Lisa Maya Knauer, PhD
Associate Professor / Chairperson
Sociology / Anthropology
Liberal Arts 392G
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.