Samuel C. Dobbs Professor of Anthropology
Emory University, Atlanta
My research combines cultural and political economic analysis across a range of developing countries, and comparatively. In today’s world, as also historically, culture relates integrally to formations of social inequality and political influence, and to dynamics of subjective engagement, projection, and/or internalization. Across various geographic and temporal scales, I am hence concerned with the critical and comparative theorization of social, cultural, and subjective change. My publications have addressed issues of modernity and marginality, social and critical theory, politics and violence, projective states of consciousness, and gender and sexuality.
My doctoral research was geographically based in rainforest Papua New Guinea among the Gebusi people, who I have worked with for many years and continue to be actively engaged with in ongoing ethnographic fieldwork and new publications. From 2000 to 2015, I conducted project work supported by the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation that investigated and practically brought together engaged scholars, civil society leaders, and policy makers across a range of developing countries in West and East Africa and in Asia, especially the Himalayas, inner Asia, and Myanmar/Burma. For a description of the States at Regional Risk Project (SARR) and the Comparative Post-conflict Recovery Project (CPRP) that I directed, click here. Drawing on my work in the Himalayas and other parts of Asia, I have developed a significant interest in Tibetan Buddhist practice, philosophy, meditation, and dream yoga, including in relation to alternative social and political formations. In this regard, my current research includes the development of Tibetan Buddhism in relation to dharma centers and Tibetan teachers in both Western countries and the resurgent development of Buddhism in Eastern Tibet, where I did work this past summer (2019).
Following on recent journal articles and papers, I have also been developing a new project on “The Suffering Subject in America,” drawing in part on a 25-state 10,000 mile road trip through largely rural US that I took in spring 2019.
For greater specification of my theoretical and empirical interests across different world areas and topics, see “Description of Interests.”
During my years at Emory, I have enjoyed mentoring student interests across a broad range of world areas, topics, and disciplinary perspectives.
My nine books and edited collections include Good Life in Dark Times?: Melanesian Interventions in Dark Anthropology / Anthropology of the Good (Edited special issue, The Australian Journal of Anthropology 30, 2019); The Gebusi: Lives Transformed in a Rainforest World (Waveland Press, 4th edition, 2016); Mongolians After Socialism: Politics, Economics, Religion (Admon Press, 2012); Critically Modern: Alternatives, Alterities, Anthropologies (Edited, Indiana University Press, 2002); Exchanging the Past (University of Chicago Press, 2002); and Genealogies for the Present in Cultural Anthropology (Routledge Press, 1996).
[Updated November 2019]
Contact information for Bruce Knauft:
1557 Dickey Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322; USA