301 Alumni Building
Area of Interest:Gender, ethnicity and class; coalition building and dispute resolution; organizational anthropology; political economy and economic anthropology; environmental activism and community organizing; negotiation and conflict management; applied anthropology; United States
Ph.D. Northwestern, 2000
Research & Activities:
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Ethnographic Field Methods
Contemporary American Culture
Anthropology of Terrorism
Principles of Management
Business and Industrial Anthropology
My research background is multi-disciplinary, and includes such diverse areas as cross-cultural political economic perspectives on organizational change and dispute resolution, labor and industrial relations, community coalition building, gender and work/family issues, and ethnohistorical approaches to the study of unions, labor organization and extractive industry in the United States. While I draw upon many different social and economic theories and frameworks in my research, I have been continuing to develop ethnographic and anthropological techniques for the study of work relations and culture change. While traditional laboratory methods utilized by industrial psychologists and scholars of organization behavior often focus on one-time resource distributions, my ongoing research illustrates the many ways in which other parties intervene and complicate social situations of conflict during the evolution of a given labor dispute cycle. Much of my recent work focuses on the interaction of cultural variables in dispute resolution dynamics, thus recognizing the individual histories of conflicts and the institutionalized processes that ultimately shape the outcomes of resource negotiations.
My previous work demonstrated that women were indeed an integral part of the collective bargaining process in highly gendered extractive industries. Tangible outcomes of various labor disputes clearly depended on community involvement and women’s activities, and I rely on these findings as the foundation of my new research project in southern West Virginia, completed in 2003. Given the substantial sociological and historical literature that calls into question the dichotomy between women's ("domestic") and men's ("public") spheres of activity, women's roles in coal communities cannot be conflated into a universal set of tasks performed by all women at all times as a means to the same ends. By the same token, racial and ethnic divisions serve to further splinter the interests of members of coal communities. I have gleaned new forms of information from life history interviews and participant observation by conducting an ethnographic study among black women in southern West Virginia to evaluate their multifarious interests and differing strategies for participating in labor conflicts associated with the coal industry. In this project, I collected and analyzed narratives from black women who have been affected by these conflicts and have specific strategies of coping with these disputes. The results of my research contribute to a greater understanding of community dynamics at the nexus of race, gender and class during industrial conflicts in Appalachia today. Ethnographic information collected from both this project and previous work will be compiled in a book entitled Engendering Alliances, which will be completed in late 2003 and is tentatively contracted for publication by Ohio University Press.
2003; "We're to Stand Side by Side: Household Production and Women's Work in Rural Mining Communities." Labor (Volume 20 of the Society for Economic Anthropology Monograph Series).
2001; "Narrating Conflict: Women and Industrial Disputes in Southern West Virginia." Journal of Appalachian Studies 7 (1): 6-18, Spring 2001.
1999; "Broadening the Evaluation of Dispute Resolution: Context and Relationships Over Time" (with M. Sacks and T. Profitt). Negotiation Journal 15 (4): 339-345, October 1999.
1999; We Walk the Line: Women and Industrial Conflict in Southern West Virginia (with E. Egensteiner). © Ground Floor Productions.
1998; "Women and Industrial Conflict: Strategies of Dispute Resolution in Southern West Virginia Coal Communities." Working Paper No. 183 (May), Dispute Resolution Research Center, J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University.
Affiliated and Emeritus Faculty