Assistant Professor of Applied Anthropology


University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
1995, Ph.D. Anthropology
Dissertation title: “Meje-Mangbetu (northeastern Zaire) death compensations as intergroup rites of passage: a structural, cultural, and linguistic study”

1985, M.A. Anthropology

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
1975, A.B. Social Relations

 Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, Dallas, Texas
Dallas, TX 2010 - present

Assistant Professor
Courses taught
AA4370 Cultural Anthropology
AA5340 Ethnographic Research Methods
AA5372 Social & Political Organization
AA5373 Religion & Worldview
AA5375 Culture Change & Minority Cultures
AA5377 Area Studies
SIL International, Dallas, TX 1976 - present

  • 1980–2006 Member of SIL’s Eastern Congo Group (& its predecessors)
  • 1980 Sociolinguistic survey with SIL in Togo, April-August 1980
  • 1980–83 & 1985–89 Linguist-translator with SIL in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Mangbetu language project, including work in phonology, orthography development, grammar, New Testament translation (selections booklets), literacy, & anthropology, for about six years
  • 1988 Staff for SIL’s Africa Orientation Course, January-March 1988
  • 1996–ca. 2002 Africa Area anthropology consultant for SIL, including a consulting job for the International Mission Board’s Amhara team in Ethiopia in 1999
  • 2000–02 & 2008–10 International anthropology consultant for SIL
  • 2012-16 Senior anthropology consultant for SIL
  • Instructor, Grammar I, Dallas, spring 1976
  • Instructor, Field Methods, Washington, summer 1985
  • Anthropology lectures for SIL’s Kenya Safari (eastern Africa orientation course), 1995 & 1998 sessions
  • Matrilineal systems workshop for SIL’s Mozambique Branch, May 1999
  • Teaching staff for the Luke Partnership translator training at Arua, Uganda, & Isiro, DR Congo, 2003 & 2004 workshops
University of Rochester
  • T.A., Human Nature: The Anthropological Perspective—fall 1984
  • Instructor, Introduction to Anthropology—summer 1985
Houghton College, Houghton, New York
  • Guest lecturer, introductory course in cultural anthropology (spring 1991, 1992; also assisted with course design)
Shalom University, Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Guest faculty, introductory course in social & cultural anthropology (October-November 2008)
  • Democratic Republic of Congo (see above under ‘SIL International’)


2013Lynchings in modern Kenya and inequitable access to basic resources: A human rights scandal and a contributing cause. GIAL Special Electronic Publications.
2012Missiology, the witch and the idol.
GIALens 6:2.
Concerning Meegye and Mangbetu’s bilabial trills. In Doris L. Payne and Mechthild Reh (eds.), Advances in Nilo-Saharan Linguistics: Proceedings of the 8th Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloquium, University of Hamburg, August 22–25, 2001,181–189. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.
‘My mother gave birth to me, she didn’t divulge my name’: A Meegye-Mangbetu representation of patrilineal, matrilateral, and affinal relations in the Tabhuazolya tale. Notes on Anthropology 4(1):31–43 [SIL].
“Samenesses”: A key to positive relationships and effective commu­nication. Ethno-info 46:2–5, March [SIL].
The interpretation of consonants with semi-vowel release in Meje (Zaire) stems. In Rottland, Franz, and Lucia N. Omondi (eds.), Proceedings of the Third Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloquium, Kisumu, Kenya, August 4-9, 1986, 181–195. Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag.
‘Here’, ‘there’, ‘yonder’ and beyond with Meje aspect. In Rottland, Franz, and Lucia N. Omondi (eds.), Proceedings of the Third Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloquium, Kisumu, Kenya, August 4-9, 1986, 165–180. Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag.
Papers Presented


2014.Destination: Christian anthropology. Paper read at the 74th annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A., 18-22 March 2014.
2007.Data illustrating case in Mangbetu? Paper read at the 10th Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloquium, FIAP Jean Monnet, Paris, France, 22–24 August 2007.
2006.Transcending postcolonial stereotypes through filmed dilemma tales?: in which the subtitles do let film subjects ‘speak for themselves’. Paper read at the intercongress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, 03–07 December 2006.
2005.Mangbetu tales of Leopard and Azapane: trickster as resistance hero. Paper read at the International Conference on Storytelling and Cultural Identity, Terceira, Azores, Portugal, 27–29 June 2005.
1998.Genesis prologue myth and Judeo-Christian knowledge. Paper read at the 14th Inter­national Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, U.S.A., 26 July–01 August 1998.
1985.Cannibalism as ideological prop: the Mangbetu case. Paper read at the annual meeting of the Northeastern Anthropological Association, Lake Placid, New York, U.S.A., ca. March 1985
Unpublished Papers


2002Film-maker ventriloquism (or, ‘The voice of Oz’) in ethnographic film: when subtitles do not let the natives speak for themselves. Manuscript, 2002.
2002Mangbetu orthography statement, first revision. Manuscript, SIL–Eastern Congo Group, 19 December 2002.
Publications assisted


1987.Abuotubodio, Abule, and Nzila Ongasa. Amehya Nemangbetu: Premier livre de lecture mangbetu (pour lettrés). With Robert McKee. Egbita, Zaire: Projet de traduction biblique en dialectes Mangbetu.


  • Society for Applied Anthropology
  • French—reading, moderate speaking, minimal writing
  • German—minimal reading
  • Lingala (DR Congo)—minimal reading and speaking
  • Mangbetu (DR Congo, Meegye dialect)—analytical, moderate reading, minimal speaking
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Death ritual and compensations
  • Mangbetu linguistics
  • Myth and tale analysis
  • Storytelling for peace-building
  • Use of subtitles in ethnographic film
  • Christian anthropology
  • Lynchings in Kenya