Staff Profiles

Peter Whiteley

Curator of North American Ethnology, Division of Anthropology
Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School

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  • Education

      • University of New Mexico, Ph.D., 1982
      • University of New Mexico, M.A., 1978
      • Cambridge University, B.A., 1975
  • Research Interests

    Research Interests

      Dr. Peter Whiteley studies Native North American cultures ethnographically and historically. His main focus is the Hopi of northern Arizona, where he began fieldwork in 1980, resulting in four books and monographs: Deliberate Acts: Changing Hopi Culture through the Oraibi Split (University of Arizona Press, 1988), Bacavi: Journey to Reed Springs (Northland Press, 1988), Rethinking Hopi Ethnography (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998), and The Orayvi Split: a Hopi Transformation (Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, 2008). In 2005, his paper Bartering Pahos with the President, on a Hopi diplomatic gift, won the Robert F. Heizer Prize for “best article in the field of ethnohistory.” Current Hopi work includes a collaborative project (funded by the National Science Foundation’s Endangered Languages program) on Hopi place-names and landscape concepts, with the Hopi Office of Cultural Preservation and colleagues at the University of Arizona.

      Whiteley has also worked with the Cayuga and Akwesasne Mohawk in upstate New York, and is preparing a history of the Cayuga in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War. Other field and archival research includes the Rio Grande Pueblos, the Hupa of northwestern California, Coast Salish of western Washington, and the Choctaw and Chickasaw of Oklahoma and Mississippi. Since 2009, Whiteley has led a comparative inquiry into Crow-Omaha kinship systems, both in Native North America and globally, with AMNH colleague Ward Wheeler (curator of Invertebrate Zoology), funded by the National Science Foundation’s Anthropology Program. One result is Crow-Omaha: New Light on a Classic Problem of Kinship Analysis (University of Arizona Press, 2012), a volume co-edited by Whiteley and Thomas Trautmann of the University of Michigan. Whiteley and Wheeler have also initiated a joint study (using phylogenetic methods) of how languages evolve, concentrating on the Uto-Aztecan languages of North and Middle America.

  • Publications

  • Teaching Experience

    Teaching Experience