Debbora Battaglia

Professor Emerita of Anthropology
Specialization: 
World-making in out-of-the-way places, anthropology of science and technology, socioaesthetics, alienness and belonging.

Debbora Battaglia is the author of On the Bones of the Serpent: Person, Memory, and Mortality in Sabarl Island Society (University of Chicago Press) and of the monograph Bringing Home to Moresby (IASR Press). She is also the editor of collections which includeExtreme: Humans at Home in the Cosmos (Anthropological Quarterly), Rhetorics of Self-Making (University of California Press), and E.T. Culture: Anthropology in Outerspaces (Duke University Press). Currently, she is working on Seriously at Home in 'ZeroGravity'. She has also published numerous scholarly articles, including “Cosmos as Commons: An Activation of Cosmic Diplomacy" in the journal E-Flux, “Multiplicities: An Anthropologist's Thoughts on Replicants and Clones in Popular Films," in the journal Critical Inquiry, and "Toward an Ethics of the Open Subject: Writing Culture 'In Good Conscience'," in Henrietta Moore, ed. Anthropological Theory Today (Cambridge: Polity Press).

Professor Battaglia received her doctorate from Cambridge University in the field of social anthropology and has taught courses in cultural identities and differences, visual culture in the material world, peoples of the South Pacific, making class visible, and introduction to anthropology.

She has conducted anthropological fieldwork in the islands off the New Guinea coast and urban fieldwork in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. She has also worked in Quebec Province and on the Internet with a new religious movement focusing on faith-based science.

Her honors include the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. In 2010, Battaglia was awarded the Five College 40th Anniversary Professorship.

A frequent presenter and keynote speaker at national and international conferences and academic institutions, she has served as a member of the editorial board of American EthnologistCultural AnthropologyMaterial CultureAnthropological QuarterlyTheory, Culture, and Society, and HAU, and is Associate Editor of Cambridge Anthropology. She has also served on National Endowment of the Humanities Fellowship and American Council of Learned Societies panels.

In addition to teaching at Mount Holyoke, she has been a visiting professor at Stanford University and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Selected Presentations

  • (2017) "Roots in Air" Keynote Address: Natura Conference. Rutgers University. March 31. 
  • (2016) "Aeroponic Gardens and their Magic" Berdhal Memorial Lecture. University of Minnesota. November 14. 
  • (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. Forexhibition at the Natural History Museum, Oslo, Norway. With Alberto Corsin-Jimenez, Kasper Jelsbech Knudsen, Trine Mygind Korsby, Rane Willerslev. 
  • (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. 

Selected Publications

  • (2017) Battaglia, D. "Aeroponic Gardens and their Magic: Persons/Plants/Ethics in Suspension". History and Anthropology. Online March 30 and Vol 4 no 4. 
  • (2017) Battaglia, D. As It Was in the Beginning, So Shall it Be in the End (Matthew 24:37): On Alicja Kwade's Medium Median. Whitechapel Gallery, London. 
  • (2014) Battaglia, D. "Diary of a Space Zucchini: Ventriloquizing the Future in Outer Space". Platypus, July 14. 
  • (2013) "Cosmic Exo-Surprise or When the Sky is (Really) Falling What's the Media to Do?". E-Flux, June.
  • (2012) Battaglia, Debbora, Valentine, David, Olson, Valerie, eds. "Extreme: Humans at Home in the Cosmos". Special Issue: Anthropological Quarterly. Fall Issue, October.

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