Dr. LaTosky is a cultural anthropologist interested in gender, pastoralism and indigenous cultural heritage in East Africa. As a qualitative methodologist, she uses ethnography, visual and material analysis and indigenous methodologies as modes of inquiry to pursue theoretically informed empirical studies in Ethiopia and beyond. She has conducted extensive ethnographic research in Southern Ethiopia since 2003, publishing on the interaction of gender, rhetoric, material cultural heritage and development on practices of relatedness and processes of social change in the Lower Omo Valley. Her most recent publication Rhetoric and Social Relations: dialectics of bonding and contestation
(Abbink and LaTosky, 2021) explores the constitutive role of rhetoric in socio cultural relations. She conducts most of her research with Mun (Mursi) agro pastoralists on themes that are of contemporary relevance to the communities with whom she works, from conservation and tourism, to indigenous education, food sovereignty and customary land use practices.
She is currently working on an ethnobotanical film project (together with Olisarali Olibui): Milking the marula ( choboy): How the Mun agro pastoralists relish the foods of the forest for the Guardians of Productive Landscapes (GPL) project and film series . She is also currently involved in an international project with SOAS (University of London) and the South Omo Theatre Company (SOT), which she cofounded in 2019. The outcome of this project is a play and film about the the first ever Mun (Mursi) indigenous theatre performance Tirainy ko Koisani (Playing the Mediator), performed July 31 st , 2022, at the National Theatre in Addis Ababa. Both applied projects animate new arenas of political mobilization and representation for the Mun in Ethiopia.
Her recent interest in visual anthropology focuses on how visual ethnography can not only be applied and participatory, but also rhetorical and interventional. Her future research will look at endangered indigenous heritage and UNESCO heritage sites in the Horn of Africa through multiple lenses. She is also planning a handbook of Mun edible plants and a language app for young Mun who are now being schooled in outsider languages.