Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences in the College; Director of Undergraduate Studies
PhD, University of Michigan, 2003 (Anthropology and History)
My fieldwork combines archival, ethnographic, and archaeological methods with a regional focus on the coastal communities of the U.S., Caribbean, and Mexico. The central thread running through my work concerns how landscapes and material objects mediate human relationships, whether this means an examination of the historical ecologies of capitalism, or the emotional trajectories of those who lost their intimate object worlds to Hurricane Katrina. I also have a strong interest in questions of temporality (past, present, future). I have written a couple of quite different books on New Orleans. My current research (which will take the form of both a film and a book) focuses on rapidly changing death practices in the U.S., particularly around disposition and transformation of the body. I am interested in what these emerging practice say about popular ontologies. I am thrilled to be learning new things through collaboration with an artist and filmmaker. I believe that, at its best, intellectualism is the human spirit calling itself, and that academia is just one tent where this might happen. In my free time, I compost, play piano, and swim. I am grateful for having received support from the MacArthur Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the ACLS, among others. For access to publications see my academia.edu page; for access to field reports of past archaeological projects, go to research portal and for information on the film project, go to My Star, My Dust.
American Afterlives: Ghosts in the Commodity Form. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology.
Zombies and a Decaying American Ontology. Journal of Historical Sociology.
Talking Trash and the Politics of Disregard. Cambridge Archaeological Journal.
Death and Archaeology in the Present, Tense. Rethinking Historical Time: New Approaches to Presentism. Eds. Marek Tamm and Laurent Olivier. Bloomsbury Press.
La Catrina: The Mexican Specter of New Orleans. Remaking New Orleans: Beyond Exceptionalism and Authenticity, ed. Thomas Adam and Matt Sakakeeny. Duke University Press.
The Wounded Landscape: Disaster, Trauma, and Ontology. Eds. Yael Navaro, Zerrin Ozlem Biner, Alice von Bieberstein, and Seda Altug. Reverberations: Violence Across Time and Space. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
The Abject Ruins of Marxism, Cultural Dynamics 30(1-2): 119-121.
The Prostitute and the Dandy, or The Romantic Complications of Capitalism as Viewed from New Orleans. Critical Historical Studies 4(2) :1-32.
Patina: A Profane Archaeology. University of Chicago Press.
Profane Archaeology and the Existential Dialectics of the City. Journal of Social Archaeology 16(1): 32-55.
Anti-history. In Counternarratives and Macrohistories, ed. Geoff Emberling for Cambridge University Press, 328-342.
(with Alison Kohn) Archaeologies of an Informal City: Temporal Dimensions of Contemporary Andean Urbanism. IN Assembling Architecture. Archaeology, Affect and the Performance of Building Spaces, eds. Mikkel Bille and Tim Flohr Sørensen. Routledge.
(with D. Ryan Gray) French Colonial Louisiana: The Rough Terrains of Empire. Oxford Handbook of Historical Archaeology, eds. James Symonds and Laurie Wilkie.
Modern American Death: Grave Goods and Blithe Mementos. In Paul Graves-Brown, Rodney Harrison and Angela Piccini (eds.). Handbook of the Archaeology of the Contemporary World. Oxford University Press.
The Archaeology of Illegal and Illicit Economies (with Alexandra Hartnett) Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 42: 37-51.
Towards a General Theory of Piracy (with Joe Bonni). Anthropological Quarterly, 83(3): 673-700.
Why Pirates Are Back. Annual Review of Law and Social Science 7: 361-385.
Sexualizing Space: The Colonial Leer and the Genealogy of Storyville. In B. Voss and E. Casella, eds., The Archaeology of Colonialism: Intimate Encounters and Sexual Effects. Cambridge University Press: 271-289.
Clockpunk Anthropology and the Ruins of Modernity. Current Anthropology 51(6):761-793.
‘A Wild Taste’: Food and Colonialism in Eighteenth-century Louisiana. Ethnohistory 57(3):389-414.
Disaster Preparedness. In Edward Murphy, David William Cohen et al., eds., Anthrohistory: Unsettling Knowledge, Questioning Discipline. University of Michigan Press, 140-155.
Millennial Archaeology: Locating the Discipline in the Age of Insecurity/Doomsday Confessions. Archaeological Dialogues 16(2): 131-142, 186-193.
Building the Devil’s Empire: French Colonial New Orleans. University of Chicago Press.
Dumont de Montigny: Regards sur le monde atlantique, 1715-1747. (Co-edited with C. Zecher and G. Sayre.) Québec/Paris: Septentrion.
Beneath the Rising Sun: ‘Frenchness’ and the Archaeology of Desire. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 11(3):370-387 (with Richard Weyhing).
Scoundrels, Whores, and Gentlemen: Defamation and Society in French Colonial Louisiana. In R.F. Brown, ed., Coastal Encounters: The Transformation of the Gulf South in the Eighteenth Century. University of Nebraska Press, 132-150.
La Nouvelle-Orléans au xviie siècle: courants d‘échanges dans le monde caraïbe [English title: Undercurrents of the Atlantic World: The View from Eighteenth-Century New Orleans]. Annales (Paris, Fall 2007) 62(3): 663-685.
The Taphonomy of Disaster and the (Re)formation of New Orleans. American Anthropologist. 108(4): 719-730.
The Burden of Louis Congo and the Evolution of Savagery in Colonial Louisiana. In S. Pierce & A. Rao, eds., Discipline and the Other Body: Correction, Corporeality, Colonialism. Duke University Press, 61-89.
Proper Caresses and Prudent Distance: A How-to Manual from Louisiana. In A.L. Stoler, ed., Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History. Duke University Press, 140-162.
Thinker-Tinkers, Race, and the Archaeological Critique of Modernity. Archaeological Dialogues 12(2): 143-164.
(Co-edited with A. Curet and G. La Rosa) Dialogues in Cuban Archaeology. University of Alabama Press.
La Comida Mambisa: Food, Farming, and Cuban Identity, 1834-1999. New West Indian Guide 76(1-2): 47-80.
Understanding Cultural Change through the Vernacular: Creolization in Louisiana. Historical Archaeology 34(3): 107-123.