Susan Harding

TitleProfessor Emerita
DivisionSocial Sciences Division
DepartmentAnthropology Department
AffiliationsAmerican Studies Department,
Humanities Division,
Environmental Studies Department
Office347 Social Sciences 1
Office Hoursby appointment only
Campus Mail StopSocial Sciences 1 Faculty Services
Susan Harding

Research Interests

Area of Research: Rural political economy and culture; religious and political communities and discourses.

Area of Fieldwork: Village Spain and American churches.

Biography, Education and Training

B.A., M.A., Ph. D., University of Michigan

Susan Harding's training and early work were grounded in political-economic, historical, and symbolic approaches to culture and focused on how social relations and cultural identities are transformed. In Spain, she reconstructed how villagers, as they responded to agrarian reforms under Franco, refashioned their peasant and preindustrial capitalist way of life into a form of industrial and consumer capitalism. This became part of a broader inquiry into modern statemaking and cultural politics. Thinking of the "state" as an arena in which social factions construct, articulate, and contest cultural meanings, identities, and hegemony, she studied millennial movements and the American civil rights, feminist, and profamily movements. In 2000, she published a study of the cultural movement that swept through many conservative Christian communities during the 1980s and 1990s, converting them from a marginal, anti-worldly, separatist people into a visible and vocal public force. She is curently writing a book on figures, texts, media events, movements, organizations, and other practices that are revoicing "the religious right" and socially conservative Christianity, creating alien speaking positions inside their discourses, and swerving and redirecting them to other ends. She is also researching, writing about, and participating in local movements to remake "retirement" and "aging" in America.

Teaching Interests

Narrative and rhetoric, social movements, state formation, millennialism, born-again Christianity, American culture, religion.