Professor Maria Vesperi is Co-Editor of New Anthropology Book on Writing

(October 12, 2009) — New College of Florida Professor of Anthropology Maria Vesperi has added another title to her list of publications.  She is the co-editor, with Alisse Waterston, of a collection of articles about writing entitled Anthropology Off the Shelf: Anthropologists on Writing (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009).

The artwork for the cover of Professor  
Vesperi’s new book is by Roslyn Zinn,
late wife of Howard Zinn, American
historian, political scientist,
social critic and activist best
known as author of the bestseller
A People’s History of the United
States. Howard Zinn contributed
an essay to the book and allowed  the
editors to use his wife’s painting,
which he calls “The Observer.”   

Vesperi previously authored City of Green Benches: Growing Old in a New Downtown (Cornell University Press, 1985 and 1998), and was co-editor with J. Neil Henderson of The Culture of Long Term Care: Nursing Home Ethnography (Bergin & Garvey, 1995).

Published this past March, Anthropology Off the Shelf has already garnered favorable reviews.  “It’s inspiring to see behind the curtain of anthropologists, some of the world’s most influential storytellers, read of their insecurities, passion, and a sense of mission one essayist says is the human responsibility ‘to creatively offer something to the world’” wrote Keith Woods, Dean of The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, where Vesperi serves on the board of directors.

Other reviews:

“The essays are both provocative and provoking, compelling and edgy. Whether this thrust in anthropology or in academia in general will continue, books like this are required to keep the intellectual energy within the academy vital and engaged.  Indispensible reading across disciplines.  Summing Up: Essential. –CHOICE, October 2009

“This wonderful collection of essays explores an essential question:  how do we tell an untold story? The answers will inspire any anthropologist-writer with the nerve to take a shot.”  –David Kushner, author of Levittown and Masters of Doom

“Turning research into stories that matter to all of us is an art scholars too rarely aspire to, let alone master.  The anthropologists in this collection tell the tale of that challenge with inspiring passion, showing in the telling what gifted writers they have become.” –Trevor Brown, Professor Emeritus, Indiana University Bloomington

Professor Vesperi is a cultural anthropologist who specializes in the analysis of contemporary social issues and the communication of anthropological ideas to the public.  Prior to joining the New College faculty, she was a member of the editorial board, as well as a staff writer and columnist, at the St. Petersburg Times.  In addition to her teaching and research, Vesperi also is the faculty advisor for New College’s student newspaper, The Catalyst.  In December 2009, she will receive the American Anthropological Association’s 2009 Oxford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching during the AAA’s annual meeting in Philadelphia.

For more information, contact the New College Office of Public Affairs at (941) 487-4150 or email

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