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This is Anthropology

This Anthropology

Michael Rolland
Photo for Michael Rolland

Affiliation: Colloquium on Violence & Religion

Department: COV&R Member


Biography: Raised in Tempe and Scottsdale, Arizona. 1981 Graduated from St. Meinrad Seminary, St. Meinrad, IN (BA in History); 1988 Graduated with Mdiv, MA in Theology, from Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology; 1996 Graduated MA in Anthropology from University of Arizona; 2012 Graduated PH.D. in Anthropology from Arizona State University (Tempe); In 1981 Miguel joined the Order of Preachers (Western Province Dominican Friars). Currently finishing a six year commitment of parroquial service on the Mexican-US Border as Pastor of a large parish in Mexicali, Baja Calf. Norte.

Subfield: Cultural Anthropology

Job Type: Practicing

Geographic Areas of Expertise:



I went into Anthro because: Clifford Geertz' Interpretation of Cultures (1977) captured my imagination while I was studying theology; later, curiosity about Carl Jung's analytical psychology as presented in Man and His Symbols (sic) increased my desire to understand the depth and breadth of human interaction and social representations. Finally, in 1995, reading Gil Bailie's Violence Unveiled lead me to ponder the writings of René Girard and his take on anthropology from a multi-displinary perspective.

My latest research is: I am currently researching the origin stories of the Popol Vuh which are a key source of identity for both the ancient modern K’iche’ and other Maya peoples. Known as “The Book of the Community”, it depicts a profound cosmovision from Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica; however, before one extols these founding stories too much, it is important to notice the numerous violent encounters within the narrative. I ask, to what extent does the sacred character of this book relate to any historical truth / exi

My favorite text is: Blood Ties - Life and Violence in Rural Mexico (1989), James B. Greenberg. Maya Saints & Souls In A Changing World (1992), John M. Watanabe. Fracturing Resemblances - Identity and Mimetic Conflict in Melanesia and the West (2006), Simon Harrison

My advice to potential anthropologists is: As Dr. Ellen Basso once taught me, Anthropology is wonderful because you can write about anything! Indeed, if you are a curious person, someone, say, who finds himself or herself in the merry land of OZ but needs to look by the curtain to find out what is really going on . . .historicaly, culturally, spiritually . . . then Anthropology is the place for you. And the best Ethnographers are those who help us to see the Exotic things as ordinary and human and thus as everyday aspects of human inte