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.
The young people of war-torn northern Colombia want their homes and their lifestyle back. Displaced from their villages by guerilla and paramilitary groups, they have spent the last 10 years in urban centers—making them prime targets for recruitment by those same criminal enterprises. But rather than falling prey to a violent cause, they’ve founded a successful peace-building movement. Notre Dame Ph.D. student Angela Lederach ’07 wants to know why. She’s spent the last two summers living in Cartagena, Colombia, researching the Peaceful Movement of the Alta Montaña, and plans to return in August for at least a year to continue researching the organization for her dissertation.
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.
If you had asked me at the beginning of my freshman year at Notre Dame whether I planned to pursue a career in anthropology, I almost certainly would not have replied in the affirmative. In fact, my response would likely have been more along the lines of “What exactly is anthropology?” Like many new college students, I had never been properly introduced to the field, and had no real concept of what it was that anthropologists actually did. All I had to go by were a few largely random names that had cropped up in the news or my past schoolwork: Paul Farmer, Franz Boas, Jane Goodall, Indiana Jones (all right, maybe that last one is a little out of place).
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 Fulbright program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. It awards a one-year postgraduate fellowship for research, study or teaching English abroad. During their fellowship, scholars will work, live and learn in their host country.