Franck Billé, P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for Silk Road Studies
Franck Billé’s core research interest centers on borders, territoriality and sovereignty. His current monograph, tentatively called Somatic States: On Cartography, Geobodies, Bodily Integrity, is a study of the affective force of mapping. The book’s core thesis is that cultural representations of the nation-state are undergirded and sustained by corporeal analogies. Somatic States argues that this language is not simply poetic or metaphoric but that it reflects a genuine association of the individual body with the national outline, and that this identification has been greatly facilitated by the emergence of the national map. A second project, which led to a recent special issue of Cultural Anthropology, challenges the horizontality of cartographic representations and proposes volumetric boundaries as an analytical framework to theorize the actual operation and management of territorial sovereignty. Franck’s previous work, on race and ethnicity, was published with the University of Hawaii Press (Sinophobia 2015, Yellow Perils 2018). More information about his research is available at www.franckbille.com.
Charles Briggs, Anthropology
Charles Briggs’ research and teaching center on the development of critical perspectives that cross border’s national, disciplinary, epistemological, and the academic/activist divide. In 1986, he inaugurated research and collaboration with indigenous communities and activists of the Delta Amacuro rainforest in Eastern Venezuela, which continues through the present. He studied the performance genres that largely confer power on men, including rituals, myths, legends, curing songs, and the ritual wailing that enables women to turn the tables on men’s power. He was trained as a healer. When Venezuelans raised concerns that this work only appeared in English and was not available to them, he published Poeticas de vida en espacios de muerte: Género, poder y estado en la contidianeidad warao[The Poetics of Life in Space of Death: Gender, Power, and the State in Warao Everyday Life] (2012), which looks at performance, language ideologies, power, and inequality, including how people attempt to shape their relations with “the State” and how State actors construct indigenous people. He also translated the award-winning book he wrote with Dr. Clara Mantini-Briggs on a cholera epidemic in Delta Amacuro into Spanish.
Michael Burawoy, Sociology
Michael Burawoy has been a participant observer of industrial workplaces in four countries: Zambia, United States, Hungary and Russia. In his projects he has tried to illuminate – from the standpoint of the working class – postcolonialism, the organization of consent to capitalism, the peculiar forms of class-consciousness and work organization in state socialism, and the dilemmas of transition from socialism to capitalism. Over the course of four decades of research and teaching, he has developed the extended case method that allows broad conclusions to be drawn from ethnographic research. The same methodology is advanced in Global Ethnography, a book coauthored with nine graduate students that shows how globalization can be studied "from below" through participating in the lives of those who experience it. Recently he turned to the study of his own workplace – the university – to consider the way sociology itself is produced and then disseminated to diverse publics. He is the editor of Global Dialogue, the newsletter and magazine of the International Sociological Association.
Aaron Cicourel, Professor Emeritus of Sociology & Cognitive Science, UC San Diego
Kris D. Gutiérrez, Professor, Language, Literacy, and Culture, Graduate School of Education
Kris D. Gutiérrez is a national leader in education, with an emphasis in literacy, learning sciences, and interpretive and design-based approaches to inquiry. Her research examines learning in designed learning environments, with attention to students from nondominant communities and English Learners. Her work on Third Spaces examines the affordances of hybrid and syncretic approaches to literacy, new media literacies, and STEM learning and the re-mediation of functional systems of learning.Her work in social design experiments seeks to leverage students’ everyday concepts and practices to ratchet up expansive forms of learning. Professor Gutiérrez's research has been published widely in premier academic journals, and she is a co-author of Learning and Expanding with Activity Theory. Gutiérrez has received numerous awards for her empirical work, including the 2014 Distinguished Contributions to Social Contexts in Education Research – Lifetime Achievement Award (Division G, AERA). She served on the U.S. Department of Education Reading First Advisory Committee and a member of President Obama’s Education Policy Transition Team.
Seth Holmes, Public Health and Medical Anthropology
Seth Holmes is currently investigating social hierarchies, health, health care and the naturalization and normalization of difference and inequality in the context of transnational US-Mexico im/migration. This project led to the publication of the book, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States (2013). The book has been awarded the Association for Humanist Sociology Book Award (2014), the New Millennium Book Award (2013), the Society for the Anthropology of Work Book Award (2013), and the Out for Sustainability Award (2014). Concurrently, Holmes is conducting research into the production of the clinical habitus, subjectivity, and gaze, in other words the processes through which biomedical trainees learn to perceive and respond to social differences and inequalities.
Jovan Scott Lewis, African American Studies and Geography
Jovan Scott Lewis is an economic anthropologist who works in the field sites of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Montego Bay, Jamaica. His research examines the cultural mechanisms, institutional forms, and social practices through which an unequal living of, and coping with, the economy, its failures and contingencies are understood. Central to this inquiry is an exploration of contemporary inequality, which supports a generative definition of the economy in which poverty and race informs its articulation and spatial organization. Working between the US and the Caribbean, his research endeavors toward an understanding of the political economy of inequality and race within the black diaspora.
Raka Ray, Sociology and South and Southeast Asia Studies
Raka Ray’s areas of specialization are gender and feminist theory, domination and inequality, the emerging middle classes, and social movements. Her publications include Fields of Protest: Women’s Movements in India (1999), Social Movements in India: Poverty, Power, and Politics (co-edited with Mary Katzenstein, 2005), Cultures of Servitude: Modernity, Domesticity and Class in India (co-authored with Seemin Qayum, 2009), Elite and Everyman: The Cultural Politics of the Indian Middle Classes (co-edited with Amita Baviskar, 2011) and Handbook on Gender (2012).
Martín Sánchez-Jankowski, Sociology, and Chair, Center for Ethnographic Research
Martín Sánchez-Jankowski’s research focuses on inequality in advanced and developing societies and has been directed toward understanding the social arrangements and behavior of people living in poverty. He has studied urban gangs within U.S. low-income neighborhoods, resulting in the book Islands in the Street: Gangs and American Urban Society (1991). Subsequent studies have been directed at education, some of the results being reported in a book co-authored with five other Berkeley faculty entitled Inequality By Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth (1996); and the social order of neighborhoods, with those results being published in Cracks in the Pavement: Social Change and Resilience in Poor Neighborhoods (2008). His most recent book is Burning Dislike: Ethnic Violence in High Schools (2016). He is currently engaged in comparative field research on poverty among indigenous groups within the U.S. and Fiji.
Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Anthropology
Nancy Scheper-Hughes’ lifework concerns the violence of everyday life examined from a radical existentialist and politically engaged perspective. She is perhaps best known for her books on schizophrenia among bachelor farmers in County Kerry, Saints, Scholars and Schizophrenics: Mental Illness in Rural Ireland (1976), and on the madness of hunger, maternal thinking, and infant mortality in Brazil, Death without Weeping: the Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil (1993). During the early 1980s she undertook an ethnographic study on the deinstitutionalization of the severely mentally ill in South Boston and on the homeless mentally ill in Berkeley. In 1994-1995 she began an on-going ethnographic study of the role of political and everyday violence in the pre and post-transition periods in South Africa. She has written a series of essays to be published under the title Undoing: The Politics of the Impossible in the New South Africa. Her most recent books are Commodifying Bodies, co-edited with Loïc Waquant (2002), and Violence in War and Peace: An Anthology, co-edited with Philippe Bourgois (2003).
Sandra Smith, Sociology
Sandra Smith's research interests include urban poverty, joblessness, race and ethnicity, social networks and social capital, trust, and culture and social structure. In her recent book, Lone Pursuit: Distrust and Defensive Individualism among the Black Poor (2010), Smith advances current and enduring debates about black joblessness, highlighting the role of interpersonal distrust dynamics between low-income black jobholders and their job seeking relations that make cooperation during the process of finding work a problematic affair. In her current project, tentatively titled Why Blacks Help Less, Smith further interrogates the process of finding work by examining racial and ethnic differences in trust dynamics and exploring the social psychological, cultural, and structural factors that generate these differences.
Claire Snell-Rood, Public Health
Claire Snell-Rood is a medical anthropologist focused on understanding the social-cultural factors influencing women’s mental health and health behaviors in underserved settings, and utilizing this knowledge to improve the effectiveness of interventions in order to reduce health disparities. She has conducted ethnographic and qualitative research among women living in slums in urban India and among women with depression in rural Appalachia and rural California, partnering with community-based research and advocacy organizations and lay health worker initiatives. Her first book, No One Will Let Her Live: Women’s Struggle for Well-being in a Delhi Slum, is based on her ethnographic research in India. Her current work examines how efforts to expand rural access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders include strategies to address mental health.
Loïc Wacquant, Sociology
Loïc Wacquant has conducted fieldwork in the colonial island of New Caledonia, on the South Side of Chicago, and in the jails of big cities in the United States, France, and Brazil. He has acted as consultant on issues of urban poverty, violence, ethnicity, and crime to central and local governments, unions, and the courts in France, Argentina, Brazil, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, and to the United Nations and the OECD. Among Wacquant's books are An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology (1992, with Pierre Bourdieu), Les Prisons de la misère (1999; new and expanded English edition), Prisons of Poverty (2009), Body and Soul: Ethnographic Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer (2000/2004), The Mystery of Ministry: Pierre Bourdieu and Democratic Politics (2005), Das Janusgesicht des Ghettos (2006), Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality (2008), and Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity (2009). Wacquant is co-founder of the interdisciplinary journal Ethnography, which he co-edited from 2000 to 2008. His ongoing investigations include a carnal anthropology of desire, an epistemological inquiry into the construction of the object in urban ethnography, and a comparative-historical sociology of forms and mechanisms of racial domination over four centuries and three continents provisionally entitled Peculiar Institutions.
Laura Graham, Professor of Anthropology, University of Iowa
Laura (Laurie) R. Graham, filmmaker and anthropologist, is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Iowa. Her research on Indigenous agency and politics of representation among Indigenous Peoples of Lowland South America focuses on the A’uwẽ-Xavante of central Brazil where she has worked since 1981 and also on Wayuu of Venezuela. Graham has written extensively on Indigenous speech, expressive culture, and forms of self-representation in national and international arenas, including ethnographic spectacle and use of new media technologies. Her books include the award-winning Performing Dreams: Discourses of Immortality among the Xavante of Central Brazil (1995; Portuguese edition with original field recordings 2018), Performing Indigeneity: Global Histories and Contemporary Experiences (2014) and Language and Social Justice in Practice (2018). She co-directed the 2009 film Owners of the Water: Conflict and Collaboration over Rivers with indigenous filmmakers from Brazil and Venezuela. Currently at ISSI, she is writing a book on Xavante uses of audiovisual technologies and their efforts to achieve representational sovereignty.
Nicole Arlette Hirsch, Ph.D. Sociology, Harvard University
Broadly, my research considers how individuals, groups, and organizations respond to stigmatization, discrimination, and racism. Comparing France and the United States, my dissertation examined how national institutions and culture constrained and enabled the strategies of anti-racist organizations in their efforts to address racially biased policing. From this research, I currently have two articles in progress. The first analyzes how organizations position themselves as racial authorities and engage in processes of racialization through their anti-racist efforts. The second paper examines the limits of culturally resonant frames by examining the deployment of racial frames in fight against racially biased policing in France and the United States. In a second research project, I employ participatory action research methods to study the role of graduate student working groups in facilitating successful outcomes for doctoral students of color.
Corey M. Abramson, University of Arizona
Daniel Dohan, University of California, San Francisco
Manata Hashemi, University of Oklahoma
Greggor Mattson, Oberlin College
Darren Modzelewski, Policy Counsel for the National Congress of American Indians
Gretchen Purser, Syracuse University