Extracting Heritage

I am an environmental anthropologist in the Social Sciences Department at Michigan Tech.  Before accepting the position at Tech, I wnickias a Postdoctoral Scholar at Stanford University, sponsored by the Stanford Archaeology Center, Department of Anthropology and Woods Institute for the Environment. I hold degrees in anthropology from the University of California Berkeley (BA) and University of Oregon (MS and Ph.D).

My research investigates the sociopolitical contexts of Indigenous landscapes as heritage. Landscapes are not only places of memory and belonging, but also sites of conflict and crises, displacement and loss. My work is multi-sited and global in scope: I have worked in north and central America, northeast Asia, Western Australia, and western Europe. You can learn more about some of these research experiences here.

Fieldwork in Altai Mountains, 2006

I have published on a wide variety of topics. My book, Critical Theory and the Anthropology of Heritage Landscapes, in the Cultural Heritage Studies series at University Press of Florida, will be published in December 2017. This book presents research experiences as an ethnographer, archaeologist, and heritage expert that serve as touchstones to examine the sociopolitical and historical contexts of heritage landscapes. 

Book cover photograph by ROA – a muralist and street artist from Belgium.

My current book project (working title: Extracting Heritage) traces the contested geographies of extractive industries through an examination of case studies from the Pilbara region in Western Australia, the ‘Great Bear Rainforest’ in northern British Columbia, and the ‘Copper Country’ region in the Upper Peninsula region of Michigan. You can learn more about my publications and writings here.

I teach courses including Environmental Anthropology, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Ethnographic Methods, and the Anthropology of Energy and Extraction. I have also taught courses in archaeology and ethnic studies.  I provide a bit more on these experiences and my teaching philosophy here.

You can also follow me on Twitter or see my Academia.edu pages.


Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Michigan Technological University