I am a linguistic and cultural anthropologist interested in semiotics, language, and politics in Venezuela. I have conducted fieldwork among the Warao of the Orinoco Delta, Caracas and the Island of Margarita. I am interested in how Venezuelan politicians channel state resources as gifts to their electorate, and the kinds of communicative practices that this dynamic produces. I am also interested in the kind of affects that the political crisis has produced in Venezuela's middle class and online political communication after Chavez death.
(Edited with Anthony K. Webster) Special issue: Ordeals of Language: Essays in honor of Ellen Basso. Journal of Anthropological Research 68(3)
Papers and Book Chapters
(Co-authored with Miki Makihara) “Anthropology of Language Contact and its Sociocultural Contexts.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Anthropology. Ed. John Jackson. New York: Oxford University Press.
“I Don't Know How People on Minimum Wage Make it”: The Semiotic Scaling of Political Crisis and Emotions in Venezuela. The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, 24: 518-535. doi:10.1111/jlca.12413
The National Anthem in Warao: Semiotic ground and performative affordances of indigenous language texts in Venezuela. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 26(3): 335-351.
(Co-authored with Jonathan D. Hill) Language in Change: Discourse, Power and History in Amazonia. In Research Companion to Anthropology. Andrew J. Strathern and Pamela J. Stewart, eds. Ashgate Publishing, pp. 317-342.
Introduction. Ordeals of Language: Essays in Honor of Ellen B. Basso. Special issue: Ordeals of Language. Journal of Anthropological Research 68(3): 305-314.
Ordeal of Language and Political Agonistic Exchange in the Orinoco Delta Venezuela. Journal of Anthropological Research 68(3): 357-372.
The Interplay of Greetings and Promises: Political encounters between the Warao and the new indigenous leadership in the Orinoco Delta, Venezuela. Pragmatics 22(1):167-187.
The Translation of Poverty and the Poverty of Translation in the Orinoco Delta. Ethnohistory 55(3): 417-438.
(Co-authored with Jonathan D. Hill) Materiality, Exchange, and History in the Amazon: A Growing Field of Study. Ethnohistory 58(3): 525-532.
Fluent Selves: Autobiography, Person, and History in Lowland South America. Suzanne Oakdale and Magnus Course (eds). Lincoln: University of NebraskaPress, 2014. 319 pp. Anthropological Linguistics.
Made-from-Bone: Trickster Myths, Music, and History from the Amazon. Jonathan D. Hill. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009. 195 pp. The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, 20: 379–381.
In Darkness and Secrecy: The Anthropology of Assault Sorcery and Witchcraft in Amazonia. Neil L. Whitehead and Robin Wright (eds). Durham: Duke University Press, 2004. 327 pp. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 11(2): 487-488.
Interview with Anthony K. Webster on his new book, Intimate Grammars: An Ethnography of Navajo Poetry.