Early-Vreeland Lecture Set for March 27

Flimmaker and author Lucas Bessire, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma, will give the Early-Vreeland lecture at 7 p.m. March 27 in the Student Union Building Activities Room.

Bessier will discuss “Culture Against Life: Ayoreo in the Gran Chaco.” In 2004, one of the world’s last “isolated” bands of hunter-gatherers left the forest in Northern Paraguay, fleeing rancher’s bulldozers. In their new home, they were subjugated by already-acculturated relatives and tormented by a host of moral, social and physical challenges: deforestation, tradition-seeking anthropologists, soul-collecting missionaries, global humanitarians, genocidal violence, neoliberal economic policies and new forms of addiction and madness. To survive, these Ayoreo resisted imposed notions of indigenous culture and instead followed their principles of “becoming-through-negation.”

The Ayoreo effort to find a path between the politics of life and the politics of culture suggests ways to reimagine the political anthropology of indigeneity in South America. The talk is being co-sponsored by the Global Issues Colloquium and the Anthropology Student Association. The Association will also be screening Bessire’s film, “From Honey to Ashes,” at 7 p.m. March 20 in Barnett 2226. His book, “Behold the Black Caiman: A Chronicle of Ayoreo Life,” will be published by the University of Chicago Press in October 2014.