DR. SUDEEPTA VARMA
Dr. Sudeepta Varma is a board certified psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Centre in New York City. She completed her psychiatry residency training at the NYU School of Medicine and is a graduate of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. She was also the founding medical director and attending psychiatrist to a prestigious mental health program at NYU Langone.
Dr. Varma also maintains a private practice in Manhattan, where she works with individuals, couples and families. Dr. Varma offers psychiatric consultation for depression and anxiety disorders, attention-deficit disorder, couples and sexual problems.
Dr. Varma teaches, publishes, and speaks to medical and lay communities around the country on mental health issues.
Peter Singer first became well-known internationally after the publication of Animal Liberation. His other books include: Practical Ethics; The Expanding Circle; How Are We to Live?; Rethinking Life and Death; One World; Pushing Time Away; The President of Good and Evil and, most recently, The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter (with Jim Mason). Born and educated in Australia, Peter Singer is now Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Centre for Human Values at Princeton University, and Laureate Professor in the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Practical Ethics at the University of Melbourne.
Kalissa Alexeyeff teaches anthropology at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and specialises in expressive culture and gender politics in the Asia-Pacific region. She specifically studies the fa’afafini — Samoan men raised as women, who dress and act with feminine characteristics — featured in Taboo: Gender Bender. Her other research interests include dance and music and contemporary feminist thought. She based her doctoral thesis, “Dancing from the Heart: Gender, Movement and Sociality in the Cook Islands”, on her two years of fieldwork in the South Pacific Cook Islands and New Zealand.
Ruth Barcan lectures in gender and cultural studies at Sydney University in Australia. Her research interests include nudity and nudism; feminist cultural studies approaches to the body; alternative therapies and New Age practices; and pedagogy. She is the author of “Nudity: A Cultural Anatomy”, and the co-editor of “Imagining Australian Space: Cultural Studies and Spatial Inquiry” and “Planet Diana: Cultural Studies and Global Mourning”. In Taboo: Nudity, she comments on Christian nudists. She is the author of numerous articles in areas such as the body in culture, consumer culture and teaching.
Dianne Bell is professor emerita in anthropology at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where she served as director of women’s studies. Bell has published numerous books on aboriginal culture with an emphasis on women, including “Ngarrindjeri Wurruwarrin: A World That Is, Was, and Will Be”. She comments on the process of breast ironing, in which a young West African girl’s chest is pushed and pounded in an effort to flatten the chest, in Taboo: Body Modification. She previously taught anthropology at Australian National University, Canberra.
John Burton teaches anthropology at Connecticut College in the U.S., where he is director of Africana studies. He specialises in ethnicity and social change, and the melding of tradition and modernity in African social experience. Burton comments on the Karo tribe’s belief in bad omens in Taboo: Skin Deep and on the consensual flogging of the women of the Hamar tribe in Taboo: Signs of Identity. His numerous publications include more than 50 articles in professional journals and the book “God’s Ants: A Study of Atout Religion”.
Carole Cusack teaches religious studies at the University of Sydney, Australia, and specifically researches religious conversion, secularisation and the growth of New Age religion. She discusses modern witches in Australia and their practice of performing rituals in the nude for Taboo: Nudity. Cusack has published more than 30 articles on religious topics.
Greg Downey teaches anthropology at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He researches physical combat and martial arts, with a focus on the Brazilian martial art of capoeira. In Taboo: Proving Ground, he comments on American fight clubs. Other research interests include human rights and the effect of culture on economic life. He is the author of several peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and the book “The Athletic Animal: Sports, Evolution, and the Human Body's Potential.”
Ngarino Ellis lectures in art history at New Zealand’s University of Auckland and specialises in traditional Maori wood carving and indigenous women’s art forms. She is particularly focused on the use of Maori Ta Moko tattoos as self-portraiture and signature, which she discusses in Taboo: Skin Deep. She edited the book “Te Ata: Maori Art from the East Coast, New Zealand,” for which she wrote a chapter on the history of Ngati Porou carving, among other publications.
Ariel Glucklich teaches religious anthropology at Georgetown University in the U.S. and specialises in the use of pain in religious rites. He comments on the Amazonian rite of passage in which teenage boys thrust their hands into gloves filled with giant stinging bullet ants in Taboo: Initiation Rituals and Taboo: Trials of Faith. Glucklich also researches Hindu rituals and is currently studying the religious function of pleasure. Publications include the book “Sacred Pain: Hurting the Body for the Sake of the Soul” and the forthcoming book “The Strides of Vishnu.”
Janet Hoskins teaches anthropology at the University of Southern California, specialising in indigenous cultures. She has conducted field research among Indonesia’s Sumba tribe, and discusses their traditional Pasola competition — in which teams face off on horseback charging toward each other while hurling spears — in Taboo: Proving Ground. Hoskins’ other research interests include gender studies and the evolution of complex ancestral traditions. Her publications include the books “Headhunting and the Social Imagination in Southeast Asia”, “How Things Tell the Stories of People’s Lives” and the forthcoming “The Left Eye of God: Caodaism Travels From Vietnam to California”, which looks at Asian religions following the American war in Vietnam.
Jeffrey Kingston is director of Asian studies and a professor of history at Temple University in Tokyo. His focus is on modern Asian history. In Taboo: Signs of Identity, he comments on Japanese full-body horimono tattoos. He is the author of “Japan’s Quiet Transformation: Social Change and Civil Society” in the book “21st Century Japan.” Kingston is a regular contributor to Japan Times and a variety of regional publications and is a frequent media commentator and consultant on contemporary social and political issues in Japan.
Carolyn Marvin is a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication in the U.S., where she teaches courses in freedom of speech, in taboo and in ritual forms and practices. She specialises in cultural studies and the social construction of taboo. She discusses cultural differences in the perception of beauty in Taboo: Body Modification and also provides commentary for Taboo: Extreme Performers. Her publications include the books “Blood Sacrifice and the Nation: Totem Rituals and the American Flag “and “When Old Technologies Were New: Thinking About Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century.”
Andrew Matzner is an adjunct faculty member in women’s studies at Virginia’s Hollins University in the U.S.. His research focuses on transgender culture in Thailand and Hawaii. Specifically, his focus is on the katoey — transvestite and transgender men in Thailand, featured in Taboo: Gender Bender. He is the author of the book “O Au No Keia: Voices from Hawaii’s Mahu and Transgender Communities” and a forthcoming book on transgender youth in Thailand.
Lorna MacMillan spent five months conducting field research jointly with Francisco Nanclares and filming Thailand's Kayan tribe as a University of California, Berkeley, Haas scholar. Her work was with the women of the Kayan tribe, who wear brass coils, or "neck rings," which give the appearance of an elongated neck, and is featured in Taboo: Body Modification. Now a freelance filmmaker, MacMillan is working on a documentary about Kayan women.
Paul Stoller is an anthropologist who has conducted research in West Africa and New York City for 30 years. He teaches West African anthropology at West Chester University in the U.S., studying in particular the anthropology of religion, visual anthropology and the culture of cities. He discusses the coming-of-age ritual for young men in Nigeria’s Fulani tribe, who after being whipped by an opponent, must laugh in his face to demonstrate endurance, in Taboo: Proving Ground. His numerous publications include “Money Has No Smell: The Africanization of New York.” He is currently researching West African immigrants in New York City.
Victoria Pitts-Taylor is an associate professor at Queens College, City University of New York, where she teaches social theory and the seminar “Body, Self and Society.” She comments on aspects of body modification in Taboo: Initiation Rituals, Taboo: Signs of Identity, Taboo: Mating and Taboo: Body Modification. She is the author of “Flesh: The Cultural Politics of Body Modification” and the forthcoming “Surgery Junkies: The Cultural Boundaries of Cosmetic Surgery,” in addition to a number of other articles and book chapters.
Sandra Welkerling is a Ph.D. candidate at the Australian National University’s Centre for Cross-Cultural Research who frequently visits Papua New Guinea to study tribal culture and produce documentary films. Her work includes “The Queen of Kokoda,” a film about Priscilla Ogomeni’s struggle to establish her own trekking company in a remote village in Oro Province in Papua New Guinea. She comments on coming-of-age rituals in Papua New Guinea in Taboo: Initiation Rituals and Taboo: Skin Deep.
Adrian Franklin is Professor of Sociology at the University of Tasmania and the author of Animal Nation (2006), Nature and Social Theory (2002) and Animals and Modern Cultures (1999).His research interests include the sociology of nature, posthumanism, humananimal relations and naturecultures. He provides commentary on the psychology behind human and animal relationships in Taboo: Pets.
Dr. Paul Rozin studies cultural psychology, focusing on the acquisition of likes and dislikes for foods, nature and development of the magical belief in contagion, cultural evolution of disgust, ambivalence to animal foods, lay conception of risk of infection and toxic effects of foods, interaction of moral and health factors in concerns about risks, relation between people's desires to have desires and their actual desires (including the problem of internalization), acquisition of culture, nature of cuisine, cultural evolution. Hi research is carried out in USA, France, Japan and India. He provides commentary in Taboo: Gross Food.
Dr. Thomas Reuter is a Senior Research Fellow in Anthropology at Monash University in Australia. He previously taught at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and has held ARC Post-doctoral and Queen Elizabeth II Fellowships at the University of Melbourne before joining the School of Political and Social Inquiry at Monash University. Dr. Reuter comments on the lives of volcanic workers in Taboo: Jobs.