Emily Zeamer

Associate Professor (Teaching) of Anthropology
Email zeamer@usc.edu Office GFS 120


Emily Zeamer is an anthropologist who is passionate about teaching, and about using anthropology to investigate the ways that humans make and share knowledge, interact with the material world, and grapple with ethical questions.

Her teaching philosophy emphasizes training students to become anthropological thinkers by using the theories and research methods of anthropology to see the world with new eyes. How are social differences constructed, negotiated, and reimagined? What is the relationship between people’s sense of time, social life, and inner experience? How do diverse peoples confront the promise and challenge of modernity, including technological innovation, urbanization, and political change?

Emily earned her PHD in Social Anthropology at Harvard University, with a dissertation on Buddhist ethics, everyday practice, and modern change in contemporary urban Thailand. Her academic interests include the anthropological study of knowledge and the senses, comparative modernities, religion and secularism, and the history and theory of ethnographic film and media.

She has previously worked as a freelance research anthropologist, using ethnographic field research methods to study market and community dynamics; as a grants administrator in higher education; and a communications coordinator for a human rights organization.


  • Ph.D. Social Anthropology, Harvard University, 11/2008
  • B.A. English Literature, Haverford College
  • Research Keywords

    •Anthropology of religion, with a focus on contemporary Theravada Buddhism
    •Globalization and comparative modernities
    •Material cultures, including the intersection of technology and social experience
    •Social & cultural history of early 19th century U.S.