Alexander S. Dent
- Associate Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs
- Hortense Amsterdam House 302
- [email protected]
Areas of Expertise
Digital media, policing, music, piracy, language, authoritarianism, punk.
Regional foci: Brazil; Latin America; North America.
Dr. Dent is the Associate Editor of Anthropological Quarterly.
He is also in a DC punk rock band called Weird Babies.
Dr. Dent's current research uses digital textuality as a way to critique the violent policing of media “piracy,” and the use of intellectual property laws to curtail participation in global economies. He is also engaged in an analysis of the role of “confidence” in establishing political and economic authority. Finally, he is focusing on Brazilian punk-rock in order to understand the role of music in fostering social change. His last book analyzed the post-authoritarian popularity of Brazilian "country" music and rodeo as a way to unify theories of performance from linguistic anthropology, media, cultural, and performance studies.
- A National Science Foundation funded project (with Joel Kuipers and Joshua Bell of the Smithsonian) examining social inequality as manifested in cell phone use among Washington DC Teens.
Ph.D. 2003, University of Chicago
M.A. 1998, University of Chicago
B.A. 1993, Princeton University
2020 Dent, A.S. Digital Pirates: Policing Intellectual Property in Brazil. Stanford University Press.
2009 Dent, A.S. River of Tears: Country Music, Memory, and Modernity in Brazil. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Selected Articles and Book Chapters
2019 Dent, A.S. "Ludic Authoritarianism" (American Anthropologist, 121:1, 193-6)
2018 Dent, A.S. "What is a Cellular Public?" (Anthropology Quarterly, 91:2, 465-484)
2018 Dent, A.S. "Piracy, Cloning, and Criminal Cats: The Discomforts of Cellular Telephony in Brazil", in Bell and Kuipers eds., The Linguistic and Material Intimacies of Cellular Phones. London: Routledge. 237-265.
2017 Dent, A.S. "The Devil in the Deal: Notes Toward an Anthropology of Confidence" (Anthropological Quarterly, 90:4, 1007-1024)
2017 Dent, A.S. "Paraguayan Horses: The Entailments of Internet Policy and Law in Brazil" (Current Anthropology, 58, 113-122)
2016 Dent, A.S. “Policing the Unstable Materialities of Digital-Media Piracy in Brazil” (American Ethnologist, 43:3, 424-436)
2016 Dent, A.S. “Piracy, Counterfeiting, and Intellectual Property” (Annual Reviews of Anthropology, 45)
2013 Dent, A.S. "Intellectual property in practice: Filtering testimony at the United States Trade Representative," Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 23(2): E48-E65. DOI: 10.1111/jola.12016.
2012 Dent, A.S. "Piracy, circulatory legitimacy, and neoliberal subjectivity in Brazil," Cultural Anthropology 27(1): 28-49. DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1360.2011.01125.x
2010 Dent, A.S. "Flouting the Elmo necessity and denying the local roots of interpretation: 'Anthropology's' quarrel with ACTA and authoritarian IP regimes," PIJIP Research Paper no. 3. Washington, DC: American University Washington College of Law.
2007 Dent, A.S. "Country brothers: Kinship and chronotype in Brazilian rural public culture," Anthropological Quarterly 80(2): 455-496.
2006 Dent, A.S. "High ropes and hard times: Wilderness and the sublime in adventure-based education," International Journal of the History of Sport 23(5): 856-875.
2003 Dent, A.S. "Cross-cultural 'countries': Covers, conjectures, and the whiff of Nashville in música sertaneja (Brazilian commercial country music)," Popular Music and Society 28(2): 207-227.
Awarded the Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Teaching Excellence, 2015.
Awarded the Morton Bender Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2008.
To see syllabi, click on the course title.
Anth 0801: Piracy, Copying, and Culture
Anth 1004: Language in Culture and Society
Anth 3601: Language, Culture, and Cognition
Anth 3691: Topics: Media, Technology, and Performance
Anth 3702: Anthropology of Latin America
Anth 6104: Proseminar in Linguistic Anthropology
Anth 6591: Topics: Culture, Intellectual Property, and the Informal Economy
Anth 8695: Linguistic Field Methods