Visiting Researchers

Lucas Bessire

“Behold the Black Caiman: Modernity and Indigeneity among the Ayoreo of the Chaco”

Lucas BessireLucas BessireLucas Bessire

Lucas Bessire's book project draws from thirty-seven months of fieldwork with the Ayoreo Indians in Bolivia and Paraguay, primarily in the village known as The-Place-Where-the-Black-Caiman-Comes-Walking, to examine the political and sentimental implications of “becoming Indigenous.” As the first examination of Indigenous two-way radio use, the book uses an intimate portrait of an Ayoreo band that made “first contact” in 2004 to track how three distinct scales of mediation—including Indigenous appropriation of radio technology, transnational discourses of Indigenous rights, and local understandings of evangelical Christian doctrine—change Ayoreo imaginations of possible futures within contexts of poverty, disease, and violence. Bessire elaborates on the premise that internal colonization and the politics of “becoming Indigenous” entail embodying uneven global power relations as collective feelings of trauma, shame, and hope, and addresses changing Ayoreo concepts of such social sentiments. This book will be the first ethnographic study of the Ayoreo based on long-term participant observation by someone with a working knowledge of the language.

Find out more about Lucas Bessire by visiting the SAR website (opens in new browser window).

Ernestine S. ElsterErnestine S. ElsterErnestine S. Elster

Ernestine S. Elster

“Scaloria Cave: Ritual and Landscape in the Mediterranean Neolithic”

Shortly before her death, renowned archaeologist Marija Gimbutas asked Ernestine S. Elster to promise to see to it that the important work at Grotta Scaloria, a double-chambered cave in southeast Italy, was published. The site was first discovered in the 1930s during the installation of an aqueduct, then closed for a number of years to await funding, during which it was illegally raided. Work progressed slowly until the late 1970s, when Gimbutas joined a joint project at Scaloria Cave, the notes from which were archived after her death in 1994. With the support of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA and SAR, Elster is working with an extensive group of collaborators to finally combine all the materials about Scaloria and its connection to the Neolithic period.

Find out more about Ernestine S. Elster by visiting the SAR website (opens in new browser window).

Stephen H. Lekson

“The Southwest in the World”

Scalar Thresholds in the Ancient Southwest: Density and DistanceStephen H. LeksonStephen H. Lekson

Stephen H. Lekson is writing the companion volume to A History of the Ancient Southwest, published by SAR Press in 2009, a humanistic “pre”-history of the region. Together, the two books will explore the intersections between science and the humanities in archaeology and other disciplines. The Southwest in the World will interrogate the new history set out in A History of the Southwest from the perspective of eight science/social science themes, and will examine the place and potential of the ancient Southwest in larger intellectual debates and the nature of archaeology as both a science and a humanist discipline.

Find out more about Stephen H. Lekson by visiting the SAR website (opens in new browser window).

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