Senior Researcher & Research Coordinator

Carolyn Nakamura

Carolyn Nakamura

Senior Researcher & 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 im/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.