Elana Shever Colgate University - Faculty Directory Skip Navigation

Colgate Directory

Elana Shever

Elana Shever

Associate Professor of Anthropology
Sociology & Anthropology , 418 Alumni Hall
p 315-228-7035
Elana Shever is a cultural anthropologist with interests in natural resources and materiality, corporations, neoliberalism, globalization, and capitalism. Her work has examined the relationship between large-scale political-economic processes and intimate transformations in personhood. She has conducted research in Argentina, Colombia, and the United States.
Resources for Reform, Elena SheverDr. Shever's first book, Resources for Reform: Oil and Neoliberalism in Argentina (Stanford University Press, 2012) explores how people’s lives intersect with the increasingly globalized and concentrated oil industry through a close look at Argentina’s experiment with privatizing its national oil company in the name of neoliberal reform. Examining Argentina’s conversion of its state-controlled oil market to a private market, the book reveals interconnections between large-scale transformations in society and small-scale shifts in everyday practice, intimate relationships, and identity. It offers a window into the experiences of middle-class oil workers and their families, impoverished residents of shanty settlements bordering refineries, and affluent employees of transnational corporations as they struggle with rapid changes in the global economy, their country, and their lives. Resources for Reform reverberates far beyond the Argentine oil fields and offers a fresh approach to the critical study of neoliberalism, kinship, citizenship, and corporations.

This study has led to Dr. Shever's continued involvement in developing the critical ethnography of corporations, exemplified by her contribution to the forthcoming Wiley Blackwell International Encyclopedia of Anthropology.
Elena Shever diggingDr. Shever's current book project examines how public scientific knowledge is created within the United States through an ethnographic study of contemporary engagements with dinosaurs, and people's multiple interpretations of them. Dinosaurs offer an especially sharp lens to study science in society because of their widespread popularity and frequent use in both education and entertainment. This project explores how various groups of people interact with, and understand, dinosaur artifacts, including fossils, casts, models and images. It aims to uncover how knowledge is created through the interactions among people, and between people and things. Dr. Shever has been conducting the ethnographic research for this project at museums, parks and tourism venues in the Denver metropolitan area, and paleontological excavation sites in the American West.


AB, Brown University, 1999; MA (2001), PhD (2008), University of California at Berkeley




The book has been reviewed in:

Peer-Reviewed Articles and Chapters

Other Publications

  • Review of Living with Oil: Promises, Peaks, and Declines on Mexico's Gulf Coast. Lisa Breglia. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013. American Ethnologist, 41(3):598-99.
  • "When the State Takes Stock," The Huffington Post, May 4, 2012.
  • "Adeline Cohnfelt Lust." Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia.  Paula E. Hyman and Deborah D. Moore, eds. p. 880. New York, NY: Routledge, 1998.

Professional Experience


  • University of Rochester Humanities Center External Fellowship, 2016-2017
  • Brown University Watson Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2008-2009
  • David M. Schneider Paper Prize, American Anthropological Association, 2007
  • Phi Beta Kappa of Northern California Dissertation Fellowship, 2006
  • University of California, Berkeley Human Rights Center Fellowship, 2006
  • Fulbright Fellowship for Research in Argentina, 2005
  • University of California, Berkeley Dissertation Research Award, 2005
  • Center for Latin American Studies Tinker Research Grant, 2002
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2000
  • Regents of the University of California Pre-Dissertation Humanities Fellowship, 2000
  • Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies (declined), 2000

Teaching Experience

See the course offerings website for current courses.

Courses Taught at Colgate University

  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 102)
  • Communities and Identities: Argentina
  • The Craft of Anthropological Inquiry (ANTH 211)
  • Nature, Culture, and Politics (ANTH/SOCI 245)
  • Corporations and Power (ANTH 339)
  • Globalization and Social Change in Latin America (ANTH/ALST 363)

Courses Taught at Union College

  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • Sophomore Research Seminar: Environmental Justice
  • Peoples and Cultures of Latin America
  • Environmental Anthropology: The Cultural Politics of Nature
  • Business, Government, Power