Alicia DeNicola

Associate Professor of Anthropology


Ph.D.| Syracuse University| 2004

MA| Brandeis University| 1998

BA| Lewis and Clark College| 1989

Courses Taught








February 12, 2016: Mizell Award, for superior contribution in furthering the education of Oxford College students through leadership in development of Oxford's Ways of Inquiry curriculum

April 17, 2017 Rita Cobb Award, for going above and beyond with suport of the Black Student Alliance


•  2016 "Asymmetrical Indications: Negotiating Creativity through Geographical Indications in North India" Economic Anthropology 3(2) 293-303.
•  2016 Critical Craft: technology, globalization and capitalism (with Clare Wilkinson-Weber) (eds). Bloomsbury.
•  2015 "Ways of Inquiry: The distinctiveness of the Oxford College General Education Program" (with Brenda Harmon, Jeff Galle, and Bridgette Gunnels) IN Blessinger, Patrick & Carfora, John M. (eds.) Inquiry Based Learning for Faculty and Institutional Development. Emerald Group Publishing.
•  2012. "Rescue and Redemption: Design Schools, Traditoinal Craft and the Nation-State in Contemporary India" Cultural Studies. 26(6) 787-813 (with Lane DeNicola)
•  2009. “Common Ground: Changing Land and Water Use by Traditional Textile Artisans in Bagru.” Context: Built, Living and Natural VI (2): 85–94.
•  2005. “Working Through Tradition: Experiential Learning and Formal Training as Markers of Class and Caste in North Indian Block Printing.” Anthropology of Work Review XXVI (2): 12–16.
•  2003. “Mediating Design: Manufacturing Tradition and Innovation in Bagru’s Hand-Block Print Industry.” In Institutions and Social Change, ed. Surjit Singh and Varsha Joshi, 88–105. New Delhi: Rawat Publications.


2015  "Asymmetrical Indications: negotiating creativity through geographical indications in North India" Society for Economic Anthropology, Lexington KY April 9-11

2013   “Critical Reflections On Craft: Two Case Studies” American Anthropological Association Meetings, Chicago, Nov. 19-24

2012   “Recasting Borders: Ethnographic Considerations of Caste in Contemporary India. Discussant. American Anthropological Association Meetings Nov. 13-18, San Francisco

2011 “Distinguishing Craft: Small-Scale Artisanship in India's Contemporary Fashion Industry” with Clare Wilkinson_Weber, Invited Session (Chair). American Anthropological Association Meetings, Montréal, Canada November 16-19 

2011 “Male Printers, Female Designers: geographical indications and the role of caste, class and gender in Indian Traditional Textile Printing” American University Washington College of Law Eighth Annual IP/Gender Mapping the Connections: Gender and Traditional Cultural Expressions, Washington D.C. April 1

2010 “Asymmetrical Indications: negotiating creativity in a North India textile town” Invited Talk, London School of Economics, London, October, 27

2009 “Developing the Rural: 'Contemporary' NGOs and 'Traditional' Artisans in Rural India” Invited Talk, LeMoyne College, Syracuse, NY April 2

2008 “Marking the rural in cosmopolitan discourse: Urban designers discussing traditional (rural) printers in North India” American Anthropological Association Meetings, San Francisco Nov. 19-23

2007 “Patrons of Capital: Artisan Accounts of Merchant Responsibility” American Anthropological Association Meetings,Washington, DC Nov 28-Dec 2

2007 “A Tale of Two Traditions” at American Ethnological Meeting, Toronto May 9-12 

2006 “Work(ing) Against the Grain of Class in Academics and Ethnography” at American Anthropological Association Meetings, San José, CA. Nov 14-19

2006 “Deep Roots: Narratives of Tradition in Logging Towns” at Society of Applied Anthropology Annual Meetings, Vancouver, Canada March 28-April 2

2003 “Rural Labor, Urban Design: The politics of tradition in North India’s Print Industry” at American Ethnological Society Annual Meetings, Providence, RI April 24-26

2003 “Designing Tradition” at the Society for Applied Anthropology 63rd Annual Meeting, Portland, OR. March 19-23

2002 “Innovating Tradition in Bagru’s Hand-block Printing Community” at the 31st Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Madison, Madison, WI. October 11-13

2001 “Printing in Bagru: Innovations in Rajasthani Traditional Identity” at the 4th International Conference on Rajasthan in the New Millennium, Jaipur, India Dec. 28-30

Research Interests

I am interested in the connections between the work people do, their status within their communities, and the ways in which they utilize, inhabit and understand the environment around them. Whether I am working with traditional textile printers in North India or logging and fishing families in the US pacific northwest, these three issues have provided recurring themes in my efforts to understand some of the connections people see between themselves, their work, and their environment.

I do research in Bagru, India (Rajasthan) where I work with hand-block textile printers and study the local practices and global politics surrounding this traditional craft. I also work in logging communities in the US Pacific Northwest where I have done life history interviews with some of my students and their families. While the landscapes of the pacific rainforest and the Indian desert are as visibly and culturally different as they can be, there are also many similarities in the way that people work in and relate to the environment around them. In India the availability of water and open land might distinguish between a well-to-do printing family and a family with less security. Currently the availability of Geographic Indication Status for printers may help them to retain the creative aspects of their labor. In the US stories of masculinity and heroism--often told by women--are important ways that people distinguish themselves and understand their connection to nature and the environment. All of these issues are also intimately related to power, whether through access to the places people inhabit or individual claims of identity and value. I have recently begun a research program in Costa Rica looking at small independent businesses and immigration.