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Shannon Lee Dawdy Anthropology


Shannon Dawdy (PhD, U Michigan 2003) is a Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences in the College. Dawdy is an interdisciplinary scholar who works across methods and time periods. Her current fieldwork can be understood as an archaeology of contemporary life. Her regional focus has been on the U.S., Caribbean, and Mexico. A central thread running through her work concerns how landscapes and material objects mediate human relationships, from the historical ecologies of capitalism to the emotional trajectories of those who lost their intimate object worlds to Hurricane Katrina. Another theoretical interest is temporality -- how pasts, presents, and futures shape social life and political possibilities. Her current research focuses on rapidly changing death practices in the U.S., particularly around disposition and transformation of the body. Collaborating with a filmmaker, one domain of the project experiments with how to make a documentary film with an archaeological eye. Shannon Dawdy is a MacArthur Fellow and has received funding for her fieldwork from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For access to publications and information on current work go to: https://chicago.academia.edu/ShannonLeeDawdy and http://www.mystarmydust.com/

Read Shannon Lee Dawdy’s biography on the Anthropology Department’s website.

Selected publications:

The Prostitute and the Dandy, or The Romantic Complications of Capitalism as Viewed from New Orleans. Critical Historical Studies 4(2) :1-32. 2017
Patina: A Profane Archaeology. University of Chicago Press. 2016.


Kaushik Sunder Rajan  Anthropology


Professor Sunder Rajan’s work lies at the intersection of Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies (STS), with commitments to social theories of capitalism and postcolonial studies. He seeks to understand the political economy of the contemporary life sciences and biomedicine, with a primary empirical focus on the United States and India. His focus has been to open up conceptual questions concerning the complex relationships between knowledge, health, value and politics. He has a three-fold set of intellectual commitments: (a) to explore the nature of scientific knowledge, practice and institutionalization; (b) to elucidate political economic structures that operate across multiple scales using ethnography; and (c) to theorize contemporary capitalism.

Read Kaushik Sunder Rajan’s biography on the Anthropology Department’s website.

Selected Publications:

Pharmocracy: Trials of Global Biomedicine. Duke University Press. 2017.
Biocapital: The Constitution of Post-Genomic Life. Duke University Press. 2006


Lisa Wedeen Political Science


Lisa Wedeen is the Mary R. Morton Professor of Political Science and the College and the Co-Director of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory at the University of Chicago. Her publications include Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria (1999); "Conceptualizing 'Culture': Possibilities for Political Science" (2002); "Concepts and Commitments in the Study of Democracy" (2004), Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power and Performance in Yemen (2008), "Ethnography as an Interpretive Enterprise" (2009), "Reflections on Ethnographic Work in Political Science" (2010), and "Ideology and Humor in Dark Times: Notes from Syria" (2013). She is the recipient of the David Collier Mid-Career Achievement Award and an NSF fellowship. She is currently working on a book about ideology, neoliberal autocracy, and generational change in present-day Syria.

Read Lisa Wedeen’s biography on the Political Science Department’s website.

Selected Publications:

"Scientific Knowledge, Liberalism, and Empire: American Political Science in the Modern Middle East,” in Middle East Studies for a New Millenium: Infrastructures of Knowledge (Social Science Research Council’s Internationalization and Interdisciplinary Program on Knowledge Production in the Middle East and North Africa), New York: New York University Press, 2016.


Anna Searle Jones

Assistant Director

3CT warmly welcomes our new assistant director, Anna Searle Jones. Anna joined the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory in June of 2019, after five years as Director of Communications at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago. She holds an MA in Cultural Studies from Goldsmith’s College at the University of London, and BFA in Printmaking and Photography from the University of Notre Dame. At 3CT, Anna has taken up the reins regarding budgeting, programming, acting as a campus liaison, and managing our move out of Wilder House.

Email: annasj@uchicago.edu



Kaitlyn Murphy

Student Assistant

Kaitlyn joined 3CT in October 2018, at the start of her time at the University of Chicago as a MAPSS student. Her concentration is in Latin American History. Her main areas of interest are the social and political histories of Mexico, with emphasis on the struggles of subjugated populations to realize personal and political autonomy. Kaitlyn holds a BA in History and Secondary Social Studies Education from the University of Texas at Austin. At 3CT, Kaitlyn assists with day-to-day office operations, events, and social media.