Anne-Maria Makhulu

Anne-Maria Makhulu

Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and African and African American Studies – Duke University

Ethnography Workshop, co-director

In the Ethnography Workshop Anne-Maria Makhulu will be working on research projects, courses, and collaborations that open on to the possibilities of rethinking how ethnography and anthropology are done. She is a director of the Ethnography Workshop during the 2019-20 academic year.

Makhulu is jointly appointed in Cultural Anthropology and African and African American Studies and holds a core faculty position in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. These distinct and overlapping affiliations increasingly inform her work and a set of emergent questions relating to professional life and work beyond the academy. To that end, she is spending 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 Academic Years working on a collaboration with Pratt School of Engineering. The first phase of this project involved the rollout of Duke’s very first applied anthropology course, CA 171, “Business Anthropology: Anthropologists in the Workplace” (Fall 2018), which looked at a long history of anthropologists’ involvement in colonial policy, the military, industrial relations, and more recently organizational change management consulting, user experience and design research. In Fall 2019, Makhulu will be team-teaching a design research course in collaboration with the Departments of Cultural Anthropology and Biomedical Engineering, as well as Innovation and Entrepreneurship, with the aim of using human-centered design to prototype medical instrumentation.

Beyond such “technical” and design interests, Makhulu remains committed to working on questions more closely related to her original research. She will continue to offer a history of capitalism course, CA 716S.01, and a new course to be offered for the first time in Fall 2019—“Moments in Black (Radical) Theory: From Ferguson to Rhodes Must Fall to Silent Sam”—co-taught with Joseph Winters in Religious Studies. A book in preparation, South Africa After the Rainbow, considers the ways in which ethnography as method must be adapted in order to study large, complex organizations and the powerful institutional actors who run them. The manuscript addresses the relationship of race to mobility, and state capture in postapartheid South Africa—a project demanding a reframing of the intimate method of participant-observation, open-ended interviewing, and prolonged encounter. Conducting research on the connections between student protests, state policy, and ambitious Strategic Infrastructural Projects (SIPS) asks of anthropology and its interpretive method something entirely new.

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