Department of Anthropology

Michael E. Harkin
Cultural Anthropology

B.A. 1980, University of North Carolina
M.A. 1984, University of Chicago
Ph.D 1988, University of Chicago •  Anthropology Bldg 119

Michael E. Harkin grew up in California and North Carolina, and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in English and International Studies. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1988. He has conducted field research with the Heiltsuk and Nuu-chah-nulth of British Columbia, and in France, Greece, North Carolina, and Wyoming. He wrote The Heiltsuks: Dialogues of Culture and History on the Northwest Coast (University of Nebraska Press, 1998), has edited three books and two special issues. He serves as Editor-in-chief of Reviews in Anthropology and Associate Editor of Ethnohistory, of which he previously served a term as Editor. He is past president of the American Society for Ethnohistory and the Society for Humanistic Anthropology. He has received fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Canadian Embassy, and the Wyoming Arts Council, among others. He held a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Austria in 2011 and the William Evans Chair at the University of Otago in 2016. In 2017 he was NEH Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress. In addition to the University of Wyoming, he has taught at Montana State University, Emory University, Shanghai University, and the University of Graz. He writes a regular column for Anthropology News, “The World is Curved.”

Courses Taught:

ANTH 5010 Twentieth-century Anthropological Thought
ANTH 4020/5020 Seminar: Landscape and History
ANTH 4740/5740 Native American Language and Culture
ANTH 4320/5320 Political Anthropology
ANTH/AIST 2210 North American Indians
ANTH 1001 First Year Seminar: Anthropology of Monsters

Recent/Selected Publications:

The Strange Life and Presumed Death of Homo Economicus. In Global Observations of the Influence of Culture on Consumer Buying Behavior, edited by Sarmistha Sarma. IGI International. 2017.

What Would Franz Boas have thought about 9/11? On the Limits of Negative Capability.  Historizing Theories, Identities, and Nations, Regna Darnell and Frederic Gleach, eds. pp. 27-40. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 2017.

“I Believe We Are Also One in Our Concept of Freedom:” the Dewey-Boas Correspondence and the Invention of Postmodern Bourgeois Liberalism.  Historizing Theories, Identities, and Nations, Regna Darnell and Frederic Gleach, eds. pp. 41-60. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 2017.    

The Emotional Archive: The Formation of Social Memory of the Residential School Experience in Canada. Ethnohistory 63:459-67. 2016.

Potlatch in Anthropology, International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, Ulf Hannerz and Dominic Boyer, eds., pp. 714-18. Oxford: Elsevier. 2015.

Two Cultures: French and American Anthropology Between Science and Humanities. Reviews in Anthropology 43:4: 282-296. 2014.

Harkin, Michael E. and David Rich Lewis, eds., 2007, Native Americans and the Environment: Perspectives on the Ecological Indian. University of Nebraska Press.

Harkin, Michael E., ed., 2004, Reassessing Revitalization Movements: Perspectives from North America and the Pacific Islands, foreword by Anthony F.C. Wallace. University of Nebraska Press. Bison Books edition 2007.

Harkin, Michael E., 2008, The Floating Island: Anachronism and Paradox in The Lost Colony. In Small Worlds: Method, Meaning, and Narrative in Microhistory, edited by James F. Brooks, Christopher R. DeCorse, and John Walton, pp. 121-44. SAR Press.

Harkin, Michael E., 2007, Performing Paradox: Narrativity and the Lost Colony of Roanoke. In Myth and Memory: Rethinking Stories of Indigenous-European Contact, edited by John Lutz, pp. 103-117. University of British Columbia Press.

Harkin, Michael E., 2008, Lvi-Strauss and History. In The Cambridge Companion to Claude Lvi-Strauss, edited by Boris Wiseman. Cambridge University Press.

Research Interests:

Ethnohistory, cultural theory, politics and power, religious movements, environment and landscape, ethnopsychology, history of anthropology Northwest Coast (Heiltsuk, Nuu-chah-nulth), Southeast (The Lost Colony), Wyoming (public lands ethnohistory), France


  •   American Society for Ethnohistory is the main scholarly organization devoted to the study of historical and contemporary indigenous communities
  •   Native Web, provides scholarly resources and information on American Indian groups and issues that concern them

Michael Harkin

Contact Us

Anthropology Department

12th and Lewis Streets

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-5136


Find us on Instagram (Link opens a new window)Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window)Find us on Twitter (Link opens a new window)Find us on LinkedIn (Link opens a new window)Find us on YouTube (Link opens a new window)