Sociology and Anthropology

Heather McIlvaine-Newsad, Professor of Anthropology

"The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit." Wade Davis

Research Interests

My research focuses on collaborative action for sustainability.

My goal is to understand biological and cultural diversity and the forces that threaten both. My research explores the conditions under which individuals come together as groups to protect what they value — whether it is a place, a language, a cultural tradition or a way of life. As an anthropologist, I operate in the public sphere, making the lessons of anthropology accessible and meaningful for all. Whether I am writing a commentary for my local Public Radio station, making teaching videos, or taking a group of students abroad, I try to live the words of Ruth Benedict who wrote that the purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for diversity.

To view my CV, please go to my personal homepage.


  • Ph.D., Cultural Anthropology, University of Florida, 2000
  • M.A., Latin American Studies, Ohio University, 1994
  • B.A., German, Denison University, 1990

Teaching Areas

Cultural Anthropology, Ethnography Research Methods, Gender, Environmental Anthropology, Food Systems, Disaster Anthropology, Germany, India, Puerto Rico, United States.


  • ANTH 110: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 180 - Cannabis Culture: Anthropological Study of Cannabis
  • ANTH 201: Culture Regions (India)
  • ANTH 205 – From Magic Mushrooms to Big Pharma
  • ANTH 249: Native North American Cultures
  • ANTH 305: Applied Anthropological Methods
  • ANTH 315: Gender & Anthropology
  • ANTH 324: Religion, Magic & Shamanism
  • ANTH 379/670G: Study Abroad (Germany, India, Puerto Rico)
  • ANTH 395: Gender, Race & the Environment
  • ANTH 415G: Environmental Anthropology
  • ANTH 420G: Cultural Feast
  • ANTH 425G: Culture and Catastrophe

Contact Info

Office: Morgan Hall 408
Phone: (309) 298-1056

Dr. Heather McIllvane-Newsad