Lectures, Film Screenings, Events

Monday, September 14, 2:30pm
Daniel J. Smith
“Men, Money, and Intimacy: Conspicuous Redistribution in Nigeria”

In contemporary Nigeria, the performance of masculinity requires money. Yet the need to have and spend money sits uneasily with widely shared values regarding intimacy and sociality. Drawing on his book about masculinity in Nigeria, in this talk Professor Daniel Jordan Smith utilizes the concept of conspicuous redistribution as lens to understand Nigerian men’s behavior as they navigate the complex geometry of money and intimate social relations in their everyday lives.

Daniel Jordan Smith is the Charles C. Tillinghast, Jr. ’32 Professor International Studies and Professor of Anthropology at Brown University. Smith conducts research in Nigeria focusing on a range of issues, including population processes, political culture, kinship, gender, and health. He won the 2008 Margaret Mead Award for his first book, A Culture of Corruption: Everyday Deception and Popular Discontent in Nigeria (Princeton University Press, 2007), and the 2015 Elliott P. Skinner Award for his second book, AIDS Doesn’t Show Its Face: Inequality, Morality, and Social Change in Nigeria (University of Chicago Press, 2014). His most recent book is To Be a Man Is Not a One-Day Job: Masculinity, Money, and Intimacy in Nigeria (University of Chicago Press, 2017). In 2020, he was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in African Studies. (Emory PhD 1999)

Connections in Anthropology
Friday, October 2, 12-1pm
"What are you going to do with that degree...?"  Why Businesses Need (and Hire!) Anthropology Majors
Dr. Whitney Easton, Visiting instructor and consulting anthropologist.

According to Business Insider and the The Harvard Business Review, major companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Airbnb, Intel, J.P. Morgan Chase, Accenture, Verizon, Spotify, Ford, Nissan, Procter & Gamble, and IDEO are increasingly hiring students  trained in anthropology.  Join us to find out why.

We will explore opportunities for you to leverage your anthropology education in innovative fields like design research, product development, marketing and advertising, user experience research, finance, tech, healthcare, sustainability, and organizational culture/change.

RSVP in Handshake.

Monday, October 5, 2:30-4:00pm
Mariam Durrani
Unsettling the Syllabus: A Decolonial Feminist Intervention

In this workshop, Professor Mariam Durrani (Hamilton College) will help us consider how to include a more diverse range of scholars and perspectives in our curricula and syllabi.

Mariam Durrani is a feminist anthropologist whose research brings together scholarship on transnational Pakistani Muslim youth, decolonial feminist approaches to migration, the anthropology of the “war on terror”, and critical higher education. She is an assistant professor of anthropology at Hamilton College.

Armelagos Lecture
Monday October 19
Robert Boyd
Large-scale cooperation in small-scale foraging societies

Dr. Boyd presents evidence that people in small-scale, mobile hunter-gatherer societies cooperated in large numbers to produce collective goods and participated in communal efforts like warfare and trade. This evidence suggests that large-scale cooperation occurred in the Pleistocene societies that encompass most of human evolutionary history, and there- fore it is unlikely that large-scale cooperation in Holocene food producing societies results from an evolved psychology shaped only in small group interactions. In humans, extensible, grammatical language and increased cognitive ability makes possible more complex planning, and cumulative cultural evolution allows the gradual evolution of complex norms regulating human action that are adapted to particular environments. It is plausible that these differences may support the evolution of large-scale cooperation supported by direct sanctions through mechanisms that are not available to other animals.

Rob Boyd (PhD, Ecology, UCDavis) is Professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University. He has taught at Duke and Emory Universities and UCLA. Much of Rob’s research focuses on incorporating cultural transmission into the Darwinian theory of evolution, and using the modified theory to understand why humans are such peculiar creatures.

Connections in Anthropology
Friday, October 30, 12-1pm
LCDR Howard Chiou.
LCDR United States Public Health Service. Preventive Medicine Resident, CDC.

What can I do with my Anthropology major?  Why is Anthropology important?  What can Anthropology offer to this world-turned-upside-down?  Join us for this series of Zoom events featuring conversations with Emory Anthropology alumni. The series is geared toward making sense of anthropology and its connections to professional pathways, postgraduate training, personal development, and public activism and engagement.

LCDR Howard Chiou, MD, PhD is a U.S. Public Health Service physician who joined the CDC as an officer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service, assigned to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. He recently completed the program and is now assigned to the CDC One Health Office as a resident in the CDC Preventive Medicine Residency. A graduate of the Emory University MD/PhD Program in anthropology, his dissertation research focused on culture change in healthcare. After graduating, he worked as visiting faculty at Stanford University on applying positive deviance methods to intensive care units, and completed a transitional year residency at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

LCDR Chiou will share his own experiences, as well as discuss opportunities for anthropology graduates to work in government positions, and highlight training programs like the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service, the CDC Preventive Medicine Residency, and opportunities in the U.S. Public Health Service.

RSVP in Handshake.

Monday, November 9
Jenny Tung
Social interactions in primate genomics, life history, and evolution

The goal of our work is to link fitness-related behavior, life history, and environmental variation with outcomes that are relevant on an evolutionary timescale, using tools from genomics and social mammals as our focal system. Here, I will discuss our work on the molecular mechanisms that connect social relationships—which are among the most robust predictors of Darwinian fitness in social mammals—to downstream outcomes for immune function and aging. I will also discuss our emerging understanding of the causes and consequences of hybridization in wild baboons, focusing on an intensively studied natural population in the Amboseli ecosystem of Kenya. Both areas of our work emphasize the value of genomic data for revealing patterns that cannot be captured using phenotypic analyses alone. At the same time, they stress the importance of interpreting genomic information through an organismal lens. 

Jenny Tung is an Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology and Biology at Duke University and an affiliate of the Duke Population Research Institute, the Center for Genomic and Computational Biology, and the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. Jenny joined the Duke faculty in 2012 after completing her post-doctoral training in the University of Chicago Department of Human Genetics and her PhD training in the Duke Biology department. Research in the Tung lab focuses on the intersection between behavior, social structure, and genes. The lab is particularly interested in how social environmental variables of known biodemographic importance, such as social status and social connectedness, feedback to influence gene regulation, population genetic structure, and health and survival across the life course. We primarily ask these questions in nonhuman primates and other social mammals, which are natural models for human social behavior, physiology, and aging. Currently, most of our work centers on a longitudinally studied population of wild baboons in Kenya (Tung co-directs the Amboseli Baboon Research Project) and captive rhesus macaques at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center.

Student Panel
Tuesday, Nov 10, 2-3pm

Making the Most of your Anthro Major: Advice from Seniors.

Join us to hear from a panel of senior Anthropology majors as they share their experiences related to courses, research, campus involvement, transition from Oxford campus, professional planning, and more!  Open to current and prospective majors/minors from the Atlanta and Oxford campuses. Panel will be moderated by Dr. Kristin Phillips, Director of Undergraduate Studies in Anthropology.

Click here to RSVP.

Connections in Anthropology
Friday, November 20, 12-1pm
Sheba Ehteshami, PhD, MPH.
Transformation Lead, BlackRock.

What can I do with my Anthropology major?  Why is Anthropology important?  What can Anthropology offer to this world-turned-upside-down? Join us for this series of Zoom events featuring conversations with Emory Anthropology alumni. The series is geared toward making sense of anthropology and its connections to professional pathways, postgraduate training, personal development, and public activism and engagement.

Sheba is a program leader in the Human-Centered Design and Agile space with specific experiences in strategic ideation, development, and execution of these disciplines across a variety of industries - and primarily through service redesign and tech.  She has almost ten years of core consulting and multi-industry experience, which has afforded her the opportunity to manage large-scale transformations, collaborate with interdisciplinary teams, and drive a range of strategic and operational projects.  She has worked extensively in supporting organizations looking to be more people-driven and data-centric.  An Emory alumna, she received her BA in Anthropology and MPH in Health Administration & Policy.  She also received her Doctorate in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California.  In her personal time, Sheba supports chronic cancer patients through their health journeys at Emory Healthcare and continues engaging with non-profit efforts in Puerto Rico.

RSVP on Handshake.


Monday November 23, 2:30PM
Dr. Fatima Jackson
Evolutionary Perspectives on African North American genetic diversity: origins and prospects for future investigations


Fatimah Jackson is professor of biology and the director of the W. Montague Cobb Research Laboratory at Howard University. She received her bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees with distinction in all subjects from Cornell University. She focuses her studies in the study of African human genetics, human-plant coevolution, particularly the influence of phytochemicals on human metabolic effects and evolutionary processes, and in population biological substructures in peoples of African descent. She is recognized for developing ethnogenetic layering as a computational tool to identify human micro ethnic groups in complex heterogeneous populationsand their differential expressions of health disparities.

Earlier this year, Dr. Jackson received the Charles R. Darwin Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

February 1
Courtney Meehan
Moms, Milk, and Microbes: Systems-level analysis on maternal-infant health and human microbiomes

Dr. Courtney Meehan is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at Washington State University. Her research is centered on cross-cultural child development and global maternal-infant health. Specifically, she examines how human evolution, early environments (social and physical), and behavior shape our microbiomes and influence short-and long-term health, development, and wellbeing. She directs longitudinal research programs in the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, and the United States. Additionally, she co-directs an interdisciplinary, international human milk composition and microbiome research project focused on 11 sites around the world. Her current research projects include: identifying the origins and factors associated with the structure and variation in the human milk microbiome; the relationships between maternal-infant microbiomes, behavior, and health; and the impact of SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 vaccine on human milk composition. 

Human infancy is characterized by a host of ancestral traits which include frequent maternal-infant contact, on-demand breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and cooperative breeding. These ancestral characteristics have supported the development of our highly dependent infants and enabled reproductive success in diverse environments, despite women’s narrow reproductive windows and the high energetic costs associated with simultaneously rearing multiple dependent children. Here, I argue these traits have also played a critical role in the evolution, formation, and development of our microbiomes, which can promote and protect from disease. Utilizing our cross-cultural data on infant early environments and human milk composition, I characterize the diverse caregiving worlds of infants and explore how our early social environments and mothers’ life history characteristics are associated with the human milk microbiome (HMM). Human milk, once thought to be sterile, is one of the earliest and most consistent sources of bacteria to infants and an important factor in the colonization of the infant gastrointestinal microbiome. Yet, the origins and role of the HMM are not yet fully understood. The results from our studies identify relationships between maternal life history characteristics, our ancestral caregiving traits, and the HMM. Additionally, our results provide evidence of bi-directional maternal-infant microbial transfer during breastfeeding and together indicate that the maternal-infant dyad is an integrated biological system, connected via complex communities of microbes, which enable mothers and infants to communicate about their environment and prime the infant for the world in which he or she will be reared. Moreover, results highlight the importance of transdisciplinary science in global maternal-infant health research.

February 3
Elisabeth Lonsdorf
Growing up ape: integrative studies of chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) development

Elizabeth Lonsdorf is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Biological Foundations of Behavior at Franklin and Marshall College. She began studying primates as an undergraduate student at Duke University, where she studied the development of percussive foraging in Aye-ayes at the Duke Lemur Center. She completed her Ph.D. at the Jane Goodall Institute's Center for Primate Studies at the University of Minnesota, focusing on sex differences in the development of tool-use skills in the wild chimpanzees of Gombe National Park. She was then the founding Director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo before joining the faculty of F&M in 2012. Her current research focuses on behavioral development and the intersection of health and behavior in wild chimpanzees, and social learning and cognition in a variety of primate species. She conducts her research on chimpanzees at the Gombe Stream Research Centre in Tanzania, and on the two capuchin monkey families that call F&M home. Elizabeth is also a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, a member of the Board of Directors for Chimp Haven (the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary) and the former Vice President for Education and Outreach for the International Primatological Society.

The overarching goal of Dr. Elisabeth Lonsdorf's scholarship is to understand the interplay of development and health in non-human primate behavior as a model for the evolution of human childhood. Lonsdorf is interested in the various influences that shape a primate’s life from birth to adulthood, and the resultant outcomes in terms of survival, reproduction, and behavioral variation. Chimpanzees exhibit one of the lengthier periods of pre-reproductive dependency among primates and grow up in a dynamic and complex social and physical environment. Over the past decade, Dr. Lonsdorf has integrated long-term datasets with new data collection to examine these sources of variation. For example, it is now known that male and female offspring differ with regards to behavioral and social development, that mothers of sons are more gregarious than mothers of daughters, and that sons nurse for longer than daughters. Along with her collaborators Dr. Lonsdorf also documented how maternal dominance rank impacts the length of the weaning period and the outcome of aggressive interactions between immatures. As part of a new comparative study of chimpanzees and mountain gorillas, Dr. Lonsdorf is now leading an effort to integrate behavioral observations, physiological measures, hard tissue analyses and photographic techniques to better understand the development of nutritional independence, a key life history variable. Here she will summarize what is currently known regarding developmental variation in wild chimpanzees from Gombe and outline fruitful areas of research for the coming decade.


February 8
James Holland Jones
The Shape of Human Life Histories: Implications for the Evolution of Risk Preferences, Exchange, and Prosociality

James Holland Jones is a biological anthropologist with a strong background in classical social anthropology and training in human evolutionary, behavioral, and population ecology. Following his Ph.D. work at Harvard, he undertook an interdisciplinary post-doctoral fellowship at the Univ of Washington in the Center for AIDS and STD, the Center for Statistics in the Social Sciences, and the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology. As a recipient of a career award from NICHD, he developed expertise in social network analysis and disease transmission dynamics and has since parlayed his interest in population phenomena in the ecological context into a research program that combines on biodemography, the evolution of human life histories, and the evolutionary ecology of infectious disease. His work is highly interdisciplinary, with collaborations bridging the natural, social, and medical sciences, as well as increasing engagements with applied practitioners in topics of social justice and global health. He combines anthropological fieldwork and mathematical and statistical formalisms – optimality models, transmission-dynamics models, models of social networks, models of decision-making – to produce theoretically-informed and empirically-grounded biosocial science. Jones is currently an associate professor of Earth System Science and a senior fellow in the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University.

Human life histories combine late age at first reproduction, long reproductive span, relatively high fertility, extensive allomaternal economic transfers, and substantial post-reproductive survival. I suggest that this highly unusual constellation of life-history elements implies that humans engage in bet-hedging reproductive strategies. This observation is consistent with the fact that the genus Homo is a product of the Pleistocene, a geological epoch characterized by substantial environmental volatility at multiple temporal scales. In this talk, I will present a series of results that follow from the analysis of what I call "the shape" of human life histories. The shape of a life history arises from the way fitness accrues over the life cycle of an organism. Most analyses of human life histories conflate fitness with reproductive success, but this approach fails to account for crucial fitness differences that arise from differential timing in non-stationary populations. Starting from a simple observation that there are diminishing marginal fitness returns to parity, three fundamental insights follow. First, it opens up the possibility that fitness can be maximized at intermediate fertility. Second, it suggests that fitness-related decisions imply preferences over risk. Third, because it carries the highest fitness elasticity of any life-cycle transition, juvenile survival acts as a major constraint on the form that human life-history strategies can take. I will discuss how we can measure life-history trade-offs using demographic data and show that the trade-off between fertility and infant survival is particularly steep. The net fitness benefit of a unit increase in fertility must be, at a minimum, approximately 25 times the associated cost in infant survival for the fertility increase to be worthwhile. This result is quite general, holding for a wide variety of demographic schedules ranging from hunter-gatherers to agrarian populations to wealthy nation states. The observation of implied risk preferences open up a number of opportunities for empirical tests. I discuss one recent test where, using the theory of decision-making under risk, I predict that women should reduce fertility during economic shocks but that this reduction should be modified by age. Specifically, older women are predicted to be less risk averse than younger women because absolute risk aversion declines steeply with age and parity. I provide a test of the risk-sensitive-fertility hypothesis in an analysis of demographic change on the American Frontier, showing that while the reality of fertility-change is always complex, the predictions of the risk-averse-fertility model are broadly supported.

From these fundamental observations about human life-history evolution, I will discuss how the necessity for risk management across the life cycle shapes decision-making about livelihoods more generally. The evolutionary framework I have developed, for example, helps bring some order to a number of the puzzles in human decision-making identified by behavioral economists. Moreover, this framework helps us understand the structure and function of exchange networks in subsistence populations. I will briefly discuss the theory underlying risk-management networks and introduce our ambitious new project that is designed to measure individual risk-management strategies and their consequences for aggregate social structures in a sample of subsistence populations. I conclude with a discussion of possible extensions of the methods I employ in the analysis of human life histories to applications in disease ecology, global health, and social justice. 


February 10 

Rebecca Ackermann
UNSHARED ORIGINS: pattern, process, practice and power in human evolution research

Rebecca Rogers Ackermann is a biological anthropologist, Professor in the Department of Archaeology, and Deputy Dean of Transformation in the Faculty of Science at the University of Cape Town. She was the founding Director of UCTs Human Evolution Research Institute, and is currently its Deputy Director. Her research focusses on evolutionary process, and specifically how gene flow, drift and selection interact to produce skeletal diversity through time. Her research is illuminating the complex origins of our species. Ackermann is an acclaimed lecturer and recipient of the UCT Distinguished Teacher Award, is Chair of the Committee on Diversity International for the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, and is engaged in discourse and policy development around sexism, racism and transformation of the discipline more broadly.

Human evolution has traditionally been portrayed as a branching tree where you can trace the success of a single lineage through that tree which ultimately leads to the evolution of our species, Homo sapiens, in Africa a few hundred thousand years ago. Other branches either go extinct before we evolve, or soon after through replacement. This simplistic narrative has been propped up by a disciplinary focus on alterity, or the “othering” of some taxa, which has acted to position certain species and regions as central to the human evolution narrative to the exclusion of others, while at the same time touting messages of unity, or recent “shared origins” to garner support. Recent research has exploded this narrative, painting a much more complex picture of our origins, with diverse and varied contributions from different regions and taxa. Here I discuss how a focus on the link between pattern (variation) and process (evolution) has contributed to the demise of these simplistic narratives, including everything from the origins of the earliest hominins to that of our species. I also explore how underlying systemic issues in the way palaeoanthropology is practiced are detrimental to the science itself, as they serve to maintain power and status in the hands of the same groups who have most of it already, contributing to the persistence of racist, patriarchal and colonial practices and influencing who gets to narrate the story of our past.


March 1
Speaker: Dána-Ain Davis
THE SPACE BETWEEN WOMB AND HOME: NICUs, Racism, and Premature Birth
2:30 PM

Dána-Ain Davis is Professor of Urban Studies at Queens College and on the faculty of the PhD Programs in Anthropology and Critical Psychology.  She is the director of the Center for the Study of Women and Society at the Graduate Center.

In the last decade, Davis has focused her attention on reproduction, race and technologies that assist in reproduction. She has written several articles addressing issues of reproduction and racism including, “Obstetric Racism: The Racial Politics of Pregnancy, Labor, and Birthing,” (2019); “Trump, Race, and Reproduction in the Afterlife of Slavery” (2019); “Feminist Politics, Racialized Imagery, and Social Control: Reproductive Injustice in the Age of Obama” with Beth E. Richie and LaTosha Traylor (2017); “The Bone Collectors” (2016); and, “The Politics of Reproduction: The Troubling Case of Nadya Suleman” (2009). She is the author, co-author, or co-editor of five books, most recently Reproductive Injustice: Racism, Pregnancy, and Premature Birth(NYU Press 2019). The book received the Eileen Basker Memorial Prize from the Society for Medical Anthropology; The Senior Book Prize from the Association of Feminist Anthropology; was named a Finalist for the 2020 PROSE Award in the Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology category, given by the Association of American Publishers. The Victor Turner Ethnographic Writing Award Committee of the Society for Humanistic Anthropology awarded the book an Honorable Mention. The book was also listed in New York Magazine's Strategist column in an article, Anti-Racist Reading List and The Black Feminism Book List.

In Reproductive Injustice, Davis examines medical racism in the lives of professional Black women who have given birth prematurely. The book shows that race confounds the perception that class is the root of adverse birth outcomes and lifts up the role that birth workers—midwives, doulas, and birth advocates—play in addressing Black women’s birth outcomes.

Davis is the recipient of several awards the most recent being the Brocher Foundation Residency Fellowship in Switzerland for one month in 2021 and the Association of Marquette University Women Chair in Humanistic Studies at Marquette University, in Wisconsin. She will assume the one semester positon of Visiting Chair for the Fall 2021 semester. Davis is also doula and co-founded the Art of Childbirth with doula/midwife Nubia Earth-Martin, that offers free birth education workshops that incorporate artistic expressions in Yonkers, New York.

Davis has been engaged in social justice, particularly reproductive justice and racial justice. Over the last 30 years she has worked with a number of national reproductive justice organizations including; the New York City Department of Health’s Sexual and Reproductive Justice initiative; and Scholars for Social Justice, Civil Liberties Public Policy (Amherst, MA); National Institute for Reproductive Health; National Network of Abortion Funds, and most recently served on the New York State Governor’s Task Force on Maternal Mortality and Disparate Racial Outcomes and currently serves on the Birth Equity Collaborative in San Francisco, CA.

In addition to Reproductive Injustice, she is the author, co-author, or co-editor of four books including: Battered Black Women and Welfare Reform: Between a Rock and Hard Place (2006); Black Genders and Sexualities with Shaka McGlotten (2012); Feminist Activist Ethnography: Counterpoints to Neoliberalism in North America with Christa Craven (2013); Feminist Ethnography: Thinking Through


March 10
Sameena Mulla
Nursing Sexual Violence from the Stand: Victimized and Victimizing Bodies 

In this talk, Dr. Mulla draws on courtroom ethnography to show how witness testimony produces legal knowledge about victimized and victimizing bodies in sexual assault prosecutions. She argues that while the victimized body requires the expert mediation of a forensic nurse, the victimizing body is self-evident and secure as a legible form. The forensic nurse examiner is the primary witness who narrates knowledge about the victimized body into the court record and for the consideration of the jury. The nurse, cast as simultaneously sympathetic and suspicious in the adversarial tensions of prosecution, must vacuate her testimony of its emotional charge, and deploy clinical language to make the victimized body legible to the court of law. She does so while building on deeply taken for granted understandings of feminized bodies, and cultural mores around sexual assault. The victimizing body rarely enters the court through testimony, and when that testimony does enter the courts, it is lay people, such as the victimizer himself, who collectively represent and make visible the victimizer’s body. These different pathways through which the victimizing and victimized bodies enter the legal record demonstrating their distinctive footing both within and beyond the courts. 

Sameena Mulla is Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences at Marquette University. She is the author of The Violence of Care: Rape Victims, Forensic Nurses, and Sexual Assault Intervention, for which she was awarded the Margaret Mead Award in 2017.  She is the founding co-editor of Feminist Anthropology. Her next book, Bodies in Evidence: Race, Gender and Science and Sexual Assault Adjudiation, co-authored with Heather Hlavka, will be published in November 2021.  

2:30pm, Zoom

March 17
Nessette Falu
Unseen Gynecological Trauma, Wellbeing, and Erotic Power in Bahia

This lecture examines Brazilian Black lesbians’ unseen negative affective, emotional, and corporeal experiences caused by entrenched prejudice, or preconceito, and what is seen by my participants as interlocking social violence within gynecology in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. I rethink medicalized genital injury discourses to center the unseen emotional and social trauma within gynecology and its impact upon these women’s strivings for sexual liberatory praxis within these medical spaces. I will also briefly introduce gynecology as, what I term, a social clinic, for how present-day gynecological infrastructures mirror Brazil’s broader sociohistorical and social violence. An interrogation of unseenvivências (lived experiences) within gynecological spaces moves us toward an anthropology of worth and worth making to value how knowledge production and praxes through community and family ties are mobilized and the social change work that fortifies erotic power and envisions anti-violent institutional spaces.

Nessette Falu (pronouns she/her/hers) is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Central Florida. She holds a PhD (2015) in cultural anthropology from Rice University. Her book manuscript under review titled, Unseen Flesh: Black Lesbian Worth Making and Gynecological Trauma in Bahia, argues that Black lesbians enforce wellbeing up against intersectional intimate violence in gynecology, leading them to evaluate, protect, and chart their sense of worth within these spaces and draw upon their daily sense of worth making. She authors peer-reviewed publications in Journal of Latin America and Caribbean Anthropology, Medical Anthropology, and Feminist Anthropology journals. Her current research investigates the extensive sexual misconduct inflicted upon BIPOC patients by gynecologists in the U.S. Prior to joining UCF in 2017, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and Caribbean at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She holds a Master of Divinity from the New York Theological Seminary. She enjoyed a fifteen-year clinical career as a Physician Assistant in neurosurgery, internal medicine, HIV-specialty, and hematology-oncology. She identifies as a Black queer feminist who loves lakes, rivers, and the ocean.

2:30pm, Zoom

March 22
Sa’ed Atshan
Enduring Humanitarianism in the Palestinian Territories 

Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (the West Bank and Gaza Strip) are among the highest recipients of per capita international humanitarian aid in the world. This talk will examine the enduring nature of Western aid to Palestine and how Palestinians endure their lives as humanitarian subjects. This reveals the paradoxes of humanitarianism in both facilitating and subverting colonial processes. The talk will focus on three intersecting domains: psychosocial humanitarianism, gender-based violence interventions, and security-sector support. Thus, this research provides an ethnographic account of contemporary Palestinian politics and society under prolonged humanitarian governance, thereby contributing to the anthropology of policy, humanitarianism, mental health, gender, and security studies.  

Dr. Sa’ed Atshan is an Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College. He is currently spending the 2020-2021 academic year on sabbatical as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Visiting Scholar in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He previously served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies.  

He earned a Joint Ph.D. in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies, and an MA in Social Anthropology, from Harvard University, and a Master in Public Policy (MPP) from the Harvard Kennedy School. 

As an anthropologist, Atshan's research is focused on a) contemporary Palestinian society and politics, b) global LGBTQ social movements, and c) Quaker Studies and Christian minorities in the Middle East. 

Atshan is the author Queer Palestine and the Empire of Critique (Stanford University Press, 2020) and is co-author of The Moral Triangle: Germans, Israelis, Palestinians (Duke University Press, 2020). His forthcoming book, Paradoxes of Humanitarianism: The Social Life of Aid in the Palestinian Territories, is forthcoming with Stanford University Press in their Anthropology of Policy Series. 

2:30pm, Zoom


March 24
Kristin D. Phillips
The Uncommon Sense of Biogas: Energy, Ethics, and Infrastructure in Off-Grid Tanzania

In this talk, Dr. Phillips examines the historical emergence of household biogas technologies—digestors that convert animal, agricultural, and human waste into fuel for cooking and lighting—in northern Tanzania. Drawing on ethnographic research in rural and peri-urban Arusha, Phillips asks: how do different ideas about what is ‘good energy’ animate the politics and implementation of biogas in off-grid Tanzania? How do biogas’s material and infrastructural properties engage diverse ethical registers and prompt different aesthetic responses? And how do people draw on these registers to negotiate the rough edges of entangled ethical worlds?  Through analyzing the politics of planetary reckoning, the semiotics of waste, and the historical sedimentation of inequality in infrastructural form, Phillips theorizes the interface of the anthropologies of energy, infrastructure, and the environment.    

Kristin D. Phillips teaches in the Department of Anthropology at Emory University.  She is the author of An Ethnography of Hunger: Politics, Subsistence, and the Unpredictable Grace of the Sun, which won the Society of Economic Anthropology’s 2020 Book Prize and was an Honorable Mention for the 2019 African Studies Association Book Prize. Phillips’ current book project, funded by a three-year National Science Foundation grant, explores renewable energy and rural electrification in Tanzania.  

2:30pm, Zoom  


March 29
Benjamin Fogarty-Valenzuela
Occupation: A Collective, A Pedagogy, A Politics


Drawing on ideas from a book project on the politics of occupation in Brazil, this talk addresses the wake of the mass protests by the Movement for Black Lives that shook the US last summer. 2020 presented itself as a moment of tensionfor both the justice system and academic disciplines including anthropologywith two possible paths forward: a return to normalcy or a radical break. This talk asks what it would look like for anthropology to build itself anew after such a break. In order to do so, it turns to a set of events that ran parallel to the uprisings: namely, a series of protest occupation movements—encapsulated by the CHOP/CHAZ encampments in Seattle, but also by the school occupations Dr. Fogarty-Valenzuela researches during fieldwork in Brazil. Examining student activists’balancing of collective and individual needs, their collaborative approach to pedagogy, and their efforts at integrating their school into the community, he theorizes the occupation as a collective, pedagogical, and political space. Charting a path forward for an anthropology of occupation that is aligned with engaged, abolitionist, and multimodal scholarship, Dr. Fogarty-Valenzuela show how anthropology can learn methodological and conceptual lessons from student activists. 

Benjamin Fogarty-Valenzuela joined the University of Chicago as a Mansueto Fellow and Sociology Postdoctoral Scholar after receiving his PhD in anthropology from Princeton University in 2019. His book project, Pedagogies of Occupation: Free Time, Professionalization, and Protest in Urban Brazil, examines the politics and policing of youth in Brazil. The book addresses the anthropology of policing and incarceration, youth and education, drugs, time, activism, and digital media, and is based on research that has also been published in Current Anthropology. In a recent event with The New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson, he launched Art of Captivity / Arte del Cautiverio (University of Toronto Press 2020, co-authored with Kevin Lewis O’Neill, with whom he has also published research in JRAI). A Spanish/English photo-ethnography and digital exhibition, the book investigates artistic production inside para-carceral drug rehabilitation centers in Central America. Fogarty-Valenzuela’s research has been supported by the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and the Harold W. Dodds Honorific Fellowship. At the University of Chicago, he teaches “Digital Ethnographic Methods”the only course of its kind at the Universityand convenes the Chicago Ethnography Incubator. His multimodal work won the 2020 Current Anthropology Visual Anthropology Competition, and in 2021 he became the journal’s inaugural Visual Editor. He is also working on a film that chronicles the occupation of a school by a vanguard youth movement in Brazil. 
2:30pm, Zoom

March 31
Yeon Yu
“Magnetic Ties”: Women’s Entry into the Sex Trade in Post-Socialist China


Roughly four to ten million women are working in the transactional sex industry in post-socialist China and STIs have risen steeply. The booming sex industry can largely be attributed to unprecedented market-driven reforms, which have widened the economic gap between rural and urban areas. In this talk, drawing on 27 months ethnographic fieldwork in red-light districts in a tourist province in southern China, Yu describes how migrant women enter into the illegal and stigmatized industry. By focusing on the critical role of social networks as the initial mechanism through which female sex workers are produced, this talk will discuss how magnetic tiesfunction as a moral justification mechanism that makes sex work an ethical choice; close, trusted people encourage the women to enter the sex trade as a way to fulfill their obligations to support their families.

Yeon Jung Yu is a social and medical anthropologist with a background in public health, women’s and gender studies, and East Asian studies. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University and is currently an associate professor at Western Washington University. Yu examines the intersections of (1) illegal/stigmatized activities, (2) gender/sexuality and race/ethnicity, and (3) infectious diseasesand well-being. Her research and teaching experience integrates a range of scholarly interests, including labor migration, sex work, HIV/AIDS, social stigma, and social networks.

2:30pm, Zoom

April 7
Jeremy Koster
“The Promise of Long-Term Individual-Based Studies: Synchronic to Longitudinal Methods”

Biological anthropologists are interested in the key adaptive shifts that led to the modern human phenotype. Synchronic studies of variation in subsistence strategies and related outcomes help to inform the goal of inferring adaptations. Yet, the human niche is characterized by prolonged life histories and inter-generational social learning, which are challenging to observe fully in cross-sectional research. To illustrate this complexity, Dr. Koster will discuss a recent comparative analysis of cross-sectional data on heterogeneity in hunting ability, which reveals substantial age-related variation across individuals and societies. However, as seen in cognate disciplines, long-term anthropological studies of individuals can help to elucidate the mechanisms that underlie this variation. As an example of this approach, he will describe his ongoing studies of subsistence strategies, cooperative support networks, and demographic outcomes at a long-term study site in rural Nicaragua.

Currently a visiting program director for the National Science Foundation, Jeremy Koster completed a PhD degree at Penn State University with a dissertation focused on human subsistence strategies and wildlife conservation in the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, Nicaragua. In 2007, he joined the faculty of the University of Cincinnati, and he is also an external faculty member at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Since 2017, he has co-directed the ENDOW project, a cross-cultural investigation of the social determinants of wealth inequality in rural communities. Dr. Koster’s methodological focus includes the application of multilevel modeling statistical models to complex data structures.

2:30pm, Zoom


April 14
"Justice for Georgia" Film Screening

Justice for Georgia an ethnographic documentary which reveals the efforts and experiences of two Atlanta-based civil rights activists as they manage their organization Justice for Georgia. Founded in June 2020, the organization seeks to support families of police brutality and white supremacy victims as they fight for justice for their loved ones. The film is the product of an Anthropology honors thesis conducted by Anna Wachspress, under the supervision of Dr. Anna Grimshaw. Please join us for the public premiere followed by a panel discussion with the opportunity for audience questions. All donations will benefit Justice for Georgia and the families they serve.

April 22
Ruha Benjamin, MA PhD
Viral Justice: Racism, Vulnerability, and Refuting Black Pathology

In this talk, Dr. Benjamin examines the twin crises of COVID-19 and police violence, mapping the many vectors through which racism gets under the skin, into the blood stream, attacking our bodies and body politic. She offers a theory of change, viral justice – as a practical and principled approach to transmuting a hostile racial climate into one that is more habitable, hopeful, and just.

Dr. Benjamin is a world-renowned scholar and professor of African American studies at Princeton University and the director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab. She writes, teaches, and speaks widely on the relationship between innovation and inequity; knowledge and power; and race and citizenship. She is the author of People's Science: Bodies & Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier (Stanford University Press, 2013) and Race After Technology (Polity Press, 2019) and the editor of the award-winning Captivating Technology: Race, Carceral Technoscience, and Liberatory Imagination in Everyday Life (Duke University Press, 2019). Her next book, Viral Justice: How We Grow the World We Want will explore policing and incarceration; healthcare and scientific research; and work and education. 

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Please go to http://tinyurl.com/pvjgl7eq to register or use the QR code on the flyer.

Please direct any questions or access needs to Dr. Jennifer Sarrett at jsarret@emory.edu.

This event is hosted by Emory's Center for the Study of Human Health and co-sponsored by The Hightower Fund as well as the following Emory departments and entities: Laney Graduate School; The Provost's Office; School of Medicine; Office of Equity and Inclusion; Center for the Study of Human Health; Campus Life; African American Studies; Sociology; School of Nursing; Center for Ethics; ILA; Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture; James Weldon Johnson Institute; WGSS; Anthropology

Anthropology Co-Sponsored Lectures and Events

Dr. Benjamin is a world-renowned scholar and professor of African American studies at Princeton University and the director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab. She writes, teaches, and speaks widely on the relationship between innovation and inequity; knowledge and power; and race and citizenship. She is the author of People's Science: Bodies & Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier (Stanford University Press, 2013) and Race After Technology (Polity Press, 2019) and the editor of the award-winning Captivating Technology: Race, Carceral Technoscience, and Liberatory Imagination in Everyday Life (Duke University Press, 2019). Her next book, Viral Justice: How We Grow the World We Want will explore policing and incarceration; healthcare and scientific research; and work and education.

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Please go to http://tinyurl.com/pvjgl7eq to register or use the QR code on the flyer.

Please direct any questions or access needs to Dr. Jennifer Sarrett at jsarret@emory.edu

Class-related Lectures, Panels, and Film Screenings

Feb 26
Connections in Anthropology: Grad School Panel

This Connections in Anthropology event will feature recent Anthropology alums who are currently enrolled in graduate programs across the country. Our alumni guests will be sharing their experience and advice on the following questions:

  • What kinds of graduate programs do Anthropology majors go on to? 
  • How should I decide between them?
  • What advice should I keep in mind when I'm applying? 
  • And how will Anthropology help me in these various postgraduate pathways?

We hope you’ll join us and bring your own questions!

Panelists will include:
-Karina Collins (MS in Health Ed. and Health Communication, Johns Hopkins)
-Emma Hanlon (Masters of Theological Studies, Candler School of Theology)
-Klamath Henry (Masters of Cultural Anthropology, Cal State Fullerton)
-Sierra Stubbs (Law, Yale)

RSVP in Handshake.

February 18
Anthropology Day Nerd Nite
Please join the Anthropology department as we celebrate Anthropology Day 2021! This is a day set aside by the American Anthropological Association (AAA) to “to celebrate our discipline while sharing it with the world around us.”

This year to celebrate we will be launching Emory Anthropology’s first Nerd Nite! Featured participants will speak for 5ish minutes followed by a chance to discuss with our fellow nerds. 

Please join us for a loose, informal, casual night of NERDING OUT!

March 24
Undergraduate Research in Anthropology Info Session
4:30pm, Zoom

Interested in getting involved in Anthropology research?  Join us to learn about research opportunities and tips for Anthropology undergraduate students. This session will feature Dr. Debra Vidali, Director of Undergraduate Research, Dr. Lori Jahnke, Anthropology Librarian, and current Anthro students involved in research.

Please RSVP here.

Graduate Teaching Roundtables

Teaching Roundtable 1 – Redesigning Syllabi
Date: Oct 14
Time: 2:30p
Teaching Roundtable 2 – Classroom Communication in Zoom era
Date: Nov 4
Time: 2:30p

Graduate Presentations

Graduate Prospectus 
April 30
3:00p Katy Lindquist
“Africa Rising, Africa Uprising: Middle-Class Futures in Urban Uganda”
4:00p Sana Noon
“Intergenerational Politics of Women’s Rights Activism in Pakistan”
5:00p Peter Habib
“Communing at the Water Tank: Cooperation, Conflict, and Water Infrastructure in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley”

Graduate Prospectus 
April 23
2:30p Sarah Kovalaskas
3:30p Madison Bondy

Dissertation Research Proposals
Friday, September 11
3:00pm Erik Ringen
4:00pm Bridget Hansen

Dissertation Presentation
Friday September 18
3:00pm Sarah Whitaker


Dissertation Research Proposal
Friday, October 2
3:00pm Madison Bondy


Dissertation Presentation
Friday, October 23
Embodiment, ecology, and variability in mental health, psychosocial support, and HIV rist in Vietnam
3:00pm Kathy Trang

Dissertation Presentation
Tuesday, November 3
Assaying the Blood of the Sacred Baboon: Oxytocin, Arginine Vasopressin, and the Behavior of the Baboon Subspecies
1:30pm, Daniel Coppeto

Graduate Events