Seminar Directors

Naveeda Khan is associate professor of anthropology at Johns Hopkins University with research interests ranging from Islam and everyday life in urban Pakistan to climate change and precarious lives in riparian Bangladesh. Throughout she has maintained an interest in the structures underlying thought, studying how the technical, the rational and the material capture the imagination and are suffused with aesthetic, theological and utopian sensibilities. Her growing interest in big data, machine learning and AI emerge from these prior commitments.

Veena Das is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology at the Johns Hopkins University. Her research covers a range of fields. She is passionately interested in the question of how ethnography generates concepts; how we might treat philosophical and literary traditions from India and other regions as generative of theoretical and practical understanding of the world; how to render the texture and contours of everyday life; and the way everyday and the event are joined together in the making of the normal and the critical.

Jeremy Greene is the William H. Welch Professor and Chair of the Department of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a practicing internist at the East Baltimore Medical Center.  His research interests focus on the interplay of science, medicine, and technology in shaping and reshaping the experience of health and disease.  His current book project, The Electronic Patient: Medicine and the Challenge of New Media, explores how a series of new engagements with electronic information technologies has transformed the nature of medical encounters over the past century.    

Previous Graduate STUDENT FELLOWS

Heba Islam is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology. Her research centers on state surveillance, digital rights advocacy, and the militarization of everyday life in Pakistan. More broadly, she is interested in the aesthetics of surveillance, literary depictions of espionage, and the South Asian political landscape. At Johns Hopkins, Heba has formerly served as graduate student assistant to the Racism, Immigration & Citizenship Program. Previously she was a Fulbright scholar at Columbia University, where she completed her M.A, after receiving a Bachelor’s degree from the Lahore University of Management Sciences. In between her academic pursuits, Heba worked as a journalist and taught at the Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture in Karachi, Pakistan.

Alex Parry is a Ph.D. candidate from the Johns Hopkins History of Medicine Department. His dissertation concerns the history of domestic accidents—including burns, electrocutions, falls, and choking—from 1900 to 1980. His project investigates the “safety work” that experts and families perform to protect American households from harm and the importance of consumer markets to the business of accident prevention. More generally, Alex studies how physical, microbial, and chemical risks have become central to the material reality of the home and to its sociocultural representation. Before coming to JHU, Alex worked as an English Composition and Technical Writing instructor at the University of Oklahoma.


Canay Özden-Schilling is an anthropologist of capitalism, technology, and infrastructure, and an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore. Her data interests are rooted in her first book project, Economy Electric—an ethnographic study of electricity markets in the United States, which surveys the data-laden and algorithmic devices that mediate expert communities’ relationship with electricity. Over the course of the Sawyer Seminar, she hopes to explore how data devices travel across multiple domains of public life and with what consequences.

Previous Research and events coordinator

Perry Maddox is a Ph.D. student in anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. His current research is focused on the intricate, many-layered relationships between humans and plants that are at the center of rural ways of living, labor migration, and climate interventions in and around the Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé, in western Panama. Previously, he completed an MA in anthropology at McGill University, collaborating closely with two agricultural and land rights organizations in Panama to document experiences of climate and environmental change, and then worked as a musician and digital archivist of oral histories in Chicago.


Kayoung Kim, Sumin Myung