Engaged Faculty Spotlight: Anthropology and International Studies

by Sam Nash ‘22 University Hall Intern, Swearer Center
November 5, 2020

This month we spotlight a faculty member whose work addresses a range of issues related to power and inequality in culture and society.

Dr. Catherine Lutz, Thomas J. Watson, Jr. Professor Emerita of Anthropology and International Studies, is a distinguished scholar who studies topics such as war, global security, education, and issues of race, gender and democracy--topics connected by a common “question of how to better understand power and inequality as they are culturally articulated.” She has published many books and articles and currently is co-directing a collaborative research project with scholars, human rights practitioners, and others on the sociopolitical and economic impacts of post-9/11 wars “to foster democratic discussion of these wars… [and] better informed public policies.” She is also working with the government of Guam and other researchers to create a public website informing people about water quality and toxicity.

Throughout her career, Professor Lutz has remained committed to centering community voices in her engaged scholarship--and she has written about the history, nuance, and challenges of engaging in community-based scholarship. She has taught a wide array of courses in both the undergraduate and graduate programs, such as Inequality, Sustainability, and Equality in a Car Clogged World; War and Society; and Infrastructure, Inequality, and Ignorance. In addition to addressing pressing public issues, these courses invite students to consider their own positionality. Of her teaching philosophy, Professor Lutz explains, “What I’ve done for many years is teach for social change…. [My goal] is not just understanding the world but changing it, helping students break away from what has been passed down but isn’t exactly effective, and help them change it.”