Department of Anthropology

Telescopic Nationalism in Post-Socialist Mongolia

I set out to look for cultural nationalism, focusing on three sites that as expected revealed a rich variety of manifestations. I specifically examined expert cultural practices (Mongolian calligraphy), national spectacles (Naadam), and projects of cultural and religious revival (Buddhist, semi-Buddhist and others). What I found has profoundly affected my understanding of how nationalism can work.

Politics on the Hoof: Exploring Late Bronze Age Food Production and Political Organization

In recent years, it has become very clear that food is a political matter. Food deserts, GMO crops, ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ labeling disputes, various ‘slow food’ movements, and even recent controversies over the ethics of eating quinoa have brought the political dimensions of the simple, everyday act of eating to the forefront of the contemporary moment. This strong connection between food and politics is not limited to the present or even to recent history. The production, distribution, and consumption of foods always have political implications and impacts.

Wine Made in China: An Experiment of Industrial Agriculture and Transformation of Farmland Ownership

Whenever I explain about my research topic to American friends, they are usually surprised by the fact that wine is actually produced in China. As a matter of fact, China is now the sixth largest producer of wine by volume, surpassing Chile and Australia. Since the early 2000s, the Chinese government has been promoting the wine industry as a model of rural development and agricultural industrialization. Supported by local governments, major wine companies are expanding their vineyards by leasing farmland from village collectives and employing villagers as contract farmers.

Russell Sage Foundation Awards

The Russell Sage Foundation was established by Mrs. Margaret Olivia Sage in 1907 for “the improvement of social and living conditions in the United States.” RSF now carries out that mission by sponsoring rigorous social scientific research as a means of diagnosing social problems and improving social policies. In sponsoring this research, the Foundation is dedicated to strengthening the methods, data, and theoretical core of the social sciences. The Foundation’s awards are restricted to support for social science research within the following five program areas:

States of Care and Corruption

            Security check cleared, required entry permit in hand, I head to the Lower House building at the Jordanian Parliament to start my SSD-funded summer research on public discourse on corruption in Jordan since the late-1980's.  I find Rula, the last remaining librarian that day, a 17-year old who had started working there two months prior to her completing her high-school examination (General Certificate of Secondary Education).

Welcome 2014 Graduate Students

The first day of autumn brought a new chohort of graduate students to the Social Sciences Quad on Tuesday morning for the Division's 2014 Welcome Breakfast. Dean Nirenberg delivered a short address during which he offered context and some wisdom as they begin this transformative period of their lives. He reminded them, "We are known as the teacher of teachers but we are also the leader of leaders."

Breakfast was followed by a march where the students participated in a convocation on the main Quad. Classes begin Friday, September 29th. 

Negotiating the Politics of Construction in Luanda, Angola

If the government would agree to move them to Kilamba (a new Chinese-built satellite city for the middle class), Miguel[1] explained that I would come back to the neighbourhood to find everyone had already voluntarily relocated. He and others were facing forced removal to a poorly built set of matchbox houses in Zango, a resettlement area on the edge of Luanda province. Having launched a protest against the removal, they were waiting for what the response to their demands would be.

Social Conditioning: The Politics of Transracial Adoption and White Care for Black Hair

I am writing a dissertation on private agency adoption in Chicago, which involves the circulation of predominantly black infants and children from the South and West sides of the city (as well as international “sending countries” such as Haiti and Liberia) to primarily white adoptive families.

Asymmetries in Semantics and Ontology: When Doctors Speak to Patients

Patients often have different understandings of medical practice from those of their healthcare providers. Such asymmetries can have significant implications for decision-making. How, then, do patients manage to give what counts as ‘informed consent’ to participate in medical treatment and research? This is not meant as a rhetorical question. Communication does take place in spite of the incomplete sharedness of concepts. In fact, it must take place; the stakes for both parties can be very high.

Tradition and Community During the Easter Service at St. Giragos Armenian Church, Diyarbakır

Almost immediately after our group of three deacons and a priest were picked up from the airport in Diyarbakır in the southeast of Turkey, the conversation turned to preparations for the second Easter celebration at the recently renovated St. Giragos Armenian Church in almost thirty years. Der Hayr (the Armenian term for a married priest) turned to the driver and asked, “Were you able to make choreg?” Choreg is an Armenian sweet pastry made especially for Easter.