Shaylih Ryan Muehlmann
Shaylih Muehlmann’s work examines the intersections between environmental conflict, language and identity, with a specific focus on how social processes coalesce in the construction of inequality and the formation of social subjects. Dr. Muehlmann brings to her scholarship a strong commitment to an ethnographic analysis of contemporary social issues, which in her first book, “Where the River Ends” (Duke 2013), she applied to understanding how a group of Cucapá people in northern Mexico have experienced a trans-national water conflict at the end of the Colorado River. Her second book analyzes the effects of the so called “war on drugs” on the rural under-classes of the US-Mexico border region and is entitled “When I Wear My Alligator Boots” (UC Press 2013). Shaylih is currently working on a book about the way gendered activism in Mexico is shaping current drug war policies (under contract with UC Press). Shaylih was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 2020.
Keywords: Environmental politics; linguistic anthropology; drug trafficking; water scarcity; the anthropology of the awkward; US-Mexico borderlands; Mexico.
Royal Society of Canada, UBC Studios, November 2016 (view here)
Interview with Currents. (view here)
Interview with Artswire. (view here)
Shaylih Muehlmann received her PhD from the University of Toronto in 2008 and was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California Berkeley (2008-2010). She joined the anthropology department at the University of British Columbia in 2010 and was appointed the Canada Research Chair in Language, Culture and the Environment in 2011.
Dr. Muehlmann has received numerous awards for her scholarly work including the 2009 University of California Press Public anthropology publishing Prize, the 2012 Ton Vallen Award and the 2012 Junior Scholar Award from the Anthropology and Environment Society. Dr. Muehlmann was also awarded the Best Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2012 from Anthropology Students Association at the University of British Columbia. In November 2016, Dr. Muehlmann was inducted as a member of the Royal Society of Canada and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2020.
Main research themes: Environmental politics; linguistic anthropology; drug trafficking; water scarcity; the anthropology of the awkward; US-Mexico borderlands; Mexico.
- 2014 When I Wear My Alligator Boots: Narco-Culture in the US-Mexico Borderlands. Berkeley: University of California Press. (view here)
- 2013 Where the River Ends: Contested Indigeneity in the Mexican Colorado Delta. Duke University Press. (view here)
Selected Journal Articles and Book Chapters
- 2020. The Narco Uncanny. Public Culture, 32(2 (91)), pp.327-348. (view pdf)
- 2019. “Clandestine Infrastructures: Illicit Connectivities in the US-Mexico Borderlands Infrastructure,” In Environment and Life in the Anthopocene. Edited by Kregg Heatherington. Durham NC: Duke University Press. Pp.45-65.(view pdf)
- 2018. The Gender of the War on Drugs. Annual Review of Anthropology. Volume 47: 315-330.(view pdf)
- 2017.“‘Hasta la Madre!’ Mexican Mothers against ‘The War on Drugs’,” Social History of Alcohol and Drugs 31: 85-106.(view pdf)
- 2015. “Languages Die Like Rivers”: Entangled Endangerments in the Colorado Delta. In Fernando Vidal and Nina Das, (eds.) Endangerment, Biodiversity and Culture. London: Routledge. (view pdf)
- 2014. “The Speech Community and Beyond: Language and the Nature of the Social Aggregate.” In Nick Enfield, Paul Kockelman and Jack Sidnell, eds. Cambridge Handbook in Linguistic Anthropology. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Pp. 577-599. (view pdf)
- 2012. Rhizomes and other uncountables: the malaise of enumeration in Mexico’s Colorado River Delta. American Ethnologist. 39(2):339-353. (view pdf)
- 2011. Von Humboldt’s parrot and the countdown of last speakers in the Colorado Delta. Language & Communication. doi:10.1016/j.langcom.2011.05.001. (view pdf)
- 2009. How do Real Indians Fish? Neoliberal Multiculturalism and Contested Indigeneities in the Colorado Delta. American Anthropologist. 111(4): 468-479. (view pdf)
- 2008.“Spread Your Ass Cheeks”: And Other Things that Should not be Said in Indigenous Languages. American Ethnologist. 35(1): 34-48. (view pdf)
- Defending Diversity: Staking Out a Common, Global Interest. In Duchêne, Alexandre and Monica Heller eds. Discourses of Endangerment: Interest and Ideology in the Defence of Language. New York: Continuum. Pp. 14-34. (view pdf)
ANTH203 Anthropology of Drugs Sections
Illicit and/or licit drugs through historical, political, cultural and societal examples.
One fine body…
ANTH300A Contemporary Anthropological Theory - CONTMP ANTH THRY Sections
Contemporary approaches to society and culture in anthropology.
One fine body…
ANTH506A Current Research in Anthropology - CURRENT RES ANTH Sections
The relationship between current theoretical issues and research methods.
One fine body…
Dr. Muehlmann has received numerous awards for her scholarly work including the 2009 University of California Press Public anthropology publishing Prize, the 2012 Ton Vallen Award and the 2012 Junior Scholar Award from the Anthropology and Environment Society. Dr. Muehlmann was also awarded the Best Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2012 from Anthropology Students Association at the University of British Columbia. In 2016 Dr. Muehlmann was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2020.
Guggenheim Fellowship, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, 2020-2021 (view)
Killam Faculty Research Fellowship, University of British Columbia, 2018 (view)
Social Science and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant 2017-2021
Member of the Royal Society of Canada, 2016, Royal Society of Canada (view)
Wall Scholar Award, 2015, Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies
Junior Scholar Prize, 2012, Anthropology and Environment Society (view)
Best Undergraduate Teaching Award 2011-2012, Anthropology Students Association, UBC.
Ton Vallen Award, 2012, The Babylon Center, Tilburg University (view)
Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Language, Culture and the Environment (view)
Richard Carly Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship, Wenner Gren Foundation 2012
Social Science and Humanities Research Council Standard Research Grant 2010-2013
Wenner-Gren Postdoctoral Research Award and Osmundsen Initiative Funding, Wenner-Gren Foundation 2010-2012