Nelson, Diane M. 1963-

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Nelson, Diane M. 1963-


Born 1963. Education: Wellesley College, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1985; Stanford University, M.A., 1992; Ph.D., 1996.


Office—Duke University, 106 Social Sciences, Durham, NC 27708. E-mail[email protected]


Anthropologist, educator, and writer. Project Bread/Hunger Hotline, food stamp advocate, 1986; Jane C. Edmonds & Associates, writer, 1987; freelance journalist, 1987-89; Ford Foundation, development consultant, 1988; International Institute of Boston, Boston, MA, paralegal, 1989; Stanford University, teaching assistant, Department of Anthropology, 1990-94; Asociación para el Avance de las Ciencias Sociales en Guatemala (AVANCSO) [Association for the Advancement of Social Research], research associate, 1992-93; Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR, assistant professor, Sociology/Anthropology Department, 1995-2001; Duke University, Durham, NC, associate professor of cultural anthropology, 2001—.


Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi.


Amanda Butler Pierce poetry award, Wellesley College, 1985; field research grants, Department of Anthropology and Latin American Studies, Stanford University, 1990-1991; National Science Foundation dissertation field research fellowship, 1992; Mellon Fellowship in Anthropology for dissertation, 1993; Vining-Davis Faculty-Student research fellowship, Lewis and Clark College, 1998; Oregon Academy of Science, Teacher of the Year, 1998; Nominee, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2002; Langford Award, Duke University, 2003; Thomas Langford Lectureship Award, Duke University, 2003; also recipient of research grants.


A Finger in the Wound: Body Politics in Quincentennial Guatemala, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1999.


Diane M. Nelson is a social anthropologist who conducted field work in Guatemala in 1985 focusing on the civil war's effects on highland indigenous communities, including the 100,000 refugees created by the civil war and the 100,000 people who were murdered. In her book, A Finger in the Wound: Body Politics in Quincentennial Guatemala, the author examines the Guatemalan state and its relationship with the Mayan cultural rights movement, which seeks official recognition of their cultural and land rights. "The complex relations between the … [modern] nation-state, Mayan 'tradition' and latino identities are what Nelson's book critically examines," wrote Erez Cohen in the Australian Journal of Anthropology. Cohen went on to note: "The power of her analysis, however, is in the complex theoretical framework that rejects the 'solidity' of these 'identities' and explores their relational positions to each other." Rachel A. May, writing in the Human Rights Review, called the book "the most impressive of the recent studies by North American anthropologists concerning the pan-Maya cultural rights movement." May also called A Finger in the Wound "a deeply impressive book." Journal of Development Studies contributor Sarah Radcliff wrote: "Diane Nelson addresses her task with enthusiasm, well-armed with post-modern theory, and a reflexive knowledge of Guatemala." The reviewer also commented: "With its numerous photographs and lengthy quotes from activists, academics and others, Nelson's book is a rich and thought-provoking weaving together of theories and material that are often kept well apart by others."



Australian Journal of Anthropology, August, 2002, Erez Cohen, review of A Finger in the Wound: Body Politics in Quincentennial Guatemala, p. 246.

Human Rights Review, April-June, 2000, Rachel A. May, a review of A Finger in the Wound, p. 123.

Journal of Developmental Studies, April, 2000, Sarah Radcliff, review of A Finger in the Wound, p. 197.

Journal of Latin American Studies, February, 2000, Finn Stepputat, review of A Finger in the Wound, p. 277.


Duke University Web site, (November 27, 2006), faculty profile of author.*

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Nelson, Diane M. 1963-

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