Research by Debbora Battaglia, Ph.D.


Science/religion/media networks, theorizing ethnographic practice, person/self/identity theory, expressive culture, gender politics and poetics
Area specialties: Melanesia, North American public culture, cyber-communities

Courses: Cultural Identities/Differences, Discourses of the Sacred, Performing Culture, Visualizing Culture, Materializing Culture, Cultural Responses to Mortality, Social Process in Oceania, Introduction to Anthropology


Multi-Site Ethnography: Quebec, East Coast United States, Internet, August 2001 to the present. The Raelian Movement. Faith-based science and personhood, in a new religious movement.

Papua New Guinea (Milne Bay Province and Port Moresby): Long-term and intermittent, June l976-1987). Sabarl Island, Urban Trobrianders in Port Moresby: personhood, the ethnography of loss, cultural identity, aesthetics of productive social action.

Elmdon, England: July l975 - January l976). Village/Hamlet identity.


Five College Fortieth Anniversary Professor 

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship


Books and Monographs

(2012) Battaglia, Debbora, Valentine, David, Olson, Valerie, eds. Extreme: Humans at Home in the Cosmos. Special Issue: Anthropological Quarterly. Fall Issue, October, 2012.

(2006) Battaglia, Debbora, ed. E.T. Culture: Anthropology in Outerspaces. Durham: Duke University Press.

(l995) Battaglia, Debbora, ed. Rhetorics of Self-Making. Berkeley: The University of California Press.

(l990) Battaglia, Debbora. On the Bones of the Serpent: Person, Memory, and Mortality In Sabarl Island Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

(l986) Bringing "Home" to Moresby: Urban Gardening and Ethnic Pride among Trobrianders in the National Capital.  Special Publication no.ll. Port Moresby: Institute for Applied Social and Economic Research

Peer Review Articles/Chapters  (selected)

(forthcoming), (2015), Flying with Plants:  An Ethics in Suspension.  Social Studies of Science.>

(2015) Battaglia, D., Valentine, D. and Olson, V. Relational Space:  An Earthly Installation.  Cultural Anthropology 30.2: May Issue.

(2014) Battaglia, D. Diary of a Space Zucchini:  Ventriloquizing the Future in Outer Space.  Platypus, July 14.

(2014) Battaglia, D. and Almeida Antunes, R. "Otherwise Anthropology" Otherwise: The View from Technology.  Cultural Anthropology Online, February 24.

(2013) Cosmic Exo-Surprise or When the Sky is (Really) Falling What's the Media to Do? In E-Flux Journal. June, 2013.

(2012) Coming in at an Unusual Angle: Exo-Surprise and the Fieldworking Cosmonaut. In Debbora Battaglia, David Valentine, Valerie Olson, eds., Anthropological Quarterly. Special Issue - Extreme: Humans at Home in the Cosmos. Fall, 2012.

(2012) Valentine, D., Olson, V., Battaglia, D. Limits and Horizons in the Once and Future Cosmos. In  Anthropological Quarterly. Special Issue: Extreme: Humans at Home in the Cosmos.

(2012) Arresting Hospitality: The Case of the “Handshake in Space” In Candea, M. and da Col, G., eds. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute - Special Issue: The Return to Hospitality: Strangers, Guests, and Ambiguous Encounters. Volume 18, Supplement 1.

(2012) Parallax Anthropology. In Jeanette Edwards and Maja Petrovic-Singer, eds. Routing Knowledge Through Persons. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

(2012) Galaxies of Alien Discourse: An Anthropologist’s First Contact with Science of “Weird Life”. In Alexander Geppert, ed. Imagining Outer Space: European Astroculture in the Twentieth Century. Palgrave Macmillan.

(2011) Of Archipelagos and Arrows. In Common Knowledge 17 (1): 151-154. Special Issue-Comparative Relativism.

(2008) E.T. Culture and the E.T.-Effect on the Social. Vienna Vision for Humans in Outer Space. European Space Policy Institute, eds. Munich: Springer.

(2007) Battaglia, Debbora. Where Do We Find Our Monsters? In Jeanette Edwards, Penny Harvey and Peter Wade, eds. Ways of Knowing: Epistemologies in Practice. Oxford: Berg Press.

(2006) Battaglia, Debbora. Comments on Scaling Place and Networks  An ethnography of the imperative to connect through information and communications technologies. Current Anthropology.

(2005) Battaglia, Debbora. Insiders’ Voices in Outer Spaces: Toward an Anthropology of Visits. In D. Battaglia, ed. ET Culture: Anthropology in Outerspaces. Durham: Duke University Press.

(2005) Battaglia, Debbora. “For Those Who are Not Afraid of the Future” Raelians, Faith-Based Human Cloning, and the Media. In D. Battaglia, ed. ET Culture: Anthropology in Outerspaces. Durham: Duke University Press.

(2004) Religion and Media Across the Great Divide of Essentialist and Situated Knowledge: Hent de Vries and Samuel Weber, eds. Religion and Media. (Review Essay). Anthropological Quarterly 77, no.1: 145-151.

(2004) Comments on ‘The Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Exchange in Pre-Colonial Roviana: Gifts, Commodities, and Inalienable Possessions.’ Current Anthropology Vol.44, Supplement.

(2001) Multiplicities: An Anthropologist’s Thoughts on Replicants and Clones in Popular Films. Critical Inquiry 27 no. 3 (Spring):493-514.

(1999) Toward an Ethics of the Open Subject: Writing Culture in Good Conscience. In H. L. Moore, ed. Anthropological Theory Today. Cambridge: Polity Press

(1997) Ambiguating Agency: The Case of Malinowski's Ghost. American Anthropologist 99 (3): 18-22.

(l997) Displacing the Visual: Trobriand Axe Blades and Ambiguation. In H. Morphy and M. Banks, eds. Rethinking Visual Anthropology. Yale UP.

(l995) Fear of Selfing in the American Cultural Imaginary or "You Are Never Alone With a Clone"  American Anthropologist 97 (4): 15-21.

(l995) Problematizing The Self: A Thematic Introduction. In D. Battaglia, ed. Rhetorics of Self-Making. Berkeley: University of California Press.

(l995) On Active Nostalgia: Self-Prospecting Among Urban Trobrianders. In D. Battaglia, ed. Rhetorics of Self-Making. Berkeley: University of California Press.

(l994) Retaining Reality: Some Practical Problems With Objects as Property. Man (n.s.) 29: l-l5.

(l993) At Play in the Fields (and Borders) of the Imaginary: Transformations of Forgetting in Melanesia.  Cultural Anthropology 8 (3): 20-32.

(l992) Displacing Culture: A Joke of Significance in Urban Papua New Guinea.  New Literary History 23 (4):l003-l0l7.

(l992) The Body in the Gift: Memory and Forgetting in Sabarl Mortuary Exchange. American Ethnologist l9 (l): 3-18.

(1991) Punishing the Yams: Leadership and Gender Ambivalence on Sabarl. In M. Godelier and M. Strathern, eds. Big Men and Great Men: The Development of a
Comparison in Melanesia
. Cambridge and Paris: Cambridge University Press and Maison des Sciences de L'Homme.

(l985) "We Feed Our Father": Paternal Nurture Among the Sabarl of Papua New Guinea. In American Ethnologist l2 (3): 427-44l.

(l983) Projecting Personhood in Melanesia: The Dialectics of Artefact Symbolism on Sabarl Island. In Man (n.s.) l8: 289-304.

(l983) Syndromes of Ceremonial Exchange in the Eastern Calvados: The View from Sabarl Island. In E. Leach and J. Leach, eds. The Kula: New Perspectives on
Massim Exchange
. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Keynote Addresses, Public Talks and Installations

(2015) "Flying With Plants" Public Talk.  Miami, Florida.  Cannonball Arts Organization.  November 17.
(2014) "Out of the Box: A Cosmology" Installation of ethnographic objects (material, textual and sound-based) produced for the workshop The Comedy of Things, organized by Morten Axel Pedersen and Morten Nielsen, Denmark, September 2014.  For exhibition at the Natural History Museum, Oslo, Norway.  With Alberto Corsin-Jimenez, Kasper Jelsbech Knudsen, Trine Mygind Korsby, Rane Willerslev. 

Keynote Addresses

(2013) “Epistemic Warming and Cosmic Diplomacy” Sawyer Seminar, University of California at Davis. Anthropocenography: On the Coming Cosmopolitical War. (Marisol de la Cadena and Mario Blaser, convenors) June 3-5.

(2012) “Writing Outer Space” The Worlding, Writing Project: Arts of Non-Sovereignty. Conference on Rolling the Dice: The Art of Chance. University of Chicago. February 12-15.

(2012) “Space Futures in Ethnographic Perspective” – Keynote Discussant. Conference on Envisioning Limits: Outer Space and the End of Utopia. Freie Universität Berlin. April 19-21.

(2010) “Earthling No More” Conference on Nature-Culture: AAA Society for Cultural Anthropology. Santa Fe, New Mexico, May 7-9.

(2009) “Perspectival Anthropology” – Keynote Discussant. IT University of Copenhagen Conference on Comparative Relativism. September 4-6.

(2006) “Writing Fluid Ethnography” Keynote paper for a conference on Con/Texts of Invention. Case Western University, April 15-17.

(2005) “Ethnography Between the Lines” Keynote paper. Conference on Description and Creativity: Approaches to Collaboration and Value from Anthropology, Science, and Technology. Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, July 3-6.

(2004) “Human Cloning and Post-Apocalyptic Personhood” Keynote paper for the European Molecular Biology Organization conference on Science and Society: Time & Aging – Mechanisms and Meanings, Heidelberg, Germany, November 6-7, 2004.

(2003) “Invitations to Abduction: Technoscience Spirituality, The Media, and G.S. Peirce” Keynote paper for the Cornell - St. Andrews University Knowledge Exchange Conference, Cornell University, September 7, 2003.

(2003) “Technoscience Spirituality: An Invitation to Abduction in a New Key” Keynote address for the Association for Social Anthropology Decennial Meetings, Plenary Session, Manchester, England, July 21, 2003.

(1998) “Ethnomathematics and Ideology” Keynote Address for Mathematics Across The Curriculum conference, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, July 1998.