Jessica Marie Falcone, PhD
Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology
SASW, 204 Waters Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506
Dr. Jessica 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 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 studies, gift exchange and economic anthropology, 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 cultures today.
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 the Future); Anthropology and Literature; Cultures of South Asia; Utopias; Ethnographic Methods (Writing Culture); Creativity and Culture; Introduction to Cultural Anthropology.
* (2013) Garba With Attitude: Creating Tradition and Creative Nostalgia in Competitive Collegiate Gujarati American Folk Dancing. Journal of Asian Amerian Studies. Vol 16 No 1.
* (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.
* (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.
* (2011) The Buddhist Lama and the Indian Farmer: Negotiating Modernity and Tradition in the Development Plans for Kushinagar, India, in Parashar Nandikotkur and Yong, ed. Inequality in a Globalizing World: Perspectives, Processes, and Experiences. 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)
Forthcoming* The Hau of Theory. Anthropology and Humanism.