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Meryl Lauer is a cultural anthropologist specializing in ethnographies of bodily practice. She holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Minnesota, where she was a Mellon fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, and a BA in dance from Barnard College. She was previously a visiting assistant professor of anthropology at Carleton College, a visiting fellow at the Centre for Humanities Research at University of Western Cape, and a visiting researcher at the University of Witwatersrand. Lauer’s research interests all explore how codified movement practices engage with or resist larger structures of power. Her current research project, an ethnography of South African ballet, examines everyday choreographies of social inequality, made apparent in dance practice and performance. 

Lauer’s previous courses have pulled from across anthropology, feminist and queer studies, Africana studies, and postcolonial theory to build students’ skills in critical engagement and challenge students to think beyond the familiar. She is excited to bring her research and teaching experience to Peabody and looks forward to exploring what performance can do in our contemporary world.