Thomas Guthrie

Departments and Positions:
Sociology & Anthropology, Associate Professor of Sociology & Anthropology
Environmental Studies, Associate Professor of Sociology & Anthropology
School Extension 316.2836
Davidson College, BA, '97
University of Chicago, MA, '01
University of Chicago, PHD, '05

Courses Taught

  • SOAN 103: Cultural Anthropology
  • SOAN 216: The Anthropology of Colonialism
  • SOAN 261: Native North America
  • SOAN 322: Environmental Anthropology
  • SOAN 342: Social Theory
  • SOAN 450: Culture on Display: Tourism, Heritage, Museums
  • IDS 483: The Politics of Difference

Teaching and Research Interests
Since college I have been interested in colonial encounters and cultural representation, especially in North America. My research and teaching explore ways in which even positive representations of indigenous people (in anthropology, multicultural projects, tourist attractions, historic sites, environmental campaigns, and even movies like Avatar) can unintentionally reinforce colonial hierarchies.

As an anthropologist and concerned citizen I am committed to critiquing colonial forms of environmentalism and working for environmental justice. I believe that anthropology can help us understand and imagine the kind of radical cultural change we need in order to live within our environmental limits and respond adequately to climate change, resource depletion, and other crises. I’m particularly interested in cultural and economic relocalization.

I have been conducting research in northern New Mexico since 2002. New Mexico’s double colonial history has resulted in contentious ethnic relations, ongoing struggles over land and water, and concerns about social change. My book, Recognizing Heritage: The Politics of Multiculturalism in New Mexico, examines public efforts to interpret and preserve Hispanic and Native American cultural heritage. It focuses on partnerships between local communities and the National Park Service. My current research explores efforts to revitalize small-scale agriculture in northern New Mexico. I am investigating how these efforts are affecting cultural identities and ethnic relations, how people are finding access to land and water, and how they’re working both inside and outside of a capitalist economy.

One of the things I like most about Guilford is that it’s a place where we have open conversations about equality, justice, and oppression. I am proud to be involved in anti-racism efforts on campus. Most of all, I am grateful for my students, whose concern for social justice constantly challenges and inspires me.

View my curriculum vitae.

Selected Publications
Recognizing Heritage:  The Politics of Multiculturalism in New Mexico. Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press (2013).
Going to Hopi. Journal of the Southwest 55.2: 119-129 (2013).
Dealing with Difference: Heritage, Commensurability and Public Formation in Northern New Mexico. International Journal of Heritage Studies 16.4: 305–321 (2010).
History, Preservation, and Power at El Morro National Monument: Toward a Self-Reflexive Interpretive Practice. CRM: The Journal of Heritage Stewardship 7.1: 46–67 (2010).
Cross of the Martyrs and Commemorative Walkway. The Public Historian 29.4: 106–110 (2007).
Good Words: Chief Joseph and the Production of Indian Speech(es), Texts, and Subjects. Ethnohistory 54.3: 509–546 (2007).