School of Humanities and Sciences
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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
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 promote civic ideas of “genetic citizenship,” how they enlist participant involvement in specific disease research problems, and how they also contribute to 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.
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 the 2012 Victor Turner Prize and a 2010 Pen Center USA Award. 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.
Reliance-Dhirubhai Ambani Professor
BioThomas Hansen is the Reliance-Dhirubhai Ambani Professor in South Asian Studies and Professor in Anthropology. He is also the Director of Stanford’s Center for South Asia where he is charged with building a substantial new program. He has many and broad interests spanning South Asia and Southern Africa, several cities and multiple theoretical and disciplinary interests from political theory and continental philosophy to psychoanalysis, comparative religion and contemporary urbanism.
Much of Professor Hansen’s fieldwork was done during the tumultuous and tense years in the beginning of the 1990s when conflicts between Hindu militants and Muslims defined national agendas and produced frequent violent clashes in the streets. Out of this work came two books: The Saffron Wave. Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India (Princeton 1999) which explores the larger phenomenon of Hindu nationalism in the light of the dynamics of India’s democratic experience, and Wages of Violence: Naming and Identity in Postcolonial Bombay (Princeton 2001) which explores the historical processes and contemporary conflicts that led to the rise of violent socioreligious conflict and the renaming of the city in 1995.
During the last decade, Professor Hansen has pursued a detailed study of religious revival, racial conflict and transformation of domestic and intimate life from the 1950’s to the present in a formerly Indian township in Durban, South Africa. This round of work has now resulted in a book entitled Melancholia of Freedom: Anxiety, Race and Everyday Life in a South African Township (Princeton University Press, 2012). In addition to these ethnographic engagements, Professor Hansen has pursued a number of theoretical interests in the anthropology of the state, sovereignty, violence and urban life. This has resulted in a range of co-edited volumes, and special issues of journals such as Critique of Anthropology and African Studies. He is currently working on a collection of theoretical and ethnographic essays provisionally entitled Public Passions and Modern Convictions.