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Heather McIlvaine-Newsad

Professor of Anthropology, Western Illinois University

My research focuses on collaborative action for sustainability.

My goal is to understand biological and cultural diversity and the forces that threaten both. My research explores the conditions under which individuals come together as groups to protect what they value — whether it is a place, a language, a cultural tradition or a way of life. As an anthropologist, I operate in the public sphere, making the lessons of anthropology accessible and meaningful for all. Whether I am writing a commentary for my local Public Radio station, making teaching videos, or taking a group of students abroad, I try to live the words of Ruth Benedict who wrote that the purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for diversity.


  • –present
    Professor of Anthropology, Western Illinois University


  • 2000 
    University of Florida, PhD Anthropology