School of Humanities and Sciences
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Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy current research is on the arts, culture, and racial politics in the context of urban restructuring in Oakland, California. This longitudinal ethnographic project focuses on lived experiences of disinvestment, gentrification, precarity, and mutual aid in the 21st century. Balliger previously conducted extensive research in Trinidad on popular music, media expansion, and identity formation in national/transnational space, work described by scholars as “pioneering" in music and sound studies.
Associate 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.
Hector Miguel Callejas
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsHector is a sociocultural anthropologist trained in comparative ethnic studies. He combines critical theories with ethnographic and archival methods to investigate the intersections of race and power across social and institutional contexts. His current research centers on Indigenous politics in Latin America. His future work will analyze environmental activism in Latin America and the United States. He has research sites in El Salvador, Mexico, New York, and California. His research builds on a deep personal concern for understanding how marginalized people are governed, and what the possibilities are for change.
Bing Professor in Human Biology, Emeritus
BioWilliam (Bill) Durham is Bing Professor in Human Biology (Emeritus), Bass University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, and a Senior Fellow (Emeritus) in the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford. He has been jointly appointed in Human Biology and Anthropology at Stanford since 1977, when he came from the Society of Fellows at the University of Michigan. Bill was an undergraduate Biology major at Stanford, Class of 1971, and received the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award at graduation for his contribution to undergraduate education via the NSF-funded Student Air Pollution Research Project, the first student initiative nationally to receive NSF funding.
Bill’s career has focused on two main themes: (1) putting principles of evolution to work in efforts to sustain the biological and cultural diversity of our world; and (2) identifying social dimensions of environmental problems in Latin America and working with local leaders to help solve them. He has carried out fieldwork in Peru, Brazil, and Ecuador (especially Galápagos) in South America, and in El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, and Costa Rica in Central America. In 1983, he was one of the first scholars to receive the MacArthur Prize Fellowship and has also received five five awards for research and teaching at Stanford, including one by vote of the students. Bill’s recent book, Exuberant Life: An Evolutionary Approach to Conservation in Galápagos (Oxford University Press, 2021) was named a Finalist for the 2022 PROSE Award from the Association of American Publishers.
Bill’s other 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.
Bill 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. Along with Stanford Professors Rodolfo Dirzo and Larry Crowder, Bill has been 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.
He has led more than 35 Stanford Alumni Association trips to Galápagos, Costa Rica, 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, Emeritus
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.
Ayana Omilade Flewellen
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
BioAyana Omilade Flewellen (they/she) is a Black Feminist, an archaeologist, an artist scholar, and a storyteller. As a scholar of anthropology and African and African Diaspora Studies, Flewellen's intellectual genealogy is shaped by critical theory rooted in Black feminist epistemology and pedagogy. This epistemological backdrop not only constructs the way they design, conduct, and produce their scholarship but acts as foundational to how she advocates for greater diversity within the field of archaeology and within the broader scope of academia. Flewellen is the co-founder and current President of the Society of Black Archaeologists and sits on the Board of Diving With A Purpose. In July 2022 they will be joining the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University as an Assistant Profess. Her research and teaching interests address Black Feminist Theory, historical archaeology, memory, maritime heritage conservation, public and community-engaged archaeology, processes of identity formations, and representations of slavery and its afterlives. Flewellen has been featured in National Geographic, Science Magazine, PBS, and CNN; and regularly presents her work at institutions including The National Museum for Women in the Arts.
Associate Professor of Anthropology
BioI am an anthropologist of science and medicine interested in how social identities, health outcomes, and molecular genetic findings increasingly intersect. In my first book, The Enculturated Gene: Sickle Cell Health Politics and Biological Difference in West Africa (Princeton, 2011), I draw on over a decade of ethnographic fieldwork in the US, France and Senegal. By bringing the lives of people with sickle cell anemia together with how the science about them has been made, The Enculturated Gene weaves together postcolonial genetic science, the effects of structural adjustment on health resources, and patient activism between Senegal and France to show how African sickle cell has been ordered in ethnic-national terms at the level of the gene. This work is situated within a larger conversation on ethics, power, and the ways that human biological material, within the context of culture, is rarely apolitical. The Enculturated Gene has won the Royal Anthropological Institute’s 2011 Amaury Talbot Prize for the most valuable work of African Anthropology and the American Anthropological Association’s 2014 Robert B. Textor and Family Prize for Excellence in Anticipatory Anthropology.
Since 2003, I have also conducted multi-sited field research in the United States on emergent technologies that measure human genetic diversity among populations and between individuals. As an outgrowth of this research, I have become particularly interested in how scientists engage ideas of genetic "inclusion" in how they enlist participant involvement in specific disease research problems, and how they also grapple with social movements of historical reckoning. In its detail, this second book project explores how U.S. political concepts of diversity, usually glossed as “race,” function in genetic recruitment protocols and study designs for research on complex diseases, “tailored medicine,” ancestry tracing, and personal genomics. This project will also examine the fraught relationship between private property and personal privacy with regards to biogenetic data.
As of December 2019, I have also started new fieldwork on migration from West Africa into Europe. I am concerned with people's personal narratives of success at all costs in light of state sponsored surveillance, the simultaneous rigidity and fluidity of borders aided by new technologies, as well as how people use various forms of science to create relational pathways that come to constitute home. This work also interrogates how human-made environmental resource scarcity pushes people to migrate or, rather, to simply move, in their quests for viable futures. I am interested in how the human desires for safety and home become criminalized when Europe's postcolonial anxieties about "secure borders" in the global north become divorced from the forms of insecurity that ongoing postcolonial economic policies breed throughout Africa. Finally, this work investigates new forms of racism engendered by the newest iterations of technologically assisted and animated border patrolling.
My work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Andrew and Florence White Fellows program in Medicine and the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. I have also been an invited scholar at the Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation in Paris (1997-1998, 2000 and 2002), a USIA Fulbright Scholar to Senegal, a fellow at the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (2004-2005), and a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health (2005-2007). I recently completed a Scholars Award in NSF's Science & Society Program to research my second book called Tabula Raza: Mapping Race and Human Diversity in American Genome Science.
Associate Professor of Anthropology
BioProfessor Garcia’s work engages historical and institutional processes through which violence and suffering is produced and lived. A central theme is the disproportionate burden of addiction, depression and incarceration among poor families and communities. Her research is oriented toward understanding how attachments, affect, and practices of intimacy are important registers of politics and economy.
Garcia’s book, The Pastoral Clinic: Addiction and Dispossession Along The Rio Grande (University of California Press, 2010) received awards in anthropology and writing. The Pastoral Clinic explores the relationship between intergenerational heroin use, poverty and colonial history in northern New Mexico. It argues that heroin addiction among Hispanos is a contemporary expression of an enduring history of dispossession, social and intimate fragmentation, and the existential desire for a release from these. Ongoing work in the U.S. explores processes of legal “re-entry” and intimate repair that incarcerated and paroled drug users undertake, particularly within kin networks.
Professor Garcia is currently engaged in research in Mexico City that examines emerging social and discursive worlds related to the dynamics of extreme urban poverty, mental illness and drug addiction in Mexico City, particularly within its peripheral zones. A book manuscript for this work is under contract with Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Reliance-Dhirubhai Ambani Professor
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsAnthropology of political life, ethno-religious identities, violence and urban life in South Asia and Southern Africa. Multiple theoretical and disciplinary interests from political theory and continental philosophy to psychoanalysis, comparative religion and contemporary urbanism
Associate Professor of Anthropology and, by courtesy, of Linguistics
BioMiyako Inoue teaches linguistic anthropology and the anthropology of Japan. She also has a courtesy appointment with the Department of Linguistics.
Her first book, titled, Vicarious Language: the Political Economy of Gender and Speech in Japan (University of California Press), examines a phenomenon commonly called "women's language" in Japanese modern society, and offers a genealogy showing its critical linkage with Japan's national and capitalist modernity. Professor Inoue is currently working on a book-length project on a social history of “verbatim” in Japanese. She traces the historical development of the Japanese shorthand technique used in the Diet for its proceedings since the late 19th century, and of the stenographic typewriter introduced to the Japanese court for the trial record after WWII. She is interested in learning what it means to be faithful to others by coping their speech, and how the politico-semiotic rationality of such stenographic modes of fidelity can be understood as a technology of a particular form of governance, namely, liberal governance. Publication that has come out of her current project includes, "Stenography and Ventriloquism in Late Nineteenth Century Japan." Language & Communication 31.3 (2011).
Professor Inoue's research interest: linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, semiotics, linguistic modernity, anthropology of writing, inscription devices, materialities of language, social organizations of documents (filing systems, index cards, copies, archives, paperwork), voice/sound/noise, soundscape, technologies of liberalism, gender, urban studies, Japan, East Asia.
Professor of Anthropology
BioJain is an award-winning author and Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University, Visiting Chair of Global Health and Social Medicine at King’ College London, and a Research Affiliate at VIAD, University of Johannesburg. His work aims to unsettle some of the deeply held assumptions about objectivity that underlie the history of medical research. Jain is the author of Injury (Princeton UP: 2006); Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us (UC Press: 2013); and a book of drawings, Things that Art: A Graphic Menagerie of Enchanting Curiosity (U of Toronto Press: 2019).
Jain is currently working on two books. The first, supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, develops the concept of The WetNet, which refers to fluid bonding among humans and animals in ways that create pathways for the transmission of pathogens. Specifically, mid-century bioscientific practices such as blood harvesting and transfusion, and vaccine development and testing involved exchanges in human and animal effluvia, the risks of which have largely been disavowed. Jain’s current book project elucidates the concept of The WetNet through a rigorous history of the hepatitis B virus and the development of the first hepatitis B vaccine.
The second project, “The Lung is a Bird and a Fish,” is a cultural history of drowning in prose and drawing.
Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Professor of Anthropology and of Biology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsCoevolution of human form and behavior over the past 6-7 million years, with special emphasis on the emergence of fully modern humans in the past 60-50,000 years. Field and lab research in South Africa.
Associate Professor of Anthropology, and by courtesy, of Medicine (Stanford Prevention and Research Center) and Senior Fellow, by courtesy, at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
BioMatthew Kohrman’s research and writing bring anthropological methods to bear on the ways health, culture, and politics are interrelated. Focusing on the People's Republic of China, he engages various intellectual terrains such as governmentality, gender theory, political economy, critical science studies, narrativity, and embodiment. His first monograph, Bodies of Difference: Experiences of Disability and Institutional Advocacy in the Making of Modern China, raises questions about how embodied aspects of human existence, such as our gender, such as our ability to propel ourselves through space as walkers, cyclists and workers, become founts for the building of new state apparatuses of social provision, in particular, disability-advocacy organizations. Over the last decade, Prof. Kohrman has been involved in research aimed at analyzing and intervening in the biopolitics of cigarette smoking among Chinese citizens. This work, as seen in his recently edited volume--Poisonous Pandas: Chinese Cigarette Manufacturing in Critical Historical Perspectives--expands upon heuristic themes of his earlier disability research and engages in novel ways techniques of public health, political philosophy, and spatial history. More recently, he has begun projects linking ongoing interests at the intersection of phenomenology and political economy with questions regarding environmental attunement and the arts.
Tanya Marie Luhrmann
Albert Ray Lang Professor
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsHer work focuses on the edge of experience: on voices, visions, the world of the supernatural and the world of psychosis. She has done ethnography on the streets of Chicago with homeless and psychotic women, and worked with people who hear voices in Chennai, Accra and the South Bay. She has also done fieldwork with evangelical Christians who seek to hear God speak back, with Zoroastrians who set out to create a more mystical faith, and with people who practice magic.
Professor of Anthropology, Emerita
BioLiisa H. Malkki is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University. Her research interests include: the politics of nationalism, internationalism, cosmopolitanism, and human rights discourses as transnational cultural forms; the social production of historical memory and the uses of history; political violence, exile, and displacement; the ethics and politics of humanitarian aid; child research; and visual culture. Her field research in Tanzania exlored the ways in which political violence and exile may produce transformations of historical consciousness and national identity among displaced people. This project resulted in Purity and Exile: Violence, Memory, and National Cosmology Among Hutu Refugees in Tanzania (University of Chicago Press, 1995). In another project, Malkki explored how Hutu exiles from Burundi and Rwanda, who found asylum in Montreal, Canada, imagined scenarios of the future for themselves and their countries in the aftermath of genocide in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Malkki’s most recent book, Improvising Theory: Process and Temporality in Ethnographic Fieldwork (with Allaine Cerwonka) was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2007. Her most recent book-length project (based on fieldwork from 1995 to the present) examines the changing interrelationships among humanitarian interventions, internationalism, professionalism, affect, and neutrality in the work of the Finnish Red Cross in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Associate Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus
BioJohn Rick’s research focuses on prehistoric archaeology and anthropology of hunter-gatherers and initial hierarchical societies, stone tool analysis and digital methodologies, Latin America, Southwestern U.S. Rick’s major research efforts have included long-term projects studying early hunting societies of the high altitude puna grasslands of central Peru, and currently he directs a major research project at the monumental World Heritage site of Chavín de Huántar aimed at exploring the foundations of authority in the central Andes. Other field projects include work on early agricultural villages in the American Southwest, and a recently-initiated project on the Preclassic and Early Classic archaeology of the Guatemalan highlands near Panajachel, Atitlan. Current emphasis is on employing dimensional analytical digital techniques to the study of landscape and architecture, and on exploring the contexts and motivations for the development of sociopolitical inequalities.
Associate Professor of Education and, by courtesy, of Linguistics, of Anthropology and of Comparative Literature
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsI am currently working on two book projects through which I am continuing to develop insights into ethnoracial, linguistic, and educational formations. The first offers frameworks for understanding ethnoracial contradictions across distinctive societal contexts by interweaving ethnographic analysis of diasporic Puerto Rican experiences and broader constructions of Latinidad that illustrate race and ethnicity as colonial and communicative predicaments. The second spotlights decolonial approaches to the creation of collective well-being through educational and societal transformations based on longstanding community collaborations in Chicago.
Associate Professor at the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, of Oceans, of Anthropology and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment
BioI am a zooarchaeologist, whose focus is primarily on colonisation and colonialism. My zooarchaeological research has used butchery analysis (with the benefit of professional and ethnographic actualistic experience) to investigate agency within the human-animal relationship. More recently, I have employed geometric morphometrics (GMM) as a mechanism for identifying and distinguishing animal populations. This approach to studying colonial activity centres on understanding how people manipulate animal bodies, both during life and after death.
Alongside the strictly faunal research is a research interest in technologies associated with animal processing. This has been used to investigate issues of technology, trade and socio-economic attitudes within colonial contexts in the Mediterranean (Venice & Montenegro) and the Baltic (Poland, Latvia & Lithuania).
I am also the Director of the ‘Mauritian Archaeology and Cultural Heritage’ (MACH) project, which studies European Imperialism and colonial activity. This project centres on the movement of peoples and material cultures, specifically within the contexts of slavery and Diaspora. The work of this project has focused on key sites in Mauritius and is based on a systematic programme of excavation and environmental sampling. The underlying aims are to better understand the transition from slavery to indentured labour following abolition, the extent and diversity of trade in the region and the environmental consequences of intense, monoculture, agriculture.
Associate Professor of AnthropologyOn Leave from 10/01/2023 To 06/30/2024
BioKabir Tambar is a sociocultural anthropologist, working at the intersections of politics, language, and religion. He is broadly interested in the politics of history, performances of public criticism, and varieties of Islamic practice in Turkey.
Tambar’s first book is a study of the politics of pluralism in contemporary Turkey, focusing on the ways that Alevi religious history is staged for public display. More generally, the book investigates how secular states govern religious differences through practices of cultural and aesthetic regulation. Tambar is currently working on a new project that examines the historical imagination in contexts of political closure, both at the end of the Ottoman empire and during periods of emergency rule in the era of the nation-state.
Associate Professor of Anthropology
BioSharika Thiranagama’s research has focused on various aspects of the Sri Lankan civil war. Primarily, she has conducted research with two different ethnic groups, Sri Lankan Tamils and Sri Lankan Muslims. Her research explores changing forms of ethnicisation, the effects of protracted civil war on ideas of home in the midst of profound displacement and the transformations in and relationships between the political and the familial in the midst of political repression and militarization. She has also conducted other research on the history of railways in Sri Lanka, on the political culture of treason amongst Sri Lankan Tamils, the BBC World service in South Asia etc. She is currently undertaking new research in Sri Lanka on post war life in the Jaffna Peninsula mapping new post war social configurations. The second fieldwork project that she is conducting fieldwork on currently is entitled " The Local Level Social Life of Global Ideologies" and will be based in Kerala, South India. It is based in the Palakkad district of Kerala and will examine three generations of transformation among agricultural workers and the rural library movement."
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
BioMudit Trivedi is an archaeologist with interests in religious subjectivity, materiality, craft and historical anthropology.
His first book project, An Archaeology of Virtue, considers the archaeology of conversion to Islam through the results of an ongoing long-term archaeological project he has co-directed at the site of Indor in Rajasthan, North India. This research bridges archaeological and anthropological conceptualizations of tradition. It considers the thematizations of ethical relations, hierarchies and gendered pious praxis in material media. It brings together analyses of architectural, spatial and artifactual datasets combined with compositional elemental analyses. The project’s wider goals are to rethink the secular modern commitments of archaeology and the nature of the archaeological trace.
Mudit is also interested in developing critiques of archaeology’s disciplinary commitments to liberal values and legal infrastructures. A first paper from this project critically re-situates colonial Treasure Trove laws that framed the archaeological common good around the taking of finds from others. This second project reconsiders archaeological praxis and the discipline’s recourse to property law in a series of South Asian contexts ranging from accidental finds to disputes centred on waqfs.
His forthcoming publications relate to these combined interests. They cover archaeometric insights into social contexts of glass artifact production and use in South Asian and other contexts; the long-term settlement history of the region of Mewat in North India, and theoretical problems in the historical and archaeological study of religion and conversion. He has co-edited a special issue of the Medieval History Journal on ‘Archaeologies of the Medieval in South Asia’.
Barbara L. Voss
Professor of Anthropology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsI am a historical archaeologist who studies the dynamics and outcomes of transnational cultural encounters: How did diverse groups of people, who previously had little knowledge of each other, navigate the challenges and opportunities of abrupt and sustained interactions caused by colonialism, conflict, and migration? I approach this question through fine-grained, site-specific investigations coupled with broad-scale comparative and collaborative research programs.
Edward Clark Crossett Professor of Humanistic Studies, Emerita
BioSylvia Yanagisako is the Edward Clark Crossett Professor of Humanistic Studies and Professor of Anthropology, Emerita. From 2023-2026 she will be Centennial Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. Her research and publications have focused on the cultural dynamics of kinship, gender, work and capitalism. She has also written about the orthodox configuration of the discipline of anthropology in the U.S.
Professor Yanagisako’s latest book, Fabricating Transnational Capitalism: a Collaborative Ethnography of Italian-Chinese Global Fashion (Duke University Press, 2019), co-authored with Lisa Rofel, analyzes the transnational business relations forged by Italian and Chinese textile and garment manufacturers . This book builds on her monograph (Producing Culture and Capital (Princeton University Press), which examines the cultural processes through which a technologically-advanced, Italian manufacturing industry was produced. Professor Yanagisako is currently conducting research on sea level rise, seashore management and family legacies in Hawai’i.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsSerkan Yolaçan’s research straddles anthropology and history to examine how transregional networks of business, religion, and education act as conduits of political change in the Middle East and Asia. His book project, Time Travelers of Baku: Conversion and Revolution in West Asia, brings to light the role of the Caucasus and its erstwhile Azeri diaspora in connecting the modern histories of Iran, Turkey, and Russia.