Associate Professor, Graduate Chair
Office: Saunders 313
Telephone: 1 (808) 956-6575
Website - Twitter
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I became an anthropologist because I wanted to understand what happened to me in high school. At my large public school in Sacramento, racial politics was everywhere, the teachers went on strike, and the drop out rate was high. When I got to college, I discovered anthropology, which I love because it provides a broad perspective on conflict, politics, and inequality without losing focus on the concrete details of everyday life. My goal as a teacher is to make sure that my students get the education they deserve, so that they can find success and think critically as citizens. I think its particularly important that they appreciate their location here in Hawai‘i, and to learn about other places in the Pacific such as Papua New Guinea, which is my area of expertise.
- PhD, Anthropology, University of Chicago, 2006
- MA, Anthropology, University of Chicago, 1997
- BA, Anthropology, Reed College, 1996
- ANTH 152: Culture and Humanity
- ANTH 350: Pacific Island Cultures
- ANTH 417: Political Anthropology
- ANTH 449: Anthropology of Melanesia
- ANTH 490: History of Anthropology
- ANTH 601: Ethnology
- ANTH 611: Contemporary Anthropological Theory
I am a political anthropologist, which means I study conflict and competition. My area of expertise is Papua New Guinea, where I study the relationship between the Porgera gold mine and the customary landowners on whose land the mine operates. I am also interested in the history of Papua New Guinea, and have studied the video game World of Warcraft and how people manage conflict when they play together online. Finally, I am interested in 'meta' questions like how we can bring anthropology to a broader audience, understanding its history, and tracking its institutions and demographics today.
My community engagement spans local, national, and international arenas. Here on the island, I visit high schools and talk about Pacific culture. I'm also working on the history of Jews in Hawai‘I (I'm Jewish). I also do 'public anthropology', and write anthropology for a general audience on non-academic websites. Finally, I serve on several international scholarly organizations, including ASAO (the Pacific Anthropology association). My goal in the future is to get more involved in bringing the history and anthropology of Papua New Guinea out of Western libraries and back to Papua New Guineans themselves.
As an anthropologist in the US who studies Papua New Guinea, you naturally work with a lot of people in Papua New Guinea as well as Australia, the country from which Papua New Guinea became independent. I'm especially proud of an edited collection of essays on the lawyer and philosopher Bernard Narokobi, the Thomas Jefferson of Papua New Guinea, because we were able to include essays by Papua New Guinean scholars in it, including one of his sons.