Meet Our Wadsworth International Fellows: Thoiba Saeedh

With the support of the Wadsworth International Fellowship Thoiba Saeedh will continue her training in social anthropology at University of Munich, Munchen, Germany supervised by Frank Heidemann.

My scholarly interests are two-pronged; I am interested in modernity and the transformations of place through new technologies and infrastructures, and the bodily interactions with and around new landscapes of technology. It is by studying the spaces of intersection between infrastructures and bodily experiences that I aim to explore new understandings of the complex relationship between material and immaterial and things and bodies.

Drawing on the scholarly works on space/place, I study the lived experiences in these spaces of intersection, experiences that I observe are emotional, performative and contested and reveal notions of sociality, identity and meaning making processes. To achieve this, I focus my research on the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge or the Sinamale’ Bridge of Maldives, the largest infrastructure project in the small-island developing nation. I view the bridge as a key monument that provides a backdrop for inquiries into social spaces filled with ambiguity, tension and anxieties.

I am grateful to commence my PhD under the guidance of Prof. Frank Heidemann at the Ludwig Maximilian Universität München, at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology. I had the pleasure to meet and accompany Prof. Heidemann on his study tour in Dhaalu Atoll of Maldives in 2020, the trip ending shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic re-shaped our lives in 2020 and beyond.

I have received my anthropology training in Australia and the United Kingdom. In 2018 I completed my Masters by Research in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh on a British Chevening Scholarship. In 2015 I received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Sociology, at the University of Melbourne on an Australia Awards Scholarship. At present, I hold a Senate Board position at the Islamic University of Maldives, by appointment by the Minister of Higher Education, Maldives. I am a part of the research team on the inter-disciplinary research project BRINFAITH, of the University of Hong Kong.

I begin my PhD in challenging times, virtually connected to my supervisor and cohorts in Germany, in our different time zones. As a native anthropologist, I am excited to contribute to an anthropology of the Maldives and South Asia region, and contribute to the burgeoning field of infrastructural studies with a focus on space/place.

Webinar: Fugitive Archaeological Spaces

Watch it now! Fugitive Archaeological Spaces, the next installment in the monthly series From the Margins to the Mainstream.

Fugitive Archaeological Spaces from Wenner-Gren Foundation on Vimeo.

Over the past year, we have seen renewed organizing amongst Black and Indigenous heritage professionals as well as the emergence of new collectives globally. These efforts have led to new initiatives around capacity building, community engagement, and decolonizing research methodologies. In this panel members of these new and emerging organizations will discuss their genesis, initiatives, as well as challenges and opportunities associated with empowering their communities in archaeology and heritage preservation.


Nathan Acebo, PhD, Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Critical Mission Studies, University of California, Merced

Lewis Borck, PhD, Assistant Professor at New Mexico Highlands University and a founding member of the Black Trowel Collective

Patricia Marinho, PhD, Archaeologist, Technical Advisor for Quilombola community, and a member of Rede de Arqueologia Negra

Jeannette Plummer Sires, Curator of Archaeological Assemblages at the British Museum and a founding member of the European Society of Black and Allied Archaeologists

Moderated by Justin Dunnavant, PhD, Academic Pathways Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University and Co-founder/President of the Society of Black Archaeologists

CART captioning provided by Lori Stavropoulos

Sponsored by the Society of Black Archaeologists, Indigenous Archaeology Collective, Archaeological Research Center at UC Santa Cruz, Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and SAPIENS

While Wenner-Gren is proud to be providing a platform for this event, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Foundation.

Webinar: Honoring Edmund T. Gordon: Reflections on the “Cultural Politics of Black Masculinity”

On Friday, January 22, 9–10 am CST (10–11am ET) Transforming Anthropology will be hosting a live event, Honoring Edmund T. Gordon: Reflections on the “Cultural Politics of Black Masculinity”.

Please join us for a discussion on Black masculinity, activist research, and institutional change in the academy. This event will honor one of our Black Anthropology Elders, Dr. Edmund T. Gordon. Through Dr. Gordon’s leadership at UT Austin, including fostering study committed to radical scholarship through faculty recruitment and development, and especially through graduate study and training, the Austin School has transformed the presence of Black anthropologists in the academy and anthropology as a discipline in general. Dr. Gordon’s article, “Cultural Politics of Black Masculinity,” originally published in TA in 1997, is one of the groundbreaking essays featured in the latest issue and commented on by Dr. Gayles and Dr. Perry in celebration of ABA’s fiftieth anniversary.

Featured guest: Dr. Edmund T. Gordon (University of Texas at Austin)
Panelists: Dr. Keisha-Khan Y. Perry (Brown University) and Dr. Jonathan Gayles (Georgia State University)
Moderator: Savannah Kosteniuk (TA editorial assistant)

To register for this event click here.

Webinar 1/22: Precarious Professions, Organizing for the Future

On January 22nd, 9:00 AM PST be sure to tune in to the the next installment in the webinar series, Criticism Inside, Alternatives Alongside: Organizing Otherwise to Intervene in Anthropology’s Future, featuring Dr. Eli Thorkelson (they/them) and led by Bill Maurer (he/his), Dean of Social Sciences, Professor of Anthropology, Director of the Institute for Money, Technology & Financial Inclusion, UC Irvine, Taylor C. Nelms (he/his), Senior Director of Research, Filene Research Institute.

Bill and Taylor will be joined by:

Kim Fernandes (they/them), Ph.D. student in Anthropology and Education, University of Pennsylvania

Nina Medvedeva (she/her), Ph.D. candidate in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, University of Minnesota

Nima Yolmo (she/they), Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology, University of California, Irvine

Click here to register for this event.

While Wenner-Gren is proud to be providing a platform for this event, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Foundation.