Lisa Maya Knauer, PhD

Associate Professor / Chairperson

Sociology / Anthropology



Liberal Arts 392G





Introduction to discipline-specific forms of argumentation through the in-depth exploration of questions about the social and cultural world. Specific topics will vary from course to course, but all sections focus on the development of students' informational literacy, writing, and analytic skills relevant to sociological and anthropological inquiry. This course is required for Sociology/Anthropology majors and may be taken before or concurrently with SOC 200. It meets the University Studies Intermediate Writing Requirement.

An introduction to theories of, and movements for, environmental justice. We will use historical and cross cultural perspectives to examine how environmental inequalities have affected communities across the globe, and those communities' responses. Readings will highlight the voices and experiences of peoples affected by environmental injustices. There will be opportunities for service learning and engagement with local environmental justice organizations.

Investigation of special areas in Sustainable Studies. May be repeated with change of content.

Dr. Knauer’s teaching, scholarship and community service are closely linked. They are rooted in her passion for social justice and the idea that anthropology – the study of human culture and difference -- can provide tools to understand, engage with and help foster change in a transforming world.

Dr. Knauer’s dissertation on Afrocuban music and religion in Cuba and New York explored the intersection of racialized identities and transnational cultural flows. An active participant in the NYC Afrocuban scene since the mid-1990s, her current work looks at cultural performance, the politics of representation and the role of digital media. In 2007, following an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid on a factory in New Bedford, she began to work with and study the local Central American community, and helped found an immigrant workers’ center and a Mayan women’s organization. She spent 2011 in Guatemala as a Fulbright scholar, and her current research looks at the representation and self-representation of Mayan women, focusing on community radio. Additional areas of interest include public history and the politics of memory; and the gendered dynamics of genocide, violence and migration.

She believes the best way to learn anthropology is by doing anthropology, and to read what anthropologists write (rather than textbooks) and so students in all her classes conduct original ethnographic fieldwork, and read classic and cutting edge anthropological studies. .

A committed interdisciplinary scholar, she is a affiliate of the Women, Gender and Sexuality Program, the Black Studies Program, and Sustainability Studies.

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