Ford Family Assistant Professor
B.A., Lawrence University, 2000
M.A., University of Illinois Chicago and Field Museum, 2001
Ph.D., University of Illinois Chicago and Field Museum, 2008
Prof. Oka is an economic anthropologist and his research interests include anthropology of urbanism, social network analysis, the development of complex socio-economic systems, applications of agent-based simulation modeling techniques to anthropology and archaeometry/materials analysis. He focuses on the relationship between trade, urbanism and political infrastructures. His previous research experience includes archaeological excavations in port cities in India and Kenya, archaeometric research on trade in the Indian Ocean, and ethnohistoric and ethnographic research on trading communities in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. Presently, he is conducting two ethnographic research projects, viz., wartime commerce in northwestern Kenya and southern Sudan, and the effect of globalization on traditional businesses in South Asia. He also continues his ethnographic and archaeological research on the relationship between trade, urbanism and politics, specifically focusing on the institutionalization of poverty and inequality in past and contemporary societies of South Asia and East Africa.