Taylor R. Genovese (b. 1986, Tucson, USA) is a gonzo anthropologist and multimodal ethnographer at Arizona State University.

(more)

I am an eclectic multimodal anthropologist who tends to work simultaneously on a variety of different projects in a diversity of artistic and academic modes. I have been a filmmaker and photographer for over 15 years, working on projects ranging from small independent short films to internationally distributed television programs.

Currently, I use digital video, photography, social media, art, and sound as methods and sites of inquiry for anthropological research. Below you will find précis of my current projects.

My dissertation research examines the historical and empirical linkages between the legacy of Russian Cosmism—a politico-theology that emerged in the 1880s advocating a universal human program for overcoming death and resurrecting one’s ancestors—and the constructed secularity of Silicon Valley technologists.

In this project, I am conducting a multimodal and anthropological investigation of the Sonoran Desert—and the ongoing project of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico—in order to dissect how artifacts and environments are able to take on discrete politico-affective forms.

Across all of my projects, I am investigating the multifaceted ways in which the “more-than-human” presses against our material and lived realities. For this particular project, I'm exploring the political and spiritual differences between consecrated and unconsecrated ground. I'm interested in why consecrated ground becomes so important for a variety of religious traditions—particularly if the soul is believed to no longer be tethered to a physical place.

Since 2018 I have been conducting multimodal ethnographic research on the interconnections between collective memory, performance, narrativity, and social action while embedding with a living history/reenactment group portraying the Abraham Lincoln Battalion—the predominantly American volunteer fighting force attached to the International Brigades that fought for Republican Spain against Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War of 1936–39.

At the core of my teaching philosophy lies an attentiveness to diversity and inclusion. As an instructor, I work to teach students how to question and challenge accepted “ways of knowing” by discerning deeper meanings and contradictions within socially accepted narratives, thereby allowing students to formulate their own creative and original counter-arguments.

This provides a critical skillset that can be used by general education students in all facets of their lives and studies. Ideally, learning how to think critically becomes a transformational activity that extends beyond the classroom.

By the end of a course, I hope to inspire a life-long generative, and compassionate, curiosity in students wherein they take to heart the anthropological creed of making the familiar strange and the strange familiar.



* = Face-to-face instruction
†= Online/hybrid instruction

As Sole-Instructor of Record

ASB 214: Magic, Witchcraft, and Healing: An Introduction to Comparative Religion
(Fall 2019*, Spring 2020*, Fall 2020†, Spring 2021†) [Syllabus]

As Teaching Assistant

FIS 305: Ways of Knowing
(Spring 2020*)

FIS 194: Future of Oceans
(Fall 2019*)

HON/REL 394: Religion, Science, & Citizenship
(Spring 2019*)

ANT 102: Exploring Cultures
(Fall 2015*, Fall 2016*, Spring 2017*)

ANT 301: Peoples of the World
(Spring 2016*)

AFAS 371: Hip Hop Cinema
(Fall 2014†, Spring 2015†)

As Invited/Guest Lecturer

"Multimodal Anthropology, Gonzo Ethnography, and Anthropology as Craft." Department of Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis. December 10, 2020. St. Louis, MO.

"Anarchism, Anthropology, and Taboo." Department of Social Sciences, Arizona Western College. November 13, 2020. Yuma, AZ.

"Poyekhali! A Brief Primer on the Soviet Space Program." Department of Visual Arts, University of California, San Diego. January 21, 2020. San Diego, CA.

Currently Living & Working On Unceded, Occupied Akimel O'odham and Xalychidom Piipaash Land
(so-called Tempe, Arizona, USA)


Mailing Address

Collaboratory on Religion, Science and Technology
Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict
Arizona State University
P.O. Box 870802
Tempe, AZ 85287-0802

Office

West Hall 205C

Email

taylor.genovese@asu.edu

конец.

Увидимся!

(Photo by Amber Layne, May 2020)

(How to pronounce my name)

Taylor R. Genovese (b. 1986, Tucson, USA) is an anthropologist and Ph.D. Candidate in the Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology program at Arizona State University. His Ph.D. is supervised by Gaymon Bennett (Chair), Alexander Aviña, Lisa Messeri, and Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm.

He had the great honor of being one of David Graeber's students until his unexpected passing in 2020.

He is currently a:

Genovese is a co-founder and contributor for Footnotes, an anthropology group blog for the multimodal, anticolonial, and iconoclastic. He is also a research fellow at The Center for Communist Studies and on the Editorial Board for Peace, Land, and Bread.

Prior to attending university as a non-traditionally aged student, he worked as a filmmaker and an accomplished stage actor. He has attended each of Arizona's major universities (University of Arizona for his B.A., Northern Arizona University for his M.A., and now Arizona State University for his Ph.D.) and is still unsure of whether or not that is a good thing.

In addition to his academic interests, he is an avid (if sometimes inconsistent) cinephile, participates in Spanish Civil War living history, and watches dust accumulate on his vinyl record collection.




Select Publications

Peer-Reviewed Articles

2020

"The Necessity of Communist Morality." Peace, Land, and Bread 3: 19–36.

2018

"'Death is a Disease': Cryopreservation, Neoliberalism, and Temporal Commodification in the U.S." Technology in Society 54: 52–56. doi: 10.1016/j.techsoc.2018.03.002.

2016

"Decolonizing Archival Methodology: Combating Hegemony and Moving Towards a Collaborative Archival Environment." AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples 12 (1): 32–42. doi: 10.20507/AlterNative.2016.12.1.3.

Editor-Reviewed Articles

2017

"On Scarves, Serpents, and Solidarity." In Anthropology Matters! in Brief. Anthropology News 58 (6): e128–e130. 15 December. doi: 10.1111/AN.724.

2016

"Orbiting the Imaginary." Peeps Magazine 2: 134–139.

My dissertation research examines the historical and empirical linkages between the legacy of Russian Cosmism—a politico-theology that emerged in the 1880s advocating a universal human program for overcoming death and resurrecting one’s ancestors—and the constructed secularity of Silicon Valley technologists.

In particular, I’m investigating the continuities between these two trans-temporal communities, as well as what seems to be equally striking disjunctions between their ethos and political economies—predominantly in the ways they engage with technology, immortality, radical politics, and eschatological utopias.

Ultimately, I’m interested in investigating how seemingly shared ontological and technological goals can become the apparent basis for a profound transmutation of political theologies.

Relatedly, I wish to understand the politico-moral motivations behind the rhizomatic project(s) of secularization, particularly at broadly conceived hubs of historical and contemporary Cosmism—namely Silicon Valley and Moscow.

This research is supported, in part, by the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and the Templeton Religion Trust.


Related Publications
"How the egalitarian dreams that fueled the quest for 'young blood' treatments got perverted." The Washington Post.

"'Death is a Disease': Cryopreservation, Neoliberalism, and Temporal Commodification in the U.S." Technology in Society 54: 52–56.

In this project, I am conducting a multimodal and anthropological investigation of the Sonoran Desert—and the ongoing project of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico—in order to dissect how artifacts and environments are able to take on discrete politico-affective forms.

In particular, I'm looking at the wall as a spectacle of modern placemaking—a project that literally carves through mountains, trees, cacti, and sacred springs in order to make a concept which is constructed and invisible into something tangible and perceptible. In this way, I believe that the wall is a utopian project—albeit a maleficent one.

Furthermore, I am interested in exploring the political, economic, and ontological changes that take place within borderland "sister cities"—communities that straddle the U.S./Mexico border and depend upon the fluid movement of people and material across international boundaries. I am examining how people, cities, and landscapes adapt, alter, and re-configure in response to the contradiction of necessitated free movement and the enormous physical wall that is meant to halt it.


Across all of my projects, I am investigating the multifaceted ways in which the “more-than-human” presses against our material and lived realities. For this particular project, I'm exploring the political and spiritual differences between consecrated and unconsecrated ground. I'm interested in why consecrated ground becomes so important for a variety of religious traditions—particularly if the soul is believed to no longer be tethered to a physical place.

As such, a major part of my project is negotiating how to perform work on myself in ways that open up critical apparatuses for studying the "more-than-human" through the categories of my interlocutors, thereby allowing me to better investigate unseen worlds.

In short, I am conducting an auto-ethnographic experiment in an attempt to radically transform my own worldview—which has been disciplined in particular Western, secular onto-epistemological modes—so that I might have the ability to recognize the ontological and moral realities of my interlocutors; realities such as good/evil, spirits/ghosts, possessions/the demonic, agentive cosmic energy, etc. and so that I might be illumined to the ways in which these veiled forces experience, and are experienced by, communities around the planet.


Since 2018 I have been conducting multimodal ethnographic research on the interconnections between collective memory, performance, narrativity, and social action while embedding with a living history/reenactment group portraying the Abraham Lincoln Battalion—the predominantly American volunteer fighting force attached to the International Brigades that fought for Republican Spain against Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War of 1936–39.

This project explores how the distributed memories of the Spanish Civil War are re-enacted and performed in southern California as well as the ways in which these events might expand historiography beyond the realm of the elite, educated, rational (white, male) subject. Additionally, I am interested in how these events act as reverent rituals that perform a continuity of distributed, trans-historical solidarity in order to evoke and honor the memory of fictive kin political ancestors.



Related Publications
"Going Gonzo: Toward a Performative Practice in Multimodal Ethnography." entanglements 2 (1): 97–110.