Anthropology Faculty with President de la Torre


Our department has eleven core faculty and a number of lecturers that cover the broad spectrum of anthropology. With a regional focus on the Pacific Rim, our anthropologists work locally here in San Diego and southern California, as well as internationally in Mexico (Baja California, Oaxaca, and Campeche), the Solomon Islands, and Indonesia.

Fall 2019 Office Hours - Coming soon

Tenured & Tenure-Track Faculty

Todd Braje

Dr. Todd Braje
Professor & Interim Graduate Advisor
Interests: Marine Historical Ecology; Coastal Archaeology

Matthew Lauer

Dr. Matthew Lauer
Professor & Director, Sustainability Program
Interests: Environmental Anthropology

Seth W. Mallios

Dr. Seth W. Mallios
Professor & Director, South Coastal Information Center
Interests: Historical Archaeology, Economic Anthropology

Nicole Mathwich

Dr. Nicole Mathwich
Assistant Professor
Interests: Archaeology, Columbian Exchange

Arion T. Mayes

Dr. Arion T. Mayes
Associate Professor
Interests: Bioarchaeology, Dental Anthropology

Ramona L. Pérez

Dr. Ramona L. Pérez
Professor & Director, Center for Latin American Studies
Interests: Food and Nutrition, Migration and Identity

Erin P. Riley

Dr. Erin P. Riley
Interests: Ethnoprimatology, Environmental Anthropology

Erika Robb Larkins

Dr. Erika Robb Larkins
Associate Professor & Director Center for Brazilian Studies
Interests: Violence and inequality in urban settings, Brazil

Casey Roulette

Dr. Casey Roulette
Assistant Professor
Interests: Evolutionary Anthropology; Human Biology

Elisa Sobo

Dr. Elisa Sobo
Professor & Department Chair
Interests: Medical Anthropology, Anthropology of Childhood

Isaac Ullah

Dr. Isaac Ullah
Associate Professor & Undergraduate Advisor
Interests: Computational Archaeology, Social-Ecological Systems

Lecturers & Associated Faculty (Fall 2019)

Trudi AndresTrudi Andres
Office: AL-459
Phone: (619) 594-4175
Email: [email protected]

Shannon B. Black Shannon B. Black 
Office: AL-411
Phone: (619) 594-5643
Email: [email protected]

Olivia Chilcote

Olivia Chilcote, Ph.D.
Office: AL-327
Phone: (619) 594-6991
Email: [email protected]

Corrina GuentherCorrina Guenther
Office:  AL-411
Phone: (619) 594-5643
Email: [email protected]

Cheryl HintonCheryl Hinton
Office: AL-459
Phone: (619) 594-4175
Email: [email protected]

placeholder for headshotDavid Kamper, Ph.D.
Office: AL-331B
Phone: (619) 594-6991
Email: [email protected]

Jocelyn KillmerJocelyn Killmer, Ph.D.
Office: AL-467 
Phone: None
Email: [email protected]

Sam KobariSam D. Kobari
Office: AL-474 
Phone: (619) 594-6480
Email: [email protected]

Jaime LennoxJaime Lennox
Office: AL-482
Phone: (619) 594-4575
Email: [email protected]

Savanna SchuermannSavanna Schuermann
Office: AL-478
Phone: (619) 594-6189
Email: [email protected]

Yale StromYale Strom
Office: AL-627
Phone: (619) 594-2723
Email: [email protected]

Drew ThomasesDrew Thomases, Ph.D.
Office: AL-627
Phone: (619) 594-2723
Email: [email protected]


Iris IslaIris Isla
Administrative Coordinator
Office: AL-448
Phone: (619) 594-8450
Email: [email protected]

Featured Students

Anthropology speaks to me because, at its core, it is about empathy and human connection. Take archaeology, for instance. I am often astounded by the age, magnitude, or importance of an archaeological site or artifact, but it is the fingerprint in the clay, the snarky comment on a page’s margin, or the notches on a door-frame that make me stop and think. These are not grand monuments or feats of human achievement; they are just human. These tiny details of life tie people together as individuals through time and space. Anthropology aids us in connecting with people from the past to the present, from the other side of the world to right next to you. This connection is imperative. We, and the world, are all the better when we can empathize with people who are unlike ourselves.
I love to travel and to learn from the people in other cultures. A deep appreciation for other perspectives was instilled in me from an early age because I went to a Waldorf school from age 5 through to high school graduation. Even so, it wasn’t until I took an anthropology class on magic, witchcraft, and religion that I saw anthropology as a pathway that would feed my curiosity about and deepen my understanding of humankind. The breadth of the anthropology curriculum at SDSU allows for a variety of career paths: I intend to pursue a business of my own but believe that the warmth, empathy, and true interest in humanity cultivated in SDSU’s anthropology program will serve me well in any career I may later choose.
Anthropology is a great major because of the tools it provides us as we approach sensitive issues, including gender, race, and many more hot topics—not just out in ‘the field,’ but also in our everyday life. Anthropology found me through my work photographing the local jazz music scene. The stories I heard opened my eyes to to the value of an ethnographic approach to this cultural arena. My understanding of culture, and the different forces that help form it, has really grown here at SDSU, in large part through the variety of classes offered, conversations with professors, and in-class debates seen through the lens of anthropology. Graduate school is my next goal in anthropology; to further expand my understanding of the culture here in the US and around the world.


Featured Alumni

Almost every student who has passed through our department recently has taken a class from Sam Kobari, who has more students every semester in ANTH 101 than most faculty members have in five years. One reason students flow toward Kobari is that he knows better than most instructors where students are coming from: Mr. Kobari was a student at SDSU himself! He earned his MA in anthropology in 2012, after having completed a bioarchaeological analysis of Chumash burial findings from 1500 BP to 1800 BP. His bioarchaeological research continues, but Kobari’s true professional calling is teaching. No job has ever been more fulfilling and joyful to him. He loves the connections he builds with his students and the fact that he gets to talk about what it is to be human throughout the school year. When not in the classroom, Kobari can be found surfing the beaches of San Diego, rock climbing, and camping. Completing an  MA in anthropology has provided Mr. Kobari with the opportunity to do what he loves both in the classroom and beyond.
Douglas La Rose currently works as a Program Development and Program Quality Manager for Catholic Relief Services in Sudan. His job is an applied anthropologist's dream - he works with communities in three states of the Darfur Region and the Red Sea State to co-create natural resource management, livelihoods, health, nutrition, and water and sanitation projects. Many of these communities have been displaced by conflict and are returning home from neighboring countries to re-establish their livelihoods. Having a background in anthropology gives Mr. La Rose the skills to understand barriers to recovery and development that communities face. This deeper understanding informs program design which in turn creates culturally-contextualized, transformative programming. Since graduating from the SDSU Anthropology M.A program in 2011, Mr. La Rose has lived in four countries (Ghana, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Sudan) and had extensive assignments in two other countries (Madagascar and Malawi). His M.A thesis was on agricultural adaptations to climate change in the forest-savanna transition area of the Volta Region of Ghana. 

Emeritus Faculty

(PhD American University 1978) Cultural Anthropology, applied anthropology, sustainability, the environment and language
Email: [email protected]
(PhD U California-Santa Barbara 1991) Complex hunter-gatherers, development of socio-political complexity, archaeological method & theory, anthropological ethics, European contact in North America, ethnoarchaeology, exchange, Cultural Resource Management; California, North America
(PhD U Arizona 1972) Linguistics, cognitive anthropology, Athapaskan speakers, history of theory; US Southwest, Northern Mexico
Email: [email protected]
(PhD Michigan S 1973) Social anthropology, history of ethnological theory, ethnomusicology, religion, folklore, India
Email: [email protected]
(PhD U Hawai’i 1972) Cultural Anthropology, linguistics, historical linguistics and dialectology; Philippines, Southeast Asia
Email: [email protected]
(PhD U of Wisconsin-Madison 1971) Physical anthropology, primate ecology and behavior, osteology, environmental archaeology, zooarchaeology; Latin America, Vietnam, SE Asia
EMail: [email protected]
(PhD U Wisconsin-Madison 1971) Biological Anthropology, human biology, genetics, medical anthropology, aging, nutritional anthropology, reproduction; Appalachia
Email: [email protected]
(PhD U California-Berkeley 1970) Applied, urban, research methods, data analysis, computers; Africa, North America
Email: [email protected]
(PhD U Minnesota 1967) Art, social anthropology, applied anthropology, culture and personality, legal anthropology; China, Europe, North America
Email: [email protected]
(PhD U Arizona 1978) Old World archaeology, Paleolithic, Neolithic, lithic analysis
Email: [email protected]
(PhD U California-Los Angles 1967) Psychological anthropology, the individual and culture, ethnology; South America
(JD WSU 1976; PhD Michigan S 1968) Sociocultural anthropology, law and society, environmental law, recreation and public land use; Japan, Okinawa
Email: [email protected]

Adjunct Faculty

(PhD University of California-Los Angeles) Cultural ecology, culture change, time allocation, cultural resource management, applied ethnography; Peruvian Amazon, Southern California, Native North Americans; Email: [email protected]
(PhD Washington State University 1987) Hunter-gatherers, early agriculture, site formation processes, food shortage-facilities, curation, lithic technology; Western North America; Email: [email protected]
(PhD New York University 1975; Adj Professor) Medical anthropology, psychological anthropology, visual anthropology; Caribbean, Brazil
(PhD University of California-Riverside 2001; Executive Director, Waitt Institute for Discovery) Maritime trade, cave archaeology, rock art, ceramics; Mesoamerica, Caribbean; Email: [email protected]
(PhD Columbia University 2009) Anthropology of religion, mass media (particularly visual media), the politics of memory, social theory, and anthropology of the body; Spain, Europe, and Latin America
(PhD State University of New York-Stony Brook 2000) Primate ecology, behavior, reproduction, development, social structure, and conservation, Rhinopithecus, Hapalemur; China, Vietnam, Madagascar; Email: [email protected]
(PhD University of Wisconsin-Madison 1981) Archaeological field methods and techniques, instrument mapping and survey, technical illustration and drafting, archaeological excavation and conservation, Maya archaeology and cultural history, Maya ideology and urban design, faunal analysis
(MA San Diego State 1973) Physical anthropology, museology