Nathanael M. Vlachos

Anthropology. Ethics. Theater.

PhD, Cultural Anthropology, Rice University. (Houston, Texas). 


Download CV here

Nathanael M. Vlachos, MA, PhD

Research Associate

Rice University

Department of Anthropology, MS-20

PO Box 1892

Houston, TX 77251


Ph.D. Rice University

Department of Anthropology, 2017

Dissertation: Ethics of Freedom, Pragmatics of Constraint: Theatre in a Post-Mandela South Africa.

M.A.  Rice University

Department of Anthropology, 2013

M.A.  Texas Tech University

Certificate in Ethics, Texas Tech University

Department of Philosophy, 2009

B.A. Cum Laude, Seattle Pacific University

Departments of Philosophy and Political Science, 2005


  • Anthropology of Ethics
  • Anthropology of South Africa
  • Anthropology of Art
  • Ethnographic research methods
  • Ethnographic writing


2016.   “Finding Social Change Backstage and Behind the Scenes in South African Theatre” in Dissent, Protest and Disputes in Africa eds. Toyin Falola and Emmanuel M. Mbah. London: Routledge (2016).

2014.   Book review: “Witchcraft and a Life in the New South Africa,” by Isak Niehaus. Witchcraft, Magic and Ritual 10(2), 262-265.

2014.   “Brett Bailey’s Traveling Human Zoo: Aesthetics, Whiteness, and Border Crossings” in Unsettling Whiteness, eds. Lucy Michael and Samantha Schultz, 59-67. Oxfordshire: Inter-Disciplinary Press.


2016 In the Ring: Epistemic Agon and Institutional Constraint in a South African University. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting. (Panel Chair)

2015     Go Out and Sell Your Project: Mapping the Political Economy of South African Theatre. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting.

2014     From Post-Apartheid to Post-Mandela: Toward a Theorization of Contemporary South Africa. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting.

2014     Ethics of Freedom, Pragmatics of Constraint: Provisional Thoughts from Fieldwork in South African Theatre. Wits Anthropology Seminar Series, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

2013     Brett Bailey’s Traveling Human Zoo: Aesthetics, Whiteness, and Border Crossings. Images of Whiteness Conference, Harris Manchester College, Oxford University.  

2013     Staging the Good: Ethics and Community Theater in Post-Apartheid South Africa.Social Movements, Political Expression and Religion in Africa Conference, University of Texas at Austin.

2013     Exhibit A and Exhibit B: Aesthetics and Whiteness in Grahamstown and Berlin. NewDirections in Anthropology Graduate Conference, Rice University.

2012     War at a Distance: the Aesthetics of Transnational Protest. New Directions in Anthropology Graduate Conference, University of Texas at Austin.

2012     Flightlines and Sightlines: Massumi, Virilio, and Transnational Drone Art. Transnational Asia Graduate Conference, Rice Univesity.

2012     Partially Examined Semi-Life: the Aesthetics and Ethics of Bio Art Expertise. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting.

2011     The Ethics of Bio Art. New Directions in Anthropology Graduate Conference, University of Texas at Austin.


2017, Fall.            Instructor, Cultural Directions in Global Affairs (Graduate Seminar), Rice                        University.  

2017, Spring.    Instructor, Ethnographic Research. Department of Anthropology, Rice                            University.

2016, Spring.     Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and                                                      Anthropology, Wheaton College.

  • ANTH 116—Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 440—Writing in History and the Social Sciences
  • ANTH 450—Race, Ethics, and Religion in South Africa
  • ANTH 482—Ethnographic Theory and Method

2015, Spring.      Graduate Instructor, FWIS 157: Race and Society in Post-Apartheid                                      South  Africa (First-year writing-intensive seminar). Program in                                          Writing and Communication, Rice University.

2013-2014.            Visiting Researcher, Department of Anthropology, University of the                                  Witwatersrand.

2012-2014.            Mellon Seminar Fellow, Frames of the Beautiful, the Criminal, and the                              Mad: The Art and Science of Excess, Rice University.

2011, Fall.             Teacher’s Assistant, Introduction to Anthropology, Department of                                      Anthropology, Rice University.

2010, Spring.     Adjunct Instructor, Introduction to Ethics, Lone Star College (Houston,                                    Texas)

2009, Fall.          Adjunct Instructor, Introduction to Philosophy, Lone Star College

2009, Spring.    Graduate Part Time Instructor, Introduction to Ethics, Department of                              Philosophy, Texas Tech University.  

2008, Fall.            Teacher’s Assistant, Logic. Department of Philosophy, Texas Tech                                        University


2017, Spring.     Qualitative Researcher, Randi Korn and Associates

2015-Present.  Digital Content Editor, Cultural Anthropology.

2015-2017.          Qualitative Research Assistant, Deutser.

2015, Fall.          Online Content Analyst, America Through Foreign Eyes (massive open                             online course), Rice University.

2015, Spring.  Focus Group Facilitator, Program in Writing and Communication, Rice                             University.


2015-2017       Graduate Student Council (Grants Committee), Rice University

2011-2012        Brown Bag Symposium Committee, Department of Anthropology, Rice                             University.

2008-2009      President, Philosophy Graduate Student Association, Texas Tech                                          University

2007-2008      Vice-President, Philosophy Graduate Student Association, Texas Tech                                University



2017-current.     Writer and editor for Showing Up for Racial Justice, Houston, TX (SURJ                           HTX). Collaborated with SURJ HTX members to write and edit value                                 statements onpolicing and accountability to People of Color.


2016-current.     Volunteer Data Analyst, The T.R.U.T.H. Project, Houston TX. Volunteer                               qualitative data analysis for an organization focused on empowering                               LGBTQ communities of color and their allies through art.

2011-2013.     Volunteer and Ethnographic Researcher, Voices Breaking Boundaries,                                       Houston, TX. Ethnographic research and volunteerism for an organization                   focused on promoting black and South Asian solidarity through art.


2017, Spring.     Nominee for Gardner Award: Best Dissertation in the Social Sciences,                                       Rice University.

2013, Spring.     Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, Social Science Research                                    Institute, Rice University. 

2011, Spring.     Honorable Mention, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

2008-2009.         Jerry V. Fox, Jr. Memorial Fellowship, Texas Tech University 

2007-2009.         AT&T Chancellor’s Fellowship, Texas Tech University