- News & Events
- Alumni & Friends
Ph.D. University of Chicago 1979
Nau Hall, 197434-982-2166
I am a cultural anthropologist who studies modern western societies. My initial fieldwork was in Quebec (1976-1984) where I studied the Québécois nationalist movement. This has led to an enduring interest in nationalism, ethnicity, and the politics of culture. Upon coming to Virginia in 1986, I pursued the latter topic by looking at history museums. Beginning in 1990, I worked with Eric Gable (Ph.D. Virginia 1990) and Anna Lawson (Ph.D. Virginia 1995) on an ethnographic study of Colonial Williamsburg, which is both an outdoor museum and a mid-sized nonprofit corporation. In addition to examining the invention of history and tradition, our study focuses on corporate culture, class, race and gender.
A different interest is the intersection of anthropology and literature. I have written on Jane Austen's novels, on the literary bent of such noted anthropologists as Ruth Benedict and Edward Sapir, and on the difficulties of writing the ethnography of nationalist movements. Finally, I have had an ongoing interest in the history of American anthropology - in particular, in anthropologists as critics of modernity, and the relationship of our discipline's critical discourse to other intellectual trends. I am currently writing a series of essays on the great mid-century sociologist and social critic, Erving Goffman.
I am currently directing an interdisciplinary undergraduate program in Global Development Studies, for which I teach several courses. I am also teaching graduate anthropology courses in the history of theory and in nationalism.
Sociocultural anthropology; nationalism, ethnicity and multi-culturalism; museum studies; cultural criticism; symbolic anthropology; history of anthropology; anthropology and literature; culture theory; modern societies; contemporary North America.