Dr. Pauline Strong, Director
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Pauline Strong has taught anthropology, folklore and public culture, and women's and gender studies at The University of Texas at Austin since 1993. After receiving a bachelor's degree in philosophy at The Colorado College, she completed master's and doctoral degrees in sociocultural anthropology at the University of Chicago. Her research centers on historical and contemporary representations of Native Americans and American national identity in such contexts as literature, films, museums, sports arenas, and youth organizations. She was a Fellow of the Humanities Institute in 2001 and 2005, and became Associate Director in 2006.
She is the author of American Indians and the American Imaginary: Cultural Representation Across the Centuries (2012) and Captive Selves, Captivating Others: The Politics and Poetics of Colonial American Captivity Narratives (1999). She is also co-editor (with Sergei Kan) of New Perspectives on Native North America: Cultures, Histories, Representations (2006). Her articles appear in journals and anthologies in the fields of American Studies, cultural studies, history, media studies, Native American Studies, and sports studies as well as anthropology.
Dr. Melissa Biggs, Administrative Associate and Program Coordinator
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Melissa Biggs holds a PhD in Social Anthropology. Her research interests include ethnographic and historical representation of Native American and indigenous peoples, and the history and theory of museums. She brings a background in curriculum writing, teacher training, and cultural diversity to her position. She has taught anthropology classes at Southwestern University and Texas State University, and culture and history classes at the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio.
Anushka Jasraj, Administrative Assistant
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Anushka Jasraj earned a BFA in Film Production from the Tisch School of Arts, and recently graduated from the New Writers Project, the MFA program at the University of Texas-Austin. She was the 2012 recipient of the Engler Family Graduate Fellowship in English, and was the regional winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for "Radio Story". She is interested in historical fiction and women's diaries.
Peter Khalil, Senior Student Associate
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Peter is a Government and Economics double major at the University of Texas at Austin. In his free time he manages the Texas Dabke dance team, and is an avid day trader. He’s interested in global cultures, especially Mediterranean and Latin American cultures. He plans to work with the United States State Department as a Foreign Service agent and also has entrepreneurial aspirations.
Patrick Russell, Graduate Research Assistant
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Patrick Russell studied Literature & Environment (MA) at the University of Nevada, Reno, and holds two BA degrees in Philosophy and English from the University of Central Arkansas. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas. His research focuses upon the theory and development of green cities, or how cities might become a sites of reinhabitation in which residents create sustainable relationships with their surrounding bioregions. He is also beginning to study neoliberalism in relation to urban spaces and development.