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Catherine Mathers, Associate Professor of the Practice of Program and Cultural Anthropology and Associate Director of International Comparative Studies

Catherine Mathers
Office Location:  Ics Program, 210-B East Duke Building, Durham, NC 27708-0405
Office Phone:  (919) 660-4374
Email Address:    send me a message
Web Page:  


  • Ph.D. University of California - Berkeley 2003
  • M.Phil, Archaeology & Sociology University of Cape Town 1993
  • BA, Hons. African Studies (First Class Degree) University of Cape Town 1990
  • BS, Archaeology University of Cape Town 1989

Research Interests:

I am a socio-cultural anthropologist with interdisciplinary training in sociology and the natural sciences. My work is propelled by the examination of how representational practices, through writing and other forms of creative expression construct and mediate the world. I pay close attention to these practices in my own diverse and cross-disciplinary writing projects as well as when I teach. By taking the idea of America seriously, as well as putting Africa and media about Africa center stage, through a study of travel and tourism between these two spaces, my book, Travel, Humanitarianism and Becoming American in Africa shows the global connections and disconnections on which contemporary identities are formed. My second project builds on and develops my work on transnational encounters and mobilities, imperial relationships and identity construction to explore what it means to be South African twenty years and more post-apartheid. How are South Africans navigating the consistent racialized economic divides alongside a changing set of discourses about belonging, nationality and race? What happens when these conversations about race and identity, Africanness and whiteness meet in the contested racialized institutions of Europe and America especially in the spheres of theatre, art and education?

Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Mathers, K. "Framed: representations of the western imagination of Africa." Place Branding and Public Diplomacy  ( 2016.): 20-26.
  2. Mathers, K; Hennerberg, M. "Reconstruction of body heights, age and sex from handprints." South African Journal of Science  vol. 90 no. 8/9 (December, 2014): 493-496.
  3. Mathers, K; Henneberg, M. "Were we ever that big? Gradual increase in hominid body size over time." Homo  vol. 46 no. 2 (December, 2014): 141-143.
  4. Mathers, K; Thackeray, JF. "Evaluating public awareness of 'Mrs Ples' and palaeontological heritage." South African Journal of Science  vol. 93 (December, 2014): 172-173.
  5. Mathers, K. "Leisure Choices: Can Museums Compete?." . Edited by Moolman, M.  (December, 2014).

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