Nancy Lutkehaus

Professor of Anthropology and Political Science
Nancy Lutkehaus
Pronouns She / Her / Hers Email Office KAP 348 Office Phone (213) 740-1917

Research & Practice Areas

The art and cultures of Oceania. Gender in Melanesia and East Africa (Kenya in particular). Missionaries in Oceania. Margaret Mead and the history of anthropology.

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • Visual Studies Research Institute, Board of Directors


  • Ph.D. Anthropology, Columbia University, 1/1985
  • B.A. Anthropology, Barnard College / Smith College, 1/1972
  • M.A. Anthropology, Columbia University
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Professor of Anthropology, University of Southern California, 2007-2008

    PostDoctoral Appointments

    • Getty Research Scholar, Getty Research Institute, 2009-2010
    • National Endowment for the Humanities Research Scholar, School of Advanced Research (formerly School of American Research), 1997-1998

    Visiting and Temporary Appointments

    • Visiting Associate Professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan,
    • Visiting Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan, 1992-1993
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Professor Lutkehaus researches Melanesian gender and social organization, political and economic anthropology, religion and symbolic anthropology. Recent research involves the study of women, children, gendered missions, and the maternal behavior of Catholic nuns in Papua New Guinea. In addition to her regional interest in Oceania, she has also begun research on the role of community-based organizations in Kenya concerned with adolescent girls and HIV/AIDS. She is also interested in visual studies, especially in Western representations of Pacific Island peoples and in the display of non-Western art in Western fine art museums.

    Research Keywords

    Melanesian Gender and Social Organization, Political and Economic Anthropology, Symbolic Anthropology, Art and Cultures of Oceania, Visual Culture, Ethnographic and Documentary Film

  • Contracts and Grants Awarded

    • University-Ngo Coalition-Building Initiative (UNCBI) In Nairobi and Eldoret, Kenya to Strengthen the, (American Council of Education/HED), Lutkehaus, Nancy Christine, Kristin Ferguson, Eliz Sanasarian, Grace Dyrness, $125,000, 08/01/2006 – 10/31/2009
    • Nelson A. Rockefeller and the Museum of Primitive Art, (Rockefeller Archive Center), Nancy Lutkehaus, $5,000, 2008-2009

    USC Funding

    • Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences. From Ethnographic Artifact to Object d’Art: Nelson A. Rockefeller, The Metropolitan Museum and the Role of “Primitive Art” in Twenthieth Century American Society: An historical case study of the social, political and cultural factors that transformed ethnographic artifacts into fine art and helped to create a new racially & culturally diverse American identity, $15000, 2008-2009
  • Conference Presentations

    • Camilla Wedgwood’s Manam Island Photographs: Temporal Transformations in Manam Islanders’ Responses to “Our” Archives as “Their” History , Anthropology and PhotographyTalk/Oral Presentation, Royal Anthropological Institute, Invited, British Museum, London, UK, 05/31/2014
    • Lives in Limbo: Living on an Island that’s an Active Volcano , Small Islands in PerilTalk/Oral Presentation, Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania, Invited, Kona, Hawaii, 02/09/2014
    • Rene d’Harnoncourt and the Display of Indigenous Art , The Task of the CuratorTalk/Oral Presentation, Museum Studies Program, Invited, University of California, Santa Cruz, 05/13/2010 – 05/14/2010

    Other Presentations

    • Goethe’s Color Wheel, Fall 2014 Ingaurual Event USC Harmon Polymathic Institute, USC Doheny Memorial Library, 2014-2015
    • From Artifact to Art: The Inevitability of Commodification?, Jensen Memorial Lectures, Frankfurt, Germany, 2012-2013
    • Rene d’Harnoncourt and the Aestheticization of Indigenous Art, Getty Research Institute Seminar, Los Angeles, CA, 2009-2010
    • Discovering the World: Collections, Curiosity and Evolution, College Commons Signature Event, Leavey Library, USC, 2009-2010
  • Book

    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (2008). Margaret Mead: The Making of an American Icon. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
    • Lutkehaus, Nancy Christine, Nancy Lutkehaus and Mary Huber (Ed.). (1999). Gendered Missions: Men and Women in Missionary Discourse and Practice, co-edited with Mary Huber, 2000. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (1995). Zaria’s Fire: Engendered Moments in Manam Ethnography. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 1995. Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic Press.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C., Roscoe, P. (1995). Gender Rituals: Female Initiation in Melanesia. Including Introduction and Gender Metaphors: female rituals as cultural models in Manam, 1995. New York and London: Routledge.
    • Bohm, K., Lutkehaus, N. C. (1983). The Life of Some Island People of New Guinea. Berlin: Reimer Verlag.

    Book Chapters

    • Lutkehaus, N. C.”Rene d’Harnoncourt, 20th Century Culture Broker: Bridging Art History and Anthropology Through the Display of Non-Western Art”.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (2019). Finishing Kapui’s Name: Birth, Death and the Reproduction of Manam Society, PNG. Mortuary Dialogues pp. 135-158. Oxford and New York: Berghahn.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (2016). Finishing Kapui’s Name: Birth, Death and the Reproduction of Manam Society. Mortuary Dialogues: Rites in the Pacific pp. 135-158. New York and London: Berghahn.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (2014). Miguel Covarrubias and the Pageant of the Pacific: The Golden Gate International Exposition and the Idea of the Transpacitic, 1939-1940. Transpacific Studies: Framing an Emerging Field pp. 109-133.. Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (2009). The Curious Case of Non-Western Objects—From “Artifician Curiosities to Objects of Identity: A Discussion about Brigitta Hauser-Schaublin, Captain James Cook and Museums. pp. 12 pgs.. Gottingen: University of Gottingen.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (2007). “In the Way”: Modernity and the New Woman in Papua New Guinea as Catholic Missionary Sister. pp. 146-167. London: Ashgate.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (2005). “Foreword” to Margaret Mead’s Ruth Benedict: A Humanist in Anthropology. 30th Anniversary Edition pp. xix-xli. New York, New York: Columbia University Press.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (2004). Man, A Course of Study: Situating Timothy Asch’s Pedagogical Assumtions About Ethnography Film. Timothy Asch and Ethnographic Film pp. 57-74. London: Harwood Academic Publishers.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (1999). Maternalism Imposed: Women, Children and the Maternal Behavior of Catholic Nuns in Papua New Guinea. Gendered Missions: Women and Men in Missionary Dis pp. 207-235. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C., Cool, J. (1999). Paradigms Lost and Found: The Impact of the New Ethnography on Ethnographic Film. Visible Evidence: The Return of the Real pp. 116-139. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (1996). “Identity Crisis”: Conflicting Images of Chieftainship in Manam, Papua New Guinea. Chieftainship Reconsidered: Essays in Honor of Sir pp. 343-375. London: Athlone Press, London School of Economics Monographs in Anthropology.

    Book Review

    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (2017). Review of Denis Crowdy, “Hearing the Future: The Music and Magic of the Sanguma Band”. Pacific Affairs. pp. 643-645.

    Journal Article

    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (2019). “Drawing as Ethnographic Practice: Miguel Covarrubias’s Balinese Drawings and Sketches as Visual Anthropology”. Anales del Instituto de Investigaciones Esteticas.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (2018). Timothy Asch and the Cambridge School of Ethnographic Film. Decadrages, cinema, a travers champs.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C., Connell, J. (2017). “Environmental Refugees? A Tale of Two Coastal Resettlement Projects in Coastal Papua New Guinea”. Australian Geographer.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C., Connell, J. (2017). “Escaping Zaria’s Fire? The Volcano Resettlement Problem of Manam Island, PNG”. Asia-Pacific Viewpoint.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (2015). Jack London’s Pacific Voyage of Transformation: An Anthropologist Looks at London’s “Cruise of the Snark” (1911). Pacific Studies. Vol. 38 (1-2), pp. 51-74.
    • Lutkehaus, Nancy Christine (Ed.). (2015). Introduction: From Romance to Reality: Representations of Pacific Islands and Islanders. Pacific Studies. Vol. 38 (1-2), pp. 1-13.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (2015). The Bowerbird of Collectors: On Nelson A. Rockefeller and “Collecting the Stuff That Wasn’t in the Metropolitan”. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences. Vol. 42, pp. 125-136.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (2014). Bodily Transformations: The Politics and Art of Men as Pigs and Pigs as Men on Manam Island, Papua New Guinea. Pacific Arts.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (2008). The Society of Divine Word Missionaries: Diverse Sources of Ethnographic and Linguistic Data from the Northeast Coast of New Guinea. Ethnology. Vol. 45 (4)
    • Mattingly, C., Lutkehaus, N. C., Throop, J. (2008). “Introduction” to Special Issue, “Anthropology Meets Psychology: The Role of Athropology in Jerome Bruner’s Cultural Psychology. Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (2008). “Putting Culture” into Cultural Psychology: Anthropology’s Role in the Development of Jerome Bruner’s Cultural Psychology. Ethos: The Journal of the Society of Psychological Anthropology.
    • Lutkehaus, N. C., Mattingly, C., Throop, J. (2008). Anthropology Meets Psychology: The Role of Anthropology in Jerome Bruner’s Cultural Psychology. Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology.


    • Lutkehaus, N. C. (1990). Sepik Heritage: Tradition and Change in Papua New Guinea Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, co-edited with Christian Kaufmann, William Mitchell, Douglas Newton, Lita Osmundsen, and Meinhard Schuster, 1990.
    • Video, “Finishing ‘Apui’s Name”: Death and Mortuary Ritual on Manam Island., 1994-1995
    • USC Raubenheimer Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, , 2020-2021
    • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship Recipient, , 2015-2016
    • Harry Ransom Center for the Humanities Fellowship, 2011/03/01-2011/03/31
    • Residency at the Getty Center for Humanities and Arts, Getty Research Scholar, 2009-2010
    • USC Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award, Award for Book: Margaret Mead: The Making of an American Icon, Spring 2010
    • Rockefeller Fellowship Recipient, Research at Rockefeller Archives Center, 2008-2009
    • Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Member, 2007-2008
    • USC Mellon Mentor Award, 2007-2008
    • USC Center for Excellence in Teaching, Faculty Fellow, Faculty Fellow, 2005/08/01-2008/05/31
    • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship Recipient, Research Scholar at the School of Advanced Research, Santa Fe, 1997-1998
    • USC Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award, For book, Zaria’s Fire: Engendered Moments in Manam Ethnography, 1996-1997
    • Fulbright Award, Doctoral Research Award to Australia, 1977-1978
  • Administrative Appointments

    • Department of Anthropology Graduate Program Advisor, 2014-2015
    • Department of Anthropology Graduate Program Advisor, 2013-2014
    • Chair, Department of Anthropology, 2008-2009
    • Director, Gender Studies Program, 09/01/2004 – 08/15/2007
    • Chair, Gender Studies Program, 09/2001 – 05/2004


    • Member, USC WASC Committee, 2007-2008
    • Member, USC WASC Committee, 2006-2007

    Review Panels

    • IIE Fulbright, National Selection Committee for Australia, 2009-2010
    • USC Visual Studies Graduate Certificate Program, Summer Research Scholarship Selection Committee, 2008-2009
  • Administative Appointment

    • Co-Director, Center for Visual Anthropology, 1995 –
    • Director, Visual Studies Graduate Certificate Program, 2018-2019
    • Interim Chair, Department of Anthropology, 2018-2019
    • Director, Visual Studies Graduate Certificate Program, 2017-2018

    Editorships and Editorial Boards

    • Editor, Visual Anthropology Review, 1994 – 1997