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Orin Starn, Chair and Professor of Cultural Anthropology

Orin Starn
Contact Info: 
Office Location:  213 Friedl Building, East Campus, Box 90091
Office Phone:  (919) 717-7090
Email Address: send me a message
Web Pages:


Ph.D.Stanford University1989
MAStanford University1985
B.A.The University of Chicago1982
General StudiesUniversity of California, Berkeley1981
General StudiesHaverford College1979

Culture Theory
South America
Social Movements
Popular Culture
North America
Politics of Memory
Research Interests:

Orin Starn is Professor of Cultural Anthropology and History. He has wide-ranging interests including Latin America, Native North America, social movements and indigenous politics, the history of anthropology, activist anthropology, and, more recently, sports and society. His latest book, "The Passion of Tiger Woods: An Anthropologist Reports on Golf, Race, and Celebrity Scandal," examines the superstar golfer's place in American society and culture. Starn is also the author of the award-winning "Ishi's Brain: In Search of America's Last 'Wild' Indian," a chronicle of the life and legend of the last survivor of California's Yahi tribe. Starn began as an anthropologist in Peru, and is now finishing a co-authored book about the Shining Path guerrilla movement there. He is the editor of the "The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics" and co-edits Duke University Press's very successful World Readers Series. In 2005, Starn won Duke's highest undergraduate teaching award and was awarded the Sally Dalton Robinson Professorship in Cultural Anthropology. Starn also edited the recent volume "Writing Culture and the Life of Anthropology" from Duke University Press about the state of the discipline today, and is the co-editor of two other books -- "Indigenous Experience Today" and "Between Resistance and Revolution: Cultural Politics and Social Protest." His essays and op-ed pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chronicle of Higher Education and many other newspapers, and his work cited in the New York Times, USA Today, and other newspapers. He has also appeared on NPR, ESPN and numerous other radio and tv programs. Starn has served as the Director of Duke's Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Duke Human Rights Centers, and chaired the Editorial Advisory Board of Duke University Press. He also teaches a MOOC through the online education group Coursera about "Sports and Society" accessible at: He continues to do research in Peru as well as a new project on the experience of Latina housecleaners in North Carolina (

Areas of Interest:

Cultural theory
Indigenous politics and identity
Politics of representation and nationalism
transnationalism and globalization
history of anthropology
activist anthropology
Andes and Latin America
Native North America
sports and society


activist anthropology • Anthropology • Cultural theory • history of anthropology • Indigenous politics and identity • Latin America • Native North America • Politics of representation and nationalism • sports and society • the Andes • transnationalism and globalization


Chair, Department of Cultural Anthropology

Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

  • Erin Parish  
  • Fari Nzinga  
  • Lorien Olive  
  • Lia Haro  
  • Kristina Jacobsen  
  • Neta Bar  
  • Leigh Campoamor  
  • Yektan Turkyilmaz  
Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Starn, O, The Passion of Tiger Woods: An Anthropologist Reports on Golf, Race, and Celebrity Scandal (2012), Duke University Press, ISBN 0-8223-5210-9
  2. Starn, O, Here Come The Anthros (Again): The Strange Marriage Of Anthropology And Native America, Cultural Anthropology, vol. 26 no. 2 (May, 2011), pp. 179-204, WILEY, ISSN 0886-7356 [doi]  [abs]
  3. Starn, O, Ishi’s Brain: In Search of America’s Last "Wild" Indian (2004), W.W. Norton
  4. O. Starn, Missing the Revolution: Anthropologists and the War in Peru, Cultural Anthropology (1991)
  5. Starn, O; Cadena, MDL, Indigenous Experience Today, Translated into Spanish as "Indigeneidadas Contemporaneas: Cultura, Politca, y Globalizacion" (Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 2010) (2006), Berg
  6. Rockafellar, N; Starn, O, Ishi's Brain, Current Anthropology, vol. 40 no. 4 (August, 1999), pp. 413-416, University of Chicago Press, ISSN 0011-3204 [Gateway.cgi], [doi]
  7. Starn, O; et. al.,, The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Revised and Expanded Editon) (2005), Duke University Press
  8. Starn, O, To Revolt against the Revolution: War and Resistance in Peru's Andes, Cultural Anthropology, vol. 10 no. 4 (November, 1995), pp. 547-580, WILEY, ISSN 0886-7356 [doi]
  9. Starn, O, Nightwatch: The Politics of Protest in the Andes (1999), Duke University Press  [abs]
  10. Starn, O; Harris, O; Nugent, D; Nugent, S; Orlove, BS; Reyna, SP; Smith, G, Rethinking the Politics of Anthropology: The Case of the Andes [and Comments and Reply], Current Anthropology, vol. 35 no. 1 (February, 1994), pp. 13-38, University of Chicago Press, ISSN 0011-3204 [pdf], [doi]
  11. Starn, O; Fox, R, Between Resistance and Revolution: Cultural Politics and Social Movements (1997), Rutgers University Press  [abs]
  12. O. Starn, Engineering Internment: Anthropologists and the War Relocation Authority, American Ethnologist (1986)

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