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Catherine Mathers, Associate Professor of the Practice of Program

Catherine Mathers

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?

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

Teaching (Fall 2022):

  • ICS 314S.01, DOING GLOBAL RESEARCH Synopsis
    Branson 202, M 10:15 AM-12:45 PM
  • ICS 398S.01, GLOBAL HUMANITARIANISM Synopsis
    Crowell 108, MW 03:30 PM-04:45 PM
    (also cross-listed as CULANTH 298S.01, GSF 298S.01)
Education:

Ph.D.University of California - Berkeley2003
M.Phil, Archaeology & SociologyUniversity of Cape Town1993
BA, Hons. African Studies (First Class Degree)University of Cape Town1990
BS, ArchaeologyUniversity of Cape Town1989
Research Interests: United States, Africa, Travel, Humanitarianism, Global Development, Popular Culture

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?

Keywords:

Anthropology in popular culture • Anthropology, Cultural • Development • History • Nature

Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Mathers, K, White Saviorism and Popular Culture Imagined Africa as a Space for American Salvation (2022), ISBN 1032112271  [abs]
  2. Mathers, K, Framed: representations of the western imagination of Africa, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy (2016), pp. 20-26, Henry Stewart Publications
  3. 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), pp. 493-496, Academy of Science of South Africa, ISSN 1996-7489
  4. Mathers, K; Henneberg, M, Were we ever that big? Gradual increase in hominid body size over time, Homo, vol. 46 no. 2 (December, 2014), pp. 141-143
  5. Mathers, K; Thackeray, JF, Evaluating public awareness of 'Mrs Ples' and palaeontological heritage, South African Journal of Science, vol. 93 (December, 2014), pp. 172-173, Academy of Science of South Africa, ISSN 1996-7489


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