Rethinking Race in the Americas

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Speaker Biographies

Lee Baker is Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and African and African American Studies at Duke University. A cultural anthropologist, he has published a history of anthropology in the United States, with focus on the discipline’s role in shaping the scientific as well as social imagination of race. His current research focuses on new constructions of race in the United States, specifically undocumented immigrants, poor Black men, and the American Dream. Dr. Baker is author of  From Savage to Negro: Anthropology and the Construction of Race, 1896-1954 (UC Press, 1998) and editor of Life in America: Identity and Everyday Experience (Blackwell 2003). 

Charles Briggs is Alan Dundes Distinguished Professor of Folklore in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Briggs is a linguistic anthropologist whose work with Hispanic peoples in New Mexico and the Warao people of the Delta Amacuro in Venezuela illustrates the racialized structures of inequality embodied in the circulation of discourse, especially in state institutions dealing with public health. Current research addresses the discourse of health issues as presented through the media. Dr. Briggs won the School of Advanced Research’s Staley Prize in 2007 for his book Stories in the Time of Cholera: Racial Profiling During a Medical Nightmare (co-authored with Clara Mantini-Briggs; UC Press 2003).

Jane Hill, a linguistic anthropologist, is Regents Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arizona.  She is former President of the American Anthropological Association  and winner of the Viking Medal from the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Dr. Hill researches Uto-Aztecan languages of the U.S. and Mexico.  Her current research explores language ideology, with a focus on “Mock Spanish” and the discourse of white racism.  Her books include Responsibility and Evidence in Oral Discourse (co-authored with Judith Irvine; Cambridge University Press,1993).

Jeffrey C. Long is Professor in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Michigan Medical School and a member of the Center for Statistical Genetics.  He received his BA and MA in Anthropology at UC Santa Barbara and Arizona State University respectively, and his MS and PhD in Human Genetics from the University of Michigan. His research focuses on human population genetics and the genetic basis of common diseases.  Dr. Long has recently published on the question of human race, applying evolutionary and genomic insights from his research.

Yolanda Moses is Professor of Anthropology at University of California Riverside and a former President of the American Anthropological Association. A socio-cultural anthropologist with a long established reputation as a leader in studies of race, her research interests include the comparative ethnographic study of the origins of social inequality in complex societies. She is co-editor of How Real is Race?: A Sourcebook on Race, Culture, and Biology (with Carol Mukhopadhyay and Rosemary Henze; Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2007).

Deborah Poole is Professor of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. A cultural anthropologist, her interests include the relation between visuality, representation and race in Latin America, particularly Peru and Mexico. She is author of Vision, Race, and Modernity: A Visual Economy of the Andean Image World (Princeton, 1997).  The book was nominated as one of Choice’s Outstanding Academic Books of 1997. Dr. Poole has more recently co-edited Anthropology in the Margins of the State (with Veena Das; SAR Press, 2004).

Ricardo Ventura Santos is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the National Museum, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and Professor of Anthropology and Public Health at the National School of Public Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Brazil. His book, The Xavante in Transition: Health, Demography and Bioanthropology in Central Brazil, won a prize for the best interdisciplinary book in general anthropology from the American Anthropological Association in 2003.  His many edited volumes include Raça, Ciência e Sociedade (Editora Fiocruz, 1996) and Divisões Perigosas: Políticas Raciais no Brasil Contemporâneo (Civilização Brasileira, 2007).

Laurie Wilkie, an archaeologist, is Professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. Dr. Wilkie is investigating the construction of ethnic, gender and race identities in post-contact New World settings. Her current projects address how consumer goods were used to construct African-Bahamian identities in enslaved households and how families in multi-ethic communities negotiated community identity. Her most recent book is Sampling Many Pots: An Archaeology of Memory and Tradition at a Bahamian Plantation (2005: University Press of Florida, with Paul Farnsworth). She is also the author of The Archaeology of Mothering:  An African-American Midwife’s Tale (Routledge 2003) and Creating Freedom: Material Culture and African-American Identity at Oakley Plantation, Louisiana, 1840-1950 (LSU Press 2003).

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