Professor of Anthropology & Public Health, Alfred University

Bob's love of teaching has resulted in three Excellence in Teaching Awards (1997, 2002, 2005) and an Honorable Mention citation (1999). The central goal of his varied courses is to place American culture in a broader context, often within the Global Studies major and minor, the former Comparative Cultures major, and the Cultural Anthropology minor.

Among his courses are Cultural Anthropology, Intro to Global Studies, Language & Culture, Violence & Culture, Health & Culture, Human Origins, and too infrequently, Dogs, Cats, Horses, and Us: Companion Species and Human Culture. His favorite course is on the exotic culture of the Nacirema, in other words on America itself. He has taught honors seminars on topics such as Alternative Healing, Africa & Africans, and in 2005, "Nip, Tuck, Perm, Pierce, and Tattoo: Adventures in Embodied Culture," which received national attention. During the new Allen Term, he has taught "Online Online: Weblife and Its Effects" exploring the consequences of our extensive time spent online. Alumni/ae, students, faculty, and friends participate in the public Facebook groups he created: "Global Studies & Comparative Cultures at Alfred University," "Naciremaland," "Sound Sense Symbol," "Violence & Culture," "Embodied Culture," "Origins: Primates, Evolution, and Race," and "AU Sante."

Bob enjoys writing for a larger public. His op-eds have appeared in newspapers throughout the nation on American cultural topics ranging from the variety of marriage patterns, curling, barbecuing, ball sports, Santa Claus, movie ad hype, and weathertainment, to youth violence, hazing, fun, the violent language of "gunspeak," the college scholarship search, and the semantic impact of 9/11. In addition, he compiled lengthy annotated bibliographies, Dominica, Nigeria, Ghana, and Mali for ABC-Clio Press, Oxford, England, as well as scholarly articles on health, migration, cannibalism, and circumcision. His major areas of interest concern contemporary U.S. culture, especially fun, violence, and fear as cultural themes. Articles on "Gunspeak" and on "Nuf and E-Nuf among the Nacirema" [Fun and Funny among the Americans] appeared in "Reflecting on America" (Clare Boulanger, ed., Allyn & Bacon, 2008); his article "When Worlds Collude: Groundhog Phil Meets the Super Bowl on Candlemas" is in the 2016 2nd edition.

He has studied the cultural construction of weather information and its effects on us and American anxieties about liminal bathroom space. An interview and article about Bob's focus on "gunspeak" was broadcast on NPR/PRI by WGBH in June 2016, and his "Trigger Happy with Gunspeak" was published Nov. 8 online by the American Anthropological Association in its series on Mass Shootings.

In 2017, sapiens.org published his commentary on the anti-wrinkle cultural-industrial complex, "The Making of a Wrinkle Convert." Traveling with an AU group to Missouri for the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse prompted his "The Great American Cultural Eclipse" in anthronow.com.

Experience

  • 1987–present
    Professor of Anthropology & Public Health, Alfred University

Education

  • 1982 
    Harvard School of Public Health, MPH Public Health
  • 1976 
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, PhD, MA
  • 1968 
    Davidson College, BA

Publications

  • 2018
    Anthropology Now, "That Most Dangerous, Most Sacred American Space, the Bathroom"
  • 2017
    SAPIENS, "The Making of a Wrinkle Convert"
  • 2017
    Anthropology Now, "The Great American Cultural Eclipse"
  • 2016
    Reflecting on America: Anthropological Views of U.S. Culture, "When Worlds Collude: Groundhog Phil and the Super Bowl Meet on Candlemas"
  • 2016
    Anthropology Newsletter, "Trigger Happy with Gunspeak"
  • 2008
    Reflecting on America: Anthropological Views of U.S. Culture, C. Boulanger, ed., "Gunspeak: The Influence of America's Gun Culture on Everyday Communication"

Professional Memberships

  • American Anthropological Association, Royal Anthropological Institute

Honours

Fulbright to Nigeria; Phi Beta Kappa