School of Humanities and Sciences
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Assistant Professor of Anthropology
BioAndrew Bauer is an anthropological archaeologist whose research and teaching interests broadly focus on the archaeology of human-environment relations, including the socio-politics of land use and both symbolic and material aspects of producing spaces, places, and landscapes. Andrew's primary research is based in South India, where he co-directs fieldwork investigating the relationships between landscape history, cultural practices, and institutionalized forms of social inequalities and difference during the region’s Neolithic, Iron Age, Early Historic, and Medieval periods. As an extension of his archaeological work he is also interested in the intersections of landscape histories and modern framings of nature that relate to conservation politics and climate change.
Bing Professor in Human Biology, Emeritus
BioWilliam (Bill) Durham is Bing Professor in Human Biology, Bass University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, and a Senior Fellow in the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford. He has taught in Human Biology and Anthropology at Stanford since 1977, when he came from the Society of Fellows at the University of Michigan.
Today, Bill's main interests are environmental anthropology, the “coevolution” of genetic and cultural change in human populations, and the challenges of sustainable development in the tropics, especially Galapagos, Peru, and Costa Rica. Along with Stanford Professor Rodolfo Dirzo, Bill is co-director of the Osa-Golfito Initiative (INOGO) in the Woods Institute, working with Costa Ricans to develop a sustainability strategy for the southern region of the country.
Bill’s publications include the books Scarcity and Survival in Central America (Stanford Press 1979; and in Spanish, by UCA Editores 1988), Coevolution: Genes, Culture, and Human Diversity (Stanford Press, 1991), The Social Causes of Environmental Destruction in Latin America (U. of Michigan Press, 1995, with M. Painter), Inbreeding, Incest and the Incest Taboo (Stanford Press 2004, with A. Wolf), and Ecotourism and Conservation in the Americas (CABI, 2008, with A. Stronza). In addition, he served as Editor in Chief for 16 volumes of the Annual Review of Anthropology between 1992 and 2008.
A recipient of the MacArthur Prize Fellowship, Bill has also received five awards for teaching and faculty leadership at Stanford. He was Founding Co-Director of the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), a research organization that views tourism as a means to promote local livelihoods and environmental conservation. He has led more than 25 Stanford Alumni Association trips to Galapagos, the Amazon, East Africa, and elsewhere.
Associate Professor of Anthropology
BioPaulla Ebron joined the department in 1992. Ebron is the author of Performing Africa, a work based on her research in The Gambia that traces the significance of West African praise-singers in transnational encounters. A second project focuses on tropicality and regionalism as it ties West Africa and the U.S. Georgia Sea Islands in a dialogue about landscape, memory and political uplift. This project is entitled, "Making Tropical Africa in the Georgia Sea Islands."
Susan S. and William H. Hindle Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsJames's Ferguson's research has focused on southern Africa (especially Lesotho, Zambia, South Africa, and Namibia), and has engaged a broad range of theoretical and ethnographic issues. These include the politics of “development”, rural-urban migration, changing topgraphies of property and wealth, constructions of space and place, urban culture in mining towns, experiences of modernity, the spatialization of states, the place of “Africa” in a real and imagined world, and the theory and politics of ethnography. Running through much of this work is a concern with how discourses organized around concepts such as “development” and “modernity” intersect the lives of ordinary people.
Professor Ferguson's most recent work has explored the surprising creation and/or expansion (both in southern Africa and across the global South) of social welfare programs targeting the poor, anchored in schemes that directly transfer small amounts of cash to large numbers of low-income people. His work aims to situate these programs within a larger “politics of distribution,” and to show how they are linked to emergent forms of distributive politics in contexts where new masses of “working age” people are supported by means other than wage labor. In such settings of scarce and diminishing employment opportunities, distributive practices and distributive politics are acquiring a new centrality, with social protection, in particular, emerging as a key arena within which fundamental questions are addressed concerning how resources should be distributed, who is entitled to receive them, and why. In this context, new political possibilities and dangers are emerging, even as new analytical and critical strategies are required. A book on this topic (Give a Man a Fish: Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution) was recently published by Duke University Press.
Associate Professor of Anthropology and, by courtesy, of Iberian and Latin American Cultures and of Linguistics
BioI am a linguistic anthropologist in the Department of Anthropology, with a courtesy appointment in the Department of Linguistics, specializing in historical linguistics, linguistic prehistory, and the native languages of the Americas. My research interests are focused on the history of the Mayan and Mixe-Zoquean language families, distant languagec relationships in the Americas and elsewhere, and the decipherment of Maya writing. I am currently working on: a dictionary and grammar of Ayapa Zoque; a treatise on Mayan historical linguistics, a translation of the Quiché mythological epic Popol Vuh and an accompanying multi-media program, a book on the inscriptions of Chichén Itzá, a decipherment project involving ancient Maya star and planetary lore, and a quantitative computer analysis of a newly-discovered sound pattern in Mayan languages. I have recently completed a fourth summer of linguistic fieldwork in southern Mexico, where I worked intensively with a few speakers of Ayapa Zoque, a nearly-extinct language of the Zoquean family, believed to be descendants of the language of the Olmec civilization. This research was first conducted as a part of the Mesoamerican Languages Documentation Project, and later by the Stanford Center for Latin American Studies, of which I was Director from 2001-2004. In Summer 2006 I will be conducting a brief fifth season of field research in Ayapa. I have also conducted archival and field research on various Mayan languages, and on Russenorsk, a mixed Russo-Norwegian language in northern Norway. I have compiled a field checklist for use in preparing for fieldwork. I keep it pretty much up to date and appreciate feedback from folks who have used it in their own preparations. I served as a principal consultant on Patricia Amlin's film, Popol Vuh: Creation Myth of the Ancient Maya , which aired on PBS. In the summer of 1994, I was a consultant for the Stanford Museum of Art's special exhibit on the Mesoamerican ball game. I have also consulted on middle- and secondary-school course materials involving Mesoamerican prehistory. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses at Stanford on linguistic anthropology, historical linguistics, language and culture, the biology and evolution of language, Maya writing and culture, and several Latin American Indian languages, including Nahuatl, Yucatec Maya, and Quiché Maya. I have given two sophomore seminars and one freshman seminar involving my research on the Popol Vuh and multimedia, and will launch a new sophomore seminar spring 2006 on Language and the Brain. I was also one of the developers and first track chair for the Anthropology track of Stanford's full-year Culture, Ideas, and Values courses. I am a frequent lecturer on tours of Mesoamerica and Scandinavia for the Stanford Alumni Association.