Laura R. Graham
University of Iowa
(to be President 2023-2027)
Laura R. Graham is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Iowa. Her research on Indigenous agency and politics of representation focuses on the A’uwẽ-Xavante of central Brazil, where she has worked since 1981, and also on Wayuu of Venezuela. Laura has written extensively on Indigenous speech, expressive culture, and forms of self-representation in national and international arenas, including ethnographic spectacle and use of new media technologies. Her books include, Performing Dreams: Discourses of Immortality among the Xavante of Central Brazil (1995)/Performance de Sonhos: Discursos de Imortalidade Xavante with audio CD of original field recordings, 2018), Performing Indigeneity: Global Histories and Contemporary Experiences (2014) and Language and Social Justice in Practice (2018). Laura co-directed the film Owners of the Water: Conflict and Collaboration over Rivers/Dueños Del Agua/Donos da Agua (2009) with indigenous filmmakers from Brazil and Venezuela. Laura has extensive administrative and leadership experience. Her service to SALSA includes serving on the Executive Board (2014-2016) and as founding member and chair of SALSA’s Public Issues and Actions Committee (PIAC, 2014-16). She helped draft PIAC’s Statement on the Twin Ocean Railroad, among others. Laura also served on the American Anthropological Association’s Executive Board (Linguistic Anthropology seat, 2009-11). She has extensive service and experience in Human Rights. She served on AAA’s Committee for Human Rights (CfHR, 2003-2006), as CfHR chair (2005-2006), and in 2009, founded the AAA Committee on Language and Social Justice which she chaired until 2013. Laura has been active in promoting SALSA and AAA responses to TIAA’s farmland investments in Brazil. In 2018 she was part of a SALSA/AAA team that meet with TIAA representatives. She also coordinates a team of Xavante leaders and attorneys from Brazil and the US supporting Xavante efforts against development projects that affect their territories. In addition, since 2009, she has served on the Board of Directors for Cultural Survival, an international Indigenous Rights nonprofit. As an officer of SALSA, she aims to maintain SALSA’s commitment to human rights and social justice for lowland South American peoples, continue to enrich SALSA’s pedagogical resources website and take advantage of technological innovations to transcend borders and increase conversations across geographic spaces.
Institutional webpage: https://clas.uiowa.edu/anthropology/people/laura-r-graham