Laura Graham, Ph.D.

Professor, Anthropology

Dr. Laura Graham is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Iowa. Her research focuses on Indigenous agency and the politics of representation among Indigenous peoples of Lowland South America. She has carried out long-term field research among the A’uwẽ-Xavante of central Brazil and among Wayuu peoples of Venezuela.

Dr. Graham has written extensively on Indigenous speech and forms of self-representation in national and international arenas, including ethnographic spectacle and use of new media technologies. Her books include the award-winning, Performing Dreams: Discourses of Immortality among the Xavante of Central Brazil (U Texas Press 1995; in Portuguese edition with original field recordings 2018), Performing Indigeneity: Global Histories and Contemporary Experiences  (U Nebraska Press 2014, with Glenn Penny, UIowa History) and the co-edited volume, Language and Social Justice in Practice (Routledge 2018, with Netta Avineri, Eric Johnson, Robin R. Conley and Jonathan Rosa). She is producer and co-director, with David Hernández Palmar (Wayuu) and Caimi Waiassé (A’uwẽ-Xavante), of the film Owners of the Water: Conflict and Collaboration over Rivers (Documentary Educational Resources, 2009). 

Dr. Graham served as founding chair of the American Anthropological Association’s Committee on Language and Social Justice. In July 2020 she became President-Elect of the Society for the Study of Lowland South America. Since 2009, she has served on the Board of Directors of Cultural Survival. She is currently writing a book on A’uwẽ-Xavante uses of audiovisual technologies and other forms of cultural outreach as part of Indigenous efforts to achieve representational sovereignty.

head shot of Laura Graham
Contact Information

223 Macbride Hall (MH)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States