2016 – 2017 Colloquium

Intangible and Archaeological Heritage; the Pixan of Santa Elena, Yucatan

Thursday March 16, 2017

ANSO 134

11:30 - 1:30 pm

Event Poster: PDF

Laura Osorio

 Abstract:

The Yucatan peninsula is one of many regions in the world that contains a high density of archaeological sites. The people of Santa Elena, a town in Yucatan, do not benefit greatly from the tourist revenue or international research involved in the development of local archaeological sites. This paper will present and discuss some of the oral narratives of Maya speaking residents of Santa Elena that touch on archaeological sites as material remains of past societies and the perceived relationship between these sites and the cultural landscape. The land surrounding Santa Elena is often described as having suprasensible or aesthetic qualities and archaeological sites are thought to be inhabited by non-human but active entities (including the pixan). As part of these narratives, archaeological sites play a significant role in the intangible cultural heritage of the area. These narratives also form part of the religious group-making associated with the recent popularity of new Christian denominations. This paper will look at how heritage is involved in local community discourse and identity politics.

About the speaker:

Laura Osorio holds a BA in Archaeology, Classics and Classical Art from University College London and a Masters and PhD in Mesoamerican Heritage and Archaeology from Leiden University. Following the completion of her doctorate she has worked in museum education at the Louvre, has been a curator at The British Museum and is currently the Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow for Latin America at MOA. She has been conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Yucatan since 2009.

Offshore Extractions and the Everyday Life of a Refugee Economy in the Republic of Nauru

Thursday February 9, 2017

ANSO 134

11:30 - 1:30 pm

Event Poster: PDF

Julia Morris

 Abstract:

The Republic of Nauru occupies a prominent place in the international news. In August 2016, the small nation state found itself at the center of another global media frenzy with the Guardian Australia’s “exclusive Nauru Files leaks.” With a catalogue of over 2000 filed incident reports, Nauru’s offshore refugee operations were characterized worldwide as an exceptionality, “a dark, wretched Truman Show without the cameras.” Drawing on fifteenth months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted between Geneva, Australia, Fiji, and Nauru, this paper details the everyday life of Nauru’s offshore refugee manufacturing operations. I show how rather than a substandard operation, Nauru’s offshore system is immaculately engineered to fulfill industry “best practice.” I argue that Nauru is in fact microcosmic of the same industrial hazards that envelop refugee economies elsewhere, putting forward an approach that recognizes the systemic flaws in global refugee operations. I consider how Nauru plays an important role in recirculating value to mainland refugee economies, thus reinforcing the global validity of “the refugee” as a bodily commodity, and the same hazardous industry practices, just onshore not offshore.

About the speaker:

Julia is a Doctoral Candidate in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford and a research student at Oxford’s Centre on Migration, Policy and Society. Her research focuses on the political economy of resource extraction, based on fieldwork on the international refugee industry. She has published in Global Networks and with Routledge publication house on global migration governance and knowledge networks.

Learning to Embody the Radically Empirical

Thursday November 24, 2016

ANSO 134

11:30 - 1:30 pm

Event Poster: PDF

Denise Nuttall

 Abstract:

Cultural anthropology has privileged the concept of ‘experience’ over that of ‘performance’ and as ethnographers we have also privileged the ethnographic text and inscription over the act(s) of fieldwork or the ‘performances’ of ethnography.  Although we have made some improvements toward a different kind of anthropology, one which is embodied, the investigations of the body and performance have ultimately remained on the margins of the discipline. Drawing from my ethnographic-participant fieldwork with North Indian tabla players and the teaching of ethnomusicology labs at an American University, I argue for a turn to what Sarah Pink (2009) has called sensory ethnography.

About the speaker:

Denise Nuttall is Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology & Ethnomusicology & Chair, Anthropology, Ithaca College, Visiting Scholar South Asia Program, Cornell University.

Art Talk: Gossip and Speculation about Market Change in the South Asian Art World

Tuesday November 8, 2016

ANSO 134

11:30 - 12:30 pm

Event Poster: PDF

Karin Zitzewitz

About the speaker:
Dr. Zitzewitz is Associate Professor of Art History and Visual Culture and core faculty member in the Global Studies in Arts and Humanities program. She earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology at Columbia University. Her forthcoming manuscript, The Art of Secularism, won the Edward C. Dimock, Jr. Prize for the Humanities from the American Institute for Indian Studies. Her research focuses on the different ways that Indian artists—both Hindu and Muslim—have inhabited the secular space of the art world during and after the rise of fundamentalist politics. She is beginning a new project on the contemporary art of India and Pakistan, the first installment of which will be curated exhibitions at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU.

The Science of Healing

Monday November 7, 2016

ANSO 134

5:00 - 7:00 pm

Event Poster: PDF

Sienna Craig

Abstract

Often translated as ‘the science of healing’ (sowa rigpa), Tibetan medicine is at once a diverse system of healing with ancient roots extending out from the Tibetan Plateau and a modern, globalizing ‘alternative’ therapeutics. The contemporary practice of Tibetan medicine is enmeshed within multiple, and sometimes conflicting, agendas: from the need to conserve medicinal plants on which Tibetan pharmacology depends, to developing a Tibetan pharmaceutical industry as a method of economic development; from the need to integrate with public health and forms of biomedicine to the need to retain its unique approach to healing. Practitioners strive to maintain the practice’s cultural authenticity, including connections to Tibetan Buddhism. At the same time, Tibetan medicine stakes claims as efficacious science through clinical research. Its therapies are at once forms of cultural knowledge shared across generations and valuable commodities, increasingly regulated by biomedical production standards, intellectual property regimes, and the desires of a consuming public in Asia and beyond. This talk engages these points of tension, discussing how Tibetan medicine remains at once a crucial form of local health care across Tibetan communities, a manifestation of national identity, and, increasingly, a globally available form of ‘traditional’ medicine in the 21st century.

This event is sponsored by the Himalaya Program, the Contemporary Tibetan Studies Program and the Department of Anthropology.

About the speaker:
Sienna R. Craig is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Dartmouth College. She is the author of Healing Elements: Efficacy and the Social Ecologies of Tibetan Medicine (2012), and Horses Like Lightning: A Story of Passage through the Himalayas (2008), and co-editor of Medicine Between Science and Religion: Explorations on Tibetan Grounds (2010). With Dr. Mark Turin, she edits HIMALAYACraig is also the co-founder of DROKPA, which supports grassroots development efforts and social entrepreneurship in the Himalaya.

From a Model to a Full Sized Angyaaq

Thursday October 27, 2016

ANSO 134

11:30 - 1:00 pm

Event Poster: PDF

Sven D. Haakanson

Abstract

There are only 13 traditional model Angyaat (open boats) that have been found in museum collections around the world from the Sugpiat region of Alaska. No full sized ones exist from the past. The Angyaaq was nearly lost to time and it is museum collections that have kept this knowledge alive and allowed the Sugpiat to relearn and put this knowledge back into a living context. In 2014 we made models and then in 2015-16 we constructed two full-sized functional Angyaak. This project shows the value of museum collections to tribes and vice versa.

About the speaker:
Sven D. Haakanson, former Executive Director of the Alutiiq Museum in Kodiak, Alaska, is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington and Curator of Native American Collections at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.

I Heart Korea

Thursday October 20, 2016

ANSO 134

11:30 - 1:00 pm

Event Poster: PDF

Dredge Byung’chu Kang

Abstract

Focusing on beauty work, Dredge Byung’chu Kang (Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of California), shows how embodying Koreanness consolidates the achievement of white Asian status while continuing to perpetuate the marginalization of those with dark skin and low social status in Thailand.

People of the Saltwater

 

Thursday October 6, 2016

ANSO 134

11:30 - 1:00 pm

Event Poster: PDF

Dr. Charles Menzies

 

Abstract

Dr. Charles Menzies’ People of the Saltwater is a combination of personal narrative and ethnographic monograph. This talk explores the complication, advantage, disappointment and enjoyment involved in writing home: both in the sense of writing home to an audience familiar with the subject matter and writing about home to an audience unfamiliar with the place, people, and history.