1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences


My earliest interest in anthropology was focussed on linguistics, but three years in Puerto Rico added a fascination with how anthropologists study the ways different people work out ways of being human, raising children, living in families, celebrating seasonal rituals. Graduate work in anthropology at Indiana and later at UCLA made it possible to keep all these interests active. Later, opportunities arose at Harvard, Berkeley and Penn, though not as a student, to learn to observe child-rearing practices, to work on a child language acquisition project, and to work on a project in comparative ethnography of speaking. When I returned to graduate school at Penn in the early seventies it was to prepare to work on the Sahaptin language at Warm Springs reservation in Oregon. That work continues into the present. Beginning in 1975, teaching in the Folklore Department at Penn, I began to work on oral narratives, and their analysis as a kind of poetry. This work has involved narratives in Sahaptin, other Native American languages and English. Most recently, at Virginia, I have taught about Native American women and developed my interest in gender issues that had began at Penn.


First Name: 
Virginia D.
Lecturer, Emerita
Computing ID: 

M.A. Indiana University 1954

Sub Discipline/s: 

Linguistic anthropology, North American Indian ethnography and linguistics, analysis of oral narrative, ethnography of speaking.