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Indiana University Bloomington

Performance and Ethnography | Faculty

Ilana Gershon, Associate Professor

Ilana GershonIlana Gershon is Assistant Professor of Performance and Ethnography, Department of Communication and Culture and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, Indiana University. She received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2001. Gershon has a wide range of interests, with an ethnographic focus in the Pacific. Her previous research has compared Samoan migrant experiences in New Zealand and the United States, focusing in particular on the contrasts between how governments and migrants understand what it means to have a culture. She has two curren research projects. In her long-term research project, she is looking at Maori members of the New Zealand parliament, exploring how indigenous self-representation in the national legislature has contributed to the current Maori Renaissance. In her short-term project, she is studying how people end relationships using new forms of communication. By studying breaking up, she hopes to gain an understanding of when and how people experience new media as "new." More...

Jane Goodman, Associate Professor

Jane Goodman

Jane E. Goodman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Culture and holds adjunct appointments in the Departments of Anthropology, Folklore and Ethnomusicology, and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures as well as in the African Studies and Cultural Studies programs. She earned her PhD in cultural anthropology from Brandeis University in 1999. Her scholarship and graduate teaching focus on issues of modernity, identity, and secularism as these are creatively articulated through performances, cultural texts, and public discourse. She has conducted extensive ethnographic and archival research with North African populations in Algeria and France. In her first book, Berber Culture on the World Stage: From Village to Video (Indiana University Press, 2005), she follows Algerian village songs as they are transformed for world music audiences, attending to their movement through new regimes of textuality into novel performance venues. She is currently working on a new project concerned with the emergence of vernacular theater in Algeria as a site for experimentation with the performances and practices associated with modern citizenship. Goodman is now finishing a volume concerned with the Algerian fieldwork of Pierre Bourdieu (with Paul Silverstein). She is also the editor of A Cultural Approach to Interpersonal Communication (Blackwell, 2007, with Leila Monaghan). In her spare time, Goodman has performed world music with the groups Kaia and Libana. More...

Mary L. Gray, Associate Professor

Mary L. GrayMary L. Gray is Assistant Professor of Communication and Culture and an affiliate faculty member of the Gender Studies and American Studies Departments at Indiana University. She received her PhD in 2004 from the University of California at San Diego in Communication. Her work examines the production, representation, and consumption of queer sexualities and genders with an ethnographic focus on youth living in the rural United States. She is the author of "In Your Face: Stories from the Lives of Queer Youth" (Haworth Press 1999). Gray's current book project, "Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and the Queering of Rural America," explores how rural young people fashion queer senses of identity through media engagement and how performances of mass-mediated queer identities rework the rural public sphere. Gray's areas of research include: the social theory and ethnography of queer sexualities and genders; intersections of new media, social movements, and cultural identity; sociology of youth and public culture; qualitative methodologies, particularly ethnography of media and non-urban settings; and the relationship between research ethics and the construction of scientific knowledge and practice. Gray's next project will explore the negotiation of personhood in popular and scientific discourse through an ethnographic study of Institutional Review Boards, discipline-specific ethics codes, and the construction of "vulnerable" and "at-risk" populations in social scientific research. More...

Susan Lepselter, Associate Professor

Susan LepselterSusan Lepselter joined Indiana University in 2007 after completing an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship at the Penn Humanities Forum at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her PhD in 2005 from the University of Texas at Austin in Folklore and Social Anthropology. Her research explores the poetics of both popular media and everyday life, focusing on themes of gender, class and the imagination, captivity narratives, and the interplay between public and private memory. She is interested as well in the boundaries between ethnography and fiction, and in new forms of expressive ethnography. Her dissertation, The Flight of the Ordinary: Narrative and Poetics, Power and UFOs in the American Uncanny, draws on fieldwork conducted in a UFO experiencers' support group in Texas, and in a community near the secretive military base in Nevada known as Area 51, a center for uncanny American conspiracy theory. In addition to her primary research, she has studied prophetic narratives in a Christian, rural Texas setting, and has published articles on Native American mythology and on the politics of mid-20th century European folklore. She holds a joint appointment as Assistant Professor in the Departments of Communication and Culture and American Studies. More...

Jennifer Meta Robinson, Professor of Practice

Jennifer Meta Robinson

Jennifer Meta Robinson, Ph.D, is Professor of Practice in Pedagogy in the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University. She teaches beginning and advanced pedagogy courses at the graduate level, directs the first-year Interpersonal Communication course, and teaches several undergraduate courses in the environmental humanities. 

She writes and speaks widely on teaching and learning in higher education and was president of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.  She co-edits the Indiana University Press book series Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.  She has worked extensively with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching since 2003.  She was funded by the Teagle Foundation to investigate ways interdisciplinary learning communities can prepare graduate students to be reflective teachers. She directed Indiana University’s Campus Instructional Consulting office and coordinated its scholarship of teaching and learning initiative 2001-2008, which received a Hesburgh Award in 2003. She won an Indiana University Trustees Teaching Award in 2012.  

Her work in the environmental humanities includes an ethnographic study of community-building in The Farmers’ Market Book:  Growing Food, Cultivating Community, with J. A. Hartenfeld (2007), which was a finalist for the Best Books in Indiana award for its analysis of the reciprocal relationships between the personal and the social, the environmental and the human at contemporary food markets.  The book has been widely read in college courses, including in departments of anthropology, political science, sociology, comparative literature, and informatics. She is co-editor, with Leila Monaghan and Jane Goodman, of A Cultural Approach to Interpersonal Communication (Blackwell, second edition 2012), which is used by 500 Indiana University students each semester in the multi-section freshman course she directs. The latest edition of the book introduces contemporary social media into the study of communicative practices as they are used to negotiate culture, identity, and power among people from North Africa to North America, from 17th-century Quakers to contemporary text messagers, and from grade school students to college undergraduates. She also co-edited Teaching Environmental Literacy across the Curriculum and Across Campus (with Reynolds and Brondizio, 2010).  Her new work includes a forthcoming volume on the exigencies of selling local food, from the University of Iowa Press, and an ethnography of knowledge practices among small sustainable farmers in the US. 

She is affiliated with the Media School and the Integrated Program on the Environment at Indiana University.


Susan Seizer, Associate Professor

Susan SeizerSusan Seizer received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1997. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Culture and an affiliate member of the Departments of Anthropology, Folklore & Ethnomusicology, Gender Studies, and India Studies. She joined the IU faculty in 2006, having previously chaired the anthropology and gender & women's studies departments at Scripps College in southern California. Her key research and teaching interests include: humor in use; stigma, socialization and identity; ethnographic narrative; and performance studies. Her ethnographic foci are India and the U.S. Professor Seizer's primary research to date concerns the lives of popular theater artists in South India. Her book, Stigmas of the Tamil Stage, was published in 2005 and awarded the A.K. Coomaraswamy Book Prize from the Association for Asian Studies in 2007. Prior to becoming an academic, Professor Seizer performed in dance, theater, and circus. Many of her scholarly interests follow threads she first explored as a performer: improvisation; the way comedy can be used to do just about anything; and the particular exhilaration many women find in transgressing normative gender roles through public performance. Professor Seizer has published in scholarly venues that include Public Culture, American Ethnologist, Cultural Anthropology, Transition, and Heresies. More...

Richard Bauman, Emeritus Professor

Richard Bauman

Richard Bauman received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. The principal foci of his research and publications include performance, language ideology, narrative, oral poetics, and genre. He has done fieldwork in Scotland, Nova Scotia, Texas, and Mexico, historical research on early Quakers and medieval Iceland, and is currently engaged in a research project on representations of performance and public culture on early commercial sound recordings, from the mid-1890s to 1920. Prof. Bauman has served as President of the Society for Linguistic Anthropology and the Semiotic Society of America, and as Editor of the Journal of American Folklore. He has also been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and twice holder of National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships. Prof. Bauman was appointed Distinguished Professor in 1991 and won the Distinguished Teaching and Mentoring Award of the University Graduate School in 2001. In addition to his appointment in Communication and Culture, Prof. Bauman holds appointments in Folklore and Ethnomusicology, and Anthropology, and is affiliated with the programs in American Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Cultural Studies. More...