Adam Harr (Ph.D. University of Virginia) As a linguistic anthropologist, I am interested in how people use language to produce the sense that social realities are natural and inevitable. In particular, I am interested in how people use language to construct different scales of sociality: the "local," the "national," and the "global."
In this vein, much of my research explores contemporary intersections of ancestral ritual and electoral politics in eastern Indonesia. My manuscript, Marginal Centers: The Culture of Local Politics in Eastern Indonesia, examines the constitution of local political voices as the Indonesian state enacts democratizing and decentralizing reforms. By focusing an ethnographic lens on a local election on Flores island, this project traces the concrete events—the stump speeches, party rallies, and spectacular feasts—that translate national policies into lived reality. I have also conducted over two years of participant-observation in village councils in the highlands of central Flores, exploring the interplay among language ideologies, theory of mind, and processes of building consensus.
At St. Lawrence University, I feel fortunate to teach a variety of courses in linguistic and cultural anthropology, including Language and Human Experience; Myth, Magic, and Ritual; The Global Pacific; and Writing Culture. In each of my courses, I aim to collaborate with students in hopes that we all come away with a renewed sense of wonder (rigorous, critical wonder) at the strange/beautiful/terrible worlds we humans create and inhabit.
2016 Recentering the Margins? The Politics of Local Language in a Decentralizing Indonesia. In Margins, Hubs, and Peripheries in a Decentralizing Indonesia, Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies (Special Issue 162).
2015 Moving Words: Christian Language in the Modern World. In Reviews in Anthropology 44: 1-17.
2013 Suspicious Minds: Problems of Cooperation in a Lio Ceremonial Council. In Language & Communication 33(3): 317-326.
2016 "Sociolinguistic Scale and Ethnographic Rapport" presented at Conceptualizing Rapport Symposium, La Trobe University, Melbourne Australia, July 19-22
2016 "All Politics is Local: Spatial Deixis as Rhetoric in an Eastern Indonesian Polity" presented at Symposium on Language, Indexicality, and Belonging, Oxford University, April 7-8
2015 “Words and Pigs: Accountability and Sacrifice in Post-Suharto Indonesia” presented at the American Anthropological Society Annual Meetings, Denver CO, November 20
Regularly Taught Courses:
- Language and Human Experience
- Talking Politics
- The Global Pacific: Power and Politics in Oceanic Worlds
- Language and Social Identity
- Myth, Magic, and Ritual
- Ethnographic Methods
- Ethnography of Communication, Descriptive Linguistics, Anthropology of Religion, Ritual, Rhetoric, Exchange, Ethnographic Methods, Ethnographic Writing, Indonesia, Oceania