“[All] I want to eat is a rice ball.”
This was the last entry in the diary of a 52-year-old man who starved to death in an apartment he had occupied for 20 years. His is just one of many voices of the precarity of everyday life and death that populate Anne Allison’s new ethnography of pain, struggle, and hope in modern Japan. Precarious Japan (Duke University Press, 2013) considers the transformations of the relationship between work and life in Japan that followed its social and economic fall after the financial bubble burst in 1991.
Sherman was selected to give the student address at Duke's graduate at Wallace Wade Stadium. Read more
Rebecca Stein has been appointed to an endowed chair as part of the Bass Program for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, which recognizes professors who have achieved distinction both in undergraduate teaching and scholarly research. Read more....
Two beautiful and provocative quilts by Duke anthropologist Marcia Rego are now hanging in the department office. For more about the project:
Come by and see them, and put your comments in the comment notebook!
Starn spoke to the Los Angeles Times for this article about Michael Sam, the University of Missouri star who will likely this fall become the first openly gay player in the NFL.
Kristina Jacobsen: On the Navajo Nation
Date: March 28-‐‑29, 2014
Location: Duke University – Durham, North Carolina
Submission Deadline: February 10th, 2014
Notification of Acceptance: February 20th, 2014
Co-‐‑Organizers: Ashley Carse, PhD (U. of Virginia), Jatin Dua (Duke), Stephanie Friede
(Duke), Dana Powell, PhD (Appalachian State).
Duke Grad. Student Committee: Joella Bitter, Carla Hung, Brian Smithson, and
For more information: Visit http://sites.duke.edu/infrastructures2014/ or email
firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
From highways to hospitals, waterways to waste water facilities, infrastructures are
increasingly the focus of ethnographic research. We invite advanced graduate students,
junior scholars, and faculty in anthropology and related disciplines to Duke University
for a two-‐‑day event limited to 25 participants. Through roundtable discussions and
thematic workshops, we will establish an intimate atmosphere to consider the
possibilities for creative and critical approaches to studies of the built environment.
Urban planners, economists, geographers, historians and scholars of science and
technology studies have long studied infrastructures. In recent years, however, a body
of ethnographic and critical work on infrastructures as techno-‐‑political and semiotic
systems has begun to emerge. What might design theory, landscape architecture,
environmental history, political ecology, and literature bring to the ethnographic studies
of infrastructure, and what might we, anthropologists and others, offer to other
communities studying infrastructural worlds? Not only the invisible substrate of
everyday life-‐‑worlds, infrastructures are active symbolic, material, and political entities.
This gathering is driven by the question: what can a focus on infrastructure, both as a
material for research and a conceptual framework, enable and occlude?
Organized around roundtable discussions led by distinguished faculty, as well as
smaller theme-‐‑based sessions, participants will be asked to informally present their
work in small group sessions, engaging in conversations on writing, methods, theory,
and praxis. The thematic groups include: Landscapes, Mobilities, Communications, and
Contestations. These broad categories will organize our conversations and generate
connections across perhaps unexpected infrastructural forms. While your work likely
bleeds between various themes, participants will have time to connect with other groups
as well. Prior to the event, we will ask participants to share a short piece of writing-‐‑in-‐‑
progress with their small group (We are requesting 5 pages of writing, but groups will
be able to determine what works best for their collective) in addition to informally
presenting the writing during the workshop. Infrastructure is a ripe topic for inter-‐‑
disciplinary engagement. As such, we are inviting artists, designers, engineers, and
cartographers to a session on the second day of the gathering, where we hope to explore
ways of collaborating and sharing research beyond the University.
Seeking: Advanced graduate students, junior scholars, and interested faculty whose
research grapples with infrastructure either conceptually and/or substantively. To be
considered for participation, please submit a very brief statement (no more than 2 pages)
1) A brief description of your current research.
2) How your current research grapples with an infrastructural world.
3) Your first and second choice of working groups, from this list:
• Mobilities (Transportation; Borders and Boundaries; Globality; Connection-‐‑
• Landscapes (Energy, Extraction, Green Infrastructure; environmental
degradation and change; aesthetics; space; geography; temporality; scale)
• Contestations (Social Movements and Politics, Repurposing Infrastructures,
Informal Infrastructures; Identity and Subjectivity; Development)
• Communications (Meaning and Poetics; Networks; Cyber-‐‑pathways; Other
In addition, we request a copy of your current CV. Please feel free to add any questions
or ideas that exceed our provocations. We hope to curate the events in conversation with
the interests of participants. Limited travel funds are available. Please include any
requests for financial support in your proposal submission. Please email as a PDF
attachment to DukeInfrastructures2014@gmail.com by February 10th, 2014
We will connect small groups prior to March 5h, at which point we will ask that you
share a short piece of writing with your colleagues. In order to accommodate everyone’s
busy schedules we ask that you circulate all pieces of writing on or before Monday,
Through three cooperating classes, culture-language-media workshops, a group documentary conducted by artists from the Latino community, and partnerships between Duke students and local high school and community college students, with final outcomes that include film screenings, photo-murals and a multimedia exhibit encompassing the processes and products produced, we propose to build two-way connections between Duke and the Latino Community. Read more...
Allison discussed her new book, Precarious Japan....
The Duke women's field hockey team made a strong run at the national title at the NCAA Championships this past weekend. They came in second in the country, a great achievement. We are proud to say that many women's field hockey players have been Cultural Anthropology majors over the years, now including Lauren Blazing, Ashley Camano, and Abby Beltrani. Many other members of the team have been terrific students in our Cultural Anthropology classes.
Congratulations to all of you on a wonderful season!
Starn will be offering his popular "Sports and Society" class through Coursera with a start date of January 20, 2014. For more information, and to register: https://www.coursera.org/course/sports
Starn also appears in a recent Newsday story on the controversy over the team name of the Washington Redskins.
Byerly gave a talk in the prestigious TED series on "Breaking Sound Barriers: Music as Mirror, Mediator, and Mystic" on November 12 in Cincinnati. You can watch her at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwePt2W5Iq8
Brian Goldstone: The Miraculous Life
On Friday, October 4th, Professor Rebecca Stein of Duke University came to the University of Toronto Anthropology Department to take part in their Anthropology Colloquium Series to speak about her work in the field of cultural anthropology. Her lecture was entitled "Viral Occupation: Social Media Rule in Israel Palestine Read more...
Cultural Anthropology Professor – and Dean of Trinity College – Lee Baker has just been awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Society for North American Anthropology. This prize is awarded to a senior anthropologist for broad-based contributions to research, teaching and service related to the development of critical studies of North America. The award recognizes a distinguished long-term program of research and publication, and also takes into account contributions in other areas, such teaching and training, SANA/AAA service, and community, activist, practice, or policy involvements outside academia.
Matory has just been named the winner of this prestigious German scientific fellowship given "in recognition of lifetime achievements in research."
Congratulations to Rebecca Stein, who has just been named the Nicholas J. and Theresa M. Leonardy Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology! This prestigious chair recognizes excellence in research and teaching, and brings with it membership in the Bass Society of Fellows.
The last year has seen a dramatic uptick in press coverage of Chinese environmental issues. There have also been a number of books published on the subject, with more due out soon. So this seemed a good moment to get in touch with my friend Ralph Litzinger, an anthropologist based at Duke University. He has been tracking the topic closely, while also writing about other important issues, ranging from Tibetan self-immolations to labor conditions in and protests at Chinese factories.
Professor Orin Starn writes about the Boston bombings in the Huffington Post..
In the new issue of the South Atlantic Quarterly (Vol, 112, No. 1 Winter 2013), Ralph Litzinger has edited a special Against the Day issue, "Labor in China: A New Politics of Struggle." In his own essay, Professor Litzinger discusses the activist campaigns against Apple and its suppliers in China over the last several years.
Choreography: Alison Kibbe in collaboration with the dancers
Music: Vem Menina (samba song from Rio de Contas, Brazil); Adao Adao, Cade Salome (capoeira song); Washerwoman Blues by Bessie Smith; Quick Reaction and Satisfaction by Etta James; interviews conducted summer 2011 in Bahai, Brazil with female capoeiristas and sambadeiras
Accompaniment: Katya Wesolowski
Costumes: Alison Kibbe
Dancers: Destani Bizune, Chanelle Croxton, Michaela Dwyer, Alison Kibbe, Michael Oliver
Cultural Anthropology Professor Ralph Litzinger has been selected as the 2012-2013
recipient of the Howard D. Johnson Teaching Award. This Trinity College Distinguished Teaching Award is one of four that recognizes truly outstanding teaching in the College.
CA professor Ralph Litzinger co-edits and contributes an essay on a
Hot Spot issue of the journal of Cultural Anthropology on the recent wave of
self-immolations in Tibet.