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Alexander S. Dent Faculty Member


2021-2022 -- This year "Cellular Connections" -- the NSF funded study helmed by Joshua Bell (Smithsonian), Joel Kuipers (GW) and me saw its first important publications -- both in relatively visible places. The first came out in Sapiens -- which is an anthropology magazine with a strong digital presence, and the second was in a "Cultural Anthropology" digital forum on American Fascism; "Cultural Anthropology" continues to have the largest impact factor in the "cultural" area of our discipline. I should note that the Smithsonian's exhibit on cell phones, led by Josh Bell, has been full steam ahead and will be starting in November of next year; though this has been largely led by Dr. Bell, Dr. Kuipers and I have provided support and consultation. I also published another chapter in my new project on the history of punk rock in Brazil -- focusing on the late seventies and early eighties; the chapter was in an edited volume that sought to unite scholars with voices from various punk communities throughout Latin America. This innovative publication model was put out by Impact -- Bristol. Last, I'll quickly mention that my band, Weird Babies, continues to perform regularly, and recorded four new songs even in the midst of the pandemic. Though our regular schedule of benefit shows for local DC organizations halted during the pandemic, we will begin performing again in February of 2022. 2020-2021 -- My book was published in July, and there were a few conferences and appearances through the year. I also became Chair of the department -- at a moment in which not only was Covid making life more complex, but a crisis of diversity, equity, and inclusion took hold. I have spearheaded numerous important departmental initiatives to address DEI, and look forward to future work on this topic. It has been a fraught and challenging year, but one which, I hope, brings productive change to the department. 2019-20 -- This year was mostly about work on the new project -- a history of policing in Brazilian punk rock from 1978-84. Two book chapters are in press for fall of 2020. For this project I planned a research trip for March of 2020, which had to be cancelled due to Covid-19. I also spent a good deal of this year finalizing the book manuscript for publication this July, 2020. The GW/SI cell phone continues to train graduate, undergraduate, and high school students. I continued to combine work in music with civic engagement. I will assume the role of departmental chair in July of 2020. Alexander Dent`s work uses notions of performativity to analyze mediation, language, policy, piracy, Intellectual Property (IP), and music. His first book, River of Tears: Country Music, Memory, and Modernity (Duke, 2009) explored the dialogic relationship between traditional and commercial forms of Brazilian `country` as a way of getting at late capitalist rurality. His current book investigates the ways in which IP policing seeks to control the unruly materializations at work in digital reproduction, as well as the ways in which the United States Trade Representative's practices delimit the "publics" in "public interest." His next project analyzes policing in authoritarian Brazil. Dent received his PhD from the University of Chicago (2003). He lives in Washington DC, where he is a practicing musician.

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