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Biography:Since 1982, I have been the resident anthropologist at Westminster College. As such I teach a variety of courses in the field of cultural anthropology: Native American Cultures, Theory, Tribal Survival, Shamanism and Spirit Possession, and so forth. I also have a strong academic interest in Asia, and I coordinate the Asian Studies minor on campus. As part of my work with Asian Studies, I teach courses on India and Japan.
I first began to develop my interest in other cultures during my graduate work at Indiana University, where I earned an MA in Religious Studies and an MA and Ph.D. in Folklore. My dissertation was based on fieldwork in Trinidad, where I studied a religious cult among peoples of East Indian descent. In their worship, the goddess Kali would possess members of the congregation and then proceed to lay on hands and heal other people. I was fascinated with how this worked. What made this practice effective? Even today, my strongest areas of interest are in shamanism and spirit possession. I will be leaving January 5th, 2001 to do fieldwork in Southern India.
The great thing about teaching anthropology is that you get to watch people react to, absorb, and come to understand cultural practices that are entirely alien to them. The great thing about doing this at Westminster is that you get to know the students who are going through this process and help them work through it.
I live with my wife Susan and my stepson. My stepdaughter is a student at Westminster College. I have a wide variety of hobbies: I belong to a book club, do woodworking, go to movies, try to train my dog, and listen to jazz.