University Libraries partners with Nevada Museum of Art for Fall 2017 Burning Inquiry program

When you think of Burning Man you don’t necessarily think of academic research, but that’s not the case for two University of Nevada, Reno professors. Deborah Boehm, associate professor with a joint appointment in Anthropology and Women’s Studies/Gender, Race, and Identity, and Carolyn White, associate professor, anthropology; department chair and Mamie Kleberg Chair in Historic Preservation have teamed up for nearly 10 years to conduct research about the archaeology and ethnography of Black Rock City. They will discuss their research findings at the Nevada Museum of Art on Thursday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. The cost to attend is $12 for non-museum members and $8 for members. This program is part of the Nevada Museum of Art’s “City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man” exhibit on display now through January 7, 2018. Register to attend this event by clicking here.

But what does this mean?

Archaeology is usually defined as the scientific study of the human past. And many archaeologists rely on excavation and artifact analysis to do their research. Contemporary archaeology uses the same methods of documentation and analysis of material culture to study the present. Ethnography is a primary way that cultural anthropologists study contemporary human experience.

An opportunity to collaborate

The Burning Man research started as a new project that complemented each of the researchers’ existing areas of specialization. White was interested in doing contemporary archaeology and Boehm’s research focuses on immigrant communities and social networks across borders.

Boehm and White met at the University in 2007 and decided to collaborate as a way to bridge archaeology and cultural anthropology through the study of Burning Man. In the broader project, they study time, place and the built environment, as well as how Black Rock City and its community is rooted within and transcends the physical place of the Black Rock Desert.

“When I learned of the…

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