1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Graduate Student


I am interested in the Political Ecology of State formations in post-colonial South Asia. My quest is to find out more about the lines that are drawn on maps and established in Atlases. Who drew these lines, jotted dots and colored segments in contrasts? Why did they draw them? How were they drawn? Moreover, how will the realization of global warming alter this map? My research is specifically focused on the Chars of the Brahmaputra-Jamuna river system in the borderlands of Kurigram district.


My research centers on efforts to document and revitalize the Dakota language at Lake Traverse Reservation in northeastern South Dakota. Like most Native American languages, Dakota is highly endangered, with approximately 500 remaining speakers in a population of more than 20,000 people. I have the privilege of participating in efforts to revitalize Dakota in two primary ways. On the one hand, I document playful and poetic genres of speech, which are often neglected in documentary research.


Xinyan Peng is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at University of Virginia. Her dissertation and book project is entitled We’ve Always Worked”: Professionalizing Life among White-Collar Women in Contemporary Urban China.


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