Dr. Linda J. Jencson

Senior Lecturer in Anthropology

Ph.D. 1991 University of Oregon
M.A. 1984 University of Oregon
B.F.A. 1979 University of Akron

Office Address: 349D Anne Belk Hall
Email: jencsonlj@appstate.edu
Phone: 828-262-6713
Fax: 828-262-2982

Areas of Research/Interest
Cultural anthropology, disaster response, popular culture, myth, inter-ethnic communication and the arts, social networks; United States.

Understanding Culture; Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion; North American Indians

Current Research
The Red River Valley Flood of 2009. How do ordinary civilian citizens save their homes and cities from an all time record flood crest 23 feet over the banks that last nearly two months? I'm expanding on my previous study of the technical skill, organization, technical and symbolic communication, and shared guts that went into saving the same cities from the previous record flood in 1997.

Representations of "other" on prime time television, and the impact this has on American social attitudes toward minorities, immigrants, foreigners and the global community.

Academic Interests
The unifying theme of my academic work is the exploration of ways in which people use symbols to motivate collective social action. Beginning with collections of folk memorates in graduate school, continuing through my current projects in disaster response and popular culture, I have striven to ground the meanings and uses of symbolic communication in the study of its empirical behavioral outcomes—manifested in coordinated group action. I am interested in informal social entities such as networks, kindreds, permeable ethnicities (esp. Native American and Muslim), fandoms, and neighborhoods. My regional specialization is the U.S. (in global context) using holistic, comparative theory to illuminate such apparently diverse topics as disaster response, popular culture, myth-making, and inter-ethnic communication through the arts.

Each topic is used to theoretically inform my interpretations of symbol use as it relates to cultural and sub-cultural adaptations to rapid changes in local, national, and global conditions.

Representative Publications
2009 Cultures Emerging: Anthropology for a New Millennium. (ed.) Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co. 

2008 “‘I Aim to Misbehave:’ Role Modeling Political Conditions and Political Action in the Serenityverse,” Slayage: the On-line International Journal of Buffy Studies, 25(7).

2001 “Disastrous Rites: Liminality and Communitas in the Red River Valley Flood of 1997,” Anthropology and Humanism, 26(1):46-58.

1998 “In Whose Image: Misogynist Trends in the Neopagan Construction of Goddess and Woman,” in Spellbound: Women and Witchcraft in America, Elizabeth Reis, ed., Scholarly Resources Press.

1989 “Neopaganism and the Great Mother Goddess: Anthropology as Midwife to a New Religion,” Anthropology Today 5(2):2-5.




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Anthropology Speaker Series
Anthropology Loucks Fund
Anthropology Weller Fund 
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Anthropology Foundation 

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Physical Location

The Department of Anthropology is located in Anne Belk Hall. The administrative office is located in Room 342 and all of the faculty offices, classrooms, and labs are located on the 3rd floor.

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