Associate Professor of Anthropology
Ph.D., University of Michigan
Field of Specialty
Linguistic anthropology. Psychological anthropology. Religion. Ethnicity. East Africa. Teaches courses on linguistic anthropology, psychological anthropology, communication and media, and anthropological theory.
Janet McIntosh, Associate Professor of Anthropology, is a cultural anthropologist whose work focuses on linguistic anthropology, psychological anthropology, language ideology, narrative and discourse, personhood, essentialism, religion, ritual, Islam, ethnic identity, colonialism and postcoloniality, and East Africa. After earning a BA at Harvard University (summa cum laude) and a second BA at Oxford University (first class honors), she undertook graduate training at the University of Michigan, earning her Ph.D in 2002 and winning a Distinguished Dissertation Award. Dr. McIntosh has recent articles in such journals as American Ethnologist, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Journal of Pragmatics, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Africa, Journal of Religion in Africa, and Language and Communication. Her book "The Edge of Islam: Power, Personhood, and Ethnoreligious Boundaries on the Kenya Coast" (Duke University Press, 2009), won the 2010 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, she is currently conducting research toward a new project on the narrated dilemmas of former colonial settlers and their descendants in Kenya. She is Deputy Editor of The Journal of Religion in Africa. The courses she teaches at Brandeis include "Language, Ethnicity and Nationalism," "Linguistic Anthropology," "Psychological Anthropology," "Colonialism/Postcoloniality: Encounters and Dilemmas," "Communication and Media," "Introduction to the Comparative Study of Human Societies," and "Language in American Life." Before coming to Brandeis she taught at University of Michigan, Harvard University, and MIT. She lives in Brookline with her husband Tom and sons Tobias and Theo.
McIntosh, Janet. "Maxwell's Demons: Disenchantment in the Field." Anthropology and Humanism. (2004): Applying Cultural Anthropology: An Introductory Reader. Ed. Aaron Podolefsky Peter J. Brown and Scott M. Lacy. 9th edition ed. 2013.
McIntosh, Janet. "Mobile Phones and Mipoho's Prophecy: The Powers and Dangers of Flying Language." American Ethnologist 37. 2 (2010): 337-353.
McIntosh, Janet. "“Liminal Meanings: Sexually Charged Giriama Funerary Ritual and Unsettled Participant Frameworks”." Language and Communication. (2005): Indigenous Religions. Ed. Stephen Hunt. London: Ashgate, 2010.
McIntosh, Janet. "(Book Review) A Companion to Linguistic Anthropology. Blackwell, 2004, 2006." by Alessandro Duranti. Language in Society vol. 37(2) 2009: 284-7.
McIntosh, Janet. "(Book Review) Bewitching Development: Witchcraft and the Reinvention of Development in Neoliberal Kenya. University of Chicago Press, 2008.." by James Howard Smith. Journal of Religion in Africa 2009
McIntosh, Janet. "(Book Review) Ritual, Discourse, and Community in Cuban Santería: Speaking a Sacred World. University of Florida Press, 2007." by Kristina Wirtz. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology vol. 18(1) 2009: 163-4.
McIntosh, Janet. "Elders and 'Frauds': Commodified Expertise and Politicized Authenticity among Mijikenda." Africa 79. 1 (2009): 35-52.
McIntosh, Janet. "Stance and Distance: Ontological Doubt and Social Boundaries in White Kenyan Narratives about the African Occult." Stance: Sociolinguistic Perspectives. Ed. Alexandra Jaffe. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. 72-91.
McIntosh, Janet. The Edge of Islam: Power, Personhood, and Ethnoreligious Boundaries on the Kenya Coast. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009.
McIntosh, Janet. ""Going Bush": Black Magic, White Ambivalence, and Boundaries of Belief in Post-Colonial Kenya.." Journal of Religion in Africa 36. 3-4 (2006): 254-295.
McIntosh, Janet. "Baptismal Essentialisms: Giriama Code Choice and the Reification of Ethnoreligious Boundaries." Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 15. 2 (2005): 151-170.
McIntosh, Janet. "Language Essentialism and Social Hierarchies among Giriama and Swahili." Journal of Pragmatics (2005): 1919-1944.
McIntosh, Janet. "Liminal Meanings: Sexually Charged Giriama Funerary Ritual and Unsettled Participant Frameworks." Language and Communication 25. (2005): 39-60.
McIntosh, Janet, Anthropology and Humanism. "Maxwell's Demons: Disenchantment in the Field." Anthropology and Humanism 29. 1 (2004): 63-77.
McIntosh, Janet. "Reluctant Muslims: Embodied Hegemony and Moral Resistance in a Giriama Spirit Possession Complex." Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (2004): 91-112.
McIntosh, Janet. "Spirits and Social Change." Kenya Past and Present 34. (2004): 68-72.
McIntosh, Janet. "What Have the 9-11 Investigators Overlooked?." Anthropologists in the Public Sphere: Speaking Out on War, Peace, and American Power. Ed. Gonzalez, Roberto. University of Texas Press, Austin, 2004
McIntosh, Janet. "Cracking Codes and Speaking in Tongues: Language, Gender, and Power in Two Kenyan Divination Rituals." Gendered Practices in Language. Ed. S. Benor, M. Rose, D. Sharma, J. Sweetland, & Q. Zhang. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications, 2002. 151-173.
McIntosh, Janet. "'Tradition' and Threat: Women's Obscenity in Giriama Funerary Rituals." Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective, Third Edition. Ed. Brettell, Caroline B. & Sargent, Carolyn F.. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2001. 409-422.
McIntosh, Janet. "Strategic Amnesia: Versions of Vasco da Gama on the Kenya Coast." Images of Africa: Stereotypes and Realities. Ed. Mungara, Daniel & Larson, Victoria. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2001. 85-104.
McIntosh, Janet. "Symbolism, Cognition, and Political Orders." Science and Society 62. 4 (1999): 557-568.
McIntosh, Janet. "Professed Disbelief and Gender Identity on the Coast of Kenya." Gender and Belief. Ed. Warner, Natasha et al.. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996. 481-490.
|ANTH||1a||Introduction to the Comparative Study of Human Societies|
|ANTH||26a||Communication and Media|
|ANTH||139b||Language, Ethnicity, and Nationalism|
|GSAS||302d||Interdisciplinary Dissertation Seminar|