Meet Our Wadsworth International Fellows: Arafat Mamyrbekov

With the support of the Wadsworth International Fellowship Arafat Mamyrbekov will continue his training in sociocultural anthropology at the University of Calgary, Canada, hosted by Saulesh Yessenova. Read the previous entries in the series here.

The project that I am pursuing as part of my doctoral studies explores multigenerational effects of Soviet nuclear militarism on indigenous communities in northeastern Kazakhstan and their ancestral lands.   I examine how the production and testing of nuclear weapons in the service of the arms race has shaped their understandings of citizenship, national security, well-being, and nuclear risk, and explore impacts on the local economy in the aftermath of the Cold War. My hope is that this research will contribute to ongoing public debates in Kazakhstan on the country’s nuclear past and post-nuclear futures.

Before beginning the PhD Program in Anthropology at University of Calgary, I received an undergraduate diploma in Eastern Studies from the Almaty State University in 2002; an MA in History from the Semipalatinsk State Pedagogical Institute in 2007; and a graduate candidacy degree in History from the Shakarim State University in Semey in 2010.

Completing the PhD program at the University of Calgary will enable me to achieve my research goals in anthropology, as well as provide me with  credentials needed to introduce anthropology courses at my home university in Kazakhstan and produce critical research for public good in Semey, the largest urban center in the region that suffered most from the radioactive fallout.

Meet Our Wadsworth International Fellows: Inditian Latifa

With the support of the Wadsworth International Fellowship Inditian Latifa will continue training in social-cultural anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, hosted by Anna Tsing. Read the previous entries in the series here.

My path to anthropology, like many other things in life, did not follow a straight line. After finishing high school in Indonesia, I chose to study English at the University of Indonesia for my bachelor’s degree rather than anthropology. It was a practical decision based on my experience of English as a gatekeeper to education and employment, which it continues to be. Fortunately, the English Department I attended had a cultural studies bent. I developed an interest in language, power, and history and went on to continue my studies in Global Studies at Leipzig University and the University of Vienna. My first encounter with anthropology was in a class on globalization, where we were assigned to read Anna Tsing’s Friction alongside Aihwa Ong’s Flexible Citizenship. Their work in particular pushed me to learn more about anthropology and to eventually pursue anthropological training.

Given my research interests are in the areas of environment, economy, and religion, the Anthropology Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz provides the ideal intellectual environment for me. Under the guidance of Anna Tsing, my project will focus on the kinds of interrelationship between people, animals, plants, and things that are cultivated through the widespread Islamic practice of waqf (God’s property). I’m interested in how notions of responsibility, reciprocity, and sacrifice are played out in the material and conceptual spaces that waqf creates, given the increasing hegemony of the structuring logics of global capitalism and the modern-secular state project. If the Covid-19 pandemic situation permits, I will be conducting fieldwork in Indonesia where waqf practices have seen a revival and re-figuration since the 2000s.

A common question I hear is, “Why is an Indonesian studying Indonesia?” The idea of a “native” working in their own society does seem to go against the principle of surprise that constitutes ethnography. Yet as someone who was born and raised in the urban areas of Java, I am cautious of assuming too much about my interlocutors who will primarily be Muslim villagers in Aceh, Sumatra. As Marilyn Strathern so aptly observed in her reflection on “anthropology at home”, there is an inevitable social distance between scholar and villager. I’ll be in for a few surprises.

Oct 28th: Always Already Active: A Conversation with Johnnetta B. Cole

On Thursday, October 28th, 7:00 PM EDT, the Association of Black Anthropologists will be hosting a conversation with Dr. Johnnette B. Cole.

Come join us in an inter-generational conversation about the impact and importance of Dr. Johnnette B. Cole’s new book Racism in American Public Life: A Call to Action. This event will feature graduate student Lexi Ligon and Professors Riché Barnes and Lynn Bolles. Everyone is welcome, even if you haven’t read the book.

To register to for this event click here.


Webinar Nov. 4th: Beyond Extractivism: Toward New Collaborative Futures in Anthropology

On November 4th, 12:00 PM EDT, the Wenner-Gren Foundation will be hosting, “Beyond Extractivism: Toward New Collaborative Futures in Anthropology”.

To register for this even click here.

This webinar explores collaborative knowledge production in relation to a stance of responsibility and accountability to the communities with whom we work (including scholarly communities), and to the communities that surround our institutional spaces, cities, territories and regions. What kind of anthropology emerges when collaboration, rather than individualist extraction is upheld as a model?


Carmen Rial, PhD, Professor, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

Ndukuyakhe Ndlovu, PhD, Manager for Archaeology at South African National Parks and Senior Lecturer at the University of Pretoria

Yasmeen Arif, PhD, Professor, Shiv Nadar University

Christen Smith, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Austin

Justin Hosbey, PhD, Assistant Professor, Emory University

Moderated by:

Gustavo Lins Ribeiro, PhD, Professor, Metropolitan Autonomous University

CART captioning will be provided.

Organized by the Association of Black Anthropologists, Anthropology Southern Africa, and the Center for Experimental Ethnography

Oct. 27th: Graduate School Application Workshop

Could graduate school be for you? What makes a strong application? On October 27th at 4:00 PM ET, come join our Zoom Workshop on applying to graduate school in archaeology. To register for this event click here.

Topics covered will include:

Thinking about graduate school: Where? What type of program? How do I apply?

Preparing for graduate school: Courses to take, how to get fieldwork experience.

Money matters: How do you pay for graduate school?

Panelists include professors Zoë Crossland (Columbia), Andrew Bauer (Stanford), Peter van Dommelen (Brown) and Michael Galaty (Michigan).