UVA Anthropology Announces Shannon Lee Dawdy

The UVA Department of Anthropology and Environmental Humanities Colloquium announce a lunchtime discussion with Professor Shannon Lee Dawdy on Thursday, March 16 from 11:50am-1:30pm at OpenGrounds. Professor Dawdy will speak on a recent article titled "The Wounded Landscape: Disaster, Trauma, and Ontology." 

Disaster victims often exhibit avoidance behavior to suppress or detour around reminders of the event. Others sift slowly through the ruins, as a way to come to terms with what happened. Some rush to erase and rebuild. Some hold on to every remnant and curate the scars. While disasters often have the effect of temporarily uniting a community, the process of ‘recovery’ just as often divides it. I explore the reasons why this might be, and focus on the relationship between trauma and materiality via understandings of post-traumatic stress, scarification, and ontology. I use evidence from two New Orleans disasters – a catastrophic fire in 1788 that nearly wiped out the city and left a significant archaeological imprint, and ethnographic interviews I conducted after Hurricane Katrina and its recent 10-year anniversary. This blend of psychology, ethnography, and archaeology exposes a profound co-constitution of inner states and outer worlds.

An Associate Professor of Anthopology and Social Sciences at the University of Chicago, Dawdy melds archaeological, archival, and ethnographic methods with a regional focus on the U.S., Caribbean, and Mexico. She's the author of two books, and her current research focuses on rapidly changing death practices in the U.S. Professor Dawdy is a recent MacArthur Fellow and has received funding for her fieldwork from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

To attend the lunch discussion, RSVP to Austin Hetrick at ah2af@virginia.edu

On Friday, March 17 Professor Dawdy will give a talk in the Anthropology Department on American funerary rituals. The talk, titled "American Death, and Being," will take place at 1pm in the Brooks Hall 2nd floor conference room with a reception to follow.