School of Humanities and Sciences
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Howard H. and Jessie T. Watkins University 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
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.
Shirley R. and Leonard W. Ely, Jr. Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences
BioLynn Meskell is the Shirley and Leonard Ely Professor of Humanities and Sciences in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University, and AD White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University (2019-2015). She is also Honorary Professor in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Over the past twenty years she has been awarded grants and fellowships including those from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Australian Research Council, the American Academy in Rome, the School of American Research, Oxford University and Cambridge University. She is the founding editor of the Journal of Social Archaeology. Lynn has broad theoretical interests including socio-politics, archaeological ethics, global heritage, materiality, as well as feminist and postcolonial theory. Lynn’s earlier research examined natural and cultural heritage in South Africa, the archaeology of figurines and burial in Neolithic Turkey and social life in New Kingdom Egypt.
Recently she conducted an institutional ethnography of UNESCO World Heritage, tracing the politics of governance and sovereignty and the subsequent implications for multilateral diplomacy, international conservation, and heritage rights. Employing archival and ethnographic analysis, her new book A Future in Ruins: UNESCO, World Heritage, and the Dream of Peace (2018, OUP New York), reveals UNESCO’s early forays into a one-world archaeology and its later commitments to global heritage. Some other recent books and edited collections include The Nature of Culture: The New South Africa (2011, Blackwells) and Global Heritage: A Reader (2015, Blackwells). Her new fieldwork explores monumental regimes of research and preservation around World Heritage sites in India and how diverse actors and agencies address the needs of living communities. Given the sheer scale and complexity of archaeological heritage in India, no nation presents a more fraught and compelling array of challenges to preserving its past.
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.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
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 Anthropology
BioKabir Tambar is a sociocultural anthropologist, working at the intersections of political anthropology and the anthropology of 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 politics and ethics of nonviolence in Turkey.
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."
Associate 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.