Dr. Debra Curtis

Contact Information:

Room 322
(401) 341-3102


B.A. in political science, Keene State College (1985)
M.P.H., San Jose State University (1987)
Ph.D. in anthropology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (2006)

Personal Statement:


I am drawn to aspects of the human condition that for too long have been regarded as taboo among academics. Subjects such as love, death, madness, and sexuality, while taken seriously by some, continue to remain on the margins of the academy. For the past 10 years, my research has focused on the relationship between sexuality and economics, by asking how the economy shapes the sexual landscape of a society. In 2003, I conducted fieldwork on Nevis, a small island society, which was once an agrarian community, and now has become increasingly influenced by consumer culture. In 2009, I published "Pleasures and Perils: Girls' Sexuality in a Caribbean Consumer Culture" (Rutgers University Press). Over the past several years, I have also collaborated with students conducting research in the areas of psychology, gender and society. Every year, together with faculty from the Department of Psychology, our students present their research findings at national and regional conferences. As a graduate student at Rutgers University in the late 1990s, I was encouraged to develop a strong research agenda, which I have pursued and found extremely satisfying. Yet, I love teaching students, too. Over the years, I've taught courses on human rights, the anthropology of children, global capitalism, and gender and sexuality. I strive to create moments in the classroom setting that are transformative for both my students and me, as we learn and grow together in this very complicated and chaotic but beautiful world.