Raised in the small town of Mishicot, Wisconsin, I headed to Madison to study international relations and business at the University of Wisconsin. After graduation, I joined the Peace Corps and advised and audited village credit unions in the beautiful highlands of Northwest Province, Cameroon. This experience turned my interests to the study of culture, and after working a couple years as a corporate financial analyst in Chicago, I began graduate studies in cultural anthropology. I returned to Cameroon for dissertation research on the huge “death celebrations” I had witnessed as a volunteer. However, I have researched and written on various topics, involving diverse subcultures and activities in the US and internationally.
My writing has found a broad audience. While still in graduate school, my article on Star Trek fans in the journal Sociology of Religion was featured in the Washington Post, and I was an hour-long guest on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” and made other media appearances about its popularity among fans. I have appeared on National Geographic television and on CNN.com to help explain funeral rites in Africa, and discussed the social implications of video gaming on the radio. More recently, I have turned my attention specifically to lifestyle/subculture diversity and its connection to inequality, and have also undertaken research, along with my wife Ines, on how nonprofits help the poor.
What ties this all together is an interest in the varied things people do, why we do them, and the implications of our life patterns. This is culminating in the book project on diversity and inequality.
After living and teaching in the Midwest for most of my life, we have recently moved to the Boston area, where my wife Ines teaches at Gordon College. We have three boys.