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Anthropology Thesis Guide

Exemplary Theses and Sources

Every year, Anthropology faculty nominate particularly excellent senior theses for "exemplary thesis" status. These are theses that exemplify the kind of in-depth research, creative use of primary and secondary sources, incisive anthropological analysis, and clear and compelling writing that the Department seeks to produce. Together, they illustrate the wide range of potential areas, topics and methodologies Anthropology seniors can address. They can serve as models as you consider your own thesis topics and potential sources.

Like all theses, these are available to the general public in the Reed College Library in the Thesis Tower or Reed Special Collection & Archives or to Reed students, faculty, staff, and alumni in the Electronic Theses Collection.


How to search for inspiration: 

  • Search for theses with similar topics as your own

  • Pay attention to their introduction chapters, a sample analytic chapter, and the conclusion.

  • Look at their bibliographies for source ideas.

  • Make an appointment with your subject librarian to help gather other materials on your topic. 

"This House Has Been Built by Vaginas, Penises Have Done Nothing": Conjugal Disappointment, Agency, and Intimacy in Urban Senegal

Grace McNalley ('18)

Futuristic Globalisms: On the Possibility of Modernity in Imperial Ruins

Jolon Timms ('18)

Labor Relations: Transnational Commercial Surrogacy in Cambodia

Natalie Codon ('17)

Negotiating Exclusions: Migrant Domestic Worker Subjectivity and Collective Action in Hong Kong
Maya Kimura ('17)

Vital Reckonings: Cartographic Power, Abyssal Thought, and the Birth of Modern Piracy in Southeast Asia
Stefan Stackhouse ('16)

Communing with the Dead: Spiritualism, Language, and the Construction of Science from 1865-1914
Maddy Adams ('16)

  • Books
  • Historical science journals
    • The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
    • Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research

Televising Truth and Reconciliation: Mass Mediation of Irreconcilable Publics in the South Africa Broadcasting Company’s Special Report

Kate Johnson ('16)

Satan on the Skin: Divine and Demonic Mediation in Papua New Guinea's Pentecostal Public Sphere
Rachel Apone ('15)

The Politics of History and Gendered Nationalisms: Contested Memories of Japan's Comfort Women
Rachel Dallal ('14)

Aspirational Sovereignties: Indigeneity and the Law in a Guatemalan Mining Conflict
Samuel Law ('14)

"Here, One More Ingyō!": Being a Surplus Human in Contemporary South Korea
Hoyoung Moon ('14)

Through the Eyes of Immigration: Politics, Entextualization and Bureaucratic Arbitrariness of the U-Nonimmigrant Visa
Amina Rahman ('14)

Government websites

Research and nonprofit organization websites

EBSCO online databases

Intimacy and Assemblage: Israeli Nationhood and the Everyday Violence of Sexuality
Jake Silver ('12)

Films and YouTube videos
Israeli and international online news sources

Feminist Wire
Israeli tourism/birthright websites

Activist movements online

Magazines (972 Magazine, Maxim) and advertisements

The Liberalism of Piracy: Ethics, Technology, and Breakdown on a File-sharing Forum
Peter Von der Porten ('11)

File sharing websites

  • Suprbay
  • The Pirate Bay
  • BitTorrent

Online news sources


Branding Heaven: Commodity, Fantasy and Conceptual Architecture in the Chinese Countryside
Nathaniel Rickert Flagg ('11)


Online news sources

Dancing Identity: The Politics of Performance and Embodiment in the Argentine Tango
Rachel Mercer ('10)

BBC News


DNI Tango

Monthly Review


Artifice and Androgyny: David Bowie and the 1970s Glam Rock Counterculture
Athena Abrams ('09)





"It comes up better": Helping Nature Along in the Indigenous Miwok Landscape of the California Sierra
Nevada Judson Daffern ('09)


Gifting Nationhood Through Tourism: Taglit-birthright Israel, Travel, and Contemporary Zionism
Gabriel Gao ('09)

Cognitive Practice and Non-local Being: Pragmatic Activism in a Transcendent American Context
Ian Lowrie ('09)



National Park Services

Orion Project



Reed thesis

Organizing Around the Center: Problems, Process, and Place in Portland's Day Labor Center
Genevieve Peterson Roudane ('08)

Going Country: An Examination of Irony and Sincerity through a Portland Country Bar
Hannah Smith ('08)


Keeping Watch from Space: Genocide and Technologies of Witnessing in the Age of Digital Surveillance
Amanda Marjorie Ufheil-Somers ('08)

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Amnesty International

Genocide Intervention Network

Save Darfur

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


Personal interviews

Experiencing Neoliberalism at the Border: Economic Restructuring and Cultural Change in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico
Daniel Peter Denvir ('05)

Online news sources


Email contact

"It's Not Fake, It's Entertainment": Professional Wrestling and Working-Class Masculinities
Adam Carl Sargent ('05)

Online news sources


Enemies, Allies, Sacrifice and Smoke: Construction of Relational Ontology in the Lakota Sun Dance
Gabriel Tusinski ('04)


Closing Doors and Minds: Processes of Marginalization During the Operation and Aftermath of Sangatte
Anita Hannig ('03)


National Geographic

The Mitzvah of Remembrance: Holocaust Twinning and the Production of Memory
Ariana Paulson ('03)

Jewish news sources and temple websites


Lecture given at Reed College