Shannon Lee Dawdy Anthropology

interim co-director

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: and

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

Co-Director - ON LEAVE 2018-2019 Academic YEAR

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.

Celeste Cruz.jpeg

Celeste cruz-carandang


Celeste Cruz-Carandang came to 3CT in August 2017, soon after graduating from the University of Chicago’s MAPH program with a concentration in Art History. As the Assistant Director, Celeste strives to support the academic mission of the Center. By helping the faculty fellows develop their projects, cultivating relationships with campus partners, and by working with the administration, Celeste works to actualize compelling programming and activities.  She also oversees the administration and operation of 3CT. Before joining the Center, Celeste worked at the University of Chicago Press and the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to her MA, she holds a BA in Medieval Studies and Art History from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA. Her interests include the formation of cultural identities in early-modern Venice, as well as the intersections between theater, music, and painting.


Phone: 773.702.0230




Christine joined 3CT at the end of January 2018. She holds a BS in Speech and Hearing Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As the administrative specialist, Christine aims to support the directors and assistant director by organizing events, helping with daily operations, and maintaining the Center’s online and digital presence. Outside of Wilder House, Christine enjoys spending time with family, exploring new places, and discovering interesting coffee shops.


Phone: 773.834.8733



Omar safadi

student assistant

Omar Safadi joined 3CT in September 2017. He is a second year PhD student in Political Science. His main areas of interest are political theory and comparative politics; empire, sexuality; and the intersection of queer movements and nation-building in contemporary Lebanon. Omar holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Chicago. At 3CT, Omar assists with programming, event-planning, and social media. 



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 History, specifically of the United States and Latin America. Her main areas of interest are the social and political histories of these regions, 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 logistics, and social media.