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Micaela di Leonardo

Emerita | Professor in Anthropology

Micaela di Leonardo is a cultural anthropologist with broad interests in social and economic inequality, whether by class, race, gender or sexuality. (Aside from GSS, she is also affiliated with African American Studies and Performance Studies.) Her primary geographic focus is American urban life, but she also works on global political economy. Her current book projects reflect these interrelated interests. The first, The View From Cavallaro’s, is an historical ethnography of New Haven, Connecticut, focusing on race, gender, urban representation and economic restructuring, for which she began fieldwork in New Haven in the late 1980s. She will be finishing that book for the University of Chicago Press, now that Grown Folks Radio,  a study of race, class, gender and American media through the lens of a wildly popular and politically progressive [and yet "invisible" to mainstream media] syndicated black radio show, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, is in press with Oxford University Press.

di Leonardo has published two explicitly feminist anthologies—Gender at the Crossroads of Knowledge: Feminist Anthropology in the Postmodern Era  (California, 1991), and (co-edited with Roger Lancaster) The Gender/Sexuality Reader (Routledge, 1997). Her third [co-edited] anthology, New Landscapes of Global Inequality: Neoliberalism and the Erosion of American Democracy,  (SAR Press, 1998), also incorporates feminist analysis throughout. 

Prof. di Leonardo’s previous publications include two (also feminist) books—Exotics at Home: Anthropologies, Others, American Modernity (Chicago, 1998), and The Varieties of Ethnic Experience (Cornell, 1984). She has also written for The Nation, The Village Voice, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among other publications. Beyond the ACLS, she has received fellowships or grants from the School of Advanced Research, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Wenner-Gren, and the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development. She has received internal grants from both Yale University (Senior Faculty Fellowship, Whitney Center Fellowship) and Northwestern (Senior Faculty Fellowship, Kaplan Center for the Humanities; Fellow, Institute for Policy Research), and was the first holder of the rotating endowed Board of Lady Managers, Columbian Exposition Chair at Northwestern. She was awarded the AAA Anthropology in the Media Award in 1996, American Ethnological Society Honorable Mention for the Best Senior Book, 1998, and the Distinguished Achievement in the Critical Study of North America from SANA (the Society for Anthropology of North America) in 2005. She was a Faculty Fellow at the Northwestern University Institute for Policy Studies, 2009-12. She has served on the editorial boards of Feminist Studies, American Anthropologist, Identities, Critique of Anthropology, and Social Archaeology; has served on the evaluator panel for Wenner-Gren and ACLS; and currently serves on the Northwestern Faculty Senate and the American Ethnologist editorial board. 

di Leonardo gave three papers at the last AAA meetings, all oriented towards the disastrous 2016 elections. She will participate in the American Studies Meetings in Chicago in November, on a roundtable on the new black public sphere; and at the AAA Meetings in Washington DC later that month, on three panels on gender and the election, from the refugee crisis to the Muslim ban, and Illiberal urbanism in the age of Trump.

Muslim ban, and Illiberal urbanism in the age of Trump.

Courses Taught:

  • "Anthropology of Gender" (Anthro 354)
  • "Power and the Public Sphere in America: Inequalities, Information, Activism (Anthro 390)
  • "Political Economy, Race, and Gender: intellectual Histories and Contemporary Research" (Anthro 490)
  • "Politics, Culture, and American Cities" (Anthro 373)
  • "Globalization and Its Discontents"  (Anthro 476)
  • "Critical Americanist Ethnography"
  • "Race/Ethnicity, Class, Gender, Nationalism"
  • How the 99% Live (Anthro 101-6)