Robert Phillips

Robert Phillips

Associate Professor of Anthropology


Room:BB 312

M.A., Religious Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 2002

Ph.D., Anthropology, University of California, Irvine, 2008

Research Interests

I am a cultural anthropologist with a specialization in the ethnographic study of digital media. Currently, I am beginning a new ethnographic project that allows me to utilize my training in religious studies (Pittsburgh 2002). This research looks at gay Jewish men, affiliated with the Baal Teshuva movement, a worldwide movement that facilitates the return of secular Jews to religious Judaism. Many of these individuals have learned of this movement via the Internet and some have enrolled in online courses to help with the transition. The project, funded by an Aspire Junior Faculty Research Award, is in the early stages and is still taking shape. It will ultimately provide another interesting angle from which to view notions of subjectivity and national and religious belonging as influenced by digital media. 

Ongoing research revolves around questions of subjectivity, technology, and the politics of national belonging and looks at the effects of the Internet on the sexual and national identity of gay men in Southeast Asia. Ethnographic research was conducted in the physical environment of Singapore and Malaysia as well as in and on websites used by gay men from the region, which I conceive as a virtual extension of the nation.

Courses I Teach

ANTH 101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

ANTH 301/501: History and Theory of Anthropology

ANTH 350/560: Virtual Anthropology

ANTH 459/559: Ethnographic Research Methods

Research and Publications

2014 “And I am also gay”: Illiberal Pragmatics, Homonormativity, and LGBT Activism in Singapore. Manuscript solicited for special issue of Anthropologica - “Queer Anthropology/l’anthropologie queer” 56(1): 45-54.

2014 Abjection. Short essay commissioned for inaugural issue of Transgender Studies Quarterly, “Postposttranssexual: Key Concepts for a Twenty- First-Century Transgender Studies,’’ 1(1-2): 19-21. 

2013 "We aren't really that different" Globe-hopping discourse and queer rights in Singapore. Journal of Language and Sexuality 2(1): 122-144.



Course Schedule
Course No. Section Times Days Location
Intro to Cultural An 101 1 1200 - 1250 M W F BB, room 220
Intro to Cultural An 101 2 1730 - 2000 W BB, room 316
Hist Method and Theo 316 1 1400 - 1450 M W F BB, room 103
Paid Internship in A 369 1 0000 - 0000
Unpaid Internship in 479 1 0000 - 0000