When the Wauja people tell a story about their history and culture, the words they choose convey a deep meaning about the indigenous Brazilian tribe’s interconnectedness to its landscape. Christopher Ball wants to delve into that relationship between language and place. Funded by an American Council of Learned Societies fellowship, the assistant professor of anthropology is exploring how the Wauja people use words to create an identity that ties their culture to a nearby river and chronicling that meaning for future generations.
Professor Susan D. Blum in WalletHub’s recent debate on whether college should be free. You can find the piece here: https://wallethub.com/blog/should-college-be-free/24403/#susan-d-blum…
Christopher Ball, an assistant professor of anthropology, will spend time with an indigenous tribe in Brazil studying local history and culture through connections between language and nearby rivers. Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, the Notre Dame Professor of English, will pursue a book project that explores the notes that medieval readers made in the margins of historic texts and books in order to rediscover sophisticated early reading practices for understanding the self.
For decades, scientists have considered race to be a biological category that could predispose someone to certain diseases. Jada Benn Torres believes the issue is more complicated. Molecular anthropology, she contends, can help offer a clearer picture of why some people get sick and others don’t. Benn Torres, an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology, is researching uterine fibroids, a common health problem for which race is listed as a risk factor.
Their subjects are separated by hundreds of years and thousands of miles, yet two recent books by Notre Dame anthropologists have striking similarities on the driving forces behind human migration. Living and Leaving: A Social History of Regional Depopulation in Thirteenth-Century Mesa Verde, by Associate Professor Donna Glowacki, untangles the web of reasons why an entire culture simply packed up and left the Four Corners region nearly 800 years ago. Crimes of Peace: Mediterranean Migrations at the World’s Deadliest Border, by Assistant Professor Maurizio Albahari, examines why African and Middle Eastern migrants and refugees risk their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. The books have played a major role in establishing Notre Dame’s Department of Anthropology as a source of insight and perspective on significant social issues.
The abandoned island of Inishark off the coast of western Ireland is coming to life again thanks to new technology—a multimedia book project by Notre Dame anthropologist Ian Kuijt and filmmaker William Donaruma ’89. Through an innovative collaboration, they’ve created Island Places, Island Lives, a guidebook detailing the heritage and history of Inishark and its neighboring island, Inishbofin. Along with text and photographs, the book incorporates short videos of the island that appear on a smartphone or tablet when readers, using a free companion app, hold their device over key images in the book.
Alex E. Chávez, an assistant professor in anthropology and Fellow of the Institute for Latino Studies (ILS), sees parallels between longstanding Latino migration to the United States and the current crisis of Middle Eastern and North African migration to Europe. He was part of a group of ILS faculty fellows who met with Italian scholars to discuss immigration at Notre Dame’s Global Gateway Center in Rome in October.
The 2015-2016 academic year has been a terrific and tumultuous year for the Department of Anthropology. We continue to push boundaries, publish extensively, and shape the discipline of anthropology. A substantial number of books, articles, blogs, external grants, and media events attest to the impact of the departmental faculty—and our efforts are growing by leaps and bounds.
Notre Dame anthropologists Rahul Oka and Catherine Bolten—and the students they inspire—are researching ways to improve life for displaced and marginalized populations around the globe. The results were showcased in the University’s award-winning “What Would You Fight For?” series.