Robin O'Brian header
Anthropology demands the open-mindedness with which one must look and llisten, record in astonishment and wonder that which one would not have been able to guess. ~Margaret Mead


I've been at Elmira College for a millenium! Or at least since the beginning of this one--since 2000. As the only anthropologist in a combined anthropology-sociology program, I teach nearly all the anthropology courses we offer. I also teach occasionally in the Women's Studies program and I participate in our Freshman Studies program.

After completing my Ph.D. at UCLA, I taught at several colleges and universities in the Los Angeles area before accepting the job at EC. I'm glad to work at an institution that values teaching in addition to research, and I work to think of different ways to engage student learning.

My research interests focus on the interrelationship between gender and work, particularly among indigenous women in Mexico. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I did fieldwork in the Mexican state of Chiapas, examining how different groups of Maya women adapted their traditional household-based activities, particularly weaving, to the growing tourist market in the city of San Cristobal de las Casas.