Robert Lavenda grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey and majored in anthropology at Dartmouth College. He received the Ph.D. in anthropology from Indiana University in 1977, specializing in cultural anthropology with interests in symbolic and expressive aspects of human life. His first fieldwork was in Caracas, Venezuela and looked at social organization and social change in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century. Since then, he has done fieldwork in Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Chile, but his major work has been on community festivals in Minnesota (1981-present), and he has published several articles and a bookCorn Fests and Water Carnivals: Creating Community in Minnesotaon the topic. As a result of his work on festivals, he has also published in play theory. Originally, Lavenda’s work in Latin America was urban and historical, but in recent years it has concentrated on intercultural communication and the role of culture in second-language learning.
In 1979, Lavenda took a position at St. Cloud State University and has been there ever since. He is co-chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and has been very active in international initiatives on the campus. He regularly teaches Myth, Magic, and Religion; the Ethnographic Enterprise; and Society and Culture in Latin America, and directs the field school in ethnographic research. But he very much enjoys teaching the introductory four-field course, Anthropology 101. In his view, introductory anthropology should have a central place in any college or university curriculum, and he finds it exciting to work with students new to anthropology.
Lavenda is the coauthor of three textbooks in anthropology. One text, Cultural Anthropology: A Perspective on the Human Condition, is now in its eighth edition, and has been translated into Japanese, Italian, Bulgarian, Vietnamese, and Macedonian.
Anthropology: What Does It Mean to Be Human? With Emily A. Schultz. (2008, Oxford University Press; second edition forthcoming)
Core Concepts in Cultural Anthropology. With Emily A. Schultz. (2000, Mayfield Publishing Company. second edition 2003, third edition 2006; fourth edition 2009; fifth edition forthcoming, McGraw-Hill)
Corn Fests and Water Carnivals: Celebrating Community in Minnesota. With Ronald M. Schmid (photographer). Smithsonian Series in Ethnographic Inquiry, William Merrill and Ivan Karp, series editors. Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. (1997)
Anthropology. With Emily Schultz. (1995, Mayfield Publishing Co. second edition 2007; third edition 2001)
Cultural Anthropology: A Perspective on the Human Condition. With Emily A. Schultz. (1987; second edition 1990, West Publishing Company; third edition 1995, fourth edition 1997; fifth edition 2001, Mayfield Publishing Company; sixth edition 2005, seventh edition 2009, eighth edition, 2012, Oxford University Press)
Articles and Reviews:
Commissioned entries on “Queen contests” and “Festivals.” The Encyclopedia of the Midwest. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, Forthcoming.
Review of Reliving Golgotha: The Passion Play of Iztapalapa. Richard Trexler, Cambridge: Harvard University Press. American Anthropologist 106(4). 2004
Review of Etnologie des joueurs d’échecs. Thierry Wendling. Paris: PUF. Current Anthropology 44(5). 2003.
Rituals. In Encyclopedia of Community. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 2003.
Review of Ordinary Life, Festival Days: Aesthetics in the Midwestern County Fair, by Leslie Prosterman. American Ethnologist 24(3). 1997.
Play. In The Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology, David Levinson and Melvin Ember (eds.). Human Relations Area Files at Yale University. New York: Henry Holt. 1996.
Review of Fiesta, Fe, y Cultura: Celebrations of Faith and Culture in Detroit’s Colonia Mexicana, by Laurie Kay Sommers. American Ethnologist 23(4). 1996.
“It’s Not a Beauty Pageant!”: Hybrid Ideology in Minnesota Community Queen Pageants. In Beauty Queens on the Global Stage. Colleen Ballesteros Cohen, Richard Wilk, and Beverly Stoeltje (eds.). New York and London: Routledge. 1995.
Summer Festivals and Community. Minnesota Cities, 78(9):8-11. 1993
The Traces of Play. Play Theory and Research, 1(1):iii-vii. 1993.
Festivals and the Creation of Public Culture: Whose Voice(s)? In Museums and Communities, Ivan Karp, Christine Kraemer, and Stephen Levine (Eds.). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. Pp.:76104. 1992.
Response to Handelman. Play and Culture, 5(1):2224. 1992.
Community Festivals, Paradox, and the Manipulation of Uncertainty. Play and Culture, 4(2):153168. 1991.
Minnesota Queen Pageants: Play, Fun and Dead Seriousness in a Festive Mode. Journal of American Folklore, 101(400):168175. 1988.
Emily Schultz grew up in Boise, Idaho, majored in French at Mount Holyoke College, and was awarded a Ph.D. in anthropology from Indiana University in 1980. Proud of her training as a four-field anthropologist, she specialized in cultural anthropology. Her dissertation fieldwork in northern Cameroon examined processes of ethnic identity change in the town of Guider. At various times over the last 30 years, she has also lived and worked in Latin America (Venezuela, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Chile).
Her ongoing interest in linguistic anthropology produced a book that compares the theories of the anthropological linguist Benjamin Whorf and the Russian literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin (Dialogue at the Margins, 1990). Her ongoing interest in issues of urbanization and globalization led her to serve (20002004) as associate editor, and then as editor, of the anthropology journal City & Society. Her ongoing interest in anthropological theory led to her current work in the anthropology of science and technology, with a particular focus on issues in contemporary evolutionary theory. Since 2005, she has been collaborating with philosophers of biology who favor expansion of the modern evolutionary synthesis to make room for processes like development and niche construction. This collaborative work is helping her rethink the multi-field connections within North American anthropology, and led to the publication of an article in American Anthropologist in 2009 that critically examines the vexed role that evolutionary theory has played within anthropology since the 1970s (“Resolving the Anti-antievolution Dilemma,”).
Schultz has taught introductory general anthropology and introductory cultural anthropology on a regular basis for most of her career, and enjoys experiencing the excitement of beginning students who first discover the riches multi-field anthropology has to offer. She has also regularly teaches introductory linguistic anthropology, which has now become a required course in the anthropology major at St. Cloud State University. Other courses Schultz regularly offers include the anthropology of globalization, the anthropology of sex and gender, and the anthropology of food. She developed a new course on the anthropology of science and technology, and has occasionally taught courses on Society and Culture in Latin America and Society and Culture in Africa.
Schultz is also the coauthor (with Robert Lavenda) of three textbooks in anthropology: two are introductions to cultural anthropology, and the third is an introduction to general anthropology. One of these texts, Cultural Anthropology: A Perspective on the Human Condition is now in its eighth edition, and has been translated in Japanese, Italian, Bulgarian, Vietnamese, and Macedonian. Schultz and Lavenda have been married to each other since 1974 and have two adult children.
Selected Publications and Papers: