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Faculty

Sherry B. Ortner


Distinguished Professor


Contact Information

Email    sortner@anthro.ucla.edu
Office  364 Haines
Phone  310-825-5447
Sherry B. Ortner is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at UCLA.

She received her A.B. from Bryn Mawr College, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.  Before coming to UCLA in 2004, she taught at Sarah Lawrence College, the University of Michigan, the University of California, Berkeley, and Columbia University. She has received numerous grants and fellowships, including awards from the National Science Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.  She has done extensive fieldwork with the Sherpas of Nepal, on religion, politics, and the Sherpas’ involvement in Himalayan mountaineering.  Her final book on the Sherpas, Life and Death on Mt. Everest, was awarded the J.I. Staley prize for the best anthropology book of 2004.

In the early ‘90s, Ortner switched her research to the United States.  Her first project was on the meanings and workings of social class in the United States, using the members of her own high school graduating class as her ethnographic subjects. Her second American project looks at the world of independent filmmaking, and the dark view of American society that emerges through the lens of independent film.  She also publishes regularly in the areas of cultural theory and feminist theory.  She has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been awarded the Retzius Medal of the Society of Anthropology and Geography of Sweden.

Degrees

Ph.D., University of Chicago (1970)

Selected Publications

2013. Not Hollywood: Independent Film at the Twilight of the American Dream. Duke University Press. 

2006. Anthropology and Social Theory: Culture, Power, and the Acting Subject. Duke University Press. 

2003. New Jersey Dreaming: Capital, Culture, and the Class of ’58. Duke University Press 

1999 Life and Death on Mount Everest: Sherpas and Himalayan Mountaineering. Princeton University Press. 

1999 (ed.) The Fate of “Culture”: Geertz and Beyond. University of California Press. 

1996 Making Gender: The Politics and Erotics of Culture. Beacon Press. 

1994 Culture/Power/History: A Reader in Contemporary Social Theory (co-edited with N.B. Dirks and G. Eley), Princeton University Press.

Research

Critical cultural and social theory, including feminist theory; late capitalism in the US and globally; contemporary American culture in the wider world; theory and ethnography of media; Hollywood and the indie film scene

Current Courses by Term

2018 Winter Quarter

Core Seminar: Sociocultural Anthropology -- Sociocultural Systems and Ethnography, Anthropology at Mid-Century

Previous Courses by Term

2017 Spring Quarter

Core Seminar: Sociocultural Anthropology -- Scientific and Interpretive Frameworks in Contemporary Anthropology

2016 Fall Quarter

Selected Topics in Social Anthropology

2016 Winter Quarter

Study of Social Systems

2015 Spring Quarter

Selected Topics in Social Anthropology

2015 Winter Quarter

Study of Social Systems

2014 Fall Quarter

Selected Topics in Social Anthropology

2014 Spring Quarter

Selected Topics in Anthropology

2014 Winter Quarter

Study of Social Systems

2013 Fall Quarter

Conceptualizing Anthropological Research

2013 Winter Quarter

Study of Social Systems

2012 Fall Quarter

Conceptualizing Anthropological Research

Practice Theory and Beyond

2012 Spring Quarter

Selected Topics in Anthropology

Practice and Ethics of Ethnographic Fieldwork

2012 Winter Quarter

Study of Social Systems

Selected Topics in Anthropology

2011 Fall Quarter

Core Seminar: Sociocultural Anthropology -- Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Anthropology

2011 Winter Quarter

Study of Social Systems

2010 Fall Quarter

Core Seminar: Sociocultural Anthropology -- Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Anthropology

Practice Theory and Beyond

2010 Winter Quarter

Study of Social Systems

Selected Topics in Anthropology

2009 Spring Quarter

Selected Topics in Cultural Anthropology

Selected Topics in Anthropology

2009 Winter Quarter

Study of Social Systems

2008 Spring Quarter

Selected Topics in Anthropology

2008 Winter Quarter

Critical Social Theory

2007 Spring Quarter

Critical Social Theory

2006 Spring Quarter

Critical Social Theory

2005 Spring Quarter

Selected Topics in Cultural Anthropology

Previous Courses by Course

ANTHRO 203C
Core Seminar: Sociocultural Anthropology -- Scientific and Interpretive Frameworks in Contemporary Anthropology

2017 Spring Quarter

ANTHRO 250
Selected Topics in Social Anthropology

2016 Fall Quarter

2015 Spring Quarter

2014 Fall Quarter

ANTHRO 150
Study of Social Systems

2016 Winter Quarter

2015 Winter Quarter

2014 Winter Quarter

2013 Winter Quarter

2012 Winter Quarter

2011 Winter Quarter

2010 Winter Quarter

2009 Winter Quarter

ANTHRO 297
Selected Topics in Anthropology

2014 Spring Quarter

2012 Spring Quarter

2012 Winter Quarter

2010 Winter Quarter

2009 Spring Quarter

2008 Spring Quarter

ANTHRO 200
Conceptualizing Anthropological Research

2013 Fall Quarter

2012 Fall Quarter

ANTHRO 230P
Practice Theory and Beyond

2012 Fall Quarter

2010 Fall Quarter

HNRS 133
Practice and Ethics of Ethnographic Fieldwork

2012 Spring Quarter

ANTHRO 203A
Core Seminar: Sociocultural Anthropology -- Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Anthropology

2011 Fall Quarter

2010 Fall Quarter

ANTHRO 137
Selected Topics in Cultural Anthropology

2009 Spring Quarter

2005 Spring Quarter

ANTHRO 181
Critical Social Theory

2008 Winter Quarter

2007 Spring Quarter

2006 Spring Quarter