Deborah Reed-Danahay


Deborah Reed-Danahay.

Deborah Reed-Danahay


Deborah Reed-Danahay


Research Topics

Migration and Mobility; Brexit; Social Space and Emplacement; Rural and Urban Anthropology; Social Theory (esp. Pierre Bourdieu); Ethnographic Narrative and Autoethnography; Education and Youth; Vietnamese Diaspora (U.S.); Europe (including the European Union), France, England


Professor Deborah Reed-Danahay is a cultural anthropologist who has conducted ethnographic research in Europe and in the United States. Although she retains a strong interest in and connection to rural France where she conducted her earliest fieldwork, Prof. Reed-Danahay’s attention has turned in recent years to the study of migration in both the U.S. and in Europe.  Since 2015, she has been engaged in a long-term ethnographic project on French migration to the city of London and has done extensive ethnographic research related to Brexit.  Before that, she undertook a study of former Vietnamese refugees and their children in north-central Texas. She continues her interest in the work of Pierre Bourdieu.  Her most recent books are Bourdieu and Social Space: Mobilities, Trajectories, Emplacements (Berghahn, 2020) and Anthropological Approaches to Reading Migrant Writing: Reimagining Ethnographic Methods, Knowledge, and Power (co-edited with Helena Wulff; Routledge, 2024). 

Professor Reed-Danahay is co-editor of the book series Palgrave Studies in Literary Anthropology. She held a Jean Monnet Chair from 2015-2018, and was the founding Director of the Center for European Studies (CEUS) at UB from 2010-2015. She has served on the Executive Committee of the Council for European Studies, and is a past-President of the Society for the Anthropology of Europe (2010-2012) and a former Yip Fellow (2012) at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge.  In addition to her Jean Monnet Chair, funded by the European Commission, she has received grants from NSF, NEH, Fulbright, and the Russell Sage Foundation. She has been named “Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques” by the French government.

Professor Reed-Danahay is not accepting any new graduate students for the 2024-25 academic year.


  • PhD, Brandeis University
  • BA, University of Delaware

Courses Offered

Undergraduate Courses

  • APY 199 | UB Seminar: Immigration Stories
  • APY 106 | Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • APY 323 | Anthropology and Education
  • APY 402 | Contemporary Europe
  • APY 410 | Immigration and Citizenship
  • APY 492 | Political and Legal Anthropology
  • APY 494 | Senior Seminar: Migration and Diaspora 

Graduate Courses

  • APY 521 | Language, Culture, and Power
  • APY 536 | Advanced Ethnology of Europe
  • APY 575 | Cultural Anthro. Topics, including:
    • Migration and Diaspora
    • Ethnography & Personal Narrative
    • Bourdieu, Anthropology, and Law
    • New Ethnographies
  • APY 592 | Political Anthropology
  • APY 654 | Graduate Survey of Anthropological Theory (Contemporary)
  • APY 655 | Graduate Survey of Anthropological Theory (Historical)

Selected Publications


Editor, Special Journal Issue
  • 1987 Anthropological Research in France: Problems and Prospects for the Study of Complex Society. Anthropological Quarterly 60(2).
Articles and Book Chapters
  • "How Brexit Changed Migration: French Citizens in London from `EU Movers' to 'Migrants​,`" Transitions: Journal of Transient Migration.  Special Issue on the End of Migration. April 2024. Online first.
  • "Introduction: Unsettling Migrant Narratives."  Deborah Reed-Danahay and Helena Wulff.  In Anthropological Approaches to Reading Migrant Writing: Reimagining Ethnographic Research, Knowledge, and Power. Deborah Reed-Danahay and Helena Wulff, eds.  NY: Routledge, 2024. 
  • "Imaginaries of Belonging in Middle-Class Relocation Narratives: The French in London." In Anthropological Approaches to Reading Migrant Writing: Reimagining Ethnographic Research, Knowledge, and Power. Deborah Reed-Danahay and Helena Wulff, eds.  NY: Routledge, 2024.
  • “To be Stunned: Extraordinary Experiences and Ordinary Fieldwork.” In Petra Rethmann and Helena Wulff, eds. Exceptional Experiences. Pp. 15-31. Oxford and NY: Berghahn Books, 2023.
  • “Afterword: At Home in the World.” In Bo G. Eklund, Adnan Mahmutovic, and Helena Wulff, eds., Claiming Space: Locations and Orientations in World Literature. Pp. 236-249. NY: Bloomsbury Academic, 2021. 
  • Brexit, Liminality, and Ambiguities of Belonging: French Citizens in London, Ethnologia Europaea – Journal for European Ethnology 50(2): 18-31,  2020.
  • Leave/Remain: Brexit, Emotions, and the Pacing of Mobility among the French in London. In Vered Amit and Noel Salazar, eds. Pacing Mobilities: Timing, Intensity, Tempo and Duration of Human Movements.  Pp.142-62.  New York and Oxford: Berghahn Publishers, 2020.
  • "Hortense Powdermaker." Sage Research Methods Foundations. London: Sage, 2019.
  • “Bourdieu, Social Space, and the Nation-State: Implications for Migration Studies,” Sociologica [Bologna] (Symposium / Space, Interaction and Communication, edited by Barbara Grüning and René Tuma). 2: 1-22, 2017. Doi: 10.2383/88198
  • "Autoethnography." In John Jackson, ed., Oxford Bibliographies in Anthropology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.
  • "Bourdieu and Critical Autoethnography: Implications for Research, Writing, and Teaching," International Journal of Multicultural Education. 19(1):144-154, 2017.
  • “Participating, Observing, Witnessing,” In Simon Coleman, Susan Hyatt, and Ann Kingsolver, eds., Routledge Companion to Cultural Anthropology.  Pp. 57-71. New York and Oxford: Routledge, 2017.
  • “Confronting Community: From the Social Spaces of Rural France to the Vietnamese Diaspora.” In Anne Raulin and Susan Carol Rogers, eds., Transatlantic Parallaxes: Toward a Reciprocal Anthropology. Pp.125-142. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2015.
  • "‘Like a Foreigner in my own Homeland’: Writing the Dilemmas of Return in the Vietnamese American Diaspora," Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power. 22(5): 603-618, 2015.
  •  “Social Space: Distance, Proximity, and Thresholds of Affinity.” In Vered Amit, ed., Thinking Through Sociality: An Anthropological Interrogation of Key Concepts. Pp. 69-96. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2015.
  • “The Vietnamese American Buddhist Youth Association: A Community of Practice for Learning Civic Skills," TSANTSA [Journal of the Swiss Ethnological Society] 7: 76-85, 2012.
  • “La notion de ‘ communauté’ à l’épreuve des terrains : des espaces sociaux de la France rurale à la diaspora vietnamienne,” Parallaxes Transatlantiques: Pour une Anthropologie Réciproque. Edited by Anne Raulin and Susan Carol Rogers. Pp. 159-180. Paris: Editions du CNRS, 2012.
  • “Citizenship, Immigration, and Embodiment: Vietnamese Americans in North-Central Texas.” In Meenakshi Thapan, ed. Contested Spaces: Citizenship and Belonging in Contemporary Times. Pp. 101-119. Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh (India): Orient Blackswan Pvt. Ltd., 2010.
  • “Bourdieu’s Ethnography in Béarn and Kabylia: The Peasant Habitus.” In Goodman, Jane and Paul A. Silverstein, eds. Bourdieu in Algeria: Colonial Policies, Theoretical Developments. Pp. 133-163. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2009.
  • “Anthropologists, Education, and Autoethnography: Rebekah Nathan, My Freshman Year; Robin Fox, Participant Observer, Sherry Ortner, New Jersey Dreaming; Anne Meneley and Donna J. Young, eds., Auto-Ethnographies: The Anthropology of Academic Practices.” Reviews in Anthropology. 38: 28-47, 2009.
  • "`Communities of Practice’ for Civic and Political Engagement: Asian Indian and Vietnamese Immigrant Organizations in a Southwest Metropolis,” Caroline B. Brettell and Deborah Reed-Danahay. In Ramakrishnan, S. Karthick and Irene Bloemraad, eds. 2008. Civic Hopes and Political Realities: Immigrants, Community Organizations and Political Engagement. Pp. 195-221. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2008.
  • “From the ‘Imagined Community’ to ‘Communities of Practice’: Immigrant Belonging among Vietnamese Americans.” In Deborah Reed-Danahay and Caroline B. Brettell, eds., Citizenship, Political Engagement, and Belonging: Immigrants in Europe and the United States. Pp. 78-98. New Brunswick, NJ and London: Rutgers University Press, 2008.
  • “Introduction,” Deborah Reed-Danahay and Caroline B. Brettell. In Deborah Reed-Danahay and Caroline B. Brettell, eds., Citizenship, Political Engagement, and Belonging: Immigrants in Europe and the United States. Pp. 1-18. New Brunswick, NJ and London: Rutgers University Press, 2008.
  • “Citizenship Education in the 'New Europe’: Who Belongs?” In Bradley Levinson and Doyle Stevick, eds., Reimagining Civic Education: How Diverse Societies Form Democratic Citizens. Pp. 197-215. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, Pubs., 2007.
  • “De la Résistance: Ethnographie et Théorie dans la France Rurale,” Education et Sociétés (Paris): 19(1):115-131, 2007. [Revision and translation of Reed-Danahay 1993].
  • “Becoming Educated, Becoming an Individual? Tropes of Distinction and 'Modesty' in French Narratives of Rurality.” In Vered Amit and Noel Dyck, eds., Claiming Individuality: The Cultural Politics of Distinction. Pp. 131-52. London: Pluto Press, 2006.
  • “Desire, Migration, and Attachment to Place: Life Stories of Rural French Women.” In Bilinda Straight, ed., Women on the Verge of Home: Narratives of Home and Transgressive Travel. Pp. 129-148. Albany: SUNY Press, 2005.
  • “Tristes Paysans: Bourdieu’s Early Ethnography in Béarn and Kabylia,” Anthropological Quarterly. 77(1):87-106, 2004.
  • “Europeanization and French Primary Education: Local Implications of Supranational Policies.” In Kathryn Anderson-Levitt, ed., Local Meanings, Global Schooling: Anthropology and World Culture Theory. Pp. 201-18. NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
  • “Sites of Memory: Autoethnographies from Rural France,” Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly. Special Issue on Biography and Geography 25(1): 95-109, 2002.
  • “`This is Your Home Now!’” Conceptualizing Location and Dislocation in a Dementia Unit, Qualitative Research. 1(1):47-63, 2001.
  • “Autobiography, Intimacy, and Ethnography.” In Paul Atkinson, Amanda Coffey, Sara Delamont, Lyn Lofland, and John Lofland, eds., Handbook of Ethnography. Pp.407-25. London: Sage Publications, 2001. [Paperback edition, 2007]
  • “Habitus and Cultural Identity: Home/School Relationships in Rural France.” In Bradley Levinson, ed., Schooling the Symbolic Animal. Pp. 223-236. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000.
  • “Friendship, Kinship and the Life Course in Rural Auvergne.” In Sandra Bell and Simon Coleman, eds., The Anthropology of Friendship. Pp.137-154. Oxford and New York: Berg Publishers, 1999.
  • “Introduction.” In D. Reed-Danahay, ed., Auto/Ethnography: Rewriting the Self and the Social. Pp. 1-17. Oxford and New York: Berg, 1997.
  • “Leaving Home: Schooling Stories and the Ethnography of Autoethnography in Rural France.” In D. Reed-Danahay, ed., Auto/Ethnography: Rewriting the Self and the Social. Pp. 123-143. Oxford and New York: Berg Publishers, 1997.
  • “Diversity and Health Care: The Nursing Home.” In Larry L. Naylor, ed., Diversity in American Culture. Pp. 291-303. S. Hadley, MA: Bergin and Garvey, 1997.
  • “Persistance et Adaptation d’un Rite de Passage: La Fête Communale et les “Conscrits” dans une Commune du Puy-de-Dôme,” Revue d'Auvergne. 539 (2):130-6, 1996.
  • “Champagne and Chocolate: `Taste` and Inversion in a French Wedding Ritual,” American Anthropologist. 98(4):750-761, 1996.
  • “The Kabyle and the French: Occidentalism in Bourdieu's Theory of Practice." In James Carrier (ed.), Occidentalism: Images of the West. Pp. 61-84. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • “Talking About Resistance: Ethnography and Theory in Rural France,” Anthropological Quarterly. 66(4):221-246, 1993.
  • “La production de l'identité régionale: L'Auvergnat dans le Puy-de-Dôme rural,” Ethnologie française. (Paris) 21(1)42-48, 1991.
  • “Backward Countryside, Troubled City: French Teachers' Images of Rural and Working-Class Families,” Deborah Reed-Danahay and Kathryn M. Anderson-Levitt. American Ethnologist. 18(3):546-564, 1991.
  • “Farm Children at School: Educational Strategies in Rural France,” Anthropological Quarterly. 60(2):83-89, 1987.
  • “Introduction: Anthropological Research in France: Problems and Prospects for the Study of Complex Society,” Deborah Reed-Danahay and Susan Carol Rogers. Anthropological Quarterly. 60(2):51-55, 1987.
  • “Une approche des rapports de l'école et du pouvoir en Auvergne par une ethnologue Américaine, Bulletin des Ruralistes Français (Paris). 16(4):4-9, 1981.