Eleanor R. Townsley

Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Sociology and Director of Nexus; Chair of Sociology and Anthropology

Eleanor Townsley is interested in the role of intellectuals in social life. She teaches a range of courses in social theory, media, gender, and social science research methods. Her recent work considers the rise of media meta-commentary in democratic deliberation, the social reorganization of expertise, and the changing social roles of academics as public intellectuals. Townsley served as associate dean of faculty from 2012 to 2016 and is the faculty director of the Nexus Curriculum to Career program. 


Eleanor Townsley

Felicity Aulino

Five College Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Felicity Aulino is a medical anthropologist trained in public health education and ethnographic filmmaking, with primary area specialization in Thailand and a research focus on care, moral practice, and social change. In her book Rituals of Care: Karmic Politics in an Aging Thailand (2019, Cornell University Press), she explores habituated practices of providing for others, along with the transformative potential of such acts. She is currently writing about belief, local theory of mind, and extraordinary experiences, spiritual and otherwise. Come talk to her about Culture, Health, and Science certificates, anthropology in the Valley, or anything at all!

 Felicity Aulino

Elif Babül

Associate Professor of Anthropology; on leave spring 2021

Elif Babül’s research is informed by her long-term interests in everyday forms of state power and political authority, formation of governmental subjectivities, constitution and contestation of legality and legitimacy, and the interaction between national and transnational mechanisms of governance.  Babül teaches classes in political and legal anthropology, anthropology of human rights, ethnographic research methods and writing, Middle Eastern societies and cultures, and Muslim minorities in Europe and the U.S.

Elif Babul, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

William Girard

Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology

William Girard is a cultural anthropologist who is interested in the ongoing ways that religion shapes critical aspects of social life such as politics, economics, race/ethnicity, and nationalism. His ethnographic research has largely taken place with Pentecostal Christians in a small Honduran town where he lived off and on over the course of a decade. He has published articles on this community’s support for the 2009 Honduran coup as well as their efforts towards economic development. Girard teaches courses on secularism, race and religion, and the anthropology of Latin America.

Joshua Hotaka Roth

Professor of Anthropology

Joshua H. Roth grew up in New York City, the son of two painters. He is the author of Brokered Homeland: Japanese Brazilian Migrants in Japan (Cornell University Press in 2002), winner of the 2004 Book Award in Social Science from the Association for Asian American Studies. His current project focuses on automobility in Japan, and he has written articles on the history of driving manners, directional tone-deafness, and the shared road in Japan’s urban spaces.

Joshua Hotaka Roth

Sabra Thorner

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Sabra Thorner is a cultural anthropologist who has worked with Indigenous Australians for over 15 years, focusing on photography, digital media and archiving as forms of cultural production and social activism. She is broadly interested in visual/media anthropology, digital cultures, anthropology in/of museums, Indigenous Australia and Indigenous art/media worlds, intellectual property and cultural heritage regimes, ethnographic and documentary film, and art and society. She is currently working on her first monograph, on Indigenous photography in Australia, as well as a collaborative edited collection on the revitalization of Aboriginal arts in southeastern Australia.

Photo of Sabra Turner

Matthew C. Watson

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Matthew C. Watson works at the nexus of the anthropology of science and the history of anthropology. His publications have explored the artistic, spiritual, and scientific bases of Maya hieroglyphic decipherment. This research raises questions concerning spirits and cosmology, language ideology, secularism, empire, the politics of science, and ethnographic form. Watson teaches courses on anthropological theory, linguistic anthropology, science studies, the anthropology of religion, and ethnographic writing.


Michelle Pietras

Academic Department Coordinator

Michelle Pietras is the Academic Department Coordinator for the Department of Sociology & Anthropology.  Michelle manages the budget, purchasing, online course catalog submissions, and events, and is located in Porter Hall, Room 102.

Barbara Bunyan