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Anthropologue, University of Oklahoma

Lucas Bessire is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. His main research and teaching interests focus on political anthropology, media and film, law and policy, environmental change and ethnographic writing.

An avid traveler, Bessire has conducted ethnographic fieldwork across the Americas. Between 2001 and 2016, he spent 52 months living among Ayoreo-speaking peoples of the Gran Chaco region of Bolivia and Paraguay. Additional field research has taken him from lowland South America to the high plains of western Kansas and Arctic Alaska.

In recent years, Bessire authored Behold the Black Caiman: a Chronicle of Ayoreo Life (University of Chicago Press), an ethnographic study of crisis and change among recently-contacted Ayoreo peoples. He is co-editor of Radio Fields: Anthropology and Wireless Sound in the 21st Century (New York University Press), and the director of the documentary films Asking Ayahai: an Ayoreo Story, From Honey to Ashes, and Farewell to Savage. He is co-founder of the Totobiegosode Weaver’s Alliance and creator of the Ayoreo Video Project.


  • –present
    Anthropologue, University of Oklahoma