Heiman, Rachel

Rachel Heiman

Rachel  Heiman
PhD, Anthropology, University of Michigan
Associate Professor of Anthropology, Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students; Coordinator, Credit for Prior Learning Program

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Areas of Expertise:
Academic: Anthropology of suburbs; urban sprawl, zoning ordinances, and the built environment; cultural politics of class; global middle classes; ethnography

Administrative: Portfolio-based Prior Learning assessment for adults and transfer students 
Rachel Heiman is an anthropologist who investigates middle-class anxieties and suburban life in contexts that range from family homes to sport-utility vehicles to zoning board debates. She has been a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York City and at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe. Her first book is an ethnographic study of a paradox of the late 1990s: the dramatic upscaling of what defined the suburban American dream at the same time that the possibilities for achieving the dream diminished. Her second book is an edited volume of ethnographic research that offers a comparative perspective on the global middle classes. She is now exploring efforts to retrofit suburbia in light of contemporary environmental, financial, and energy concerns, focusing on the way these projects are reconfiguring notions of family, home, urbanism, and gentrification.
Courses Taught:
  • The Suburbs: Divided We Sprawl
  • Interrogating America: Anthropology of the United States
  • Urban Life: Social Justice and the Lived City
  • The Anthropology of Sustainability
  • The Middle Classes: A Global Perspective
  • Labels, Categories, and Names: The Anthropology of People “Out of Place”
  • Linguistic Anthropology: On the Power of Gestures, Jokes, and Words
  • Youth Culture: Creative, Resilient, and Sometimes Not Enough
Recent Publications:
Driving After Class: Anxious Times in an American Suburb. Series in Public Anthropology (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, in press).

The Global Middle Classes: Theorizing through Ethnography
(Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research Press, 2012).

“‘At Risk’ for Becoming Neoliberal Subjects: Rethinking the ‘Normal’ Middle-Class Family,” in Childhood, Youth, and Social Work in Transformation: Implications for Policy and Practice, Lynn Nybell, Jeffrey Shook, and Janet L. Finn, eds. (New York Columbia University Press, 2009)

“The Last Days of Low-Density Living: Suburbs and the End of Oil,” in Built Environment (May 2007)

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