Joshua Bell

Joshua Bell

Title:
Professorial Lecturer in Anthropology
Faculty: Adjunct
Office:
Smithsonian Anthropology Department, MRC 112
Phone: 202-633-1935
Email:
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Anthropology of material and visual culture, political economy and ecology, museums and cultures of collecting, anthropology of history; Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, Hawai'i.

Joshua Bell is the Curator of Globalization at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.  His work includes Papuan ethnography, language preservation, and the culture of cellular phones.

For more on Dr. Bell, visit his webpage.

Current Research

Dr. Bell has conducted fieldwork since 2000 with communities in the Purari Delta, an ecologically diverse tidal estuary on Papua New Guinea’s south coast. Examining the social, economic and environmental transformations in the wake of regional resource extraction, I am also collaborating with I'ai communities to document aspects of their heritage and traditions. This work is complemented with on-going archival and museum-based research in Australia, Europe, Papua New Guinea, and the United States.

Ongoing Projects:

  • The Sweetness of the Stone-Age. Examines the narratives found in, and around, the dispersed collections made during the 1928 United States Department of Agriculture's Sugarcane Expedition to New Guinea.
  • Melanesian Networks. Survey of NMNH's Melanesian collections (New Caledonia, New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu) to tease out the professional and personal relations, and histories, found in the Smithsonian's collections.
  • Recovering Voices: Documenting and Sustaining Endangered Languages and Knowledge. Interdisciplinary project that connects communities with collections to help document and sustain cultural heritage.
  • Political Ecologies of Cell Phones. Examines the extraordinary intimate and global relations materialized in cell phones through examining their use by communities in the DC metro region.

Education

For Dr. Bell's CV, click here.

Ph.D. 2006, University of Oxford
M.Ph. 1998, University of Oxford
B.A. 1996, Brown University

Publications

Books

2018  Bell, J.A. and Kuipers, J (eds). Linguistic and Material Intimacies of Cell Phones. London: Routledge Press.

2015  Bell, J.A. and E. Hasinof (eds).  The Anthropology of Expeditions: Travel, Visualities, Afterlives. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

2015  Bell, J.A., West, P., Filer, C. (eds). Tropical Forests of Oceania: Anthropological Perspectives. Canberra: Australian National University Press.

2013  Bell, J.A., A. Brown and R.J. Gordon, eds. Recreating First Contact: Expeditions, Anthropology and Popular Culture. Book of 13 essays covering expeditions in North and South America, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

2018  Bell, J.A., Kuipers, J., Kobak, B., and Kemble, A., "Unseen Connections: Introduction." In Unseen Connections: The Materiality of Cell phones Special Issue of Anthropological Quarterly 91(2): 465-484.

2018  Bell, J.A., Kuipers, J., Hazen, J. Kemble, A., Kobak, B. "The Materiality of Cell Phones Repair: Re-making Commodities in Washington, D.C. In Unseen Connections: The Materiality of Cell phones. Anthropological Quarterly 91(2): 603-634.

2018  Kuipers, J and Bell, J.A. “Linguistic and Material Intimacies of Cell Phones: An Introduction.” In Bell, J.A. and Kuipers, J (eds) Linguistic and Material Intimacies of Cell Phones. Pp. 1-30. London: Routledge Press.

2018  Kuipers, J. and Bell J.A with Kobak, B., Kemble, A. and Hazen, J. “Intimate Materialities in Cell Phone Repair: Performance, Anxiety and Trust in DC Repair Shops.” In Bell, J.A. and Kuipers, J (eds) Linguistic and Material Intimacies of Cell Phones. Pp. 237-265. London: Routledge Press.

2017  Bell, J.A.,  “..you cannot divide a tomahawk as you can a stick of tobacco”: Currencies of Conversion and History in and from the Papuan Gulf of Papua New Guinea.” In R. Foster and K. Leacock (ed.) Art/Artifact/Commodity: Perspectives on the P.G.T. Black Collection. Volume 42, Pp. 25-34. Buffalo: Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences.

2017  Bell, J.A. . “A Bundle of Relations: Collections, Collecting and Communities.” Annual Review of Anthropology 46(1): 241-259.

2016  Sholts, SB, Bell, JA. Rick, T. . “Ecce Home: science and society need anthropological collections.” Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 31(8):580-83.

2016  Bell, J.A. 2016. “Dystopian Realities and Archival Dreams in the Purari Delta of Papua New Guinea.” Social Anthropology 24: 20-35.

2016  Bell, J.A. . “ ‘Everything will come up like TV, everything will be revealed’: Death in an Age of Uncertainty in the Purari Delta of PNG.” In Mortuary Dialogues: Death Ritual and the Reproduction of Moral Community in Pacific Modernities. Pp. 208-233. Silverman, E. and Lipset, D. (eds). New York: Berghahn Press.

2015  Bell, J.A.  “The Sticky After-Lives of “Sweet” Things: Performances and Silences of the 1928 USDA Sugarcane Expedition Collections.” In The Anthropology of Expeditions: Travel, Visualities, Afterlives. Bell, J.A. and E. Hasinof (eds). Pp. 207-241. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

2015  Bell, J.A. . “structural violence of resource extraction in the Purari Delta.” In Tropical Forests of Oceania: Anthropological Perspectives. Bell, J.A., West, P., Filer, C. (eds). Pp. 127-153. Canberra: Australian National University Press.

2015  Bell, J.A., "‘The Veracity of Form: Transforming Knowledges and their forms in the Purari Delta of Papua New Guinea’ in Museums as Process: Translating Local and Global Knowledge. R. Silverman (ed). Pp. 105-122. London: Routledge.

2013  Bell, J.A., :‘The Sorcery of Sugar: Intersecting Agencies within collections made by the 1928 USDA Sugarcane Expedition to New Guinea. In R. Harrison, A. Clark, and S. Byrne, Reassembling the Collection: Indigenous Agency and Ethnographic Collections, pp. 117-142. Santa Fe: School of Advanced Research.

2013  Bell, J.A.,  "‘Expressions of Kindly Feeling’: The London Missionary Society Collections from the Papuan Gulf.” In L. Bolton, N. Thomas, L. Bonshek and J. Adams (eds) Melanesia: Art and Encounter, pp. 57-63. London: British Museum Press.

2013  Bell, J.A., Christen, K. and M. Turin. “Introduction: After the Return.” Museum Anthropology Review, 7(1-2):1-21.

2013  Gershon, I. and Bell, J.A. . “Introduction: The Newness of New Media.” Culture Theory and Critique 54(3):259-264.

2012  Bell, J.A. "Museums as relational entities: The politics and poetics of heritage," Reviews in Anthropology 41(1): 70-92.

2010  Bell, J.A.  "Sugar Plant Hunting by Airplane in New Guinea A Cinematic Narrative of Scientific Triumph and Discovery in the ‘Remote Jungles’," Journal of Pacific History, 45(1): 37-56.

2010  Bell, J.A. "Out of the mouth of crocodiles: Eliciting histories in photographs and string-figures," History and Anthropology, 21(4): 351-373.

2009  Bell, J.A. "For scientific purposes a stand camera is essential: Salvaging photographic histories in Papua." In C. Morton and E. Edwards, eds., Photography, Anthropology and History: Expanding the Frame. Surrey: Ashgate, p. 143-170.

2006  Bell, J.A. "Marijuana, guns, crocodiles and radios: Economies of desire in the Purari Delta," Oceania 76(3): 220-234.

Classes Taught

To see syllabi, click on the course title.

Anth 6302: Resources, Consumption, and the Environment
Anth 6591: Globalization and Its Discontents
Anth 6591: Anthropology of Art and Material Culture

 

Last updated March 9, 2015