Even before graduate school and joining the Hendrix faculty, anthropology professor Dr. Anne Goldberg was training in her field. She just didn’t know it.
Goldberg, a Richmond, Va. native, went to a unique public high school for predominantly low-income, inner-city students. The program featured a college-preparatory curriculum that included non-Western literature and history, along with trips to the Barrier Islands to camp, to New York City to visit the United Nations, and to the Boston area to visit Ivy League colleges. It was successful. All of her classmates went to college.
“I was in the minority for most of my school experience in Richmond,” said Goldberg. “It was a really great experience and wonderful place to go.”
For college, she chose the College of William and Mary, a small public liberal arts institution in Virginia whose student body was more politically conservative.
It was a big switch from her high school experience, but both perspectives were instructive and influential, she said.
“In both experiences I was surrounded by people who were different than me,” she said. “In both, I had to learn how to relate successfully to different people, and I was happy and enjoyed that.”
After an introductory course in cultural anthropology, she found her field of study.
“My experience, in some ways, was why anthropology was a good fit for me,” said Goldberg, who had planned to be a physics major. “I had different interests, but anthropology could incorporate all of them.”
During the summer between her sophomore and junior years, Goldberg and her mother went on a camping trip, visiting national parks in the Southwest. The following summer, she worked for the National Park Service at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico, north of Santa Fe, as a member of a backcountry archaeology survey team.
“I loved that job,” she said, noting how her job included hiking into remote parts, looking for cool archaeology, and recording it.
After graduating in 1991, Goldberg moved to Portland, Ore., with a group of college friends and worked first for a nonprofit environmental and consumer action group before moving to New Mexico to work on an archaeological survey team in Petroglyph National Monument.
After three and a half years working all over the Southwest for the National Park Service, she enrolled in graduate school at Arizona State University in Tempe.
“I loved that job and had a good time, but I knew I didn’t want to do archaeology,” she said. “I loved it, but I was not as passionate about it as I was about social justice issues.”
In New Mexico, a third of Latino students dropped out of high school. From her high school experience, Goldberg knew there were educational programs that engaged people in culture. She decided to pursue applied anthropology and work on education issues in ways that make education better for minorities.
After completely her Ph.D. in 2005, she joined the Hendrix faculty, which had about one anthropology student. Now the program has nearly 50 majors.
When she interviewed, she was told that she was an appealing candidate because she had taught archaeology and cultural anthropology and could do anthropology. She was also told that the department would eventually like to add an anthropologist with a specialty in archaeology.
Goldberg told the faculty, “Have I got a deal for you,” referring to her husband, Dr. Brett Hill, who she first met on an archaeology project and married in 1999. So Hill joined the faculty first as a visiting professor and, after a national search, as a tenure-track faculty member. Goldberg and Hill have a three and a half year old daughter whose name is Zella.
“There is so much interest in the [anthropology] program,” she said. “Odyssey is a big part of that. What we do is very experiential.”
Goldberg has led Odyssey projects in Costa Rica and in the Southwest.
She collaborated with photography professor Maxine Payne on a project that combines oral history and photography. They hope to continue their project on rural women in globalization through work in Arkansas, Tanzania, and Vietnam.
This summer, Goldberg and politics professor Dr. Ian King led eight students on a trip to Chile and Argentina. The trip built upon a course on human rights and social justice in Latin America that the two faculty members co-taught last spring.
In addition to developing courses and engaged learning experiences, Goldberg has sponsored 60 student-initiated Odyssey projects around the globe.
“A lot of what I’ve done is student initiated,” she said.
She also works closely with interdisciplinary majors and is currently a part of the College’s Crossings interdisciplinary project, which is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Along with Payne, English professor Dr. Alex Vernon, and film studies professor Dr. Kristi McKim, she teaches documentary studies.
“I’ve learned so much,” said Goldberg, who developed a new visual anthropology course for Crossings.
She has previously chaired the College’s American Studies and anticipates more involvement in the future in the gender studies program because of a course she developed on social inequality and identity.
“I do a ton of interdisciplinary work,” she said.
But that’s nothing new, she added. In graduate school, she combined anthropology and education with the support of a fellowship with the Spencer Foundation.
“Even then, my work was interdisciplinary,” she said. “Anthropology by nature is very interdisciplinary.”
Goldberg hopes Hendrix will continue to explore the addition of new interdisciplinary programs.
“Latin American studies … That’s something I’d definitely like to see,” she said.
Hendrix also has an opportunity to make interdisciplinary work even stronger, she said.
“We need to think about having more workshops and programs to do good, strong interdisciplinary work,” she said, adding that students could learn interviewing skills and discuss ethical implications of research in various disciplines.
The opportunity to work closely with students and collaborate with faculty from other fields was one of the reasons she wanted to work in an environment like Hendrix, she said.
“I love teaching, and I love teaching introductory courses,” she said. “To me, it’s exciting. It means that you’re hitting the big interests in your field.”
“I enjoy the job of teaching and love that I’m rewarded for doing it well,” she said. “I have a great experience with students because I’m allowed to have that experience.”