Department of Anthropology

Tracing a Transition: Political Economy in Bronze and Iron Age Mongolia

My dissertation work revolves around the analysis of political economic processes and organizations in prehistoric Mongolia. Specifically, the time period under investigation is the transition between the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age (ca. 1500-500 BC). During this epoch, previous archaeological studies suggest that during this period of transformation the population experienced a radical shift in subsistence practices and political organization.

University of Chicago's Women's Board Grants Fund

Each January, the Women's Board announces a formal request for funding proposals which is disseminated to the University system. Students and Faculty are invited to submit grant proposals in March. A new Women's Board Grants Committee is convened each spring, by the Chair of the Board, to represent the Women's Board in determining grant recipients. The committee reviews all proposals received over the course of several weeks and determines finalists. In late April, over the course of two days, the committee hears presentations given by finalists.

‘Laughing Until it Hurts’: Media Circulation as an Organizing Process

My research focuses on the circulation of discourse around complaints that see ‘vulgar’ television comedy programming as a potentially negative social influence on youth in Japan. Such complaints frequently center the potential for schoolchildren to imitate (mane) comedic routines and speech without fully appreciating the social impact on those around them.  Such discourses argue that what appears as a funny teasing imitation to some may actually become painful bullying (ijime) in the experience of others.

Unsettling Presents, Indigenous Futures: Politics and Mobility on the Northwest Coast

It takes about six hours to take the ferry from Prince Rupert on the northwest coast of British Columbia to the island archipelago of Haida Gwaii, the sovereign territory and home since time immemorial of the indigenous Haida Nation. It’s a ride with something of a reputation for nausea, as the Hecate Strait over which the ferry passes is well known for being shallow, difficult to navigate, and prone to storms. All stomach discomfort aside, though, it’s a ride that is special for me.

Goroka: The Shared Account in Assam’s Kingdom of Magic

My dissertation, tentatively titled “Goroka: The Shared Account in Assam’s Kingdom of Magic,” investigates how, why, and in what ways emergent political and economic relationships and the forces mobilized in coincidence with them have become new sources of (and perspectives on) both prosperity and intersubjective memory in Assam—a state in India’s northeastern periphery beleaguered by so-called “ethnonationalist” violence.

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.