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Faculty

Handler

I am a cultural anthropologist who studies modern western societies. My initial fieldwork was in Quebec (1976-1984) where I studied the Québécois nationalist movement. This has led to an enduring interest in nationalism, ethnicity, and the politics of culture. Upon coming to Virginia in 1986, I pursued the latter topic by looking at history museums. Beginning in 1990, I worked with Eric Gable (Ph.D. Virginia 1990) and Anna Lawson (Ph.D. Virginia 1995) on an ethnographic study of Colonial Williamsburg, which is both an outdoor museum and a mid-sized nonprofit corporation.

LaViolette

I am an archaeologist with active research in Africa and a particular interest in medium-range and large-scale societies over the last two millennia. My earliest research was in West Africa where I conducted an ethnoarchaeological study of craft production in Jenne, Mali with implications for early urbanism in the Inland Niger Delta. Since 1987 I have been working on the East African coast, conducting survey and excavation in several regions on the mainland and on Pemba Island, Tanzania, on sites at the intersection of archaeology, ethnology, and history.

Damon

Muyuw, 1996 - with Amoen, "Sipum,"
hunter, woodsman and guide, deceased 2009.
Please see the beginning of my book:
Trees, Knots and Outriggers: Environmental Knowledge in the Northeast Kula Ring.

Dobrin

I am a linguist trained in the analysis of sound and word structure. My first research project was on the Arapesh languages of Papua New Guinea. Working from both documentary sources and materials collected during fifteen months of fieldwork (1997-1999), I studied the ways in which sounds are systematically exploited by the Arapesh noun classification system.

Weston

Kath Weston’s current work focuses on political economy, political ecology and environmental issues, historical anthropology, and science studies.  She has also published widely on kinship, gender, and sexuality.  Before coming to the University of Virginia, she taught at Harvard University and Arizona State University.  She has also served as a Visiting Professor at Cambridge University, the University of Tokyo, Brandeis University, Wellesley College, and Olin College.

Lefkowitz

I am a linguistic anthropologist interested in the points of overlap between emotion, identity, and social power. I look at how people express emotion (linguistically), how these emotional expressions pattern along lines of cultural identity (gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, etc), and how these patterns fit into a society’s social hierarchy.

Mentore

The disciplinary effects of anthropology have over the years gradually framed and reframed my current research interests.  They have done so as the hard-won legitimacies to speak and to write about the cultural forces contributing to the presence of human socialities in the Antilles and Amazonia.

Shepherd

My research applies my interest in historical dynamics, political economy, and conflict theories of society to issues in Chinese society at both the macro level of empire and region and at the micro level of marriage, gender, and domestic groups. I am concerned with research design, and the critical examination and testing of competing hypotheses, even those labeled as "interpretations." 

Wattenmaker

My research focuses on the archaeology of complex societies, particularly those in the ancient Near East. I am currently involved in a long-term archaeological project in southeast Turkey, examining the formation and organizational dynamics of complex societies in Upper Mesopotamia from 5500- 2000 B.C. One component of my research in Turkey involved excavating at a town site. I was particularly interested in how and why non-elite households altered their patterns of production and consumption as state society formed.

Plog

My research focuses on culture change in the prehistoric American Southwest, particularly the changing nature of ritual and social organization from approximately A.D. 800 to the present. My recent focus has been on the Chaco Canyon region of northwestern New Mexico, perhaps the most important center of the Pueblo world in the 11th and 12th centuries. I address what I believe are key aspects of organization, ritual and cosmology during the Chacoan era.

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