Humanities Institute


Dr. Pauline Strong, Director
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Pauline Strong has taught anthropology, folklore and public culture, and women's and gender studies at The University of Texas at Austin since 1993. After receiving a bachelor's degree in philosophy at The Colorado College, she completed master's and doctoral degrees in sociocultural anthropology at the University of Chicago. Her research centers on historical and contemporary representations of Native Americans and American national identity in such contexts as literature, films, museums, sports arenas, and youth organizations. She was a Fellow of the Humanities Institute in 2001 and 2005, and became Associate Director in 2006.

She is the author of American Indians and the American Imaginary: Cultural Representation Across the Centuries (2012) and Captive Selves, Captivating Others: The Politics and Poetics of Colonial American Captivity Narratives (1999). She is also co-editor (with Sergei Kan) of New Perspectives on Native North America: Cultures, Histories, Representations (2006). Her articles appear in journals and anthologies in the fields of American Studies, cultural studies, history, media studies, Native American Studies, and sports studies as well as anthropology.

Dr. Melissa Biggs, Administrative Associate and Program Coordinator
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Melissa Biggs holds a PhD in Social Anthropology. Her research interests include ethnographic and historical representation of Native American and indigenous peoples, and the history and theory of museums. She brings a background in curriculum writing, teacher training, and cultural diversity to her position. She has taught anthropology classes at Southwestern University, Texas State University, and Colorado College, and culture and history classes at the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio.

Peter Khalil, Senior Student Associate
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Peter is a Government and Economics double major at the University of Texas at Austin. In his free time he manages the Texas Dabke dance team, and is an avid day trader. He’s interested in global cultures, especially Mediterranean and Latin American cultures. He plans to work with the United States State Department as a Foreign Service agent and also has entrepreneurial aspirations.

Alejandra Martinez, Student Assistant

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Alejandra is a Human Development and Family Sciences major with a minor in Business of Healthcare at the University of Texas at Austin.  In her free time she reads and explores the food scene in Austin.  She plans to continue her education by persuing a masters in public health.  

Maggie Brown, Student Intern

Maggie is an International Relations major with an emphasis on culture, media and the arts at The University of Texas at Austin. She helps to run a non-profit organization out of Uganda, Africa called Action in Africa that focuses on community development and education. In her free time, you can find Maggie crafting her next adventure, spending quality time with her friends and family- or simply immersed in any creative endeavor.

  • Humanities Institute

    University of Texas at Austin
    HRC 3.360
    Mailcode F1900
    Austin, Texas 78712