Skip to main content

2022-2023 Colloquia

October 10

Adrienne Lo

University of Waterloo

Ontologies of the sign: Positioning signs, speakers, and ideologies in research on language and race 

The question of how to grapple with participants’ understandings of the world is one that is at issue in many corners of anthropology these days. Work on the ontological turn, materiality, and decolonializing epistemologies, for example, has explored how to reconcile various standpoints on beliefs, facts, and objects. In this presentation, I examine how the fields of linguistic anthropology and sociolinguistics have dealt with these issues. Drawing upon research in race and language in the US, I argue that our metasemiotic models are predicated on liberal notions of the sovereign speaking subject and the empirical sign, as separated and separable entities. I conclude with an exploration of some potential alternatives to these models, and discuss their implications for the study of language and social life.   


November 14schneider250x250.jpg

Tsim Schneider

University of California Santa Cruz

From Hinterland to Homeland: The Archaeology of Refuge and Recourse in Colonial California

This talk presents my ongoing archaeological, historical, and collections-based research examining Indigenous hinterlands as critical sites of refuge and recourse for California Native communities confronting periods of missionary, mercantile, and settler colonialism. After discussing places of refuge around the San Francisco Bay Area where Native peoples returned to distance themselves from colonial missions, the talk will then explore the rebuilding efforts of a Native community connected to a mid-1800s era trading post in western Marin County. The two projects are explored relative to other archaeological studies of colonialism within and outside of California, and to my continuing efforts to practice a more relevant and community-engaged archaeology of doing and belonging in Indigenous homelands.


January 23crossland-zoe-1.jpg

ZoË Crossland

Columbia University

Zoë Crossland’s research deals with the historical archaeology of Madagascar, and with evidential practices around human remains. Her approach to historical inquiry is informed by Peircean "semeiotics," which she uses to explore the imbrication of the material and the immaterial, the human and the nonhuman.

The research Crossland has undertaken in Madagascar has been concerned with archaeologies of encounter, including a consideration of how material traces in the landscape made the dead present as historical actors (2014). She is now working with colleagues Chantal Radilmilahay, Bako Rasoarifetra and Rafolo Andrianaivoarivony on the history of irrigated riziculture in the highlands, with a particular focus on the constitution of sovereignty through and with the partnership of rice plants, paddy fields and irrigation structures.

In her work on forensic evidence and the archaeological production of the dead body, Crossland considers the work of inference and practical activity by which archaeology conjures and evaluates competing claims about the past. She is presently working on a book, The Speaking Corpse, which teases out the different evidential relations through which the forensic corpse presents itself as witness. She does this by attending to the ways in which the evidence of the dead is explained and delineated for popular consumption by forensic anthropologists.


January 30

Robin Nelson

Arizona State University

 Robin Gair Nelson is an associate professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. With a focus on critical periods of growth and development, she investigates the relationship between familial dynamics, culturally salient forms of social and financial capital and the health of Black Caribbean families. Nelson also studies equity in science and the legacy of racism on theory building in biological anthropology.


February 27

Sherina Feliciano-santos

University of South Carolina

 Dr. Sherina Feliciano-Santos has been awarded the Peter and Bonnie McCausland Faculty Fellowship. According to the fellowship's webpage,  this honor recognizes faculty who are "simultaneously leaders in their academic fields and committed, creative teachers". Dr. Feliciano-Santos' research focuses on "linguisitc anthropology, the politics of language use, social activism, legal and court systems, language and race, language and cultural revitalization, racial and ethnic formations, religion, narrative, and face-to-face interaction". Clearly, her foci are broad and, when combined, create unique works such as her recently published book, "A Contested Caribbean Indigeneity: Language, Social Practice, and Identity within Puerto Rican Taíno Activism". Her book explores activism of the Taíno people, who are seeking public recognition that their ethnic group still exists in the present-day. Luckily for readers, the McCausland fellowship will aid in funding more interesting research for Dr. Feliciano-Santos to share in the future.  


April 24deeb-1.jpg

Lara deeb

Scripps College

What Will People Say? Love Across Difference in Lebanon

Intersectarian and interreligious marriages often provoke strong opposition from Lebanese of all sects and faiths. In this talk, Lara Deeb will share part of her book-in-progress, What Will People Say? Love Across Difference in Lebanon. Through mixed couples’ stories and the innovative ways many of them think about social difference and confront patriarchy, Deeb highlights the role of family and close social relationships in reproducing sectarianism and explores its impact on people at the personal level, outside the formal realms of law and politics.


May 8

Cara ocobock

University of Notre Dame

“The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway”: How Reindeer Herders of Sub-Arctic Finland Bioculturally Cope with the Cold 

With mean annual temperatures ranging from 0.1 – 1.6°C and snow that reaches a depth of 72 cm, reindeer herders of sub-Arctic Finland negotiate not only a physically demanding livelihood, but also a harsh, cold environment. To understand what biological and behavioral adaptations herders employ to survive and thrive, I and my collaborators conducted physiological and ethnographic research among reindeer herders in northern Finland in October 2018 and January 2019. This research adds to the currently sparse understanding of biocultural resilience among modern cold climate populations, and provides key insights into the interaction between climate, health, and human evolution. 


May 22

jafari allen

University of Miami

“The Anthropology of ‘What is Utterly Precious’: Black Feminist Habits of Mind, and the Object (and Ends) of Ethnography.” 

The larger work out of which this short intervention emerges—There’s a disco ball between us: a theory of Black gay life-- inaugurates a form that builds upon the Black feminist imperative to produce purposefully embodied narrative theory, the queer mandate to resist or subvert normativity, and the ethnographic warrant to poetically represent lived reality.Here, we meditate on the “discipline” Marlon Riggs and other Black gay men, lesbians, trans, and bisexual cultural workers and intellectuals were engaged in, that he named “anthropology… the unending search for what is utterly precious” -- proposing some frameworks for ethnographic work drawn from this Black gay tradition of the long 1980s.

Back to top