Dr. Maria D. Vesperi
Dr. Maria D. Vesperi is a cultural anthropologist with research interests in urban issues, anthropology and journalism, social welfare policy, early industrial history and cultural constructions of aging and race. She is Professor of Anthropology at New College of Florida, the all-honors college of the Florida state university system. Vesperi earned her doctorate from Princeton University in 1978, based on a study of low-income white and African-American elders in St. Petersburg, Florida. She left her first teaching position in 1981 to work at the Tampa Bay Times, where she wrote features and columns and contributed to investigative series on welfare, home health care, community mental health care and aging. She joined the newspaper’s editorial board in 1986, working in Florida and Washington, D.C. until returning to full-time teaching and research in 1993. At New College she established and continues to teach a journalism sequence which includes production of a campus weekly, The Catalyst. Vesperi is incoming editor of Anthropology Now, a multi-media platform designed to make anthropological knowledge accessible to the public. She is 2009 recipient of the American Anthropological Association/Oxford University Press Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology. She is a past president of the Society for the Anthropology of North America and the Association for Anthropology and Gerontology, and has served on the American Anthropological Association Executive Board and Long Range Planning Committee. She developed the theme and served as Executive Program Committee Chair for “Critical Intersections/Dangerous Issues,” the Association’s 2006 annual meeting. She is founding editor of North American Dialogue, the publication of the Society for the Anthropology of North America, a former contributing editor for Transforming Anthropology, the journal of the Association of Black Anthropologists, former editor of the Association for Anthropology and Gerontology Newsletter and a former Section News Editor and column contributor to Anthropology News. Her publications include Anthropology off the Shelf: Anthropologists on Writing, a co-edited volume of commentaries on how anthropologists craft their work; City of Green Benches: Growing Old in a New Downtown, an ethnography; and The Culture of Long Term Care, a co-edited volume of ethnographic research on nursing homes. She has contributed chapters to recent anthologies including The Anthropology of News and Journalism: Global Perspectives. Her current project is a manuscript on the relationship between ethnography and narrative journalism.