Anthropology Department News: Fall 2018

From Chair Karen-Sue Taussig

We have had another busy semester in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota. In addition to a dynamic group of new graduate students, following a national search Aisha Ghani has joined us as an assistant professor of anthropology and religious studies.

Faculty Update

Professor Ghani’s research examines what she calls legal Islam, a concept which illuminates the complex intersections of Islam and law in the contemporary United States. Her current book project focuses on the ways religion emerges in terrorism trials, while her next project examines discourses about hygiene in relation to Islamic practices of prayer and burial.

Alumni & Student News

We continue to be delighted by the diverse accomplishments and careers of our graduate and undergraduate students and alumni. As the stories in this newsletter about Monica Looze’s work at the Mayo Clinic and Samantha Porter’s 3M-award-winning art and technology project help illustrate, we see anthropology informing the work they are doing in healthcare and technology.

In other department news, last spring we had the first annual graduation breakfast. Organized by Professor Gilliane Monnier, our director of undergraduate studies, we hosted our graduating seniors and their families for breakfast and conversation in the department on the morning of graduation. After lively conversation and discussion of the students’ accomplishments, the faculty walked over the bridge with the students to line up for graduation. We look forward to making this a new departmental tradition of celebrating our graduates.

Lecture Series

This fall we also held the inaugural Gudeman Lecture. Funded by a generous endowment from Stephen and Roxanne Gudeman upon Professor Gudeman’s retirement from the department, this will be an annual event, usually in the spring semester. The first annual lecture, delivered by Professor Adam Kuper, gave a historical overview of the decades-long conversation about anthropology that he and Professor Gudeman have been engaged in since their days together as graduate students in anthropology at Cambridge University.

Going forward, to accommodate the speaker’s schedule, this year’s Daphne Berdahl Memorial Lecture will be held on Monday, April 8, 2019.  This annual lecture, supported by generous donations from the Berdahl family, celebrates the life and work of Daphne Berdahl. We look forward to welcoming Professor Lisa Stevenson from the Department of Anthropology at McGill University, who will deliver this year’s lecture.

With warm regards,

Karen-Sue Taussig

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