Anthropology Dissertation Defense:
Fanya Sandili Becks

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

2:00 pm

CEAS Knight Building, 102

Sponsored by:
Department of Anthropology

Articulations of the Ineffable: Narratives, Engagement, and Historical Anthropology with the Muwekma Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area

Although recognized as successors of the federally recognized Verona Band of Alameda County, members of the Muwekma Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area have had to argue that they exist to scholars, and the public, for decades. This dissertation explores how narrative, pilgrimage, and traditions of caring for the ancestral dead continue to be generative of autochthonous identities within the tribal community. This dissertation draws on a six-year collaborative relationship which has included ethnohistorical research, archaeological fieldwork as well as ethnographic interviews and site visits. This project has also incorporated ethnohistorical, historical, and archaeobotanical research methods. This dissertation argues that although American scholars have questioned the survival of “Costanoan” (or Ohlone) in the past, unique ways of approaching the world can be identified through narrative and pilgrimage practices. Further, an ethos of teaching how to relate to spiritual forces has continued through teaching about experiences of these forces and teaching how spiritual strength can be cultivated within the community. This dissertation engages with First Nations, American Indian, and Amazonian ontological frameworks and discussions to help develop an understanding of how non-materially limited ways of relating to the agentive forces in people’s lives can open new avenues for thinking about how to rearticulate the enduring clashes people western colonial ontologies and ontologies autochthonous to the Americas.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
CEAS Knight Building, 102

PhD Oral Humanities 

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