Extracting Heritage

baird_2018-photI am an environmental anthropologist in the Social Sciences Department at Michigan Tech.  Before accepting the position, I was 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 the University of Oregon (MS and Ph.D.).

My research investigates the sociopolitical contexts of landscapes as heritage. 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 the 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, was 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.

I am working on a new monograph that seeks to locate and trace the contested geographies and connections between heritage and industry. I use three case studies – 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, to examine the ‘work’ of heritage and the implications for policy and communities. 

I teach courses including Environmental Anthropology, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Ethnographic Methods, and the Anthropology of Energy and Extraction. I have also taught classes in archaeology and ethnic studies.

Associate Professor of Anthropology, Michigan Technological University