Faculty Profiles

Mary Courtis
Mary Courtis

Dr. Mary Courtis (in hat) with happy students in Ireland

Dr. Mary Courtis is the anthropology SAC chair and a full time professor of anthropology at Portland Community College. Mary's interest in anthropology began at a young age when she was given books and told stories of archaeological excavations in the Middle East by Dr Robert Braidwood who was a family friend. In high school Mary developed an interest in cultural anthropology through interactions with students from the Crow Nation in Montana. Mary majored in anthropology as an undergraduate and received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Oregon in 1992. Her research interests include Natives of the Plains, the anthropology of religion, shamanism, Celtic and Norse culture and spirituality, and cross cultural perspectives on death and dying and gender. She began teaching full time at PCC in 1993 and teaches courses in all four fields of anthropology (cultural, biological, archaeology and language and culture).
In addition to full time teaching, Mary participates in the PCC faculty led education abroad program. During the summer of 2018, she took PCC students to Ireland for two weeks as a capstone experience in her ATH 103 introduction to cultural anthropology class. In addition to visiting sites such as Tara, New Grange, the Cliffs of Mohr and Killarney National Park, all the students on the trip had the chance to conduct their own field project in Ireland. Mary's next trip to Ireland is planned for the summer of 2020. For more information about education abroad at PCC, or to indicate an interest in participating in the next trip to Ireland, please contact PCC Education Abroad.
Rebecka DayeRebecka Daye
Rebecka Daye is a socioeconomic and political-ecology anthropologist currently writing her dissertation on social activism and food sovereignty/food democracy in rural Southern Oregon. Ms. Daye has an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from Oregon State University where she is currently a PhD candidate. Her research interests include socioeconomic anthropology (morality and economics), social ecology, the political economy, local/global agrifood systems, Latin American studies and sociolinguistics. Her research has focused on various aspects of the food systems including food sovereignty, social ecology, farming practices, GMO-free activism, environmental ethics and well-being. Ms. Daye has conducted ethnographic field research in Ecuador and Oregon (USA). She has also been an active volunteer for local and sustainable food systems in her community.
  • 2016-17 Social Movements and Food Democracy: GMO-free Activism in Southern Oregon
  • 2013-14 Discourses on Transgenic Seeds and the Rights of Nature: The Politics of Food Sovereignty in Ecuador
  • 2013 Oregon-Ecuador Binational Learning Community (explored local, indigenous, regional, sustainable, and alternative food systems and agriculture in Oregon and Ecuador)
  • 2010 Alternative Agrifood Movements in Ecuador
  • 2009-11 Indigenous-State Relations in Alaska & Beyond: Sustainable Livelihoods since the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA)
  • 2006 Evaluating Student Experience at a Spanish Immersion School
Scientific and professional presentations
  • Social Movements and Food Democracy: GMO-free Activism in Southern Oregon
    Society for Applied Anthropology, Philadelphia, PA, April 2018
  • A Reconnaissance Survey on Indicators on Food Sovereignty in Ecuador
    Society for Applied Anthropology, Vancouver, B.C., March 2016
  • Conducting Predissertation Field Research on Food Sovereignty in Ecuador
    Third Annual School of Language Culture and Society Conference, Food Studies Panel, Oregon State University, Corvallis. OR, May 2015
  • La Comunidad de Aprendizaje Binacional; Las Semillas Transgenicas
    VI Congreso Iberoamericano Desarrollo y Ambiente, Quito, Ecuador, December 2013
  • Alternative Agrifood Movements in an Age of Industrialized Agriculture: An Ecuadorian Case Study
    OSU Anthropology Tan Sack Lecture Series, Corvallis OR, February 2012
  • Vulnerabilities to Sustainable Development in the Bering Straits Native Corporation
    Co-authored with Dr. Deanna Kingston, OSU Anthropology
    Society for Human Ecology International Conference, Las Vegas, NV, April 2011
  • Food Sovereignty in the Andes: An Ecuadorian Case Study
    Society for Applied Anthropology, Seattle, WA, March 2011
  • Alternative Agrifood Movements in an Age of Industrialized Agriculture: An Ecuadorian Case Study
    Ethnographic Research: La Merced, Ecuador
    Master’s Thesis, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, March 2011
  • Organics and Community Supported Agriculture in La Merced, Ecuador
    Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition Joint Conference
    Food in Bloom, Indiana University Bloomington, IN, June 2010
  • Evaluating Student Experience at a Spanish Immersion School
    Ethnographic Research: Antigua, Guatemala
    Presentation: McNair Scholars Summer Research Symposium August 2006
    Southern Oregon University, Ashland, OR
  • 2011 Alternative Agrifood Movements in an Age of Industrializes Agriculture: An Ecuadorian Case Study. Master's Thesis, Department of Anthropology, Oregon State University. View this publication.
  • Daye, Rebecka R. – PhD Candidate
  • (BA Southern Oregon University 2006; MA Oregon State University 2011)
David EllisDavid Ellis
David Ellis was raised in Michigan and Indiana. He completed his B.A. in anthropology at Ball State University and undertook a year of graduate work at SUNY Binghamton. After taking a couple of years off—during which he worked in a factory in the Detroit area and as an archaeologist in Arkansas—he returned to graduate school at Portland State University. David’s interests were initially in West African prehistory, especially the transition from foraging to farming. An opportunity to work for two years at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducting archaeological surveys along the Columbia River sparked his interest in the precontact history of the Columbia River drainage. He has maintained a personal and professional interest in this region ever since.
David taught at Rock Creek for a few years in the mid-1980s. His responsibilities included directing a joint PCC-PSU archaeological field school in 1984 and 1986. Beginning in 1990, he began a career as a project archaeologist with a private consulting firm in Portland. Since 2007 he has been president and principal archaeologist at a Portland-based consulting firm. He returned to PCC in 2001, teaching primarily at Rock Creek but fairly regularly at Cascade as well.
David has regularly presented papers at regional and national conferences. He has published articles in three edited volumes, most recently a chapter on cultural geography in Chinookan Peoples of the Lower Columbia (University of Washington Press, 2013). David was appointed by the governor to three terms on the Oregon Heritage Commission and served as the commission chair from 2001 to 2006. From 2006 to 2009 he was president of the Association of Oregon Archaeologists, the state’s organization for professional archaeologists. While the focus of his work has been in archaeology, he also works closely with Tribes throughout the Pacific Northwest in addressing their concerns on the effects of proposed development on places of traditional importance.
Michael GualtieriMichael Gualtieri
Dr. Michael Gualtieri was born in upstate New York and reared during boyhood near Billings, Montana. Until the age of seven he lived within an hour of the Little Big Horn National Battlefield, a fact which early in life stimulated his interest in the Native cultures of North America.
In his early twenties Dr. Gualtieri completed the A.B. degree in Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley (1975); later that year he served as Research Assistant to Professor Laura Nader of the U.C. Berkeley Department of Anthropology. Professor Nader’s research interests encompassed the topics of law, conflict, and conflict resolution, and to this day Dr. Gualtieri attributes his own interest in the Anthropology of War to Dr. Nader’s mentorship. He subsequently received the Ph.D. degree in Anthropology at the University of Oregon (2006) under the tutelage of Lawrence Sugiyama and C. Melvin Aikens. Dr. Gualtieri’s doctoral research focused on the advent of organized violence (i.e., warfare) amongst the traditional Northern Paiute populations of the North American Great Basin between the years 1860-1878. The resulting dissertation was entitled: The Role of Moral Outrage in the Northern Paiute Wars of the Mid-19 th Century. In that work Dr. Gualtieri stressed the generative role of Paiute ethical and sacred interpretations in the onset of the anti-White hostilities of the war. In the decade of his doctoral studies at Oregon, Dr. Gualtieri also developed and taught several courses in the Department of Anthropology, including the Anthropology of War; the Biological Theory of War and Peace (co-developed with Dr. D. Guatelli-Steinberg); and the Anthropology of Politics and Power. During his subsequent tenure at Portland Community College he has adapted the Anthropology of War course to a 200-level format, offering that course on several occasions; he has also developed and taught a 200- level Anthropology of Religion class. Recently he co-developed and taught (along with Dr. Mary Courtis) an online version of the Introduction to Shamanism class.
Finally, Dr. Gualtieri has graduate training in all four sub-fields of anthropology; he teaches introductory coursework in several of these areas throughout the year. His continuing research interests include the ethnography and ethnohistory of the Great Basin Native American populations; the role of metaphor in perception and as a driver of social conflict; the role of sacrifice in forging connections to perceived sacred realms; the place of the religious practitioner in the realm of political power.
David LewisDavid Lewis
David G. Lewis, PhD, is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, a descendant of the Santiam, Takelma, and Chinook peoples of western Oregon. He graduated in 2009 from the Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, after completing a dissertation about the termination of the Grand Ronde Tribe. David worked for 8 years as the Cultural manager of the Grand Ronde tribe and is now a researcher and educator in anthropology and native studies. He has published numerous articles about the tribes of the Northwest Coast and has over 330 original essays collected on his blog, the result of hundreds of hours of research. David lives in Salem, in the heart of the Santiam homelands, with his wife Donna and sons Saghaley and Inatye.
K.J. PatakiK.J. Pataki
K. J. Pataki began his life in the New York City area, his formal quest for knowledge at Cornell in physics and then at the University of Chicago where a pre-med interest turned to the environment and behavior and an SB. This led to graduate study at the University of Washington (and mountain climbing), yielding an MA in statistical geography and a PhD in culture and ecology, based on research in highland New Guinea, and a continuing interest in health.
He has done fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Southeast Asia, the coastal Pacific Northwest, and the Yakima Valley in Washington with agricultural migrants. He has taught at Reed College, the University of Colorado, the University of California (San Francisco and Berkeley) and the University of Papua New Guinea, where he was chair of the Department of Community Medicine. He has also done consulting work in developing countries with the World Health Organization, the World Bank and USAID.
His interests includes anthropology, ecology, geography, teaching, research design and consulting; particular interests include countries undergoing major cultural change including the USA, the interaction of environment and culture, culture and perception, and cultural perspectives on death. His philosophy of teaching is that he is both a facilitator and a commentator. The world includes a great range of cultural systems, environments, technologies and lifestyles impacted by colonialism, neocolonialism, globalization and modernization, and he finds that PCC continues to provide engagement in these at an immediate and satisfying scale of reality.
Michele WilsonMichele Wilson
Michele joined Portland Community College’s Anthropology and Women’s Studies departments in 2007. In 2017, she joined the new Ethnic Studies program and teaches Social Justice. Prior to coming to Portland, she was an Anthropology and Women’s Studies Instructor at Linn-Benton Community College, and Chemeketa Community College. She also taught Ethnic Studies and Anthropology courses at Oregon State University. Michele received her B.S. in Anthropology from Longwood University in Virginia, and her M.A.I.S. from Oregon State University with an emphasis in Applied Anthropology and Public Health.
Michele’s areas of expertise are diverse and include archaeology (participating and managing projects – both research and contract – located in Polynesia, the Pacific Northwest, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Southwest, and Prairie-Plains regions of the United States), women’s self-determination, and human rights. Her research interests center around the intersections of identity formation and expression, social location, and systems and institutions of power. In addition, she works to center the voices of the most vulnerable members of the community, pedagogies of critical race theory and social justice, and ways in which anthropologists can blend relativism with humanitarian advocacy.
Instructionally, Michele frames learning as an opportunity to empower students to develop their agency and to nurture critical thinking, creating opportunities for students to practice what they have learned in applied contexts. She believes that knowledge and learning are fundamental human rights, and sees herself as a co-learner in every course. Michele was awarded the first Declare Award for Outstanding Faculty Activism in 2011 for her work in cultural diversity and women’s studies.
In addition to instructional duties, she also sits on the City of Portland's Human Rights Commission, conducts archaeological research for various government agencies, sits on the City's Office of Equity and Human Rights Bureau Advisory Committee, and ghost-writes/vlogs memoirs. Michele lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.