Dr. Nataša Garić-Humphrey
Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of California San Diego
Areas of Interest
Political and Psychological Anthropology; Political Subjectivity; Citizenship; Ethnicity; Grassroots Activism; Direct Action; Affect and Emotion; Ethics, Morality, and Hope; Intergenerational Dynamics; Politics of Infrastructures; Visual Anthropology and Ethnographic Filmmaking; Bosnia-Herzegovina; US Southwest
My academic expertise includes theoretical and methodological training in sociocultural anthropology with a specific focus on political subjectivity. My most recent work critically examines the importance of inserting “the moral self” within political theory, an area still underdeveloped in anthropology. My research takes a closer look at the ways people manage to change their moral orientations within the context of hegemonic power and (re)make their moral selves to engage in and confront larger political and socioeconomic processes. Some of the questions I explore are how do specific situations, events, and visceral experiences in people’s lives evoke moments of self-reflection, engender reorientations towards the self, and inspire courses of action that cultivate a new sense of moral personhood? What motivates people to resist, initiate change, and form new senses of themselves as moral actors in the midst of stifling crises?
My long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Bosnia-Herzegovina, funded by National Science Foundation and F. G. Bailey Fellowship, examines the cracks between ethnic territories where citizen activists practice the kind of belonging that turns residents, who are merely sharing a certain space, into citizens, who are members of a community. In this collective space expanding beyond identitarian politics, citizens search for a shared conception of a common good by demanding a right to a normal life. I argue, the ethics of this collective endeavor is located in the very act of impropriety—or part-taking in something one is excluded from. The ethics is also lodged in the very process of people working on their selves and transforming themselves through self-care and self-reflection. I use digital media not only as a method of inquiry, research, and preservation but also as an analytical tool used by citizen activists to ascertain their methods of insurgency.
In the past, my work also included community-engaged ethnographic research with Hopi elders and cultural specialists, connecting the importance between place and identity in Hopi culture. The applied purpose was to implement traditional knowledge in a community-based cultural curriculum designed specifically for schools on the Hopi Reservation and to improve teacher knowledge, skills, and the quality of their teaching. From 2005 – 2007 I coordinated a 3-year applied project called Footprints of the Ancestors, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. This was an intergenerational project designed for Hopi youth to learn their traditional culture and history from Hopi elders, teachers, and cultural specialists. Hopi students were traveling to places ancestral to their culture and creating “Digital Hopi Youth Guides” in the form of websites, films, and museum exhibits to communicate their gained knowledge to broader Hopi and non-Hopi audience. I also produced and co-produced several ethnographic films and shorts, intended for native language and culture preservation. Some of these materials are being used by teachers in schools on the Hopi Reservation and integrated into their school curriculum.
I am in the process of launching two new research projects, one in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the other in the US Southwest. Both of these projects are focused on water infrastructure, described, on the one side, through market mechanisms by the state and, on the other, as a public good by marginalized citizens.
ANT 569 – Qualitative Ethnographic Research Methods
ANT 499 – Visual Anthropology
ANT 309W – Cultural Anthropology
ANT 306 – Peoples of the Southwest
ANT 103 – Culture and Communication
ANT 102 – Exploring Cultures