38/34 Smith St, Highgate, Western Australia 6003, Australia
s.abrahms.k@gmail.com

Education

2007-2011  Department of Anthropology and Sociology, The University of Western Australia 
                 Doctor of Philosophy.
2005          History and Philosophy of Science, The University of Melbourne 
                 Postgraduate Diploma.
2002          Department of Anthropology and Sociology, The University of Western Australia 
                 Graduated with First Class Honours in Anthropology.
1998-2001  Faculty of Arts, The University of Western Australia 
                 Bachelor of Arts majoring in Anthropology, Philosophy and Political Science.

Research Interests

Globalisation, cosmopolitanism, religion, psychological anthropology, Actor Network Theory, morality, ignorance, postsocialist religious resurgence, Mongolia and Inner Asia, Buddhism, New Religious Movements, urban anthropology, nationalism.

Research Experience

2007-2011  PhD, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, The University of Western Australia 
Title: Improvising Tradition: Lay Buddhist Experiences in Cosmopolitan Ulaanbaatar.
Research: This research project explored the resurgence of Buddhism in the urban environment of Ulaanbaatar, following the end of socialism in Mongolia in 1990. It looked at lay Buddhist experiences connected to two different imaginings of Buddhist tradition, or what I have termed ‘cultural’ and ‘reform’ Buddhism. Cultural Buddhist institutions answer Mongolian desires for national identity based in religion, whilst reform Buddhist organisations offer a universal form of Buddhism that provides comprehensive doctrinal and moral education. Both anchor themselves in tradition and both are heavily influenced by global religious pressures. This thesis utilises theories from scholars such as James Laidlaw, Joel Robbins, Bruno Latour, Caroline Humphrey, Saba Mahmood and Harvey Whitehouse.
Methodology: This research project involved designing, carrying out and writing about ethnographic research in Ulaanbaatar.
Duties: These included obtaining an ethics approval, securing funding, research before and after fieldwork, making and maintaining connections with participants, participant observation, conducting formal and informal interviews, analysing the data collected, and synthesising this into multiple reports, conference presentations and the doctoral dissertation itself.

2005   Postgraduate Diploma, History and Philosophy of Science, The University of Melbourne 
Title: Judgements, Goose Strings and Visceral Stirrings: Combining Objects and Feelings in Theories of Emotions.
Research: This research project looked at the polarisation of theories of emotion between evolutionary psychology and cultural constructionism. Basing itself in Donald Davidson’s ‘anomalous monist’ theory of mind, it asks whether emotions are conceptualised differently historically and cross-culturally, focusing in particular on the emotion ‘love’. Important theorists in this work are philosophers William James and Robert Solomon, evolutionary theorists Robert Frank and Paul Griffiths, cognitive scientists Jerry Fodor and Antonio Damasio as well as anthropologists Lila Abu–Lughod and Catherine Lutz and historian William Reddy.
Methodology: This research project involved extensive literature reviews and a written dissertation.

2002   First Class Honours, Department of Anthropology, The University of Western Australia 
Title: Depression and the Narratives of Suffering: A Look At Pathways of Dysphoria.
Research: The research project asked the question: Is depression, as a category of mental illness, relevant cross–culturally? Sparked by anthropologist Gananath Obeyesekere’s article on depression categories amongst the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka (1985), it questions whether the experience of depression can be found amongst Buddhist cultures whose philosophical framework rests on the first noble truth, that is, that life inherently contains suffering. This thesis uses literature from scholars such as cultural constructivist Catherine Lutz, anthropologist Nancy Schepher–Hughes, and historian William Reddy.
Methodology: This research project involved extensive literature reviews and a written dissertation.

Awards

2011           The University of Western Australia 
                  PhD Completion Scholarship.
2007-2011   The University of Western Australia 
                  University Postgraduate Award.
2009           Faculty of Arts, The University of Western Australia 
                  Dean’s Postgraduate Award.
2009           School of Social and Cultural Studies, The University of Western Australia 
                  Postgraduate Research Funding.
2009           Graduate Research School, The University of Western Australia 
                  Graduate Research Travel Award.

Publications

Abrahms-Kavunenko, S. (2012) ‘Religious “Revival” After Socialism? Eclecticism and Globalisation Amongst Lay Buddhists in Ulaanbaatar’ Inner Asia, 14(2): 279 – 297.

Conferences and Presentations

2012   The Topography of Morality: Global Buddhist Institutions and Morality in Postsocialist Ulaanbaatar 
Research Seminars, Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit, University of Cambridge.

2011   Filling the Gaps: The Influence of Choice on Lay Mongolian Morality and Spirituality 
International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, the Australian Anthropological Society and the Association of Social Anthropologists of Aotearoa / New Zealand Conference, The University of Western Australia.

2010   Vegetarianism, Mongolia and Post-socialist Religious Pluralism 
School of Social and Cultural Studies Graduate Conference, The University of Western Australia.

2010   Interdependent Co-arising: Contemporary Ideas of Buddhism in Ulaanbaatar 
American Centre for Mongolian Studies, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

2008   Tengri and Dharmapalas: Buddhism and Shamanism in Outer Mongolia 
School of Social and Cultural Studies Graduate Conference, The University of Western Australia.

2008   Pre-field Presentation 
Department of Anthropology and Sociology, The University of Western Australia.

2008   Finding New Ways to Encourage Better Teaching: Breathing Humanism Back Into Our Universities 
Teaching and Learning Project Presentations, Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, The University of Western Australia.

Teaching Experience

2009   Anthropology Department, National University of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar 
Tutoring Masters students in Anthropology.

2008   Religion ANTH2203, The University of Western Australia 
Tutoring, lecturing, curriculum development and marking student assessments. Presented a developed lecture titled ‘Religion and Suffering’.

2008   Development of Social Thought ANTH2214, The University of Western Australia 
Lecturing, tutoring, curriculum development and marking student assessments. Presented a developed lecture titled ‘Nature and Nurture: Key Topics in Feminist Anthropology’.

2003-2004   Enault-Dautheribes, French Guiana and Ile de Societies 
Private English language tutor.

Professional Memberships

2009-present   The American Centre For Mongolian Studies 
2010-present   Buddhist Ethics Network, University of Cambridge 

Professional Development

2008   Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, The University of Western Australia 
Position: Postgraduate Teaching Intern.
Duties: Attending a course on the Foundations of University Teaching and Learning. Conducting a quantitative research project that explored academics’ attitudes towards the implementation of varied teaching practices. Presenting two research projects discussing university teaching practices. Participating in peer feedback, writing a critical incident report and a teaching portfolio.

Administrative Experience

2011   International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, the Australian Anthropological Society and the Association of Social Anthropologists of Aotearoa / New Zealand Conference, The University of Western Australia 
Position: Co-convening a panel titled ‘Faith as Heresy: Translocal Religion in a Global Era’.
Duties: Inviting panel participants, accepting abstracts, facilitating the panel.

2007-2011   Department of Anthropology and Sociology, The University of Western Australia 
Position: Doctoral candidate.
Duties: Obtaining ethics approval, submitting yearly reports, applying for additional funding.

2008   Religion ANTH2203, The University of Western Australia 
Position: Tutor, lecturer, assisting in curriculum developer.
Duties: Curriculum development, writing and marking student assessments, reporting student plagiarism.

2008   Development of Social Thought ANTH2214, The University of Western Australia 
Position: Tutor, lecturer, assisting in curriculum development.
Duties: Curriculum development, writing and marking student assessments, reporting student plagiarism.

Community Contributions

2009-2010   Asral NGO, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 
                  Volunteer English Teacher.
2010           The Hive English Language Radio Show, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 
                  Co-hosting an English language radio show.
2009           Dolma Ling Nunnery, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 
                  Volunteer English Teacher.
2005-2009   The Nomadology Project 
                  Writer and photographer for an online travel journal.
2005           Farrago Newspaper, The University of Melbourne 
                  Writer and proofreader.
2004           Voiceworks/Straight Out of Brisbane Festival of Ideas 
Facilitator of a virtual think tank, co-editor of a publication summarizing the discussion.
1999-2001   The Lorax Environment Centre, Fremantle, Western Australia 
Raising environmental awareness, fundraising, running non-violence workshops, media liaison, political lobbying.
2000           Cycling for Sustainability Inc. 
Riding across Australia on a bicycle, fundraising, raising environmental awareness.
1998           Education Action Network, The University of Western Australia 
                  Raising awareness of education issues on campus.