headshot of Carolyn Smith

Research Expertise and Interest

sociocultural anthropology, community-engaged research/scholarship, social justice research

Research Description

Carolyn Smith is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology.  She is an enrolled member-descendant of the Karuk Tribe. Funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, she has recently completed a PhD in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.  Her dissertation, Weaving pikyav (to-fix-it): Karuk Basket Weaving Practice in-Relation-with the Everyday World, addresses the question of how baskets come into being and how they are living entities that need to be with their people. Through interviews, museum collection and archival research, she looks at the broader social and historical contexts in which basket weaving has remained a resilient practice, despite changing attitudes, economies and resources.  Her experiences as a beginning basket weaver and as the former coordinator for the Peoples Center have fueled her interest in future community-engaged research on the issues of repatriation, museum collection stewardship, and museum representation. Recently, Carolyn has served as Research Coordinator for the McNair Scholars Program at Sonoma State University. Currently, she has been awarded the Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowship at University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Ethnic Studies, where she will be continuing her research on the interconnections of the ontology of basketry, museum practice, and repatriation.

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