Professor of Cultural Anthropology

Institutional Affiliation

Colorado State University
Cultural Anthropology


Ph.D., M.A., University of California San Diego
B.S., Vanderbilt University

Regional and Thematic Interests

South Asia


I am a critical psychiatric anthropologist, who investigates the social foundations of mental well-being and the bio-psycho-cultural therapeutics of ritual and play. I am especially interested to understand how human health and healing processes function in natural and (technologically) built environments experiencing dramatic change and high risk and uncertainty. My research suggests that local therapies and sources of health resilience are especially important in such contexts and as such should be incorporated more fully into the global mental health agenda.

I direct the Ethnographic Research and Teaching Lab (ERTL), which gets students involved in my ongoing collaborative research. In my lab, I merge research and teaching in ways that aim to move the field of cultural anthropology beyond the “lone ethnographer” approach (see my recent Nov. 2016 contribution to the Annals of Anthropological Practice).

Some of my recent research has focused on spiritual systems of health and healing in India, for example, investigating how Hindu tribal celebrations provide sources of health resilience for central Indian conservation refugees (see my forthcoming April 2017 article in Current Anthropology). Combining stress biomarkers, epidemiological surveys, and more conventional ethnography, this research was funded by the National Science Foundation: 2011-14. “Environmental Displacement and Human Resilience: New Explanations Using Data from Central India” (NSF Grant #: BCS-1062787).

Full texts of my publications can be found on these two sites (often in pre-publication form; visit journal sites for post-publication versions):