Here are some things I'm up to.




The vernacular economy in colonial BurmaThis is the main (dissertation) project I'm working on, tentatively titled: "Scientific selves in a colonial economy reappraised: vernacular knowledge in British Burma, c. 1910-30."  You can read more about this project here.







Spirits, streetcars, and the dramatic license of colonial modernity
The starting point for this project is a short play written in 1904: မန္တလေးမြို့။ယခုတွင့်လှစ်သောဓာတ်စက်ရထား။ နတ်လမ်းညွှန်။ ("The oracle of the electric tram recently opened in Mandalay"). This lyrical drama tells the story of a lover in despair whose woes are assuaged by a visitor from the spirit world -- a spirit who knows just about everything about the new electric tram, including how to use it to find the maiden's lost lover. This work-in-progress uses this play to consider how a variety of modernity was enacted by residents of the former royal capital. In what way did users come to understand this new, "magical" municipal technology, and what does this tell us about contemporary views of urban colonial life? 




Empty spacesAlong with Courtney J. Campbell and Jennifer Keating, I am editing Empty spaces: confronting emptiness in national, cultural, and urban history. This collaboration grows out of a conference we organized (along with Will Pooley) in April 2015 at the Institute of Historical Research in London. The volume brings together scholars from archaeology, urban studies, and cultural history in order to comprehend the ways in which emptiness has been historically inscribed on material and discursive spaces. It will be published in the Institute of Historical Research Conference Series (expected 2017). This lonely camel in Tsarist Central Asia (from Jen's research) was an inspiration, and something of a mascot.




The History of Anthropology Newsletter. With a team of colleagues from Penn and other institutions, I am working on a project to revive and digitize the History of Anthropology Newsletter (HAN), begun by George Stocking and, until 2013, run by our memorable colleague Riki Kuklick out of her office in Penn's HSS Department. This logo was devised early on by the editorial team under George Stocking for their first issue in 1973. Matthew Hoffarth and I are co-editors of the book review section.