URCAD 2013 Guest Speaker

Pilar Karen Rau

Pilar Karen Rau ’96, MA ’01

Ph.D.Candidate. Socio-cultural Anthropology. New York University (NYU)
2010 M.Phil. Socio-cultural Anthropology. NYU.
2005 M.A. Socio-cultural Anthropology. NYU.
2001 M.A. Intercultural Communication (socio-linguistics). Univeristy of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)
1996 B.A. Studio Art/Art History/Modern Languages and Linguistics. UMBC magna cum laude

Pilar K. Rau is a Ph.D. candidate in socio-cultural anthropology and a graduate of the Program in Culture and Media at New York University. She currently teaches anthropology at Hunter College and New York University. She is a Latin Americanist whose research interests include anthropology of art and aesthetics, economic anthropology, media production, and, most recently, Pentecostal Christianity. She earned a B.A. with a double major in Visual Arts (Painting and Art History and Theory) and Modern Languages and Linguistics and a M.A. in Intercultural Communication, both from UMBC.

Ms. Rau credits the rigorous interdisciplinary Liberal Arts education and mentorship she received at UMBC with preparing her academically to pursue her Ph.D. In addition, the experience she gained while conducting research with artisans in the Peruvian highlands as a member of the first cohort of Undergraduate Research Award recipients prepared her for the challenges of ethnographic fieldwork. This early research experience proved invaluable in formulating the research project which evolved into her doctoral dissertation.

Pilar Rau Peruvian Women

Her dissertation, Aesthetics and Sacrifice: Pentecostalism, Tourist Art and the Capitalist Promised Land, tells the story of a Peruvian peasant community’s attempts to throw itself into global capitalist modernity through tourist art production and conversion to Pentecostal Christianity. This project is based on 21 months of ethnographic research conducted in Peru from 2005 to 2009. This work was supported by the Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship, Wenner-Gren Foundation Individual Research Grant, Tinker Foundation Field Research Grant, Title VI Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship, and New York University’s Henry M. MacCracken Fellowship and Deans Fellowship.

Ms. Rau continues to develop her skills in arts and media production and enjoys collaborating with artists, anthropologists, curators, and filmmakers.