In 2020, Beth Buggenhagen received a fellowship from the Smithsonian Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology, which has been postponed to 2022 due to Covid. During the fellowship she plans to work on several collections of photographs from Senegal held at the National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of African Art. This is a new project stemming from her book manuscript in progress, “The Future is in your Hands: Portrait Photography from Senegal.” Dr. Buggenhagen has also served as an Associate Editor for Africa Today, published by Indiana University Press. During 2020 she edited a series of interviews with Editors Emeriti of the journal, including an interview with Anthropology Professor Gracia Clark to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the African Studies Program at IUB in 2021. These interviews set the stage for the 70th anniversary of Africa Today which is coming up in 2024, making it one of the longest running journals of African Studies. Beth also served as the internal editor for a special double issue of the journal on Migration and Social Class in Africa with two guest editors, the anthropologists Julia Pauli, Universität Hamburg and Cati Coe, Rutgers University.
Ilana Gershon’s year has been devoted to research on the pandemic. Funded by the Wenner-Gren, she has been researching what the pandemic can reveal about how people experience the workplace as a site of private government, and the kinds of political imaginations they develop engaging with workplace interactions. With Julie Johnson and Torie Dimartile’s research assistance, she published an article, “The Breakup 2.1: The Ten Year Update” that explored what difference the past ten years has made to mediated breakups, a follow up to her book, The Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting over New Media. She also published an open-access article about how the legacy of the book Writing Culture might have been different if more anthropologists were reading early Bakhtin at the time – “Seeing Like an Author: Early Bakhtin for Anthropologists.”
In 2020, Kathryn Graber published a book, Mixed Messages: Mediating Native Belonging in Asian Russia (Cornell University Press). Because it came out during the pandemic, she has had to embrace those two favored genres of pandemicademia, the podcast and the Zoom talk, for a virtual book tour. Two of her podcasts are “The Slavic Connexion” and “On the Silk Road with CeLCAR.” An additional blog post "Racial Politics in Putin’s Russia" was published on the Cornell University Press Blog. She published an article in 2020, “Emotion in and through Language Contraction” in the Routledge Handbook of Language and Emotion (Routledge Handbooks in Linguistics). Kathryn was awarded the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award at IUB in 2020.
Jason Baird Jackson was awarded a hugely impressive set of grant funding in 2020. He received grants from the American Philosophical Society and, at IU, the Institute for Advanced Study, the College Arts and Humanities Institute, and the Social Science Research Funding Program.
Frederika (Rika) Kaestle’s research focus is on reconstructing human population history through studying DNA from ancient peoples. As a result, she runs an ancient DNA laboratory at IUB. However, she paused her ancient DNA research last summer in order to provide IU with additional laboratory space for their in-house Covid testing facility. Kaestle hopes to get the lab back up and running next fall, and in the meantime is focusing on writing up existing research for publication, including the reconstruction of Native American population history in the US Midwest over the last several thousand years, patterns of population movement through Mongolia in the Bronze and Iron Age, and the comparison of ancient and modern strains of tuberculosis to help understand TB evolution and its impact on ancient peoples.
In 2020, Jennifer Meta Robinson won a Trustees Teaching Award, a campus-wide competition. Just before the pandemic shutdown last year, she gave two conference keynote speeches and several other presentations on her research in learning analytics. With a research team, she is combining students’ course performances and emotional responses with institutional data to improve what they learn in general education courses. This research is affecting students not only in Anthropology but also in Chemistry, Informatics, Computer Science, English, Biology, and Math, with the goal of going campuswide. Already, universities across the nation are picking up this work for their own use. The research is funded by the Association of American Universities.
Richard Wilk may be retired, but is still happily writing and editing! After checking through his CV, he realized that he has co-authored or co-edited with more than 70 people, a substantial fraction of whom are IU graduate students. Along with recent Ph.D. graduate Emma McDonell, he recently published an edited volume on superfoods, the product of a conference/workshop held at IU in 2019, supported by the workshop in political theory. In 2020, he also co-edited a special issue of Food, Culture and Society with Marvin Montefrio, a colleague he met in Singapore.