Greg Beckett joining Department of Anthropology

May 17, 2018

Greg Beckett, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology

Story by Rob Rombouts

Greg Beckett is joining the Department of Anthropology as an Assistant Professor.

Beckett studies crises, disaster and trauma, from the standpoint of moral experience.

“I am interested in how people make sense of exceptional events and also in the ethical and political relationships that emerge in and around responses to crisis, especially in forms of humanitarian intervention,” said Beckett.

Beckett focuses on the Caribbean, specifically Haiti, where he has worked for about fifteen years.
In a recent article, “A Dog’s Life: Suffering Humanitarianism in Port-au-Prince, Haiti,” published in American Anthropologist in 2017, Beckett explored how recipients of aid, and aid workers, both used the figure of the street dog to talk about the moral experience of people affected by the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

Beckett has also recently completed a book manuscript called How Crisis Feels: Living and Dying in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Drawing on over a decade of research, the book “shows how people navigate the ruins of ecological devastation, economic collapse, political upheaval, violence, and humanitarian disasters,” said Beckett. The book will be published by the University of California Press in February 2019.

Beckett completed his PhD at the University of Chicago, and before that completed his BA and MA in Anthropology at Western.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Anthropology Department at Western. My interest in anthropology began here and as an alum of the department, I know firsthand how excellent the program is,” said Beckett. “I am delighted to be returning and to be joining a department that is committed to excellence in both teaching and research.”