Andrew Causey - Columbia College Chicago

Andrew Causey



Andrew Causey, PhD, is Professor of Cultural Anthropology in the Humanities, History, and Social Sciences Department at Columbia College Chicago. He received his PhD from The University of Texas, Austin, in 1997 (working with Professors Steven Feld, Ward Keeler, and Katie Stewart in what is now named the Americo Paredes Center for Cultural Studies) after having done his ethnographic fieldwork in North Sumatra, Indonesia with the assistance of Fulbright and SSRI Scholarships.

Causey’s research interests include the fields of material culture (objects), art, and tourism, all of which came together in his research with the Toba Bataks on Samosir Island. Using theoretical positionings that range from Karl Mannheim to Paul Ricoeur and Louis Marin, he sought to understand the nature of interactions between western backpack travelers and Toba Bataks, particularly how they construct notions of self- (and other-) identities via economic transactions. His ethnographic monograph, Hard Bargaining in Sumatra: Toba Bataks and Western Tourists in a Souvenir Marketplace, was published by the University of Hawai’i Press in 2003. In addition to his book, Causey has published numerous articles on other aspects of Toba Batak life and culture (“Batak Selves: Personal, Spiritual, Collective,” in Everyday Life in Southeast Asia, 2011), on American popular culture (“Travel to a Place Both Sad and Cute,” dealing with the Precious Moments Museum in Carthage, Missouri, in Critical Arts: South-north Cultural and Media Studies, 2012), on research methods (“Using Focused Ethnography in Psychological Research,” in the APA Handbook of Research Methods in Psychology: Quantitative, Qualitative, Neuropsychological, and Biological, 2012), and on anthropology pedagogy (“Objects Possessed, Drawn, Touched, Identified, and Sold,” in Museum Anthropology, 2015). His book "Drawn to See: drawing as an ethnographic method" (University of Toronto Press), which was released in January 2017, describes how line drawing can be used as an ethnographic method. It was named Outstanding Academic Title by the American Library Association in 2018.

Dr. Causey teaches “Visual Anthropology,” “Voices, Gestures, Silences: an anthropology of communication,” “Introduction to Cultural Anthropology,” “Ethnographic Films,” "Writing Anthropology," "Social Objects,” and “Anthropology of Tourism.” He is also an active painter, sculptor, and musician.

Instructional Areas

Social-cultural Anthropology, Art/Creativity, Ethnographic methodology, Affect Studies, Tourism, Material Culture, Narrative, Linguistics

Creative Practice and Research Interests

Art; Visualities; Creativity; Material Culture; Everyday Affect; Tourism; Dreams; Language/dialogism; Peircean Semiotics; Baroque music


B.A., Anthropology University of California, Santa Cruz 1979
M.A., Anthropology University of Texas at Austin 1985
Ph.D., Anthropology University of Texas at Austin 1997