Anthropology attracted me through its respect for other cultures; archaeology lured me in through the challenges of fieldwork and its interdisciplinarity. My interest in Southeast Asia began in childhood because of Asian family friends, and my interests moved eastward in college with exposure to students and faculty who worked in the Philippines. Teaching is part of my family heritage: I come from two generations of teacher role models. Summers spent on my grandparents' farm nurtured my love of learning (they were both teachers). I also grew to love working outside on the farm, so archaeological fieldwork was a natural fit. Earning my PhD has allowed me, as an anthropological archaeologist, to practice my craft as a college educator: in the classroom and in the field.
- PhD, Anthropology, University of Arizona, 1993
- MA, Anthropology, University of Arizona, 1987
- BA, Anthropology, University of Michigan, 1984
- ANTH 151: Emerging Humanity
- ANTH 325: Origins of Cities
My archaeological research focuses on local histories (particularly Cambodia's deep history) and on the materiality of social life. Archaeology provides a research strategy for asking big historical questions, like: why did cities emerge where they did? what role does religion play in state formation? and what are points of fragility and resilience in long-term histories? I use archaeological field methods and analytical techniques to answer parts of these questions; collaboration with specialists is intrinsic to my archaeological research; and I am a lifelong student of the past. My research program, now based in Cambodia, concentrates on political economy and landscape ecology to answer parts of these broader questions.
Community engagement takes different forms in anthropological archaeology. Here in Hawai'i, I am part of the team that has developed and run our Anthropology program's Applied Archaeology program. I also lecture for a range of non-specialist audiences, from elementary school kids to Rotary Clubs and the Girl Scouts. My community archaeology in Cambodia includes developing exhibits for the Angkor Borei Museum (Takeo Province), and collaborating with Cambodian colleagues on various preservation projects.
Southeast Asian archaeological research can only be done in close collaboration with in-country colleagues, and I work closely with Cambodia's Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and other organizations. Through such international linkages, my projects have supported student training and professional development for Cambodian archaeologists in a variety of settings. I also work with archaeologists at other Southeast Asia-based universities to run academic events, advise graduate students, and place graduates in academic jobs.