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Community Togetherness

Sociocultural Anthropology Research Program

A Responsible Anthropology that Matters

As sociocultural anthropologists at McMaster University we are committed to an engaged and relevant anthropology that focuses on issues of public concern, and we maintain a strong critical and theoretical focus on three thematic clusters: democracy, violence, and humanitarian intervention; media, visuality, and art; and a broad range of topics within medical anthropology, including welfare, care, well-being, religion/spirituality, and Indigenous knowledge.


Human Scale

One of our unique and distinctive contributions as sociocultural anthropologists is that through ethnographic and community-engaged research we often build intensive, rich and enduring relationships with the people and peoples with whom we work. This gives us access to “human scale” and Indigenous forms of knowledge and insights that are relatively uncommon within academia. It also creates unique responsibilities and opportunities to make our research and writing relevant and useful to people and organizations outside the university, many of whom are not often beneficiaries of university-based research and may not even be formally organized.

McMaster sociocultural anthropologists have a rich tradition of collegiality and collaboration with one another and with our research participants as intellectual partners.

This includes long-standing relationships with Six Nations, and various capacity-building projects co-created to benefit both communities and learning environments. We bring this ethic of community-engagement and commitment to our research in different parts of the world, including Southeast and East Asia, Europe, Russia and the Americas. As part of these commitments we have developed linkages to Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, the Asian Research Working Group, the Critical Health Research Network, and the Arts-Centered Community-Engaged Social Science Collaboration, among other research initiatives at McMaster and beyond. We also have a long working relationship with the Indigenous Studies program at McMaster, the Indigenous Knowledge Centre at Six Nations Polytechnic, Aboriginal Health Research Network Secretariat and organizations in the wider Hamilton community.


The linkages between academic research and diverse communities and research partners extend into and inform our teaching, making anthropology a relevant and engaged endeavor for our students. Indeed, because we are committed to developing future researchers through both the undergraduate and graduate programs, students play a central role in shaping the intellectual life and direction of the department. If you would like to join our open, multi-vocal conversation and community of research, please get in touch with any of our sociocultural anthropology faculty.


Ellen Badone

Ellen Badone PhD

professor-emeritus, Anthropology

professor-emeritus, Religious Studies
member, Institute on Globalization & the Human Condition

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Cal Biruk PhD

Associate Professor, Anthropology

(905) 525-9140 ext. 24664

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Basit Iqbal Headshot

Basit Iqbal PhD

Assistant Professor, Anthropology

associate-member, Religious Studies

(905) 525-9140 ext. 24283

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Dawn Martin-Hill Headshot

Dawn Martin-Hill PhD

Associate Professor, Anthropology

Associate Professor, Indigenous Studies

(905) 525-9140 ext. 27605

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Karen McGarry Headshot

Karen McGarry PhD

Associate Professor, Anthropology

(905) 525-9140 ext. 23901

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Petra Rethmann

Petra Rethmann PhD

Professor, Anthropology

director-graduate-advisor, Institute on Globalization & the Human Condition

(905) 525-9140 ext. 26259

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Yana Stainova

Yana Stainova PhD

Assistant Professor, Anthropology

(905) 525-9140 ext. 26296

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Kee Yong

Kee Yong PhD

Associate Professor, Anthropology

member, Institute on Globalization & the Human Condition

(905) 525-9140 ext. 23907

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Theses awarded in Sociocultural Anthropology

Saleem, Shahtaj 

2019 Stabilizing the self: Immigrant Labour and Rethinking Precarity

Kirkconnell, Andrew 

2019 “Where Everyone Waddles Like Me”: An examination of the autistic community on Tumblr.com

Karrel, Miriam 

2018 An Exploration of Death Cafes in Canada 


Del Rio, Fiona 

2017 Conceptualizing Climate Activism and Exploring the People’s Climate Movement

Manitowabi, Joshua 

2017 It Sometimes Speaks To Us 


Mayell, Stephanie 

2016 Up-rooted Lives, Deep-rooted Memories: Stress and Resilience among Jamaican Agricultural Workers in Southern Ontario

Da Silva, Stephanie 

2013 “In My Heart I am Portuguese”: Perspectives on Portuguese Migration, Identity and Religion in Hamilton, Ontario 


George, Meghna 

2012 Laughing in Circles: Exploring the Relationship Between Politically Correct Discourses and Stand-Up Comedy in Toronto

Juric, Dorian 

2010 A Treatise on the South Slavic Vila 

Stanley, Daina 

2021  Care in Custody: An Ethnography of Illness and End of Life in Prison 


Juric, Dorian 

2019 Singing the Vila: Supernatural Beings in the Context of their Traditions 


Plett, Rebecca 

2017 In the World and of It: Russian Mennonites and Narratives of Community in Contemporary Canada

Yang, Tian 

2015 Assessing Heritage, Tradition, and Identity:Anthropological Research among the Jurchen People of Wanyan Village 


Lockerbie, Stacy 

2014 Making Motherhood: Exploring Transnational Adoption Practices Between Canada and China  


Sage, Vanessa E. 

2013 Arts in the City: Visions of James Street North, 2005-2011 

Brown, Heather 

2012 Visualizing Uncertainty: Opposition to Islam in the Netherlands Through the Lens of Fitna: The Movie  


Skye, Jairus 

2012 Urban Aboriginal Health: Issues, Culturally Appropriate Solutions and the Embodiment of Self-Determination 


Strachan, Laura 

2012 The Bedouin Know! Using Local Knowledge to Understand the Effects of Development at the Wadi Rum Protected Area in Southern Jordan

Mossman, Kathryn 

2011 Aspirations for Senegal: Exploring International NGO Connections

Geer, Sacha 

2010 Conjuring and Avoiding the “Bad Man”: Narratives of Crime and Fear in Trinidad 

Armstrong, Justin 


2010 Lives Once Lived: ethnography and sense of place in the abandoned and isolated spaces of North America