The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Steering Committee

Faculty advisors are housed in four UMass colleges and schools: Education; Humanities and Fine Arts; Social and Behavioral Sciences; and Public Health and Health Sciences. We are based in eight departments, including Anthropology, Communication, Community Health Education, Political Science, Public Policy, Sociology, Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies, and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies.


Burcu Baykurt

Burcu Baykurt is assistant professor of Urban Futures and Communication, and a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Her research fo cuses on the critical study of technology and culture, and their role in the reproduction of social inequalities. She’s currently writing a book on smart cities.



Sally GalmanSally Campbell Galman is professor of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies, an artist, anthropologist of childhood, and arts-based researcher. Her areas of interest are preschool ethnography and gender diversity in early childhood through preadolescence. Her current project focuses on transgender children and their families. An award-winning cartoonist, she is the author of the Shane series of qualitative and ethnographic methods comics. Keep up with her at


Gubrium Aline Gubrium is professor of Health Promotion and Policy with a background in medical anthropology. She has extensive experience using innovative and collaborative research methodologies, including narrative, visual, and sensory approaches, and is a trained and experienced facilitator of digital storytelling workshops for use in research, intervention, and advocacy contexts. Gubrium has worked in diverse communities, including conducting participatory visual, critical narrative, and ethnographic research on gender socialization and substance use among southern, rural African American women; collaborating with community-based partners on a Photovoice project with Latino/a youth in Western Massachusetts focused on parent-child communication about sexuality; and heading up a digital storytelling-based study focused on sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice with young parenting Latinas. 

Krista HarperKrista Harper is professor of Anthropology and Public Policy who has used ethnographic and participatory visual research methods to study environmental and food justice mobilizations and the design of libraries, urban gardens, and energy infrastructure in Hungary, Portugal, and the United States. She has published two books on research methods, Participatory Visual and Digital Methods (Gubrium and Harper, 2013) and edited volume Participatory Visual and Digital Research in Action (Gubrium, Harper, and Otañez, 2015). Check out her publications at and follow her on Twitter at @kristamharper.

çJulie Hemment is professor of Anthropology and an ethnographer who works in postsocialist Russia. Her research interests include gender, youth and civil society and feminist, participatory and collaborative methodologies. Her two books (Empowering Women in Russia: Aid, NGOs and Activism and Youth Politics in Putin’s Russia: Producing Patriots and Entrepreneurs) result from the ethnographic projects she’s enacted in collaboration with Russian feminist scholar-activists. Her most recent research and writing projects explore the topic of satire in US-Russian political communication.

Elizabeth KrauseElizabeth “Betsy” Krause is professor of Anthropology whose work illuminates hidden histories  and power dynamics connected with reproduction, economies, and migration in Italy and the United States. Her interest in modes of representation, from ethnographic writing to digital storytelling, has led her to push the boundaries of genre in her research, writing, and teaching. She has published three books, A Crisis of Births: Population Politics and Family-Making in Italy (2005, Wadsworth), Unraveled: A Weaver’s Tale of Life Gone Modern (2009, University of California Press), and Tight Knit: Global Families and the Social Life of Fast Fashion (2018, University of Chicago Press). Her new project, “The Pedagogy of Figs: Uncommon Lessons,” takes inspiration from multispecies protagonists to blend oral history, narrative ethnography, and memoir to confront economic crises and nurture well-being. Read more at

PachiratTimothy Pachirat, political science. author of every twelve seconds; among wolves; "the tyranny of light;" "dispatches from the kill floor;"  "the ethnographer's potion;" "sanctuary;" "we call it a grain of sand;" + others. teacher of intro to comparative; distance, deceit, denial; political ethnography; + others.  service to iqmr; imm; politics and animals; critical political studies; umass ethnography collective; + others. keynotes/public lectures at yale law, harvard law, nyu, cuny, u washington, u hawai'i, oberlin, colorado college, u hamburg, u oslo, vrije u, u sydney, u melbourne, u victoria, u vienna, wageningen u + others.  member, ias / sss [20/21]. 

Fareen ParvezFareen Parvez is associate professor of Sociology. Her research looks at the relationship between politics and religion, through the method of comparative ethnography. Her book, Politicizing Islam: the Islamic Revival in France and India (Oxford University Press, 2017), draws on two years of participant observation among Muslim communities in Lyon, France, and Hyderabad, India. In this book she demonstrates how social class relations and types of state secularism impact the varieties of Islamic movements taking place in secular democracies. For some short essays related to this research, see: "The problem with liberalizing Islam," "A view from the margins of the banlieue," or "Politicizing Islam: An introduction." Her work has also appeared in such publications as Newsweek, Salon, The Guardian, and LA Times among others.

Frederic SchafferFrederic Schaffer is professor of Political Science who uses ordinary language interviewing as an ethnographic tool to shed light on how people construct their social worlds. He has a special interest in how people talk about and conceptualize democracy and its rough equivalents in other languages. He is author, among other things, of Democracy in Translation: Understanding Politics in an Unfamiliar Culture and Elucidating Social Science Concepts: An Interpretivist Guide.



Millie ThayerMillie Thayer is professor of Sociology who studies transnational feminist relationships, from the travels and translation of feminist discourses, to the fraught relationships between activists and donors on the international aid chain.  Her current project concerns the challenges of economic and political sustainability for feminist movements in Brazil and Mozambique.



Regine SpectorRegine Spector is associate professor of Political Science. Her research seeks to understand how people make sense of their roles in new Central Asian market economies, with a focus on traders at bazaars (Order at the Bazaar: Power and Trade in Central Asia, Cornell 2017), sewing shop owners, and apparel designers. She is embarking on new projects at the intersection of energy, environment and climate change in Eurasia and the U.S. 



Svati ShahSvati Shah is associate professor of Women, Gender, and Sexual Studies. She is an anthropologist whose research interests include sexuality, urbanization, labor migration, nationalism, and caste-capitalism in South Asia. Her published work has critiqued juridicism and political economy as they relate to migration, informal sector labor, sexuality, and gender identity. Her first book, Street Corner Secrets: Sex, Work and Migration in the City of Mumbai (Duke 2014), is a long-term ethnography of sexual commerce in Mumbai's informal economies. She is currently preparing a manuscript from her second long-term ethnographic project, The Dream of India: Economic Futures and Political Dissent in Queer Times.