NYAS Lecture 1/31: Choreographies of Care in Family and Community

On January 31st, 6:30 PM, Eastern Time, the New York Academy of Sciences will host, “Choreographies of Care in Family and Community”.

To register for this event click here.

Caring involves acting with affection and regard for another to enhance the well being of the party cared for. The ethics of care is based on receptivity, relatedness, and responsiveness. Within an American context, as a linguistic anthropologist, by making use of audio and video- recorded interaction, I examine the moment-to-moment practices through which care is instantiated in interactions within families, between doctor and patient, and between a dying patient and his students and colleagues. Routinely parents participate in forms of embodied care work using touch amidst a range of interactions including grooming, comforting, play, apology and salutations. Practices of greetings and farewells, overlaid with bodily inter-twinings, punctuate various parts of the family’s daily round — displaying forms of rich attunement.

We (Raia, Goodwin, and Deng) next consider how a doctor who practices Relational Medicine (Raia and Deng 2014) cares for and socializes his advanced heart care patient (later diagnosed with terminal cancer) in the process of “living towards death.” Through narrative exchange the doctor guides his patient in how to approach death with equanimity. Through email exchanges and informal speeches, the patient (a professor) becomes a “mentor on dying” for his students. A Mexican colleague’s story about how her comadre’s process of dying became a practical guide for choreographing the patient’s own death. The presence and vision of the now-deceased teacher continues in weekly Co-operative Action zoom labs where students and colleagues from five continents present their work for commentary.


Marjorie Goodwin

Dr. Goodwin is a linguistic anthropologist concerned with the embodied language practices human beings use to construct in concert with each other the social, cultural and cognitive worlds they inhabit. Much of her work has focused on the organization of language and interaction in children’s peer groups, families, and workplace settings.

She investigates how children in boys’ and girls’ peer groups elaborate and dispute their notions about moral behavior, including inequality, as they play or work together. Her most recent work deals with how forms of human sociality, intimacy and familial integration, are achieved through a range of coordinated, mutually elaborating modalities, including language, touch, prosody, and structure in the environment.


Asta Cekaite 

Asta Cekaite is a Professor in Child Studies, Thematic Research Unit, Linköping University, Sweden. Her research involves an interdisciplinary approach to language, culture, and social interaction. Specific foci include social perspectives on embodiment, touch, emotion, and moral socialization. Empirical fields cover adult-child and children’s peer group interactions in educational settings, and family in various cultural contexts (Sweden, USA, Japan, Finland).

She has published in Language in Society, Annual Review of Anthropology, Linguistics and Education, Text & Talk, etc. With M. H. Goodwin she has co-authored Embodied family choreography: Practices of control, care and mundane creativity (Routledge, 2018). She has co-edited (with L. Mondada) Touch in social interaction: Touch, language and body (Routledge, 2021); with Blum-Kulka, S., Gröver, V. & Teubal, E.  Children’s peer talk: Learning from each other (Cambridge University Press, 2014). She has also co-edited special issues in journals: Cekaite, A. & Evaldsson, A-C. (2020). The moral character of emotion work in adult-child interactions. Text & Talk; Cekaite, A. & Burdelski, M. (Eds.) (2021). Pragmatics of crying in adult-child interactions. Journal of Pragmatics.

Maryville University Releases Victim Advocacy: Guide to Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence

We’d like to share that Maryville University has recently released its Victim Advocacy: Guide to Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence.

This guide provides detailed insights and resources on the following topics:

  • Domestic Violence Victim Advocate Roles and Responsibilities
  • Types of Domestic Violence
  • Warning Signs of Domestic Violence
  • Domestic Violence Facts and Statistics
  • Where to Find Victim Advocate Training
  • Tips on Helping and Supporting Victims and Survivors
  • And much more!

“SAPIENS Talk Back” Podcast Series Starting January 26th!

Mark your calendar for January 26th when the Archaeology Centers Coalition and RadioCIAMS present “SAPIENS Talk Back”: eight conversations with students and scholars that expand upon the insights of Season 4 of the SAPIENS podcast. In extended discussions, we explore new perspectives on how Black and Indigenous voices are changing how archaeology tells its stories, and just as importantly, who tells them.

Episodes of “SAPIENS Talk Back” will be available on Spotify and Soundcloud upon release.

Episodes of the SAPIENS podcast are available on the SAPIENS website, Spotify, Stitcher, and iTunes.

Niloofar Haeri Wins 2021 Fatema Mernissi Book Award!

We’re excited to share the news that the Middle East Studies Association has awarded former Wenner-Gren Advisory Council member Niloofar Haeri the 2021 Fatema Mernissi Book Award for her book, Say What Your Longing Heart Desires: Women, Prayer, and Poetry in Iran.

The Middle East Studies Association describes the book by saying:

The title is taken from a well-known story in which Moses tells a shepherd not to worry about the “manners and rules” of religion but rather to “say what your longing heart desires.” Using beautiful, limpid prose, Haeri weaves together poetry, religion, and ethnography to show how a group of middle-class, educated Iranian women counter the state’s version of Islam. They regularly revisit and reconsider Islamic theology by drawing on the vast body of mystic poetry that is so central to Iranian culture. In the process, Haeri blurs lines thrown up between the secular and the religious in recent scholarship and invites us to consider the deeper, political, and public meaning of ritualistic religious practices.

Meet Our Wadsworth International Fellows: Carlos Mario Tobon Franco

With the support of the Wadsworth International Fellowship Carlos Mario Tobon Franco will continue his training in sociocultural anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin sponsored by Craig Campbell. Read the previous entries in the series here.

I am dedicated to the possibilities of working with multimedia ethnography to do justice to the entanglements of the senses. With the increased usage of new technologies that have opened the possibilities to share and distribute anthropological knowledge, we need scholars who are able not only to criticize these circulations but to engage with them creatively. Accordingly, I have experience producing photographs and multimedia pieces regarding social phenomena across the Americas, about Indigenous traditions, urban identities, Afro-Colombian communities, armed conflict zones, borderlands, and immigrants.

My scholarship at this moment is focused on the US-Mexico border and its ramifications. I am curious to look at how border premises are ideologically and politically constructed to shape particular cultural and social configurations. By intertwining race studies, affect theory, and structural violence studies, I envision my dissertation as a multimodal ethnography that relates the US surveillance, racial, and militaristic practices north of the border to structural violence, infrastructure mega-projects, and precarious economies to the south in Mexico and Central America.

I began the doctoral program at the University of Texas at Austin in fall 2020 during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Regardless, I found tremendous support and care within the Anthropology department. After a year of courses, gatherings, and stimulating advising, I can’t imagine getting the training I look for anywhere else. My advisor, Dr. Craig Campbell, and his work with media and leadership in Visual Anthropology have guided me through the latest developments and discussions in the genre. Dr. Kathleen Stewart and Dr. Marina Peterson’s focus on affect studies, experimental ethnography, and media theory have supported my interests and explorations of these topics. Regarding border studies, I am thrilled to join Dr. Jason Cons and Dr. Martha Menchaca in seminars on political ecologies and race and ethnicity in America, specifically. The doctoral program at UT Austin allows for considerable inter-disciplinary study opportunities. Therefore, I look forward to engaging with exciting scholars at the African and African Diasporic Studies, especially the work of Dr. Simone Browne on surveillance practices and Dr. Christen Smith’s research on racial formation, violence, and transnational struggles.

Job Opportunity at the American Museum of Natural History!

Position Description:

We are looking for a creative, talented, and energetic colleague to join the American Museum of Natural History as a full-time Anthropology Educator to develop and teach courses for middle and high school youth. In this one-year fellowship, the educator will spend ~ 65% of time teaching classes and 35% developing/revising curricula and participating in professional learning opportunities. The educator will teach 3 to 4 classes per semester throughout the year. Depending on the class, the schedule may include after school (until 7pm), Saturdays, school holidays, and summer (5-6 weeks). This position has a 1 year term with a possibility of a 1 year extension.

The AMNH is a global museum in one of the most diverse cities in the world, and we are committed to building an inclusive youth community that reflects that diversity. We believe in addressing the barriers that prevent everyone from equally participating in science, particularly on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Candidates must be committed to working towards this mission and open to learning and implementing equitable and inclusive pedagogical practices that elevate all learners. The Anthropology Educator will also work with their colleagues to apply an anthropological lens to our other science courses (e.g. Archaeo Astronomy middle school course) and seek opportunities to advance justice-centered informal STEM learning by amplifying the voices and experiences of social groups that have been historically marginalized.

Candidates must have a 4-year college degree in Anthropology (or related discipline; e.g. Sociology; Human Geography; Cultural Resource Management; Sociocultural anthropology, Applied Anthropology) and be confident in teaching about traditional and contemporary practices and theory across Anthropology and related social sciences.

Early career professionals with minimal teaching experience (<3 years) are encouraged to apply; however, candidates must have some teaching experience in either informal settings (e.g. camps, museum), formal classroom, or college (e.g. teaching assistant).

While not a requirement, ideal candidates would also bring one or more of the following: research experience in a field of anthropology, experience coding, an understanding of the role of data science within social science research, or experience or familiarity working with indigenous communities and organizations.

The Educator will report directly to the Senior Manager of Curriculum and Teaching and will work closely with other members of the full-time educator team.

Minimum required qualifications:

  • Demonstrated knowledge and mastery of anthropology content and material
  • Organization, time management, and follow-up skills
  • Commitment to continuous improvement in instructional practices through reflection and applied feedback
  • Bachelor’s degree in anthropology or related social science

Preferred qualifications:

  • Experience teaching youth
  • Familiarity in collaborating with indegenous communities and/or BIPOC organizations
  • Experience co-teaching considered a plus
  • Experience with coding, computational thinking, or data science

If interested, please submit your resumé to nabowd@amnh.org

NYAS Lecture 12/6: Urban Infrastructure and Resiliency in Precolonial Mesoamerica

Mark your calendar for December 6th, 6:30 PM, EST, for the next installment of the New York Academy of Sciences Distinguished Lecture Series. Dr. David M. Carballo will be presenting, “Urban Infrastructure and Resiliency in Precolonial Mesoamerica”.  Dr. Timothy Pugh will act as discussant.

To register for this Zoom event click here.  This event will also be livestreamed on YoutTube.

As debates continue, in the contemporary US and elsewhere, about what constitutes infrastructure and the amount of resources to invest in it, what lessons might we glean from a deep historical approach to the archaeology of cities? In this talk I combine recent investigations at the pre-Aztec capital of Teotihuacan, Mexico—the largest city in the Americas of its day—with a comparative perspective to contextualize variability in urban organization, Indigenous social institutions, and the role of infrastructure in the resilience of cities in precolonial Mesoamerica. I argue that, although these premodern, non-Western cities were different in significant ways from our own, they provide meaningful points of comparison for considering the broad contours of how infrastructure at level of urban epicenters, neighborhoods, and households contributes to the variability in social relations, size, and longevity of cities we observe in the archaeological record.


David M. Carballo is Professor of Anthropology, Archaeology, and Latin American Studies at Boston University, where he is also Associate Provost for General Education.  He specializes in the archaeology of Latin America, especially the Native peoples of central Mexico and with topical interests in households, urbanism, religion, collective action, and working with contemporary communities in understanding ancient ones.  Current investigations focus on Teotihuacan’s Tlajinga district, a cluster of non-elite neighborhoods on the periphery of what was then the largest city in the Americas.

He received his BA in Political Science from Colgate University (1995) and his MA (2001) and PhD (2005) in Anthropology from UCLA.  Recent books include Cooperation and Collective Action: Archaeological Perspectives (ed., 2013), Urbanization and Religion in Ancient Central Mexico (2016), Teotihuacan: The World Beyond the City (ed., 2020), and Collision of Worlds: A Deep History of the Fall of Aztec Mexico and the Forging of New Spain (2020).


Timothy Pugh is Professor of Anthropology at Queens College and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His archaeological research, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, focuses upon the Maya of Petén, Guatemala. His work revealed that the ancient Maya planned and built a gridded city at Nixtun-Ch’ich’ during the Middle Preclassic period (800-300 BCE). Based upon intensive investment in public works, the occupants appear to have had a much more cooperative system of governance.

Meet Our Wadsworth African Fellows: Yananiso Maposa

With the support of the Wadsworth African Fellowship Yananiso Maposa will continue his training in social cultural anthropology at the University of Johannesburg under the supervisor of Justin Bradefield.  Read about other Wadsworth fellows here.

I possess close to a decade of professional experience, having worked as one of the archaeologists stationed at the Great Zimbabwe World Heritage Site, one of the five museological regions within the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe. In my position, I got the opportunity to interact with different communities in Zimbabwe. I got exposed to the challenges they face, particularly in their bid to be considered capable agents of sustainable management of heritage sites. The locals have always viewed such sites as critical to their socio-economic livelihood. These interactions with communities engendered my interest in this emotive subject, which led me to pursue my BA in Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and Museum Studies at Midlands State University, Zimbabwe. My BA thesis investigated the management problems of the Great Zimbabwe World Heritage Site allegedly posed by local communities. After completing my BA, I undertook a MA in Cultural Heritage Studies which situated heritage management at the crossroads of local politics, climate change, and geopolitical dynamics in Zimbabwe with the Central European University in Hungary.

I am now pursuing my academic career at the University of Johannesburg, with a PhD that focuses on mainstreaming biocultural knowledge into sustainable development of marginalised communities in Zimbabwe using the case of the Ndau ethnic minority of Chipinge. The Ndau people have always used their heritage as a source of inclusive social and economic development in the face of escalating socio-political and environmental dynamics. Indigenous knowledge systems are a major umbrella project at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Johannesburg. I appreciate the unique research UJ conducts on endogenous knowledge practices, from how they shaped technology in earlier civilisations to its significance in the societal transformation of modern societies. My lifelong aim has been to develop a platform that bolsters government efforts in heritage conservation, exhibition, and research. I will pursue the active involvement of grassroots communities in management as a more attentive way of rethinking agency, power, and collective rehabilitation of vulnerable heritage and biophysical environments. This includes rethinking gender, particularly women, as active agents of African communities’ social and material knowledge systems and practices.