W. Warner Wood

Associate Professor
 (414) 229-6323
 Sabin Hall 304


PhD., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Research Narrative

My research is focused on the cultural politics of heritage in global context. To date my work has centered mostly on ecotourism and cultural tourism sites in Oaxaca, Mexico and the United States, although I am also interested in museums as important sites for the production of meaning. My interest is in the differing interpretations of material culture items and the environment that are constructed/contested by various stakeholders. I focus on the material culture of the people who visit, live, and work in such localities in order to better understand the transnational articulations in which they are embedded.

My first book, Made in Mexico: Zapotec Weavers and the Global Ethnic Art Market (Indiana U. Press, 2008) is an ethnographic account that follows weavers, designs, wool, and finished textiles primarily between Oaxaca, Mexico and the American Southwest. Following weavers and textiles between Oaxaca and the Southwest required a multi-sited approach and enabled me to understand how the lives and careers of Zapotec weavers (and their textiles) are produced and negotiated through the practices of a host of actors—a transnational “community of practice.” I’m currently extending this research into Northern India where similar textiles are now being produced for markets in the American Southwest.

My research efforts are now also focused on the Pacific Coast of Oaxaca, Mexico and on community museum development at an ecotourism site. In this project I am employing a participatory action research methodology to work together with a community coop focused on mangrove conservation. I am in the early stages of this project and it will require me (and my students) to travel to Oaxaca for the next several years and will culminate in the opening of a museum and traveling exhibit as well as the publication of an exhibition catalog chronicling the lives and work of the members of the cooperative.

Other Relevant Activities

Coordinator, Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program
Adjunct Curator, Milwaukee Public Museum

Courses Taught

Anthro 102 – Introduction to Anthropology – Culture and Society
Anthro 723 – Museum Curation and Interpretation

Selected Publications