Anthropology Department

Dr. William Loker

Cultural Anthropology


B.A., 1976, Rutgers University
M.A., 1981, University of Colorado, Boulder
Ph.D., 1986, University of Colorado, Boulder

Research Interests

My research interests reflect my long-term professional evolution as an anthropologist and a member of Chico State’s academic community. I am an applied cultural anthropologist – which means that I try to use my anthropological training to better understand and actively change the sociocultural surroundings for the better.

My most recent work has focused on the institutional context of CSU, Chico, and particularly fostering the success of our increasingly diverse student body. This work has been implemented through my service as Dean of Undergraduate Education and (until March 2018) Interim Vice Provost for Academic Programs. These positions enabled me to work on curricular change across the university, including especially the General Education Program, working with valued colleagues in the Chico Student Success Center, First-Year Experience Program, the Honors Program, and the Office of Civic Engagement. This work is informed by viewing the university as a “loosely coupled” organization/ecosystem with complex, but manageable, social, intellectual, and budgetary relationships. Placing student success at the center of my work informed my work in this domain. I was privileged to work with outstanding professionals such as Gary McMahon, John Mahoney, Susan Roll, Ellie Ertle, and especially Thia Wolf.

Prior to my work as an academic administrator, my focus has been on the political ecology of rural development in Latin America. My most extensive fieldwork has been in Central America, especially Honduras. I did my dissertation research in the El Cajon region of central Honduras in the early 1980s, continued that work in the mid-1990s, and started a new research project in the Copan Valley in the early 2000s. In the late 1980s, I did a two-year post-doc on frontier expansion in the Peruvian Amazon with the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (Cali, Colombia), which was later extended through work with the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, DC.

Please see my cv for publications associated with this work.

Courses Taught

ANTH 113: Human Cultural Diversity
ANTH 116: Power, Violence, and Inequality
ANTH 140: Magic, Witchcraft, and religion
ANTH 167/367: Indigenous People of Mesoamerica
ANTH 303: Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 340: Anthropology of Food
ANTH 485: Formal Methods in Anthropology
ANTH 495: Proseminar in Applied Anthropology
ANTH 496: Proseminar in the History of Theory and Methods in Anthropology
ANTH 600: Core Seminar in Anthropology
ANTH 603: Seminar in Cultural Anthropology

Selected Publications

2004 Loker, W.
Changing Places: environment, development and social change in rural Honduras. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Portrait of Dr. William Loker