Senior Researcher & Research Coordinator

Carolyn Nakamura

Carolyn Nakamura

Research Coordinator


Carolyn Nakamura joined the RCMC in February 2017 as Academic Programs & Research Coordinator. She has held previous positions as a postdoc coordinator for the Global Interactions Research Profile at Leiden University  (2010-2016), and as a Lecturer at Stanford University in the Department of Anthropology (2008-2010).

She has a BA in Chemistry (Reed College) and a PhD in Anthropology (Columbia University). Her research loosely congregates around issues of material culture and urban formations. She has looked at issues of embodiment, materiality, and ritual in Neo-Assyrian apotropaic state magic, domestic world-making practices at the Neolithic settlement of Catalhoyuk, and the importance of attending to the quietly receding histories of improvised communities imperiled by practices of heritage-making in urban India (Mumbai and Delhi). More recently, within the museum context she has turned her focus to thinking through the possibilties of repair through refashioned and redirected forms of historical attention.

She has received financial support for her research from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, The Getty Research Institute, Columbia University, Leiden University and the American Schools of Oriental Research.

Selected Publications
  • 2018 Ritual. In Companion to the Art of the Ancient Near East. ed. Ann Gunter. Blackwell.
  • 2014 Mumbai’s quiet histories: Critical intersections of the urban poor, historical struggles, and heritage spaces. Journal of Social Archaeology 14(3): 271-295.
  • 2014 Non-Place. In Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. Smith C. (Ed.). Springer.
  • 2014 (with Peter Pels) Using 'magic' to think from the material: tracing distributed agency, revelation, and concealment at Çatalhöyük. In Religion at work in a neolithic Society: Vital Matters. ed. Ian Hodder. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 187-224.
  • 2014 (with Lynn Meskell) The Çatalhöyük Burial Assemblage. In Humans and Landscapes of Çatalhöyük: Reports from the 2000-2008 Seasons Volume 8. Ed. Ian Hodder. Cotsen Institute, University of California
  • 2014 (with Lynn Meskell) Figurine Worlds at Çatalhöyük. In Substantive Technologies at Çatalhöyük: Reports from the 2000-2008 Seasons, Volume 9. ed. Ian Hodder. Cotsen Institute, University of California.
  • 2012 Archaeology and the capacity to aspire. (Archäologie und die Fähigkeit des Bestrebens) Forum Kritische Archäologie. 1:123-133.
  • 2010 Finding Magic: A Matter of Time and Place? In Religion in the Emergence of Civilization: Çatalhöyük as a Case Study. ed. Ian Hodder. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 300-331.
  • 2010 Book Review: Rituals of War: the Body and Violence in Mesopotamia by Zainab Bahrani. Cambridge Archaeological Journal. 19(3): 461-462.
  • 2010 (with L. Meskell) Articulate Bodies: Forms and Figures at Çatalhöyük. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 16(3): 205-230.
  • 2008 (with L. Meskell, R. King and S. Farid) Figured Lifeworlds and Depositional Practices at Çatalhöyük. Cambridge Archaeological Journal. 18(2): 139-161.
  • 2005 Mastering Matters: Magical Sense and The Figurine Worlds of Neo-Assyria. In Archaeologies of Materiality, Oxford: Blackwell, ed. Lynn Meskell, pp. 18-45.
  • 2004 Dedicating Magic:  Neo-Assyrian Apotropaic Figurines and the Protection of Assur. World Archaeology: 36(1): 11-25.