Alexander S. Dent

Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs

Full-time Faculty


Office Phone: 202-994-5084
Fax: 202-994-6079

Dr. Dent received his Ph.D. in 2003 from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. From 2003-04, he was Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma, and he held the Earl S. Johnson Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Chicago from 2004-05. He has done extensive fieldwork in Brazil, and comparative work in the United States in New Jersey, Oklahoma, Washington, DC, and Chicago, IL.

With support from the National Film Board of Canada and the Association of Independent Television Producers of Brazil, Dr. Dent is currently making a documentary film about the dramatic rise in popularity of rodeo in Brazil since redemocratization. This film will examine vernacular cosmopolitanism, and the way in which Brazilians simultaneously draw upon longstanding traditions, while borrowing from the United States, in their practice of bull-riding.

In 2006, Dr. Dent was appointed the Associate Editor of the journal Anthropological Quarterly. He has published in journals such as Popular Music and Society, The International Journal of the History of Sport, and Anthropological Quarterly.

Brazil, Latin America and North America; public culture, language and the media; ethnography of performance; intellectual property.

Dr. Dent's current project, Pirate Wars: Intellectual Property and Digital Culture in Brazil, examines the illegal trade in music CD's and film DVD's in Brazil, focusing on how the sixth largest CD market in the world sustains itself on production that is 52% illegal. This project promises to contribute to understandings of intellectual property and cultural modes of consumption.

Ph.D., University of Chicago

ANTH 1004 Language in Culture and Society

ANTH 3691 Special Topics in Linguistic Anthropology: Media, Technology and Performance

ANTH 3702 Cultures of Central and South America

ANTH 6104 Linguistic Anthropology

Dr. Dent's book River of Tears: Country Music, Memory, and Modernity in Brazil (Duke U Pr. 2009) examines the way in which post-authoritarian popular culture in Brazil's Central-Southern region — in particular the state of Sao Paulo — enables its users to criticize the speed and scale of development and modernization. The book also presents a coherent theory of cultural "performance" for use in the analysis of a broad range of social practices, including politics, gender and race.