1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Seneviratne

My early research interests were fashioned by three factors in the context of my growing up in Sri Lanka. First, Buddhist rituals were all around me, and I was stimulated to explore the meaning of these rituals. Second, Sri Lanka was going through radical social change. Third, Sri Lanka was groping for an identity and economic security after its recent emergence from British colonial domination. My published work reflects these contextual factors as well as my belief that the utility of traditional sociological theory is by no means exhausted.

Sapir

West African languages, folklore and culture. My initial field work was with the language and folklore of the Kujamaat Jóola of Southern Sénégal. Subsequent field work investigated their social organization and social symbolism. Language, folklore and social symbolism center on symbolism in general and inform my broader theoretical interests, the central place of symbolism in human thought.

Ross

I consider teaching, advising and mentoring students in anthropology and linguistics to be central to my life. I particularly enjoy introducing students to new ideas and concepts and showing them the relevance of anthropological and linguistic ideas and approaches to other aspects of their lives. Perhaps this is a result of my own experience and training. Starting out as an archeology student at the University of Nebraska, I was quickly immersed in a four-fields approach to anthropology by an exciting teaching staff.

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.

Metcalf

Before coming to the United States, I worked at the Universities of Singapore and Papua New Guinea, and conducted research in both of those countries. But most of what I now write and teach is motivated by the experience of living in longhouse communities in Borneo in the 1970's. It was the beginning of a period of rapid change; most obviously, the integrity of traditional world views were challenged by conversion to Christianity. Thinking about that led me into a century-old tradition of comparative religion in anthropology, which places emphasis on ritual.

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.

McKinnon

As a cultural anthropologist, my research and writing have long been focused on issues relating to kinship, marriage, and gender. I am fascinated by their cross-cultural and historical diversity, by their centrality in the structures and dynamics of hierarchy and equality, and by the way scientific texts have transformed their culturally specific manifestations into universal facts of nature.

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.

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.

Khare

A socio-cultural anthropologist, I am interested in comparative studies of diverse cultural traditions, social inequalities, and political-national modernity and globalism found among the social elite as well as the Subaltern groups engaged in social identity and justice movements. Starting with contemporary India, my transnational discussions expand, implicitly or explicitly, into discussing the modern “Western, European or American” value systems and social life ways.

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