Susan Rodgers


Sociology and Anthropology

Professor Emerita, Anthropology
Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Society
Ph.D., University of Chicago

Fields: anthropology of literature, print literacies, anthropology of art and museums, Indonesia, Sumatra 

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Office Phone: 508-793-3067
Office: Beaven 227
PO Box: 86A
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Susan Rodgers received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of  Chicago in 1978, after conducting two and  a  half years of fieldwork in Sumatra,  Indonesia, on issues of ethnic identity construction, ritual oratory, indigenous print literatures and literacies, and minority/state relations.  She taught at Ohio University from 1978 to 1989, when she came to Holy Cross to help establish an anthropology  program.  She has returned to Indonesia numerous times for field research, to   explore   issues of state power and indigenous arts.  Translating modern Indonesian   print literature from the two languages she uses in fieldwork (Indonesian and Angkola  Batak) is a special interest.  Prof. Rodgers has also guest curated museum exhibitions on Indonesian arts: “Power and Gold: Jewelry from Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines” for the Musee Barbier-Mueller, the Asia Society, and the Smithsonian Institution Travelling Exhibition Service, in 1985-90, and four Indonesian textile exhibitions for Holy Cross’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery   (   The two most recent of these were  “Gold Cloths of Sumatra: Indonesia’s Songkets from Ceremony to Commodity” in 2007 and "Transnational Ikat: An Asian Textile on the Move.  Among her recent books are Print, Poetics, and Politics: A Sumatran Epic in the Colonial Indies and New Order Indonesia (2005, Leiden, the Netherlands: KITLV   Press); Practicing Catholic: Ritual, Body, and Contestation in Catholic Faith edited by Bruce T. Morrill, S.J., Joanna Ziegler, and Susan Rodgers (2006, New York: Palgrave Macmillan); and Gold Cloths of Sumatra: Indonesia’s Songkets from Ceremony to Commodity, by Susan Rodgers, Anne Summerfield, and John   Summerfield (2007, Worcester, MA: Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art   Gallery, and Leiden, the Netherlands: KITLV Press).

Susan Rodgers teaches Anthropology 101, the basic introductory class, and courses on such topics as "Food, Body, Power" (ANTH 135) “The Imagined Body”   (ANTH 256), “Genders and Sexualities in Cross-Cultural Perspective” (ANTH 255), “Anthropology of Religion” (ANTH 262), “Art and Power in Asia” (ANTH 274), and the ethnographic fieldwork seminar (ANTH 310). She particularly enjoys conducting joint fieldwork in Asia with students.



Sample Publications

KITLV PressPalgrave MacmillanKITLV Press
PrestelUniveristy of ArizonaUniversity of Wisconsin
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