Catherine Mathers

Catherine Mathers

Associate Professor of the Practice of Program in International Comparative Studies

External Address: 
Ics Program, 210-B East Duke Building, Durham, NC 27708-0405
Internal Office Address: 
Ics Program, Box 90405, Durham, NC 27708-0405
(919) 660-4374


I am a socio-cultural anthropologist with interdisciplinary training in sociology and the natural sciences. My work is propelled by the examination of how representational practices, through writing and other forms of creative expression construct and mediate the world. I pay close attention to these practices in my own diverse and cross-disciplinary writing projects as well as when I teach. By taking the idea of America seriously, as well as putting Africa and media about Africa center stage, through a study of travel and tourism between these two spaces, my book, Travel, Humanitarianism and Becoming American in Africa  shows the global connections and disconnections on which contemporary identities are formed. My second project builds on and develops my work on transnational encounters and mobilities, imperial relationships and identity construction to explore what it means to be South African twenty years and more post-apartheid.  How are South Africans navigating the consistent racialized economic divides alongside a changing set of discourses about belonging, nationality and race? What happens when these conversations about race and identity, Africanness and whiteness meet in the contested racialized institutions of Europe and America especially in the spheres of theatre, art and education?

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley 2003

Framed. Producer. (2015)


F R A M E D: a story about the image of Africa follows a Kenyan photographer who reclaims the power of the image to jumpstart a ballot revolution. Moving between new stories and old myths, and between activists in Kenya and America, FRAMED shows what’s possible when we re-imagine the plot that cast a continent as a victim.