Faculty

Karen Brison

Karen Brison

Karen Brison, Professor (B.A., McGill, and Ph.D., University of California, San Diego)(on TAB for FA 2013, and on leave WI & SPR 2014), specializes in anthropology of childhood, religion and the study of language and culture. She lived and did research in Papua New Guinea for two years and published a book on oratory and village politics. She has also published a book about personal and cultural identity and a second book about social class in kindergartens in Fiji, where she started working in 1997. She is currently studying the participation of Fijians and Papua New Guineans in global Pentecostal networks.

Read More

Paul Christensen

Paul Christensen

Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology (B.A. University of Washington, and Ph.D., University of Hawai’i at Manoa) specializes in the anthropology of Japan. His research interests include the use of psychoactive substances, addiction recovery, masculinity, and food. He conducted fieldwork in Tokyo with two sobriety groups looking at how Japanese men renegotiate their sense of masculinity without alcohol. Paul is currently working on a book on alcoholism and recovery in Japan.

Read More

Linda E. Cool

Linda E. Cool

Professor and Department Chair (B.A., Bryn Mawr, and Ph.D., Duke University), has conducted long-term research on the island of Corsica and in Paris, France on the development of regional/ethnic political movements, the changing roles of older people, and the relationship of land tenure, inheritance, and family structure from the eighteenth century to the present. In addition, she has focused on Portuguese immigration to California, especially the integration of immigrants from the Azores into both the Portuguese “colony” in California and the larger American society. Most recently, she has...

Read More

George Gmelch

George Gmelch

George Gmelch (B.A., Stanford and Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara) is a cultural anthropologist. He did his early research in Ireland among a nomadic group known as Tinkers or Travellers. Since then he has done research on migration in Ireland, Newfoundland and Barbados, studied the ecology of salmon fisherman in Alaska, Gypsies in England, professional baseball players in the United States, and tourism workers in Barbados and the Napa Valley. He is the author and editor of ten books and seventy articles dealing with these subjects.

Read More

Sharon Bohn Gmelch

Sharon Bohn Gmelch

(B.A., Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara) is a cultural anthropologist who specializes in ethnic identity, visual anthropology, and tourism. She has conducted research with Irish Travellers, Barbadian villagers, Tlingit Indians in Alaska, and tourist guides in several countries. She is the author and editor of six books and the co-producer of an ethnographic film on the Tlingit.
Email: gmelchs@union.edu

Read More

Alvaro Jarrin

Alvaro Jarrin

Alvaro Jarrin, Visiting Assistant Professor (B.A. Williams College, and Ph.D., Duke University), specializes in the development of new biotechnologies and their relationship to the anthropological study of medicine, the body and inequality in Latin America.  He has carried out research in Brazil on the expansion of plastic surgery amongst low-income patients, focusing on how the national investment in beauty establishes personal appearance as a precondition for citizenship and inclusion in the nation.  Professor Jarrin is currently working on a project on the growing political role of...

Read More

Stephen C. Leavitt

Stephen C. Leavitt

Stephen Leavitt, on leave, (B.A., Swarthmore and Ph.D., University of California at San Diego) is a psychological anthropologist who has written on religious movements, family relations, sexuality, adolescence, and responses to bereavement. He and his wife Karen Brison supervise a term abroad in Fiji, where students learn the fundamentals of anthropological field work while living independently with families in different villages. Leavitt’s research in Fiji involves self definition in the age of postcolonial development.

Prof. Leavitt did his doctoral field research in 1984-1986 among the Bumbita Arapesh people of the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. His primary research looked at how a contemporary religious revival movement was informed both by local colonial history and by continued emotional conflicts in family relationships.
Steve Leavitt is on extended leave from the department while serving as Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. He may be reached at 518-388-6116 or by email.

Read More

Joanne Randa Nucho

Joanne Randa Nucho

Joanne Randa Nucho, Visiting Professor (B.F.A. New York University, M.A. and Ph.D. University of California), has a background in Middle East Studies, focusing primarily on Lebanon. Her dissertation and accompanying ethnographic film examine the ways in which residents of Lebanon gain access to basic services by negotiating webs of private, public, and informal networks. In her dissertation, she examines how people gain access, or are denied access, to goods, services, and infrastructures. She argues that understanding these networks is crucial in order to gain further insight into the...

Read More

Robert N. Samet

Robert N. Samet

Robert N. Samet, Assistant Professor (B.A. Duke University, M.A. Columbia University, Ph.D. Stanford University), specializes in media, urban violence, and the politics of security in Latin America. A legal and political anthropologist, he has been conducting fieldwork in Venezuela since 2006. His first research project was alongside crime journalists in Caracas. It is the subject of a book manuscript in progress Who’s Afraid of Caracas?: Sovereignty and Spectacles of Security in Venezuela. Currently, he is beginning a pair of new research projects. The first is on security as it relates to...

Read More

Jeffrey Witsoe

Jeffrey Witsoe

Jeffrey Witsoe (B.A. University of California, Santa Cruz, M.A. University of Chicago, and Ph.D. University of Cambridge) has done research focusing on a critical rethinking of democracy and the postcolonial state through an examination of lower-caste politics in Bihar, a populous state in north India where he has been engaged in ethnographic research since 2000.  He is the author of a forthcoming book, Democracy Against Development (University of Chicago Press) and several articles and book chapters on lower-caste politics in India.  His current research explores the political economy of...

Read More