Darren Byler (Anthropology PhD, Advisor)
Having completed an M.A. in East Asian Studies at Columbia University in 2009 and a year of language study at Xinjiang University in 2010, I entered the Social Cultural Anthrolopogy PhD program in 2010. I’m interested in the anthropology of place, translocal cultural resilience and change, as expressed through the visual, material culture and the built environment in Northwest China and Central Asia. My most recent research has analyzed public parks of Xinjiang as sites of cultural performance and levity which coexist with the militarized state, widespread cultural displacement and the pervasive threat of ethnic and economic violence in the region. Future projects will focus on the art community of Urumqi centered around the government-sponsored art district Qi Fang Jie. I’m fascinated with the ways in which differently positioned artists, musicians, and poets represent “being Chinese” in the desert and mountain landscapes of Central Asia and how these representations are in turn related to understandings of human ecology and politics.”
alma khasawnih (Feminist Studies PhD, Advisor)
My interests include understanding and documenting the role of art and artists in social change and political movements; transnational feminist theory; and Arab feminism. I have a BS in Environmental Science and Behavior from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a MA from the Rhode Island School of Design, with a thesis titled Informal Arts Education as a Tool for Social Change: Arab American Artist Collectives as Case Studies. I am a columnist for the Seattle Globalist, and since 2009 have been writing about love in its widest definitions for JO Magazine in Jordan. I am an immigrant from Far West Asia, and my current research focus is Arab women artists’ processes and work within the context of the Arab Spring.
Michael Marshall (Anthropology PhD, Advisor)