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Liam Michael Brady

Liam Michael Brady

2015 Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Summer Scholar


From Artefact to Agent: Exploring Contemporary Indigenous Relationships to Rock Art

This project is a comparative analysis of how Indigenous communities from two of the world’s great rock art regions — northern Australia and the American Southwest — are engaging with and negotiating their contemporary relationships(s) to rock art. Often viewed by archaeologists as an artefact reflective of activities of the past, this project aims to shift discourse around rock art to instead explore how rock art can be considered sentient, multivocal and an active social agent of the present and future. Using anthropological and archaeological perspectives three major case studies are used to examine the contemporary meaning(s) and relevance Indigenous peoples ascribe to their rock art today. By focusing on the complex social dynamics related to the contemporary meaning-making process this project provides new and exciting insights into the agency and generative dimensions of rock art as well as exploring how cultural relationships to heritage are being re-worked in different settings.

Affiliation at time of award:
Senior Lecturer
Monash Indigenous Centre
Monash University

Adam Fulton Johnson

Adam Fulton Johnson

2015 William Y. and Nettie K. Adams Summer Scholar


Ethnographic Fieldwork and the Politics of Documentation: Early US Anthropology among Southwestern Indian Groups, 1870-1900

Anthropologists in the Southwestern United States, 1870‐1900, often found themselves in the “field” among indigenous people without a notion of what constituted ethnographic “fieldwork.” Following naturalist science, these proto‐anthropologists relied on copious documentation of Southwestern Indian language and culture. Having dealt with Hispanic state craft and Catholic missionization for centuries, Southwestern Indian groups, in turn, responded in a multitude of ways to these documenting practices. In many instances, Indian communities purposefully complicated seemingly straightforward activities as taking a picture of Indians at work, sketching a sacred dance, or writing down vocabularies. Johnson’s doctoral dissertation asserts that in the late nineteenth-century Southwest, encounters between Indian communities and Anglo ethnographers were conditioned not by theoretical training or institutional affiliation, but by fieldwork experiences that included negotiation over the technologies and practices of information gathering. Juxtaposing the practical assumptions of anthropologists and historical experiences of various Indian communities, Johnson explores the politics of documentation in the late nineteenth‐century US Southwest.

Affiliation at time of award:
Ph.D. Candidate
Department of History
University of Michigan

Devaka Premawardhana

Devaka Premawardhana

2015 Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Summer Scholar


Everyday Conversions: Mobility and Mutability at the Margins of Pentecostalism

The purpose of this project is to revise a monograph on Pentecostalism’s ambivalent reception in northern Mozambique. Drawing on over one year of ethnographic research among the region’s Makhuwa-speaking people, Dr. Premawardhana interrogates two regnant assumptions in anthropological studies of Pentecostalism — that it is uniformly flourishing in the postcolonial world, and that it is exceptionally capable of provoking radical change. Methodologically, Everyday Conversions shifts attention from transnational churches to the men and women who relate indeterminately to them. It also highlights the spatial models of change these men and women bring with them to the churches. The argument of the monograph is that Pentecostalism’s failure to thrive among the Makhuwa relates to the regularity — and reversibility — of movement in Makhuwa history and ritual. As such, this work joins others in affirming the creativity of indigenous engagements with global dynamics, however pervasive those dynamics may be.

Affiliation at time of award:
Assistant Professor
Department of Religion
Colorado College

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