Miriam Kahn

Person Profile

Personal Information
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Miriam
Kahn
Faculty
Professor
Contact Information
E-Mail: 
mkahn@u.washington.edu
Academic Information
Research Summary: 
My research interests include the anthropology of place, colonial and postcolonial politics, nuclear testing, tourism and travel, and cultural representations. Geographically I focus on Oceania, where I’ve done fieldwork in both Papua New Guinea (1976-95) and French Polynesia (1993-present). My most recent book, Tahiti Beyond the Postcard: Power, Place and Everyday Life, engages with questions about the subtle and ubiquitous modes in which power manifests itself in place-related ways in the entangled colonial relationship between France and French Polynesia (which today is still a colony of France). My current research and writing has turned to images of “Tahiti” that appear in new mediated forms. For example, I explore the relationship between capitalism, tourism, and YouTube videos on an Internet contest sponsored by Tahiti Tourism North America. This past summer I co-directed a study abroad program to Tahiti that looked at colonialism, especially as seen through the lens of environmental and health consequences of nuclear testing. In the past I have done contractual work for the Boeing Company. I assisted them in their long-term efforts to understand the “cultures of flying” so they could apply this knowledge to the future design of airplane interiors. In addition to being a professor in the Department of Anthropology, I am also a core faculty member in the UW’s interdisciplinary PhD program in Urban Design and Planning, as well as an adjunct curator of Pacific ethnology at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.
Discipline: 
Sociocultural Anthropology
Keywords: 
Anthropology of place, colonial and postcolonial politics, nuclear testing, tourism and travel, and cultural representations; Oceania
Selected Publications