Sociocultural Anthropology Bios


Alexia Arani

Alexia Arani is a sociocultural anthropologist. Her research interests include "post"-colonial theory, tourism, study abroad, representation, and social media. 

Devin Beaulieu

Devin Beaulieu works on indigenous politics in Bolivia. His work focuses on enactment of the new constitution defining Bolivia as a plurinational state to the benefit of an indigenous majority. He is interested in the questions of liberal governance, political economy, decolonization, and territorial rights. Devin is also a member of the Selva Rica film cooperative that works to promote indigenous and environmental activism. He played a featured role in the award winning 2010 Peruvian film "El Perro del Hortelano".


Michael Berman

Michael is a sociocultural anthropologist who dabbles heavily in linguistic and semiotic anthropology.  He came to UCSD in 2011 after receiving an M.A. in social sciences from the University of Chicago in 2010 and a B.A. in East Asian studies and anthropology from the College of William and Mary in 2006.  He studies the complex relationship between empathy and alienation in contemporary Japan, which has been described by many scholars as a "relationless society."  On the ground, this has meant focusing on the volunteer efforts of a Japanese "new religion" working to bridge the gaps between people in order to form meaningful relations.  He can be contacted at mberman[at], and is always happy to exchange ideas and work with interested interlocutors.


Waqas Butt

Waqas Butt started the program in 2009 and is concerned with the anthropological study of religion and secularism in Pakistan, concentrating on the historical conditions of Christianity. He utilizes theories of ethics and material to understand both the original conversion to Christianity in the Punjab and the contemporary status of Christians in rural and urban Pakistan. Waqas is currently writing grants to conduct ethnographic and archival research in Lahore, Pakistan.




William Dawley

William Dawley is a student of anthropology at UC San Diego with a focus on the anthropology of Christianity, Latin America, and gender. His research focuses on the many organizations in Ciudad Quesada de San Carlosthat offer men support in their effort to transform their gender identity by "spiritual" means, including Catholic, evangelical, and other Christian churches, as well as groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and men's support groups like WEM which focus on men's struggles.

William has spent almost two years in Ciudad Quesada de San Carlos since2003. This small city is the growing urban hub of Northern Costa Rica, a largely rural area where "masculine" work such as cattle ranching is quickly being replaced, at least in the city, by office and clerical work, threatening men's conceptions of their roles and identities both at work and at home (cf. Phillippe Bourgois's /In Search of Respect/ and Paul Willis's /Learning to Labor/). As a result, many men are showing interest in men's groups that provide spiritual and religious solutions to what Costa Ricans generally refer to as the male identity crisis (cf. Matthew Gutmann's /Meanings of Macho/, David Smilde's /Reason to Believe/, and Stanley Brandes's /Staying Sober in Mexico City/).

William recently returned from a nine-month stint in Costa Rica and is currently working on his dissertation. He is a Melford Spiro fellow at the University of California, San Diego and a visiting researcher at the University of Texas's Teresa Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies.


John Dulin

John is currently conducting ethnographic research on the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian majority and growing Muslim and Pentecostal minorities in Gondar, Ethiopia.  His focus is on how the religious orientation of each community shapes intergroup social interaction. He is paying special attention to the role of value production and religious constructions of space in mediating practices of religious tolerance and rare incidents of interreligious violence. Additionally, he is interested in how social imaginaries in Gondar interact with contemporary global discourses on Islam and Christianity encountered on television and the internet. Finally, any study of interreligious relations in Ethiopia must pay attention to how religious actors interpret, absorb and resist the official state ideology of religious pluralism. His dissertation will explore how all these threads shape social life across religious boundaries in contemporary Gondar.




Esin Duzel

Esin is a social and cultural anthropologist who received a B.A. from Sabanci University (2004, Cultural Studies, an M.A. from Ohio State University (2008, Comparative Studies), and PhD candidacy from University of California (2011, Anthropology). Her research interests focus on violence and trauma, human rights, post-conflict reconstruction processes, nationalism, political memory, gender, race and sexuality, and biopolitics with an emphasis on Turkey and the Middle East. Her M.A. thesis, Toward an Anthropology of the State: Unsettling Effects of the September 12 Military Coup on the Ultranationalist Movement in Turkey, explored the survival of the idea of the 'holy state/our state' in the eyes of the ultranationalist movement in Turkey amid a period of state terror and repression. The research and her M.A. education was supported by J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship. Currently Esin is in the field, Diyarbakir (a Kurdish-majority city in south eastern Turkey) for my doctoral research. Supported by UCSD Department of Anthropology's Research Project Grant, the research addresses the role of trauma, both as a discourse and an experience, in the politics of the Kurdish conflict in Turkey. It seeks to understand the cultural dynamics that shape the continuation and reproduction of violence and trauma in Turkey as well as the potentials and limitations of human rights work on the conflict.

As a Teaching Assistant, she has taught courses such as, Gender, Sexuality, and Society, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Debating Multiculturalism, Language and Society, Health Disparities and Public Health, Photography and Visual Culture, Culture and Emotion. 

She also participates in non-academic work. As a member of a women's collective since 2004, she partakes in collecting women's sexuality stories, which resulted in a reader's theater book işte böyle güzelim... (this is how it goes my darling...), published in 2008 in Turkish, and in 2009 in German (so ist das, meine Schöne: Türkische frauen erzählen von frausein, begehren und liebe). Having organized over 50 reading performances based on the book in different parts of Turkey and Germany, they are currently working on a new book to be published in 2012. Since 2011, Esin is also a volunteer at the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, which provides support to torture survivors and conducts research on ongoing social trauma. Here, she has co-edited Proceedings of the International Workshop Coping With Ongoing Trauma in Turkey.  


Benjamin Ellerby


Natasa Garic-Humphrey

Natasa Garic-Humphrey has two M.A. degrees in Sociocultural Anthropology and is currently working on a Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology. Before coming to UCSD, she worked with Hopi Indian youth and elders in the area of ethnographic filmmaking and storytelling. Currently, her dissertation project explores Bosnian activists’ search for alternative ways of citizenship that transcends ethnic polarization, and their incorporation of ethics, morality, and hope for a better future amidst post-war struggle, economic devastation, and nationalist ideologies. She is interested in the ways Bosnian activists perform resistance against the current socio-political situation in the country, and which stances they may take vis-à-vis the state, to ultimately understand the model of citizenship they are enacting or aspiring to. Research interests: activism, performance, citizenship, nationalist ideologies, postsocialism, lived experiences, morality, ethics, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Balkans.


Logan Green


Jordan Haug

Jordan Haug is a graduate student in sociocultural anthropology with an interest in religious movements, development, and cultural change in Papua New Guinea. From 2014-2016 Jordan will be conducting long term fieldwork on the island of Misima in Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea. In 2004 a large industrial open pit gold mine was permanently closed on the island. In response to the mine's closure Misimans have witnessed a kind of religious revival. Through his research on Misima, Jordan seeks to answer how people go about hoping for greater equality in times of dramatic geopolitical and economic inequality. By investigating how multiple visions for “the good life” coexist (competitively or synergistically) and are hoped for (concretely or abstractly) amidst deindustrialization and geopolitical decline, he will be exploring how people respond to moral crises of development and change.


Tim Karis

Tim is a cultural anthropologist interested in citizenship, migration, and urbanization in Vietnam and China.  His current research looks at urban migration, residency restrictions, and the symbolic and material roles of native-place relationships in late-socialist Hanoi.


Amy Kennemore

Amy Kennemore received a M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte in 2012. Her Master’s thesis considered the political framework of plurinationalism in Bolivia through an examination of recent tensions between indigenous autonomy and liberal political representation in the highland municipality of Jesús de Machaca. She is interested in power and changing discourses of indigeneity, decolonization, and citizenship.


David Keyes

David is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and a researcher at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies (CCIS).

All of his research deals with immigration. His dissertation research examines the post-World War II rise of suburban soccer in the United States and the relationship between suburban soccer and soccer in immigrant communities. He has also done research on the relationship between immigrant sports teams and civic participation, the impact of economic recession on the everyday lives of immigrants, the effect of remittances on the education of children of immigrants, and conceptions of stability of immigrants settling in so-called “new destinations.” Read more.

As part of his work as a graduate student researcher at CCIS, he coordinates and co-instructs the Mexican Migration Field Research Program. This program teaches students research methods and gives them the opportunity to carry out research with Mexican immigrants in the United States and their families in Mexico, and publish the results of this research in a book published annually. In this position he has taught research methods, instructed students as they carry out their research, and assisted them in data analysis and write-up of their work. Read more.


Julia Klimova 

Vanessa Lodermeier

Vanessa's research interests lie in the confluence of migration, citizenship, and human rights. She comes to UCSD with experience in immigrant workforce development in rural Canadian communities and will focus on Latin American immigration to the US. 


Katherine Miller 


Jorge Montesinos 

His research interests are the informal economy, precariety, and social stratification within indigenous communities in the Andes. Since 2009 he has carried out ethnographic research among Aymara communities of Bolivia and Chile, focusing on transborder trade circuits across the highlands, social change, and indigenous territory. Additionally, he is interested in Anthropology of the Andes, Political Anthropology, Latin American Political Economy, Neoliberalism and Precariety. 


Joshua Nordin

Joshua's dissertation is on the distribution of care in neoliberal Los Angeles. He attends to the problems emergent within state-supported health care as well as Afro- and New Age-inspired 'alternatives.' Within this landscape Joshua works with ideas associated with science studies, continental philosophy, and political anthropology, assembling them in a post-humanist ethnographic practice. 


Genevieve Okada Goldstone

Genevieve Okada Goldstone is specializing in sociocultural and psychological anthropology and her dissertation advisors are Drs. Joe Hankins and Esra Ozyurek of the London School of Economics. She received her B.A. in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and her M.A. in the psychology of parenthood from New York University. She is also a teaching assistant in the Dimensions of Culture Writing Program at Thurgood Marshall College at UCSD. 

Genevieve conducted fieldwork in the exotic land of Los Angeles where she studied an ancient tribe -(American) Jews. Her dissertation focuses on conversion to Judaism and, in particular, on converts "of color" (Asian, Latino, and African American). Her primary research interests include race, ethnicity, identity, religion, conversion, Judaism, and the Jewish community.


Raquel Pacheco

Raquel is a student in the sociocultural track of anthropology.  She follows indigenous movements in Latin America.  Specifically, she is looking at the way liberalism shapes indigenous peoples' relation to land and each other.  She is using models of affect, the state, and resistance.


Ian Parker

Ian is interested in social and environmental interactions, as well as processes of articulation and emergence. His doctoral research focuses on social dynamics of marine conservation in the Raja Ampat archipelago of West Papua, Indonesia- a seascape of diverse species and peoples. His research intends to contribute to ethnographic accounts of ethical pluralism, intersocial relations, climate change adaptation and the modeling of socio-ecological relations. Other topics of interest include transnational governance, alterity and tourism. Ian's primary research area is Melanesia and the Asia-Pacific rim, though I am also interested in South America and Central Eurasia. He has conducted applied anthropological research in Vietnam, Namibia, Mexico, Georgia and Azerbaijan, and have coordinated projects in the Philippines, Indonesia, Yemen, and West Bank and Gaza.

C.Phil, Anthropology, University of California San Diego, 2013
MA, Anthropology, University of California San Diego, 2013
MA, International Relations, Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, 2007
BA, Anthropology, Reed College, 2003


Marisa Peeters


Ana Paula Pimentel Walker


Priscilla PV da Costa Garcia

Belinda Ramirez

Belinda is a graduate student of sociocultural anthropology and plans to work in South America among lowland Quichua (Runa) to investigate the concepts of (ethno)nationalism, semiotics, religion/shamanism, and ontology. She has experience with ethnographic fieldwork in northern Thailand where she analyzed the intersection between ethnicity, nationalism, religion, and recognition among a Hmong messianic religious group. She has also conducted linguistic fieldwork in the Ecuadorian Amazon, where she focused on the spatial deixis of two dialects of lowland Quichua.


Amy Rothschild

Amy started the program in 2007 and is a sociocultural anthropology student, currently doing fieldwork in Timor-Leste. Her main research interests include political violence, postcolonialism, nationalism, collective memory and human rights (particularly transitional justice).


Paula Saravia

Global Health, Medical Anthropology, Health and Development, Infectious Diseases in Latin America, History of Medicine (epidemics). 

Paula Saravia is a Ph.D. candidate at UC, San Diego. She studied social anthropology at Universidad de Chile, where she was trained in medical anthropology. Before continuing her studies abroad she worked on poverty reduction programs in Chile and also taught at Universidad de Chile as a lecturer. In 2006 she received an Erasmus Mundus grant from the European Union to study in the interdisciplinary Master’s program “Phoenix Dynamics of Health and Welfare, spending her first year in Portugal at Evora University and her second year in Linköping, Sweden. Paula's principal research interests are infectious diseases, race, and emotions in the context of national biopolitical projects in Latin America. Since 2008 she has carried out ethnographic research among Aymara communities of Bolivia and Chile, focusing on how illness narratives and medical practices influence the framing of tuberculosis within transborder Andean communities. 

Dissertation Research:
“Solo el Estado puede curar.” Tuberculosis, Race, and citizenship among the Aymara in the border between Bolivia and Chile.

Masters Thesis Research (2008)
“Framing Tuberculosis in Chile 1880s-1940s. A Historical Anthropological Approach”.
Erasmus Mundus Master Phoenix Dynamics of Health and Welfare. Linköping Universitet, Sweden.


Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith headed west from a small town in the Appalachian mountains and has been moving ever since. Her dissertation research focuses on the relationship between high-stakes educational testing, social inequality, and extended kinship networks in Tamil Nadu, India.


Alex Stewart


Alexis E. Tucker Sade

ABD PhD Candidate, UC San Diego - Sociocultural Anthropology
Associate Faculty, MiraCosta College, Department of Social Sciences
PhD Research - Solomon Islands 2011 - 2013
     Funded by the UC Pacific Rim Dissertation Research Fellowship and the F.G. Bailey Field Research Grant

M.A., 2010, UC San Diego, Sociocultural Anthropology, "Why Don't Things Fall Apart? A Study of the Survival of the Solomon Islands State"

B.A. with Academic Distinction, 2004, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Biological Anthropology and Philosophy

Archaeological Field School, 2004, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), University of Hawai'i at Manoa


Leanne Williams

As a student of Joel Robbins and Rupert Stasch, Leanne works on the Anthropology of Religion, with a geographic focus on Southern and Eastern Africa.  She is particularly interested in Christianity and how it interacts with the ways in which people think about themselves in relation to their world.  Her Master's thesis was an attempted analysis of constructions of space in ritual life in one specific historical ethnographic case.  She hopes to carry out her fieldwork in urban Zimbabwe, looking at the ways in which morality gets talked about in contexts of social change.  Having completed her undergraduate degree in the Midwest, and having grown up outside of the United States, she is currently enjoying the singular experience of being a California resident.