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About Emily

Emily Donaldson first became interested in anthropology as a kid.  Subjected to (in her eyes) horribly strict television rules by her parents, she was allowed to watch only two shows: The Muppet Show and National Geographic.  With time, these two sources of information helped to cultivate: a) her love of quirky humor, and b) her love of adventure.  Both have since found a playground in anthropology, which relies heavily upon both qualities.  At the end of the day, seeking to understand cultural difference is one of the greatest adventures of all.  

Emily received her BA from Harvard in social anthropology and archaeology (2003), an MA in the social sciences from the University of Chicago (2006), and a PhD in anthropology from McGill University (2016).  Her previous jobs include farm hand, archaeologist, writer, teacher, swim instructor, and, most recently, landscape historian.  She travels regularly to the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia for her own studies and to visit friends.  She also lectures on board the combined cruise ship and freighter that visits the islands, Aranui V.  

The bulk of Emily's anthropological fieldwork has been in the Marquesas, though she has also worked in Copan, Honduras.  She has been traveling to the Marquesas annually since 2001, and has spent more than two years living there.  Her studies of the islands have led to the production of an undergraduate honors thesis, a Masters thesis and a doctoral dissertation.  She has published multiple articles and book chapters on related topics (see her "Projects").  In 2010 she published a short book, Marquesan Phrasebook / Livre des phrases marquisiennes, to help encourage interest in the unique language of the islands and stimulate communication between visitors and islanders.  

As a landscape historian, Emily specialized in the history of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Washington, DC, Manassas, Virginia and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

In her writing, research and consulting work Emily has worked with collaborative writers, scholars and the Aspen Institute.




Good jokes?

Please contact Ms. Donaldson at: emilyd@emilydonaldson.org.