Rudolf Gaudio, Associate Professor of Anthropology and contributing faculty member in Media Studies, Gender Studies, and Global Black Studies
B.A. Yale University
MIA, Columbia University
Ph.D. Stanford University
My entry into anthropology was via languages and linguistics. As the child and grandchild of Italian immigrants, I struggled to understand the language my older relatives laughed and told stories in. I studied all the western European languages offered in my high school, majored in Russian Studies in college, then focused on African languages in graduate school. Anthropology drew me in because it allowed me to focus as much on people's lives as on the languages they spoke.
Purchase is a terrific place to teach anthropology. The students who come here are attracted to cultural diversity not just as a marketing gimmick, but because they're eager to understand how cultural differences and globalization enrich and complicate our lives. My students also teach me. In Global Sexualities and Language, Culture & Society, students have done fascinating projects on such topics as sexting, slut-shaming, and Spanglish. In Media & Performance in Africa students stage performances adapted from African theater and popular culture--including the original "Lion King." In another class students perform skits in the Hausa language (spoken in Nigeria); one group even made a Hausa-language video. The creativity and curiosity of Purchase students amazes and inspires me.
Jason Pine, Assistant Professor of Media Studies and contributing faculty member in Anthropology
Coordinator of Anthropology and Media Studies Boards of Study
B.A. University of Chicago
M.A. New School for Social Research
Ph.D. University of Texas, Austin
My research for the past 15 years has been about people who engage in DIY practices that simultaneously mimic and unsettle dominant norms. In Naples, I studied young, marginal singers and their families who navigate an “underground” pop music scene crisscrossed with the region’s violent organized crime networks in pursuit of fame and fortune, or simply a better life. I looked at their music production, distribution and performance techniques, as well as their everyday communication tactics in atmospheres of secrecy and insecurity. In my second project, I have studied small-scale home methamphetamine manufacture in the Midwest and elsewhere in the United States. I found that home methlabs are the work of rogue chemists who pursue the very same desire for “performance enhancement” accentuated by major pharmaceutical companies, particularly the makers of ADD/ADHD medications.
I enjoy teaching introductory courses and upper-level seminar-style courses. Rather than lecture, I prefer to have structured in-class discussions. Because students have so many different viewpoints when we share them, we can articulate truly original ideas. I can teach the same class many times in a row and learn something new each time. I often teach courses, such as Material Culture, Alternative Economies, and Drugs, Bodies, Design, that are related to my research. What I like about Purchase is that students and faculty are open-minded, generous, and willing to take the risk of experimenting with unconventional ways of thinking.
David J. Kim, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and contributing faculty member in Media Studies
B.A. Trinity College
Ph.D. Columbia University
My research in cultural anthropology focuses on magic and divination in contemporary South Korea, ranging from shamans, horoscopic fortunetellers, and the growing diversity in between. My current book project, Divining Capital: Spectral Returns and the Commodification of Fate in South Korea, features sites such as fortunetelling cafes, shamanic shrines, and street diviners. While firmly situated in the sensuousness of everyday life, it also attempts to unveil ghostly traces of secrets and hidden desires that surface on the diviner's table. Under the backdrop of increased economic liberalization, the project also examines the bipolar urge of patrons to simultaneously embrace, yet protect against risk. My research though grounded in South Korea, speaks to a growing body of anthropological work on economies of ritual, leisure, and gaming, as they relate to market forces, globalization, and neoliberalism. My other research interests include Marxism, critical and post-structural theory, psychoanalysis, queer theory, technology and new media, and anthropology of the senses.
I originally came to anthropology with a background in both theater and performance studies. It is exciting for me to draw on these fields, especially in relation to the works of Bertolt Brecht and his ideas on shock and montage, and how they might inform anthropology in both theory and practice. I enjoy teaching topics such as magic, ritual, and religion—areas that have had long standing traditions in anthropology—in theoretically challenging and creative ways, while still engaging with our discipline’s conceptual foundations.
Lorraine Plourde, Assistant Professor of Media Studies and contributing faculty member in Anthropology
B.A. Hampshire College
M.A. University of Washington
Ph.D. Columbia University
I am a cultural anthropologist specializing in sound and listening in contemporary Japan. I am broadly interested in how auditory practices are informed by ambient and atmospheric sound (Muzak, background music, city noise, etc.). I came to anthropology by way of ethnomusicology, which I first studied as an undergraduate at Hampshire College (where I studied North Indian classical music and conducted fieldwork in India for my senior thesis) and in graduate school at the University of Washington, where I completed my master’s degree in ethnomusicology. I am currently completing my book manuscript, Tokyo Listening: Sound and Sense in a Contemporary City (Wesleyan University Press, spring 2019) I have also conducted fieldwork in Japan on the phenomenon of cat cafes in Tokyo, which have become popular outside of Japan in recent years. I am also deeply interested in the pleasures and politics of popular music. I explore some of these issues in a recent article on the Japanese heavy metal J-pop idol girl group Babymetal.
I teach courses at Purchase on ethnomusicology, anthropology of sound and listening, avant-garde cultures, youth culture in Japan, media ethnographies and fieldwork methods, and introduction to anthropology, among others. I plan to design a new seminar on popular music studies which I am excited to teach in the near future. I love the creative and experimental spirit that is fostered at Purchase and I encourage interdisciplinarity and experimentation in all of my classes. Students in my Avant-Garde Cultures and Everyday Life course create final projects ranging from sound collages, short films, manifestos, and performance art pieces. In my course, Anthropology of Sound and Listening, students make field recordings and conduct fieldwork on muzak in public spaces such as shopping malls, cafes, and supermarkets. I love how Purchase students are creative, intellectually curious, and they think outside the box.
Ragnhild Utheim, Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies
B.S. Hunter College, The City University of New York
I hold a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the Graduate School and University Center, The City University of New York. I teach anthropology at Purchase College, and anthropology and sociology classes in the Marymount Manhattan College Program at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. My research interests include the anthropology of mass incarceration, youth justice and prison studies, education anthropology, globalization and social inequality, race and ethnicity, and gender and sexuality. My ethnographic research has focused on the use of restorative practices as an intervention alternative to zero-tolerance policies, particularly among court-involved youth in high school settings. I completed a Writing Fellowship in CUNY’s Writing Across the Curriculum program when I was trained in pedagogy and curriculum development, assisted faculty with course development, and conducted student workshops on writing in the disciplines (WID). My future research plans include documenting the impact of higher education in prison and the role of “inside-out programs” (college classes that combine students from inside and outside prison) in public opinion and civil engagement.
Read abstract for recent article on restorative justice, reintegration, and race in Anthropology & Education Quarterly by Dr. Utheim
Shaka McGlotten, Associate Professor of Media, Society, and the Arts and Doris and Carl Kempner Distinguished Professor (2016-2018)
Faculty member of Gender Studies and Global Black Studies
Contributing faculty member in Anthropology, Cinema Studies, and New Media
B.A. Grinnell College
Ph.D. University of Texas, Austin
I am an anthropologist who came to the discipline through art and artmaking (something I'm still known to do on occasion, even in class). My work focuses on media technologies, sexuality, gender, and race. I draw extensively on perspectives from feminism and queer studies. Like my colleague Jason Pine, I am very interested in DIY practices, at the seams where cultural forms emerge, or decay. Ethnography, the peculiar methodology anthropologists cultivated of deeply hanging out, talking at length to people, and then writing about those experiences, is the glue that binds together what might otherwise seem like quite diverse research areas. My research and writing has included work on public sex, online intimacies, massively multiplayer games, DIY porn, zombies, and poop, among other things.
I am at work on two book-length projects. The first, "Black Data," brings together queer of color critique with network culture studies. Recent debates about mass surveillance, big data, and biometrics frame the project, which examines work by artists as well as hackers and other makers. My other project is called "The Political Aesthetics of Drag." It is made up of ethnographic portraits of artists and activists who use drag in Berlin, New York City, and Israel/Palestine.
I consider myself very lucky to teach at Purchase, where I have found the students to be creative and engaged. They regularly inspire me. In the classroom, I teach from a social justice perspective that draws on feminist, queer, anti-racist, and decolonial thought. My courses run the gamut from the introductions to media or digital culture to more advanced seminars in film or queer theory. I strive to create learning environments that are rigorous, interactive, and even fun, and students regularly create projects that epitomize Purchase's "Think Wide Open Motto"--from films to performances to games.