessy, an M.A. student, from the University of Dar es Salaam.

As an archaeologist investigating 19th century sites in Zanzibar and Tanzania, it was impossible for Sarah Croucher to ignore the thousands of shreds of locally-produced and imported ceramics unearthed every day of excavations.

For archaeologists, these materials are vital to interpreting the social history of 19th century Islamic colonialism in East Africa.

“Many key questions remain uninvestigated, particularly in regard to how newly shared Zanzibar identities emerged during the 19th Century, which intersected with gender, religion, class and sexuality,” Croucher explains.

Sarah Croucher working in a trench

Sarah Croucher and research associate Hajj M. Hajj excavate at the site of Ujiji.

Croucher, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of archaeology, assistant professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, has been awarded a nine-month Weatherhead Fellowship by the School for Advanced Research (SAR) in Santa Fe, N.M. Resident scholars approach their research from anthropology or from related fields such as history, sociology, art and philosophy, with fellowships providing scholars with “time to think and write about topics important to the understanding of humankind.” Scholars are provided with housing and office space on the SAR campus in Santa Fe.

Croucher was awarded the fellowship to complete writing up the findings of her research, tied together into a project titled “Consuming Colonialism: Archaeological Investigations of Ceramics and Identities in 19th Century East Africa.”

The core of this study results from survey and excavation work Croucher directed in 2003 and 2005 to investigate clove plantation sites on Zanzibar. Further material is drawn from a 2006 survey project along the central caravan route taken by traders during the 19th Century and excavations in 2008 at the site of Ujiji in Western Tanzania, made famous by the expeditions of Stanley and

Kauanui Keynote Speaker at Hawai’i American Studies Symposium

J. Kēhaulani Kauanui.

J. Kēhaulani Kauanui.

J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, associate professor of American studies, associate professor of anthropology, delivered the keynote address during the Hawai’i American Studies Association Symposium March 11 at the Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Her lecture was titled, “A Sorry State: Hawaiian Nationalism and the Politics of Imperialist Resentment.”

Kauanui’s talk was co-sponsored by the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Gillian Goslinga: New Faculty Member in Anthropology, Science in Society

Gillian Goslinga, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of science in society, has an array of research specialties including reproductive technologies, kinship, spirit possession, shamanism, indigenous healing, ritual, body/knowledge/power, critical medical anthropology, feminist science studies, postcolonial theory and critical philosophy, life history methods and  feminist ethnography. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Gillian Goslinga, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of science in society, has an array of research specialties including kinship and the reproductive technologies, spirit possession and ritual, epistemologies of embodiment and the body, feminist science studies and feminist ethnography. She works primarily in South India. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

Gillian Goslinga has joined the Anthropology Department as an assistant professor of anthropology. She also is an assistant professor of Science in Society.

A graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz doctoral program in the History of Consciousness, Goslinga was attracted to Wesleyan for many reasons, including “the school’s progressive ethos and the ’scholar-teacher’ pedagogical model.”   She says teaching is one of her passions.

“The anthropology department is committed to cutting edge theory-cum-praxis,” Goslinga says.

She says she appreciates the combination of theoretical innovation and creativity and serious intellectual inquiry.

“That made an impression,” she explains. “People at Wesleyan seemed genuinely supported and supportive as well as encouraged to break new ground with their scholarship.  I was at once attracted to the intellectual rigor and creativity,

Östör’s Film Screens at National Film Festivals

The 35-minute film, Songs of a Sorrowful Man, explores the life of a painter, composer and singer living in West Bengal, India.

The 35-minute film, Songs of a Sorrowful Man, explores the life of a painter, composer and singer living in West Bengal, India.

The new film, Songs of a Sorrowful Man, directed by Ákos Östör, professor of anthropology, emeritus, and edited by film major Joe Sousa ’03, began its journey debuting at the biennial Royal Anthropological Film Festival, held at Leeds University in July.

The film was then shown at the the American Anthropological Association meeting in Philadelphia, Pa. Dec. 2-6. It also was screened recently at at Brown where it was featured as the lead event in Brown’s “Year of India” celebrations (2009-10).

The “sorrowful man,” Dukhushyam Chitrakar is a charismatic figure who encourages women to take up the traditional craft of scroll painting and musical composition pursued almost exclusively by men before.

In a series of edited sequences, the film chronicles Dukhushyam’s vision of the decline and rebirth of his art; his tolerant Sufi Muslim spirituality; his engagement with Hindus, Muslims and the modern world; his encyclopedic knowledge of changing musical and painting histories and techniques; the influence of his beliefs on his way of life, and his teachings for future generations of painters and singers in his community.

Read more about the film in an Oct. 27, 2009 Wesleyan Connection article.

5 Questions with . . . J. Kēhaulani Kauanui

My book critically examines how “blood racialization” defines Hawaiian identity as measurable and dilutable

J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, associate professor of American studies, associate professor of anthropology, examines how "blood racialization" defines Hawaiian identity as measurable and dilutable. (Photo by Stefan Weinberger '10)

This issue we feature 5 Questions with… J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, associate professor of American studies, associate professor of anthropology.

Q. How did you become interested in your area of study?
JKK: My area of study is related to researching the history of U.S. imperialism in the Pacific Islands. Researching indigenous issues in Hawai`i, I found it necessary to study how the U.S. government has treated Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) in light of its U.S. federal policy on American Indians and Alaska Natives. The policy is convoluted. The U.S. government has alternately classified Kanaka Maoli, as well as other Native Pacific Islanders under the Asian or “Asian Pacific” category, but since 1906, Kanaka Maoli have also specifically been included in over 160 legislative acts that apply to American Indians. This contradiction has pushed me to better understand U.S. racial formations and indigenous sovereignty politics. This has led me to other research areas, including settler colonialism, self-determination, decolonization, and international law.

Q. What was the most interesting aspect of researching and writing your recent book Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity?
JKK: My book critically examines how “blood racialization” defines Hawaiian identity as measurable and dilutable. Blood racialization is the process by which racial meaning is ascribed—in this case to Kanaka Maoli – through ideologies of blood quantum. The contemporary