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College of Arts & Sciences

College of Arts & Sciences
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Title: Instructor

Phone: 2742


Office: Peck 0231

Degree: PhD

Teaching interests

I feel that Anthropology can help students to obtain a deeper understanding of the cultural diversity that exists both in the larger world and in our own society. As our culture and the world shifts to being more mobile and more diverse, this understanding of others and their behavior, values, and worldviews is becoming increasingly important. My role in the classroom is to help students move beyond their circle of familiarity in order to appreciate diversity and to be aware of the basis for it. I feel that this point of view can be useful to any subject that the student decides to pursue.

Basically, I ask students to challenge 'the way things are' in order to clarify their understanding of social behaviors and practices. While this may come from a theoretical stance, how theory is applied and how data is interpreted should be creative, insightful, and make connections with other aspects of student's own lives and experiences. Moreover, I think it is important to contrast their understanding with the diversity of cultural experiences that are available. This allows students to gain a perspective that leads to a deeper understanding of 'what is happening' rather than as a rationale of current practice (as in: 'this is just the way it is'). That is the path toward achieving a holistic understanding of human behavior and interaction.

Courses Taught

ANTH 111: Introduction to Anthropology

ANTH 111b: Human Culture and Communication

ANTH 307: People and Cultures of Latin America

ANTH 350: Anthropology in Contemporary Life (Now Applied Anthropology)

ANTH 411: Urban Anthropology

IS 324: Peoples and Cultures of Asia

IS 336: Global Problems and Human Survival

IS 343: Contemporary Health Care Issues

IS 401: Business and Society

At other Universities:

St. Louis University:

Environmental Anthropology

Peace and Conflict

Cultural Anthropology

Peoples of Oceania

Pierre Laclede Honors College - UMSL

Changing Ideas of Place: Pleace, Space and Home

Violence: A Cross-cultural perspective

World Cultures

Research Activities and Interests

I am a cultural anthropologist focusing on human interaction with the environment. I have a broad understanding of what might be included in that category, as I consider the environment to include the natural and social world. I am also interested in the creation of value. I find that the process of value creation fits quite well with, and furthers my analysis of, the data on how people interact with their surroundings.

Until recently, my research has been centered on gaining insight on how people think about and interact with sacred land, especially in indigenous groups living in colonial contexts (Navajo/Hopi and Maori). I have also done research with hunters in Montana to discern how their hunting practices may or may not reflect their ethics toward animals and their environment, particularly any notion of sacredness.

Most recently, I am doing research with a disaster preparedness groups. I want to know how people that are preparing for a future disaster (natural/social/economic, etc) think about and perceive how their environment might be changing. I also want to know how they create value in order to get

other people to think and act in the same way.

Now that I have been in the field for the past year with a group called Zombie Squad, other questions have come from the data: is Zombie Squad's zombie apocalypse myth different than other millennial myths? How does their sense of government and their place in a disaster context affect their ideas of govern mentality and power and how might that differ from stereotypical survivalists ideas? and just lately - how might the theory of positive deviance inform Bourdieu's sense of capital in regards to value creation?

While these are my current research projects, I am interested in a great deal more: including representations of colonialism, prison culture (for both inmate and staff), landscape, legitimization, identity and memory, sovereignty and the state...and the list goes on.

Professional Memberships

American Anthropological Association

Anthropology and the Environment Section

Central States Anthropological Society

General Anthropology Section of AAA

Society for Cultural Anthropology

Student Activities

I am very interested in doing community research and involving students in my own research. I think it is an important step in a student's development to be a part of ongoing research. They are able to learn research techniques in the field and contribute to the data collection and analysis, as well as the documentation of that data. I am also a strong believer in doing research through community service, bringing together our expertise with our ability to serve our communities.

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