Skip to Content

Richard L. Warms

Office: ELA 260Dr. Richard Warms, Cultural Anthropology Faculty
Email: r.warms@txstate.edu

Phone: 512.245.8272

Curriculum Vitae (pdf download)

Educational Background
Ph.D. - Syracuse University
M.A - Syracuse University
B.A. - Bates College

Research Interests
West African economies, merchants, veterans of colonial armies, Islam in West African society, history of theory in anthropology, pedagogic methods.

Biography
Richard L. Warms is Professor of Anthropology. He came to Texas State in 1988. Warms conducted extensive research in West Africa in the 1980s and 1990s. His research there focused around two topics, first the intersection of ethnicity, religion, and economics as expressed in the lives and actions of merchants in the Southern Malian city of Sikasso. Second, the war time and peace time experiences of veterans of the Tirailleurs Sénégalais a regiment of the French colonial army. Beginning in the 1990s, Warms became deeply interested in the development of anthropological theory and most of his research since then has focused on exploring the ideas, lives, and understandings of critical thinkers in anthropology. His recent research focuses on the development of anthropology in the US between 1885 and World War I.

Much of Warms’ career has been focused around writing for students of anthropology. In collaboration with R. Jon McGee (also of Texas State University), Warms is the author of Anthropological Theory: an introductory history, long considered a fundamental text in anthropology and currently in its 7th edition. With McGee and James Garber, Warms is also the author of Sacred Realms: readings in the anthropology of religion now in its second edition. McGee and Warms are also the editors of Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology: an encyclopedia. This major work includes more than 300 state of the art essays on theorists and theoretical positions in anthropology by over 250 authors (including McGee and Warms). Warms began his collaboration with Serena Nanda (emerita of CUNY John Jay) in the mid-1990s. Together they are the authors of two popular textbooks in introductory anthropology: Cultural Anthropology now in its 12th edition and Culture Counts now in its 4rd edition. Taken together, Warms’ books have sold over a quarter million copies.

In addition to publication and teaching, Warms also consults with government and business on ways of bringing the insights of anthropology to bear on problems of planning, communication, and cross cultural understanding.

Warms has mentored an extremely diverse selection of graduate students. Their thesis topics include Medicine and Curanderas in Belize, the Afro-Argentine community of Buenos Aires, Homeless Buskers in Austin, Community Residences for the Elderly, Border cultures and Charro Days in Brownsville, TX, Iranian converts to Christianity, and women military veterans. Warms accepts graduate students interested in anthropological theory, economic anthropology, issues of identity, and the anthropology of religion. To apply to study with Dr. Warms, please visit the Study with Dr. Warms page.  Although eclectic in his theoretical approach, Warms is committed to an anthropology that recognizes diversities of understanding and the centrality of discourse but is at the same time focused on exploring the realities of society, economy, and regimes of power that condition the daily experience of people in all cultures.

Select Publications


Anthropological Theory 7th Edition Cover

Anthropological Theory: An Introductory History

Long considered a classic, Anthropological Theory: An Introductory History, co-authored with R. Jon McGee first appeared in 1995. The book was originally conceived as an anthology of classic essays by critical authors in anthropology with footnotes and introductory essays to help students understand the context in which they were written. We’ve retained this format, but the book has changed and grown over its history. Its seven editions reflect changes both in the discipline of anthropology and in our own understandings. When we started, we simply wanted to write a textbook. Now, our goal is to write something that is a bit more like a reference work, a place where you can find information on a truly large number of critical thinkers in the intellectual history of our discipline. The book has benefitted substantially from our other projects, especially our research into turn of the 20th century anthropology. Anthropological Theory is published by Rowman & Littlefield. You can find us at their website http://rowman.com.

Cultural Anthropology, Book Cover

Cultural Anthropology, 12th Edition

Nanda/Warms Cultural Anthropology, a textbook for introductory anthropology courses, has, over its 12 editions been used by at least 500,000 students at several hundred universities in the US, Canada, and elsewhere. The book first came out in the late 1970s (when I was still an undergrad). At that time, it was one of a relatively few anthropology textbooks on the market and the only one written by a woman. I joined Serena Nanda as co-author after the 5th edition. Our goal has always been to write an engaging book that combines in depth ethnographic examples, theoretical eclecticism, and the most up to date facts and figures we can get. Serena and I want students to experience the excitement we both felt when we found anthropology as young people. However, we also want them to be attuned to the complexity of culture, the centrality of power, and the importance of history, race, gender, ethnicity, class, and other critical distinctions. Cultural Anthropology is published by Sage.

Culture Counts, Book Cover

Culture Counts: A Concise Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, 4th Edition 

In the mid to late 2000s, as colleges, universities, and textbooks changed, Serena Nanda and I decided to write a shorter anthropology textbook. We wanted to create something that was written in a slightly less formal voice than Cultural Anthropology and was extremely accessible to students. Culture Counts retains many of the strengths of Cultural Anthropology, but it is structured quite differently. We continue to be concerned with ethnography and with issues of power and difference. However, we try to create a stronger narrative flow and engage more with issues of immediate concern to students, especially applied anthropology. Culture Counts will appear in a new edition, published by Sage, in January 2021.

Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology, Book Cover

Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology: An Encyclopedia

Edited by R. Jon McGee and Richard L. Warms, Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology: an encyclopedia is a two volume A to Z reference that provides historical context to the critical issues that have shaped anthropology over the past two hundred years. It profiles critical anthropological thinkers, theories, national traditions, and events which continue to shape anthropological thought. It includes more than 300 signed entries by more than 250 leading international scholars of anthropology.

Sacred Realms, Book Cover

Sacred Realms: Readings in the Anthropology of Religion

Sacred Realms is a collection of classic and contemporary articles that introduce religion from an anthropological perspective. It is designed to give students the tools to understand and analyze religion as well as to consider its important role in world affairs. The book is divided into twelve major topics in faith, religion, and belief; it concludes with a unique section written by the editors that describes fundamental aspects of five of the world's most influential religions.

Courses Taught

ANTH 1312: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
In this course students examine the nature of cultural variation of populations in the present and recent past. Its subjects include social, political, economic, and ideological aspects of human cultures.

ANTH 3309: Cultures Through Film
Through films, lectures, and discussions, students explore the various ways that ethnographic film interprets the cultural environment and social interactions of small-scale cultures around the world. We will also discuss anthropological interpretations of how historically U.S. (American) culture has dealt with concepts of the "other" and supernatural phenomena through film.

ANTH 3327: Anthropology of Religion and Fundamentalism
This course provides students with current and historical approaches to the anthropology of religion with a particular emphasis on fundamentalism. It focuses on the development of religious fundamentalism in different cultural contexts, geopolitical situations, and religious traditions.

ANTH 3360/5360: Economic Anthropology
This course reviews central issues in economic anthropology using both case studies and theoretical writings. Analyzes production, exchange, distribution, consumption, property, economic surplus, and types of economic structure. (Stacked course with ANTH 3360)

ANTH 3351: Anthropology of Peace and Violence
The class explores anthropological perspectives on peace and violence. It focuses on understanding violent practices within both traditional and current day societies including everyday violence and warfare. It explores the contributions of social structure, gender, religion, race, and ethnicity to violence. It examines efforts to build peace and reconciliation.

ANTH 5311: Graduate Seminar in Cultural Anthropology
A comprehensive survey of the history, development, and application of major theoretical perspectives in cultural anthropology from the late 19th century to the present.

Warms has also taught: Cultural Ecology, Cultures of Africa, History of Anthropological Thought, Magic, Ritual, and Religion, Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology, Principles of Cultural Anthropology, Honors Seminar: Race and Ethnicity in Anthropological Perspective, Honors Seminar: The Anthropology of Violence and Terror, and Rise of Civilization.