Jessica Marie Falcone, PhD
Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology
Program Coordinator for Anthropology
SASW, 204 Waters Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506
Dr. Falcone, a Philadelphia native, began her love affair with anthropology as an undergraduate at New College of Florida (the state's tiny, eclectic Honors college). While working towards her MA in Development Anthropology from George Washington University, Jessica Falcone spent a year in India doing fieldwork on "engaged Buddhist" charitable works, and taking anthropology courses at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Subsequently, Dr. Falcone worked as a full-time researcher with the Pew Charitable Trust's "Religion and the New Immigrants" project to explore Hindu and Sikh American religious and civic life through sustained participant observation work.
In 2010, Jessica Falcone graduated with a PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology from Cornell University. Her dissertation project, "Waiting for Maitreya: Of Gifting Statues, Hopeful Presents and the Future Tense in FPMT's Transnational Tibetan Buddhism," was a cultural biography of a 500-foot statue of the Future Buddha that is currently being planned as a gift to India by a community of international converts to Tibetan Buddhism. During the course of her PhD program, Jessica Falcone earned many awards and fellowships, including a Fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies to support her doctoral research, and an award from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology for ethnographic fiction. In 2014, Dr. Falcone received a book prize for her as-yet-unpublished manuscript, "Battling the Buddha of Love:A Cultural Biography of the Greatest Statue Never Built" (the Edward C. Dimock Prize in the Indian Humanities).
In cultivating expertise in South Asian studies through anthropological fieldwork, Dr.Falcone has tacked back and forth between different perspectives that both trace and erase the well-worn paths of "home" and "away": grassroots activism in India; transnational Tibetan Buddhist discourse regarding holy objects and prophecy in India's pilgrimage places; notions of cultural citizenship in the Tibetan diaspora in India; collegiate Gujarati-American dance competitions; extremist Hindu-American summer camps; and finally, Sikh-American activism post-9/11. Her areas of thematic specialization include the anthropology of diasporas, (trans)nationalism, futurity/temporality, globalization, material culture and gift exchange, as well as religious studies. Her future research projects will continue to examine the border crossings, fluidity, and the transformation inherent in the study of South Asian and Buddhist cultures today. She has recently begun an ethnographic project that will center on Zen Buddhist practice and community in Kona, Hawai'i.
At Kansas State and elsewhere, Dr. Falcone has taught anthropology courses on topics ranging from temporality to gift exchange: Generosity and Gifting in Asian Religions; the Anthropology of Futurity (Prophecy, Apocalypse and Hope); Anthropology and Literature; Cultures of South Asia; Utopias; Ethnographic Methods (Writing Culture); Creativity and Culture; Introduction to Cultural Anthropology; Ethnomusicology; and, Asian Religions.
* (2015) "Theory-Making: From the Raw to the Cooked" in Theory Can Be Much More Than It Used To Be. Dominic Boyer, James Faubion, and George Marcus, ed. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
* (2015) “Our Virtual Materials: The Substance of Buddhist Holy Objects in a Virtual World” in Buddhism, the Internet and Digital Media: The Pixel in the Lotus. Veidlinger, Daniel and Gregory Grieve, ed. Routledge: New York.
* (2013) The Hau of Theory: The Kept-Gift of Theory Itself in American Anthropology. Anthropology and Humanism. Vol 38 No 2: 122-145.
* (2013) Garba With Attitude: Creating Tradition and Creative Nostalgia in Competitive Collegiate Gujarati American Folk Dancing. Journal of Asian American Studies. Vol 16 No 1: 57-89.
* (2012) Putting the "Fun" in Fundamentalism: Religious Extremism and the Split Self in Hindu Summer Camps in Washington D.C. Ethos. Vol 40 No 2: 164-195.
* (2012) Maitreya or the Love of Buddhism: The Non-event of a Giant Statue in Bodh Gaya in Enlightening Bodh Gaya: Contested Histories of a Sacred Buddhist Space. Routledge: New York.
* (2011) The Buddhist Lama and the Indian Farmer: Negotiating Modernity and Tradition in the Development Plans for Kushinagar, India in Inequality in a Globalizing World: Perspectives, Processes, and Experiences. Parashar Nandikotkur and Yong, ed. Kendall-Hunt Publishing: Dubuque, IA.
* (2010) Seeking Recognition: Patriotism, Power and Politics in Sikh American Discourse in the Immediate Aftermath of 9/11. Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies. Vol 15 No 1 (published in Summer 2010, listed as "Spring 2006"): 89–119.
* (2010) A Meditation on Meditation: The Horizons of Meditative Thinking in Tibetan Monasticism and American Anthropology. Michigan Discussions in Anthropology. Vol 18 No 1: 402-441.
* (2010) "I Spy...": The (Im)possibilities of Ethical Participant Observation with Religious Extremists, Antagonists, and Other Tough Nuts. Michigan Discussions in Anthropology. Vol 18 No 1: 243-282.
* (2009) India Re-Mapped: The Tibetan Geographies of Buddhist India. Review of Huber, Toni. The Holy Land Reborn: Pilgrimage & the Reinvention of Buddhist India. H-ASIA, H-Net Reviews.
* (2009) Choli Ke Peeche. Anthropology and Humanism. Spring. Vol 34 No 1.
* (2008) "We're not Home": Tibetan Refugees in India in the Twenty-First Century. India Review. July-September. Vol 7 No 3. (Tsering Wangchuk, co-author)
* “A Transnational Trulku: the Multiple Lives of FPMT’s Spanish-born Lama Osel” in Reincarnation in Tibetan Buddhism: Birth-Narratives, Institutional Innovation, and Embodiment of Divine Power. Derek Maher and Tsering Wangchuk, eds. Wisdom Publications (Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism Academic Series).
* "Battling the Buddha of Love: A Cultural Biography of the Greatest Statue Never Built" (Working Title; Manuscript in preparation).