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Faculty Profile

James Ellison

(he/him/his)Associate Professor of Anthropology (2005)

Contact Information

Denny Hall Room 307


A broadly trained cultural anthropologist, Ellison researches political and economic transformations and culture in eastern Africa, focusing on colonialism, socialism, and "neoliberalism." His main fieldwork sites are in Tanzania and Ethiopia. He also co-directs a summer field school in Tanzania to teach anthropological research methods.


  • B.A., Michigan State University, 1987
  • M.A., University of Florida, 1990
  • Ph.D., 1999

2022-2023 Academic Year

Fall 2022

FYSM 100 First-Year Seminar
The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a "community of inquiry" by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will: - Critically analyze information and ideas - Examine issues from multiple perspectives - Discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one's own views, with clarity and reason - Develop discernment, facility and ethical responsibility in using information, and - Create clear academic writing The small group seminar format of this course promotes discussion and interaction among students and their professor. In addition, the professor serves as students' initial academic advisor. This course does not duplicate in content any other course in the curriculum and may not be used to fulfill any other graduation requirement.

ANTH 220 Ethnography
Ethnography is a unique form of research through which we learn about people’s experiences in the world and their own perspectives in their everyday lives. Ethnographic research is done in any context, from rural farms, to urban train systems, from medical tourism networks, to nuclear power plants. This course examines ethnographic scholarship with attention to the methods of research. Students learn about the methods ethnographers employ in their work, how they use them, and the kinds of results those methods yield. Examples draw from ethnographic work on diverse topics and in varied contexts throughout the world. Students develop brief projects using some of the methods that are examined. Prerequisite: 101

ANTH 400 Senior Colloquium
Offered every fall semester, senior anthropology majors will meet to learn about professional career opportunities in anthropology as well as a write a research paper that incorporates primary sources in anthropological writing and/or original anthropological scholarship involving fieldwork or laboratory research.Prerequisite: Research in Anthropology course.