Robert J. Foster
Professor and Chair
Thomas P. Gibson
Anthropologists in Other Departments
Noelle C. Andrus
Nancy Fried Foster
Director of Anthropological Research
Robert J. Foster
Professor and Chair
Professor of Visual and Cultural Studies
Office: Lattimore 436, Telephone: (585) 275-8741
Professor Foster received his M.A. from Columbia University, his Diploma in Social Anthropology from Oxford University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Before coming to Rochester, he taught in The College of the University of Chicago as a William Rainey Harper Postdoctoral Instructor. Here at Rochester, he was a finalist for the Student Association's Professor of the Year Award in 1993; he was nominated again in 1998 and 2002. He is a core faculty member in the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies.
Tanga Islands, Papua New Guinea, 1992
Prof. Foster did intensive field research in the Tanga Islands, Papua New Guinea in 1984-85 and 1992; he visited most recently in 2002 with his 14 year-old son, Andrew. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University in 1991-92 and 1995. In 1997, he began to study commercial advertising and soft drink consumption in Port Moresby, the capital city of Papua New Guinea. His current research interests include nationalism, globalization, mass media, material culture and mass consumption. His research has been supported by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the Australian-American Educational Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Spencer Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
B.A. (Hons.), Anthropology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
Honors Thesis: "Exchange, Ritual, and Identity among the Maring of Papua New Guinea."
M.A., Anthropology, Columbia University, New York, New York.
M.A. Paper: "Hierarchy and Value: The Organization of Mehinaku Ideology."
1980-1981 Diploma in Social Anthropology, University of Oxford, Oxford, England.
Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
Thesis: "Social Reproduction and Value in a New Ireland Society, Tanga Islands, Papua New Guinea."
List of Current Courses
ANT 306: Advanced Topic Seminar: The Corporation
List of Past Courses
ANT 101: Cultural Anthropology
ANT 202: Modern Social Theory: Key Texts and Issues
ANT 204: Ethnographic Themes
ANT 205: Theories and Debates in Anthropology
ANT 226: Culture and Consumption
ANT 266: Global Culture
ANT 292: Senior Seminar
Links to Previous Courses and Coursework
Marlboro: Culture and Historical Perspectives on Cigarette Consumption
ANT 226, 2001
Senior Seminar, ANT 292
- Niagara Falls
ANT 226, 1997
Chapters In Books
|2006||"Tracking Globalization: Commodities and Value in Motion." In The Sage Handbook of Material Culture. Eds. C. Tilley et. al. London: Sage. Pp. 285-302.|
|2005||"Afterword: Frustrating Modernity in Melanesia." In The Making of Global and Local Modernities in Melanesia: Humiliation, Transformation and the Nature of Cultural Change. J. Robbins and H. Wardlow, (eds.). U.K.:Ashgate Publishing. pp. 207-216.|
|2002||"Bargains with Modernity in Papua New Guinea and Elsewhere." In Critically Modern: Alterities, Alternatives, Anthropologies. B. Knauft, (ed.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press. pp. 57-81.|
|2001||"Oceania, sociocultural overviews: Melanesia." International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Oxford: Elsevier Science Limited.|
|2001||"Unvarnished Truths: Maslyn Williams and Australian Government Film in Papua and New Guinea." In N. MacPherson, (ed.) In Colonial New Guinea. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 64-81.|
|1999||"In God We Trust? The Legitimacy of Melanesian Currencies." In J. Robbins and D. Akin, (eds.) Money and Modernity: State and Local Currencies in Melanesia. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 214-231.|
|1998||"Your Money, Our Money, the Government's Money: Finance and Fetishism in Melanesia." In Patricia Spyer (ed.) Border Fetishisms: Material Objects in Unstable Places. New York: Routledge. pp. 60-90.|
|1996||"State Ritual: Ethnographic Notes on Voting in the Tanga Islands, Namatanai Electorate, New Ireland Province, June, 1992." In Yaw Saffu (ed.) The 1992 Papua New Guinea Election: Change and Continuity in Electoral Politics. Canberra: Department of Political and Social Change, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University. pp. 144-167.|
|1995||"Introduction: The Work of Nation Making." In Robert Foster (ed.) Nation Making: Emergent Identities in Postcolonial Melanesia.|
|1995||"Nation Making and Print Advertisements in Papua New Guinea." In Robert Foster (ed.) Nation-Making: Emergent Identities in Postcolonial Melanesia. (Reprinted in Advertising and Society Review, Issue 1, 2000; Reprinted in Consumption: Critical Concepts in the Social Sciences. Daniel Miller, ed. London: Routledge, 2001; Reprinted in Globalization and Culture Change in the Pacific Islands. Victoria Lockwood, ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004.)|
|1993||"Dangerous Circulation and Revelatory Display: Exchange Practices in a New Ireland Society." In Jane Fajans (ed.) Exchanging Products: Producing Exchange. Sydney: Oceania Monograph Series, No. 43, pp. 15-31.|
|2005||"Consumer Citizenship, Nationalism, and Neoliberal Globalization in Turkey: The Advertising Launch of Cola Turka" (Derya Özkan and Robert Foster) Advertising & Society Review 6:3.|
|2005||"Commodity Futures: Labor, Love and Value." Anthropology Today 21 (4): 8-12.|
|2005||"Negotiating Globalization: Contemporary Pacific Perspectives." In M. Kaplan, ed. Outside Gods, Foreign Powers: Making Local History with Global Means in the Pacific, Special Issue, Ethnohistory 52(1):167-77.|
|2003||Comment. "The Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Exchange in Precolonial and Colonial Roviana: Gifts, Commodities and Inalienable Possessions" by S. Aswani and P. Sheppard. Current Anthropology 44.|
|2002||"Boys and Their Trading Cards." In Consumers, 1e. Eric J. Arnould, Linda Price, George Zinkhan. Boston: McGraw-Hill, p. 682. (Excerpt from Foster and Foster 1994; see Papers Presented).|
|2002||"Bargains with Modernity in Papua New Guinea and Elsewhere." Anthropological Theory 2(2):233-251.|
|2001||Interview with Myra Stark, Director of Knowledge Management and Consumer Insights, Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising. Advertising and Society Review (2)2.|
|1999||"The Commercial Construction of 'New' Nations." Journal of Material Culture 4(3):263-282|
|1999||"TV Talk in Papua New Guinea: A Search for Policy in a Weak State." Pacific Journalism Review 5 (1):53-78, November 1998/March 1999.|
|1999||"Melanesianist Anthropology in the Era of Globalization." The Contemporary Pacific. Vol 11 (1):140-159, February 1999.|
|1996/97||"Commercial Mass Media in Papua New Guinea: Notes on Agency, Bodies, and Commodity Consumption." Visual Anthropology Review 12(2):1-17.|
|1992||"Commoditization and the Emergence of Kastam as a Cultural Category: A New Ireland Case in Comparative Perspective." In M. Jolly and N. Thomas (eds.) The Politics of Tradition in the South Pacific, Special Issue, Oceania 62(4): 284-94.|
|1992||"Take Care of Public Telephones: Moral Education and Nation-State Formation in Papua New Guinea." Public Culture 4(2): 31-45.|
|1991||"Making National Cultures in the Global Ecumene." Annual Review of Anthropology 20: 235-60. (Chinese translation in Bulletin of Anthropological and Folkloric Research, Institute of Sociology and Anthropology, Peking University, Issues 26-27, September 1996, Beijing, trans. by Yue Mei.)|
|1990||"Nurture and Force-feeding: Mortuary Feasting and the Construction of Collective Individuals in a New Ireland Society." American Ethnologist 17(3): 431-448.|
|1990||"Value Without Equivalence: Exchange and Replacement in a Melanesian Society." Man (N.S.) 25(1): 54-69.|
|1987||"Thick Beyond Description: Ethnography and Culture as Trope." Review Article on Asiwinarong: Ethos, Image, and Social Power among the Usen Barok of New Ireland, and Symbols That Stand for Themselves by Roy Wagner. Oceania 58(2): 148-156.|
|1987||"Komine and Tanga: A Note on Writing the History of German New Guinea." Journal of Pacific History 12(1): 56-64.|
|1985||"Production and Value in the Enga Tee." Oceania 55(3): 182-196.|
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