Casey Barrier, Assistant Professor
Casey Barrier is an anthropological archaeologist. His research is broadly concerned with the development and histories of complex societies through time, with a focus on the political-economic organization of pre-industrial food-producing and agricultural groups. Barrier’s work in Eastern North America (specifically the U.S. Southeast and Midwest) examines the relations between changing food procurement systems, sedentarism and mobility, demography, kinship and social organization, and surplus-producing political economies amongst late pre-Columbian period Woodland and Mississippian societies. Barrier’s active fieldwork in the American Bottom region of west-central Illinois and in western Tennessee combines site-specific excavations, regional-landscape surveys, archaeological geophysics, and GIS and artifact analyses. Besides introductory and general courses on archaeology, he also teaches courses on archaeological method and theory, North American archaeology, pre-industrial complex societies, and the development and spread of agriculture.
Richard Davis, Professor Emeritus
Ph.D., Columbia University
Davis is a prehistoric archaeologist who has conducted field work in several Asian locations with particular focus on northern Afghanistan, southern Tajikistan, eastern Turkey, and central Siberia. Since 1995, he has had an excavation program in the eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska, which is oriented toward the investigation of the origin and development of maritime cultures in this area. His basic research interests center on the study of human adaptations to the changing environments of the Pleistocene and Holocene, and also on the development of technology in its social context. His teaching interests have grown out of his research activities, and he regularly offers courses in North American Archaeology, Human Ecology, Traditional Technology, and Method and Theory in Archaeology.
Susanna Fioratta, Assistant Professor
Susanna Fioratta is a socio-cultural anthropologist whose research focuses on transnational mobility and insecurity in contemporary West Africa. She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in the Republic of Guinea and among Guinean migrants in Senegal, exploring how experiences of migration are motivated not only by economic need but also by dynamic notions of personhood, Islamic subjectivity, and historiographies of political persecution. Her next project examines relations of mobility, exclusion, and inequality between Africa and China, focusing on the perspectives of individual Guinean traders and consumers who buy and sell Chinese merchandise. Her other interests include ethnicity and belonging, anthropology of the state, socialisms and postsocialisms, informal and illicit economies, and rumor, secrecy, and conspiracy theory. She teaches courses including introduction to cultural anthropology, senior conference, and topics in political anthropology.
Melissa Pashigian, Associate Professor
Melissa Pashigian is a cultural and medical anthropologist. She has conducted research on the social politics of infertility in Vietnam and the intersection of reproductive health policy, reproductive experience and treatment seeking surrounding infertility and involuntary childlessness. She is currently working on a study of the globalization of assisted reproductive technologies in Vietnam, France and Southeast Asia. Her other research interests include the relationship of race, ethnicity and identity in the use of donor gametes, cross-cultural experiences of healing, the dynamics of global flows of pharmaceuticals, medical knowledge and technology and the use of public space in shaping subjectivities among marginalized populations. Her course offerings include medical anthropology, anthropology of reproduction, anthropology of Southeast Asia, introduction to cultural anthropology, and senior conference.
Maja Šešelj, Assistant Professor
Maja Seselj is a biological anthropologist whose primary research interest is the evolution of the modern human pattern of growth and development. To that end, she has investigated the relationship between dental development and skeletal growth in a variety of archaeological and known-age human skeletal collections from across the world, as well as the relationship between sexual maturation and bone growth in a longitudinal study setting in the US. She has also participated in paleontological and archaeological field work in Croatia, Tanzania and France. Her broader interests include paleoanthropology, functional anatomy, human and primate biology, and Paleolithic archaeology. In addition to the introductory course in biological anthropology and prehistoric archaeology, her course offerings include forensic anthropology, human evolution, and human growth and development, and she is looking forward to teaching courses in human and primate biology and behavior, and the senior conference seminar.
Amanda Weidman, Associate Professor and Department Chair
Amanda Weidman is a cultural anthropologist with an area specialization in South Asia. Her previous research in South India examined the creation of South Indian classical music as a high cultural genre in the context of late colonialism, Indian nationalism, and regional politics in South India. This project combined ethnographic research, examination of archival sources, and her own study and performance of South Indian classical music. Her current research focuses on the people who create the music for South Indian popular cinema: playback singers, music directors, and studio musicians. She examines the social organization of the studios and discourses about voice and sound that emerge in recording sessions, relating these to broader politics and cultural movements. In addition to the introductory cultural anthropology course and senior conference, she teaches South Asian Ethnography, Language in the Social Context, and Cultures of Technology: Aesthetics, Senses, and the Body. In coming years she is looking forward to teaching courses in ethnomusicology, the anthropology of performance, and postcolonial theory.
Office: Dalton Hall, Room 200D
Office Hours: T/TH 4:00-5:30 or by appointment
Ph.D. Brandeis University; A.M., Harvard University
Casey Miller is a sociocultural anthropologist specializing in the anthropology of gender and sexuality, political anthropology, and medical anthropology. His research critically examines emerging forms of gay and lesbian culture, grassroots activism, civil society, and HIV/AIDS prevention in postsocialist urban China.