New Faculty 2023

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Kamala Russell

Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology and the College

Kamala Russell is a linguistic anthropologist who is interested in interaction, lived space, and ethical and political subjectivity. Her research focuses on the ways that selves understand and experience being near to, affected by, or vulnerable to others in and through communicative interaction. Her current manuscript project examines these questions through fieldwork with speakers of Shehret Modern South Arabian who live in the Dhofar Mountains of the Sultanate of Oman. For these recently sedentarized Muslim families, interpersonal interaction, as a social event and as an experiential ground for ethical thinking, plays a role in reckoning with the past 40 years of rapid infrastructural, social, and political change. Russell’s work asks how the embodied, spatial, and affective dynamics of communicative interaction raise ethical questions about social action and existence.

Her research has been published in Signs and Society and Cultural Anthropology, and funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

Russell earned an AB in linguistics with honors from the University of Chicago, and an MA and PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. She held a president’s postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles, and then returned to the University of Chicago as a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Anthropology.

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