The Traffic in Objects

January 26th

Keynote Speaker

Sowparnika Balaswaminathan

Blood, Sweat, Gods: The Moral Economies of Smuggling under Extractive Capitalism

Sowparnika Balaswaminathan is Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Natural History, and incoming Assistant Professor in the Department of Religions and Cultures at Concordia University (Fall 2021). Her research interests are concerned with the politics of heritage in South Asia; the intersections of aesthetics and ethics, art history and ethnography; and the Museum as both a site of cultural encounter and competing state narratives. Her most recent published work, ‘The Outsider,’ explored the interstices of belonging, community, and identity in the anthropology of everyday life, and won Second Prize for the Society for Humanistic Anthropology’s 2019 Writing Awards (Fiction/Creative Non-Fiction).


Pranav Menon

Columbia University, Comparative Literature

The Native’s New Clothes: Colonial Dress and Contact Zones in ‘The Tempest’

I am a second-year doctoral student in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. I received my BA in English with a minor in Japanese Language and Literature from Tufts University in 2018. I (nominally) specialize in early modern verse and non-dramatic literature, although I am somewhat of a generalist who makes frequent forays into the long history of literary and cultural modernism (17th through 20th centuries) and the medical humanities. My present research interests are in historiography, jurisprudence, and eco-criticism, especially in early Atlantic colonialism. 

Rania Essmat Saad

Concordia University, Art Education

Akhmim’s Female Embroiderers: Mobilizing Decolonized Folk-Art for Economic and Social Empowerment in Southern Egypt

I am a mixed media artist, community art educator and a PhD candidate in the Art Education department at Concordia University. My research focuses on folk art and rituals as social and cultural interventions against sexual harassment and gender-based violence in Egypt.

Ariana Sefariades Prece

Concordia University, Cultural Anthropology

Altar: an ethnographic short film about contact between humans and non-human entities in domestic atmospheres in Buenos Aires