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Friday, October 26, 2012



BRADFORD, Pa. – A new book co-edited by Dr. William Schumann III, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, examines the culture of government.

“Governing Cultures: Anthropological Perspectives on Political Labor, Power and Government” is a collection of essays edited by Schumann and Kendra Coulter, assistant professor in the Centre for Labour Studies at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.

The two met at the 2008 meeting of the Canadian Anthropology Society, where a panel discussion about the culture of government brought about the idea for the book.

William Schuman

Schumann and Coulter selected a broad range of essays from different disciplines and covering a variety of worldwide geography and time periods, including late 20th century Mexico, 1930s and ’40s Ecuador, and modern Alberta, Canada. The essays focus less on the culture of politics and more on the culture of everyday bureaucracies.

In addition to editing the essays with Coulter, Schumann contributed an essay about identity politics involved in governing the National Assembly for Wales.

The book has received favorable reviews.

Book Cover
Catherine Kingfisher, a professor of anthropology at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, called it “a groundbreaking collection of innovative studies of the complicated doing of government” and “essential reading for anyone – in anthropology, sociology, geography, political science, or policy science – interested in productions and relations of labor, power and meaning in government.”

Schumann said the book would soon be available in paperback as well as hardback.

Now in his third year of teaching at Pitt-Bradford, Schumann’s interests include the economic development of Wales in Great Britain and Appalachia in the United States. He pursues studies in anthropological and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of government, democracy and civil society, and political and cultural change in Wales, among other interests.

This is Schumann’s second book. His first, “Toward an Anthropology of Government: Democratic Transformations and Nation Building in Wales,” was published in 2009.

He lives in Bradford with his wife, Dr. Jessie Blackburn, assistant professor of English, and their two sons.

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