MELISSA A. JOHNSON

 

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Southwestern University

P.O. Box 770

Georgetown, Texas  78626-0770

512-863-1406

meljohn@southwestern.edu

Academic Positions

Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology,
Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas.
July 2005-present.

Associate Professor of Anthropology, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Program in Environmental Studies, Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas. 2004-present.

Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas. 1998-2004

Academic Degrees

Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), August 1998.

M.A. in Anthropology, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), May 1990.

B.A. in Biology, Williams College, (Williamstown, Massachusetts) June 1984, with Honors in the Coordinate Program in Environmental Studies.

Research/Teaching Areas: 

Topical: Environment; Conservation; Development; Race and Racism; Social Theory; Environmental History; Tourism; Gender.  Area:  Belize; Caribbean; U.S.-Mexico Borderlands; Central Texas

Research

Historical Research, Summer 2009, Central Texas with Kimberly Griffin, SU Environmental Studies Major, Junior, funded by Southwestern Faculty Student Collaborative Research Program.

Ethnographic Research, December 2005, in Lemonal Village for Naturally Creole

Ethnographic and Ethnohistorical research in Lemonal and Crooked Tree Villages for Naturally Creole and Race and Nature in the Environmental History of Belize, two book length projects. June and July 2004.

Environmental Justice in the Borderlands: An interdisciplinary investigation of the Matamoros colonia, Derechos Humanos (with Drs. Hobgood-Oster and Niemeyer and 9 Southwestern students)  April-August 2002.

Appointed Belize Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator for the production of map Indigenous Peoples, Tropical Forest Cover and Coastal Marine Resources in Central America with the Center for the Support of Native Lands, Arlington, VA, Fall 2000-Spring 2002.

Collaborative Research on the Ethnographic Process, Belize, June 2000.  Research conducted with two Southwestern students in Belize, Dr. Mario Gonzales (Southwestern U.) and two Southwestern students in Oaxaca on the “ethnographic experience.”

Ethnohistorical Research, National Archives of Belize, June 2000.  Continued research for Ethnicities and Ecologies project.

Ethnohistorical Research in Lemonal Village and Belize City, Belize, June and July 1998.  Began background in-field research and evaluation of sites for project Ethnicities and Ecologies: An Ethnoenvironmental History of Belize

Dissertation Research: Nature, Progress and Place: The Politics of Sustainable Development in Belize.  Conducted in villages of the Belize District, Belize, with special focus on Crooked Tree Village, February 1993 - December 1994, and with additional months of historical research May and October-December 1995.

Research Assistant to Richard Wilk (Indiana University) on households and consumer preferences in Crooked Tree Village, Belize (February - May 1990)

Preliminary investigation into dissertation research topics in the Brazilian Amazon, July - August 1989 (Belem and Manaus regions).

Grants, Fellowships, Awards: External

Sam Taylor Award, United Methodist Church Division of Higher Education and Ministry, for oral history and archival research for “Ethnicities and Ecologies: Race in the Environmental History of Belize” June and July 2004.

Fulbright Grant, Institute for International Education (USIA),  for dissertation research in Belize, January 1993 - October 1994.

Social Science Research Council/American Council of Learned Societies Dissertation Fellowship, for dissertation research in Belize, January 1993 - October 1994.

Inter-American Foundation Field Research Doctoral Fellowship, for dissertation research in Belize, January 1993 - October 1994 .

University of Michigan Population-Environment Dynamic Fellowship, for dissertation research in Belize, January 1993 - October 1994.

Grants, Fellowships, Awards: Internal

Faculty Student Collaborative Research Funding, Summer 2009. With Kimberly Griffin, for From Indians and Alligators to Anglos and Cows: A social and environmental history of the San Gabriel River, Central Texas.

Brown Fellowship, Southwestern University, Fall 2007. For work on book manuscript Theory in Anthropology, under contract with Berg Publishers

Cullen Faculty Development Grant, Complete journal article manuscripts, Summer 2007.

Southwestern University Senior Faculty Teaching Award, 2006

Cullen Faculty Development Grant, Travel to Latin American Studies Association Congress, March 2006

Nominated for Excellence in Academic Advising Award (2005, 2003)

Cullen Faculty Development Grant, Southwestern University (for research in Belize), June and July 2004

Unity in Action Diversity Award for Faculty, Spring 2004.

Cullen Faculty Development Grant Southwestern University (for writing), June-August 2003

Global Citizens Fund Grant, Southwestern University, for “Environmental Justice in the Borderlands” May-July 2003.

Fleming Fund for Excellence Grant for “Environmental Justice in the Borderlands” April-August 2002.

Brown Fellowship, Southwestern University, 2001-2002 Academic Year.

Fleming Fund for Excellence Grant for Comparative Ethnographic Research in Middle America, Southwestern University, May – August 2000.

Cullen Faculty Development Grant, Southwestern University (for writing), June-August 1999

Cullen Faculty Development Grant, Southwestern University (for research in Belize), June-July 1998

Rackham Dissertation Fellowship, University of Michigan, Spring/Summer 1997.

Margaret Wray French Scholarship, University of Michigan Department of Anthropology, for preliminary research into dissertation topics in the Brazilian Amazon, May 1989.

Award for Tropical Forest Research, Indiana University, for preliminary research into dissertation topics in the Brazilian Amazon, May 1989.

Publications—Peer Reviewed Original Scholarship

2008         (with Emily Niemeyer) “Ambivalent Landscapes: Environmental Justice in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands” Human Ecology: An Interdisciplinary Journal  36 (3): 371-382

2005         “Racing Nature and Naturalizing Race: Rethinking the Nature of Creole and Garifuna Communities” Belizean Studies, Special Issue: Colonialism and Nature in Belize (ed Joel Wainwright) 27(2/November): 43-56.                  

2003                  “The Making of Race and Place in Nineteenth-Century British Honduras,” Environmental History 8(4): 598-617

Publications—Other

                             “Mini-Ethnographic Analysis Exercise” in Exploring College Writing: Reading, Writing, and Researching Across the Curriculum by Daniel Melzer. Pearson/Longman. Forthcoming              

                             "Belize: Cultural Expression" for World and Its Peoples: Mexico and Central America. Brown Reference Group: London. Forthcoming

2008         “Book Review: Vassos Argyrou’s The Logic of Environmentalism: Anthropology, Ecology and PostcolonialityHuman Ecology 36 (2):

2005         “Racing Environmental Anthropology,” Commentary for Anthropology and Environment Column Anthropology News 46: 5, pp.

2002         (Assistant Coordinator for Belize). Indigenous Peoples and Natural Ecosystems in Central America and Southern Mexico. Center for Support of  Native Lands and National Geographic Society.  Distributed in Spanish Edition of National Geographic, February 2003. 

2001         “Racing the Environment: Nature and Color in the Afro-Caribbean History of Belize” in Brown Working Papers Series I, Southwestern University

2000         “Book Review: Anne Sutherland’s The Making of Belize: Globalization in the Margins” American Ethnologist. 27 (1): 223-224

1999         "Book Review: Mark Moberg's Myths of Ethnicity and Nation: Immigration, Work, and Identity in the Belize Banana Industry" American Ethnologist 26 (2): 512-513

1998         Nature and Progress in Rural Creole Belize: Rethinking Sustainable Development.  Dissertation for completion of Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Michigan.

1997         “The (Wo)man in the Cashew: Gender and Development in Rural Belize,” Working Paper # 30, Institute for Research on Women and Gender Working Papers Series. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.

Works in Preparation for Publication

Naturally Creole: Nature, Community and Identity in Belize (book manuscript)

Creolizing Conservation: Protecting Nature in Belize

“The Natures of Ecotourism in Crooked Tree”

“The (Wo)man in the Cashew: Gender, Labor and Development in Rural Belize"

“’Hewers of Wood’: Culture and Nature on the Margins, British Honduras 1750-1850”

Invited Lectures, Invited Discussant Roles

2007         Discussant for “Landscape Interrupted: Reflections on Experiences of Place and Displacement” American Anthropological Association 107th Meeting, November 2007, Washington, D.C.

                 Invited Lecture and campus visit: “Cleaning the Yard: Dirt, Nature, Race and Modernity in Rural Belize,” Center for African and African-American Studies, Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT), October 2, 2007.

                 Invited Lecture “Race and Nature in Belize,  University of Texas Anthropology Club, March 26, 2007, University of Texas.

2005         Discussant for New Directions in Anthropology & Environment the Rappaport Prize (best graduate student paper in Environmental Anthropology) sponsored by the Anthropology and Environment Section of the American Anthropological Association, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting December 3, 2005, Washington, D.C.

2004         Discussant for Anthropology & Environment:  A New Generation the Rappaport Prize (best graduate student paper in Environmental Anthropology) sponsored by the Anthropology and Environment Section of the American Anthropological Association, Canterbury House Anthropology & Environment Meeting, November 19 2004, San Francisco

1998   Invited Lecture: “The Question of Grassroots Participation in Conservation Initiatives in Rural BelizeCharla Seminar Series, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Michigan State University, East Lansing. 11 February 1998.

Scholarly Conference Presentations and Panel Organizing

[2009        “Consuming Belize: Rural Belizean Environments, Modern Identities and Global Consumption” for panel “Evolving food systems and environmental relations in the context of globalization and urbanization. Perspectives from early modern times to the present,” World Congress of Environmental History, August 4-8 2009, Copenhagen, accepted. ]  Unable to attend because for family reasons.

2007         “Cleaning the Yard: Dirt, Nature, Race and Modernity in Rural Belize” for panel, “Rubbish or Not,” American Anthropological Association 107th Meeting, November 2007, Washington, D.C.

2006         Co-organizer, Panel “Environment, Culture and Power in Latin America,” Latin American Studies Association Congress. San Juan, Puerto Rico 15-18 March 2006.

                             “Conservation in a Creolized World: Ambiguities and Ambivalences of “Protecting Nature” in Belize” for Panel: “Environment, Culture and Power in Latin America,” Latin American Studies Association Congress. San Juan, Puerto Rico 15-18 March 2006,.

2004         “’Hewers of Wood’: Culture and Nature on the Margins, British Honduras 1750-1850” for panel, “Forest History in Latin AmericaAmerican Society for Environmental History, March 2004, Victoria, British Columbia.

2003         “The Wo(man) in the Cashew: Gender and Development in Rural Belize” for panel, “Gender and Natural Resource Management:  Neoliberalism, Participation and Decentralization” American Anthropological Association, November 2003, Chicago.

                             “Ethnicities and Ecologies: The Making of Race and Place in Colonial British Honduras” at the Second Annual Conference on Race and Place, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, March 7-9, 2003.

2002         “Ambivalent Landscapes: Environments, Justice and Anthropology in the Lower Rio Grande Valley” for Panel “Environmental Justice: At Home and Abroad,” with Southwestern Students, American Anthropological Association 101st Annual Meeting, New Orleans, November 20-November 24, 2002

                 “Racing Nature and Naturalizing Race in the Environmental History of Belize” for Race and Environmental History Roundtable, American Society for Environmental History’s Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado, 2002

2001         “Lands, Identities and Imaginations: Mapping Belize” for Panel “Change and Continuity in Property Regimes: Alternative Histories and Theories of the Commons” American Anthropological Association 100th Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., November  28-December 2, 2001

2000         “Race, Color and the Natural Environment in the Afro-Caribbean History of Belize” for Panel “The African Diaspora and the Environment”  American Society for Environmental History’s Into the Next Millennium: The Past and the Promise of Environmental History, Tacoma, Washington, March 16-19, 2000

1999         “The Nature of Ecotourism Encounters in Rural Belize” for Panel “Articulating ‘Timeless’ Pasts with ‘Ethical’ Futures to Remedy the Evils of Modernity, American Anthropological Association 98th Annual Meeting, Chicago, November  17-21, 1999.

                 "The Crooked Course of Conservation in Crooked Tree" for Panel "Global Conservation and Local Communities in Developing Countries" Environmental History Across Boundaries:  American Society for Environmental History Biennial Meeting, April 14-18, 1999, Tucson, Arizona

 1998        “Constructing a ‘Home’ in ‘Foreign:’ Belizean Women Negotiating Race, Color, Class and Gender in Chicago,” for Panel, “Can’t Leave Home Without It: Narrating Identity in Women’s Transgressive Travels,” American Anthropological Association 97th Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, Dec 2-6, 1998.

                 “Rewriting Race in the Environmental History of the Caribbean: The Development of a Rural Creole Belizean Socio-Ecology in Crooked Tree” Latin American Studies Association Congress. Chicago, 24-26 September 1998.

1997         Co-organizer, Panel: “The Experience and Politics of Place, or Making Sense Out of Place” American Anthropological Association 96th Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., 22 November 1997.

                 “Placing Crooked Tree” for panel: “The Experience and Politics of Place, or Making Sense Out of Place” American Anthropological Association 96th Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., 22 November 1997.

                 “The (Wo)man in the Cashew: Gender and commodity production in BelizeConference: Genders, Bodies Borders. University of Michigan, 25 October 1997.

1996         “The ‘Nature’ of Crooked Tree: Politics and the Meaning of Nature in Transnational Conservation Efforts” for panel: “The Uses of ‘Nature,’”American Anthropological Association 95th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, November 20 1996.

                 Co-organizer, Panel: “The Uses of ‘Nature,’”American Anthropological Association 95th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, November 20 1996.

 1995        “People’s Participation: A View from the Field of Conservation” at Ninth Annual Studies on Belize Conference, University College of Belize, Belize City, October 24-27, 1995.

1993         "Local Participation, Wildlife Conservation and Ecotourism: Possibilities for Sustainable Development in Rural Belize" at Belize: An interdisciplinary conference, Jacksonville, Florida, 4 - 6 March, 1993

1991         "Conservation, Ideology and Tourism in Belizean Villages" at the National Conference on Social Ecology, Marine-on-St.-Croix, Minnesota, 7 - 9 June 1991       

                 "Ecofeminism and the Third World: An Interdisciplinary Discussion of Gender, Race, Class and Ecology" at Plots and Plans, What's Cooking in Feminist Scholarship?: Eighth Annual National Graduate Women's Studies Conference, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, March 8 - 10, 1991

Other Presentations

2007         “The Role of Study Abroad in a Cultural Anthropology Curriculum” for panel “Integrating Student Research Abroad into Liberal Arts Education: Three Faculty Perspectives  Forum for Education Abroad, Austin, Texas, March 2, 2007

1996         “Developing Research Methods for Fieldwork.” Panelist.  Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, December 5, 1996.

                 “The Ethics of Fieldwork.”  Panelist.  Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, April 11, 1996.

1991         "Constructing the Amazon: Amazonist Discourse from Sixteenth Century Travelers to Twentieth Century Scientists" at the Environmental History Discussion Series, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 22 May 1991

Other Relevant Employment

Belize Coordinator, Institute for Central American Development Studies (San Jose, Costa Rica, and in cooperation with Hampshire College).  Lectured on history and culture of Belize and status of women in Belize in San Jose, Costa Rica (to approximately 25 students from the United States) and coordinated, supervised and facilitated two month structured internships in Belize for approximately six students, Spring and Fall 1995.

Belize Country Coordinator, International Honors Program (in cooperation with Bard College).  Designed, organized, and conducted 4-week course of study for 30 university students from the United States on "Nature, Society and Sustainability in Belize," April 1994 and 1995.

Instructor and Advisor in Anthropology, School for International Training program in Belize.  Provided seminars for university students from the United States on "Ethnographic Methods" and "Caribbean Sociocultural Systems."  Advised students on month-long Independent Study Projects, Spring and Fall 1994 and 1995.

Faculty Member, International Honors Program (in cooperation with Bard College) year-long course of study "Global Ecology: Nature, Society and Sustainability."  Designed and taught course entitled "Society, Culture and Ecology" (8 credit hours) to 30 undergraduate students from the United States in England and India, Fall 1992, and in Mexico, April 1993.  

Courses Taught at Southwestern University

Introduction to Anthropology (S ’99, ‘00, ’01, ’02, ’03, F ’03, S ’04, S ’05, F ’05, S ’06, F’06, S’07, S’08, F’08, S’09, F ‘09)

Anthropology Capstone (S ’03, S ’04, S ’05, S’06, S’07, S’08, S’09)

Ethnographic Methods (S ’05)

Theory in Anthropology from Herodotus to 2002 (F ’02, F ’06, F ‘08)

Race, Class and Gender in the Caribbean (F ’98, S ’00, F’02, S ’04, S ‘06)

Global Environmental Justice (F ’01, F ’03, F ’05, F ’06, F’ 09)

Jamaica: Globalization and Tourism: An Ethnographic Experience (May 2005)

First Year Seminar: Understanding Race and Racism  (F ’01, F ’02, F ‘03)

Peoples and Places: Introduction to World Regional Geography (F ’98 &‘00)

Topics in Globalization: The Anthropology of Development (F ‘00)

Social Change and International Development (F ‘98)

            Theory and Method in Anthropology, Part I (F ‘00)

            Introduction to Environmental Studies (F ‘00)

            Introduction to Women’s Studies (S ‘01)

            Society, Culture and Ecology (S ‘99)

Participation in Institutional Development Workshops and Conferences

Sustainability and the Liberal Arts: A Conference at Hendrix College. October 4-7, 1998.  Workshop to help develop a liberal arts curriculum that fosters sustainability (ecological, cultural, social, spiritual).  Attended with eye towards building and broadening the Environmental Studies program at Southwestern University.

Service: National

Provided tenure case review for Bucknell University faculty member (Spring 2008)

Judge, Rappaport Prize (best graduate student paper in Environmental Anthropology) sponsored by the Anthropology and Environment Section of the American Anthropological Association. 2004 & 2005

Nominating Committee, Anthropology and Environment Section of the American Anthropological Association, 2004-2006.

Journal Article Manuscript Reviewer for Human Ecology, Environmental History, Human Organization, Sociological Perspectives, International Review of Modern Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Book Manuscript Reviewer for Oxford University Press, University of Arizona Press, McGraw-Hill

Environmental Justice Public Policy Co-Coordinator for Anthropology and the Environment Section of the American Anthropological Association, Fall 2000- Spring 2003

Elected Executive Committee Member of the Anthropology and Environment Section of the American Anthropological Association, 1999-2001

Service: Regional

Advisor, International Bacalaureate student: Alejandra Villareal, Fall 2003

Mentor in University of Texas’ Preparing Future Faculty Program.  Mentored Lauri Thompson, graduate student in Anthropology at University of Texas in teaching Introduction to Anthropology. Spring 2003.

Service: Southwestern

Co-Chair, Diversity Enrichment Committee, August 2005-present, January 2000-Fall 2001, member 1999-2000, 2001-2003

Chaired development of SU Diversity Initiative Action Plan

Member, Environmental Studies Program Committee, Fall 2001-present, Secretary Fall 1998-Fall 2001

Member, Southwestern University Expanded Campus Life SubGroup, for SU Strategic Plan for 2015, Summer 2009

Member, Committee on Intercultural Perspectives Curricular Requirement Development. Fall 2005-Spring 2008

Member, Organizing Committee for Southwestern University’s First Conference on Race and Ethnicity, Fall 2005.

     Facilitated town-hall discussion on Hurricane Katrina

Co-presenter, Teach-In on broader implications of Hurricane Katrina

Elected Social Science Division Representative to Board of Trustees Luncheon, October 6, 2005.

Presented “Liberal Arts Curricula and Intercultural Learning” to Southwestern University Board of Visitors, September 28, 2005.

Assisted in development of Latin American Studies Major (Spring 2004-Spring 2005).

Arranged for visit of Dr. Gina Ulysse to speak at Southwestern University, Spring 2004.

Member, Search Committee, Sociology, Fall 2003

Member, Search Committee, Anthropology, Fall 2003 -Spring 2004.

Arranged for visits of Dr. David Pellow and Crystal Fortwangler to speak at Southwestern in Spring 2003.

Member, Search Committee, Feminist Studies, ’02-‘03

Participant in Southwestern’s Global Partners Project, “Break on Through to the Other Side: Integrating Intercultural Experiences into the Liberal Arts Tradition” 2001-2002

Organizer, Anthropology Major Proposal External Review Fall 2001

Member Mellon Grant Committee (organizing ACS Conversation on Diversity, Conference with Historically Black Colleges and Universities), May - December 2001

Member, Provost Search Committee, April - November 2001

Member African American Enrollment Task Force, February - May 2001. Organized faculty phone calls to admits.

Member, Feminist Studies Committee, Southwestern University, Fall 1998-Spring 2004

Secretary, Social Sciences Division, Fall 2000

Social Science Division Representative on Minority-Scholar-in-Residence Selection Committee, Fall 2000

Founding coordinator, Faculty Caucus, Fall 2000

Member, faculty group concerned with scholarship and research time, Fall 2000

Arranged for visit of Dr. Richard Wilk, October 9, 2000, Global Consumerism and the Environment

Arranged for visit of Jesse Daniel Ames 2000 Lecturer, Dr. Sandra Steingraber, Living Downstream, An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment”

Instrumental in arranging for Southwestern’s joining the Consortium for a Strong Minority Presence in Liberal Arts Institutions, Spring 2000.

Arranged for visit of Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, November 1999. Crossing Borders and Cultures: Transnational Migration, Remittances Investment and the Household among Rural Mexican Migrants

Compiled information for web site for Environmental Studies Program. Southwestern University, Summer 1999

Coordinated Campus Ecological Audit with Drs. Hobgood-Oster and Niemeyer through our environmentally oriented courses, Spring 1999.

Created and submitted a “Bold Proposal for Diversity” to the Southwestern community during the creation of the “2010 plan.” Spring 1999

Assisted with design of Environmental Studies Major (Spring 1999)

Panelist, Diversity's Decline? Hopwood and the Future of Ethnic Representation at Soutwestern. November 11, 1998.

Coordinator, Working Group on Diversity in the Classroom, Southwestern University, Fall 1998

Designed and Submitted Anthropology Major Proposal  (with Dr. Mario Gonzales), Southwestern University, Fall 1998

Languages

Belize Creole (fluent speaker)

Spanish (good reading, some speaking competence);

Portuguese (fair reading competence);

French (some reading competence)

Professional Memberships

American Anthropological Association (AAA), since 1989

Anthropology and Environment Section of the AAA, since 1998

American Society for Environmental History, since 1996

American Ethnological Association, since 1989

 

Last updated 8/09

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