(PhD, SUNY-Albany, 1983; Professor, SAS)
Body/embodiment, politics and aesthetics, phenomenologies of capitalism, consumer culture, cultural politics, critical ethnography and ethnographic writing, cultural representation, gender/race/difference and global inequalities; culture and desire; history and theory of anthropology; US firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of Anthropology
131 George Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1414
My research has ranged from early applied work on indigenous identity and tribal recognition among Native Americans to the recent retheorizing of concepts and models that play a central role in anthropology, whether of space/time, the aesthetic, or the unconscious. My main focus is on the body and embodiment, primarily in the context of consumer capitalism. I approach the body as a locus of power and embodiment as a site of culturally ascribed and disputed meanings, feelings, and experiences of being-in-the-world. In all of my work, my abiding interest has been in the institutions, representations, practices, and structures of knowledge that create and maintain cultural, gender, and racial inequality and oppression, whether in the context of cultural encounters such as colonialism, tourism, and ethnographic research or of consumption at the mall, museum, movie theater, academy, and tourist site. Exploring the relationship of aesthetics to politics, I have been equally concerned with the role imagination and desire play in constituting oppositional subjectivities.
CURRENT PROJECT: Phenomenologies of Capitalism: (or, How Capitalism Feels)
I am working on a long-term project focused on phenomenologies of capitalism, or, put more simply, “how capitalism feels.” It brings my interests in the intersection of politics and aesthetics together with my research on embodiment and consumer culture to explore late capitalism as a particular form of sensuous, embodied material culture.
I am a feminist anthropologist committed to an engaged anthropology that exposes the complex relationship of political ideologies and practices to cultural expressions to better understand how to confront oppression and envision alternatives. I have been particularly concerned with the politics of knowledge and specifically with a reflexive anthropology that explores the politics and ethics of the ethnographic encounter itself.
Most recently, I have put my commitment to engaged anthropology into practice as an International Scholar with the Open Society Foundation (OSF), a non-profit foundation that promotes democratization in post-socialist countries by supporting educational, legal, and economic reform as well as public health and human and women's rights. As part of OSF's Academic Fellowship Program, I have been an International Scholar in Cultural Studies in Bulgaria at Sophia University, in Anthropology in Kosovo at the University of Prishtina, and in Gender Studies at Tbilisi State University, Republic of Georgia. In these capacities I have focused on educational transformation with younger scholars and presented my research to faculty from all over Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
RESEARCH AND TEACHING INTERESTS
Over the last three decades, I have conducted research, published, and/or offered courses in the following areas:
The Body and Embodiment: gendered, racialized, and eroticized/exoticized bodies; historic and contemporary body practices; embodiment; the senses and aesthetics; materiality and semiotics of the body
Consumer Capitalism: historic and contemporary consumer capitalism; commodities and materiality; commodified bodies, aesthetic consumption; tourism; cultural studies; critical theory, phenomenologies of capitalism
Gender, Race, and Difference: feminist anthropology; historical and contemporary politics of gender, racial, and ethnic difference; difference and globalization; bodies and difference; race and the aestheticization of bodies and politics
Psychology and Culture: intersubjectivity; desire and imagination; subjectivity, language and embodiment; objects and desire; the unconscious; cultural narratives and identity
Cultural Encounters and Conflict: politics and ethics of historical and contemporary cultural encounters, including conquest, colonialism/postcolonialism, tourism, and globalization; tensions and inequalities they create, cultural and political responses they elicit; gender and cultural encounter; cultural encounters and body politics
Cultural Politics and Cultural Representation: ethnographic and popular film; theorizing, reading, and writing ethnography; politics and poetics of ethnographic representation; colonialism and representation; anthropology and literature; cultural politics; political representation and the aesthetic state
History and Theory of Anthropology/Production of Knowledge/History of Ideas: anthropological, critical, postcolonial, feminist, psychoanalytic, and post-structural theory; history of anthropology; anthropological discourse and contemporary cultural trends
United States: Most of my fieldwork is multisided and takes place in the United States, especially at sites of consumption. In addition to work on consumer populations, I have conducted research with Native Americans, student protestors, men and women with body modifications, young women with writing difficulties and eating disorders, craftspeople and artists, and a range of cultural producers, among others. I have also conducted fieldwork in the British West Indies and Mexico.
A Companion to the Anthropology of the Body and Embodiment (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) offers original essays that provide new insights on body politics and experiences of the body. Original chapters by many of the leading experts on the body and embodiment in anthropology today cover historical and contemporary approaches and highlight new research frameworks.
Paul Stoller (West Chester University of Pennsylvania) says this of the book: “Frances Mascia-Lees has compiled a breathtakingly comprehensive volume on the anthropology of the body. The chapters are creative, sometimes daring, and always insightful. The collection takes our comprehension of the body in social and cultural life to a new level. The volume will be read and debated for many years to come.”
Gender and Difference in a Globalizing World: 21st Century Anthropology (Waveland Press, 2010) focuses on the history of the study of gender and difference in anthropology; the impact of contemporary global processes on the construction and experience of difference; and the gendered, raced, and classed nature of contemporary global processes.
View it at http://www.waveland.com/browse.php?t=159&r=b|t
Taking a Stand in a Postfeminist World: Toward an Engaged Cultural Criticism was published by SUNY Press in 2000. Paul Stoller, author of Jaguar: A Story of Africans in America, writes of Taking a Stand: "Mascia-Lees and Sharpe are keen observers of contemporary culture, scholars who cull evidence carefully to reach their conclusions. What's more, they combine careful scholarship with representational inventiveness. They take creative risks with voice, structure, and subject. I'm sure their various takes on the post-feminist world will please many, anger others, and stimulate all." Read excerpts of this book here.
Gender and Anthropology was published by Waveland Press in 2016 in its 2nd edition. Of the book, Naomi Quinn of Duke University writes, "Gender and Anthropology is excellent. It is a major accomplishment of synthesis and distillation." - Read excerpts of this book here.
Tattoo, Torture, Mutilation, and Adornment: The Denaturalization of the Body in Culture and Text was published by SUNY Press in 1992. Howard Eilberg-Schwartz of Stanford University writes of Tattoo, Torture, Mutilation, and Adornment: "This exciting book engages the most current debates about the representation of the human body, especially the female body in various media such as film, literature, and popular magazines. Thoroughly conversant with the latest in feminist criticism, gender theory, and the predicaments of postmodern culture, the authors explore various narratives and images through which the gendered body is currently represented." Read excerpts of this book here.
Toward a Model of Women's Status. American University Studies, Series Xi, Anthropology/Sociology, Vol. 1. Peter Lang Publishers, 1984.
AWARDS, HONORS, AND FELLOWSHIPS
- 2011-2012 International Scholar, Tbilisi State University, Georgia, Open Society Foundation
- 2009-2010 International Scholar, Prishtina University, Kosovo, Open Society Foundation
- 2007-2008 International Scholar, University of Sofia, Bulgaria, Open Society Foundation
- 2006-2007 Fellow, Center for Historical Analysis, Rutgers, New Brunswick
- 2005 American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) President’s Award
- 2004 Featured in Biographical Dictionary of Social and Cultural Anthropology,
- 1999-2001 Faculty Mentor, Kellogg Leadership Institute
- 1998 AAA/Mayfield Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Anthropology
- 1996-1998 Speaker in the Humanities Program, NY Council for the Humanities
- 1992-1999 Associate Fellow, Institute for Research on Women, SUNY Albany
- 1991-1992 Visiting Scholar, Five College Women’s Studies Research Center
- 1991 NEH Summer Seminar Fellowship
- 1983-1999 60+ Faculty Development Grants, Bard College at Simon's Rock Campus
- 1982 Honors Convocation Award for Academic Excellence, SUNY Albany
- 1982 Research Foundation Grant, SUNY Albany
- 1981 Benevolent Association Fellowship, SUNY Albany
- 1979 Mashpee Tribal Council Research Grant
- 1978-1982 Herbert H. Lehman Graduate Fellowship
- 2004-present Professor, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University
- 2013-2014 Dean of International Studies, SAS, Rutgers University
- 2011-2014 Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences, SAS, Rutgers University
- 2004 - 2010 Chair, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University
- 2004 - Graduate Faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University
- 2001 - 2006 Editor-in-Chief, American Anthropologist
- 2000 - 2004 Guest Professor, Department of Anthropology, Sarah Lawrence College
- 1999 - 2000 Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology, Hunter College
- 1998 - 1999 Professor, Social Studies Division, Bard College-SRC
- 1991 - 1992 Chair, Social Studies Division, Bard College-SRC
- 1986 - 1996 Founder and Co-Director, Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Bard College-SRC
- 1990 - 1997 Associate Professor, Social Studies Division, Bard College-SRC
- 1983 - 1989 Assistant Professor, Social Studies Division, Bard College-SRC
- 1983 Visiting Instructor, Department of Anthropology, SUNY, College at Oneonta
- 1982-1983 Asst. to the Vice President, Office of Research and Educational Development, SUNY Albany
- 1982 Visiting Instructor, Department of Anthropology, SUNY Albany
- 1977 - 1978 Recorder, Office of Records and Registration, SUNY, College at New Paltz
Consultantships in Media Programming
Advisor to Earth and Sky Radio Series for new "Human World Project,"
City Arts, 1999
ABC News, 1992
Mentor AAA Leadership Mentoring Program, 2013-2014
New Chair Mentor, Rutgers University, 2005-2006
Faculty Mentor, Kellogg Leadership Institute, 1999-2001
Anthropology of the Body and Embodiment
Anthropology of Gender
Culture and Desire
Gender, Culture, and Political Engagement
History of Anthropological Theory
Phenomenologies of Capitalism
Theorizing and Writing Ethnography
Introduction to Anthropology
Introduction to Archaeology and World Prehistory
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Introduction to Cultural Ecology
Introduction to Cultural Studies
Introduction to Human Evolution
Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
Undergraduate Anthropology Seminars
Anthropology Goes to the Movies: Ethnographic, Documentary, and Popular Film
Anthropology of the Body
Anthropology of Gender
Colonialism and Cultural Representation
Consuming Culture: Commodities and Consumption in a Transnational World
Cultural Encounters: Travel, Tourism, and Anthropology
Cultural Politics of Nazism
Cultural Stories: Narrative and Identity in the U.S.
Ethnography of Women
Exotic and Erotic in the 19th- and 20th-Century Western Imagination
Gender and Modernity
Interpreting Text/Interpreting Culture: Anthropology and Literature
Reading Ethnographic Writing
Constructing Self/Constructing the Other: The Politics and Poetics of Hollywood Film (honors seminar)
Writing Cultural Encounters (honors seminar)
Contemporary Black Critical Thought
History of the Social Sciences
Research Methods in the Social Sciences
Women's and Gender Studies Courses
General Education Seminars
Utopian Thought and Communities
Voices Against the Chorus (Great Books of Modernity)