Weissman School of Arts and Sciences | Baruch College
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Chair, Department of Sociology & Anthropology
Phone: 646 312-4469
Fax: 646 312-4461
Office: VC 4259
Glenn Petersen has been teaching at Baruch College since 1977, and also at the City University of New York’s GraduateCenter since 1987. He teaches anthropology and geography at Baruch; at the Graduate Center he teaches in the Ph.D. Program in Anthropology and in the Master’s Program in Liberal Studies (MALS), where he specializes in international affairs. He did his undergraduate studies at California State College, Hayward, and received his Ph.D. from Columbia University.
Prof. Petersen is an ethnographer and has done field research in the Pacific islands, Central America, and the Caribbean. He has been engaged in on-going fieldwork in the islands of Micronesia since the early 1970s, especially on the island of Pohnpei. He writes on nearly every aspect of social and cultural life in the islands, but has focused particularly on aspects of traditional chieftainship and social organization there, on the Micronesians’ pursuit of independence, and on the Micronesians’ contemporary political status as a small island nation-state located in a strategically vulnerable position.
Prof. Petersen served for a time as a member of the Federated States of Micronesia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations. He taught international affairs at the University of Puerto Rico in 1992-93, where he has also conducted comparative research on Puerto Rico’s political status, and has been a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian National University. His research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Institutes of Health, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation, among other sources.
Prof. Petersen is especially committed to undergraduate teaching, particularly his introductory anthropology courses at Baruch. He also teaches the college’s human geography and world geography courses; seminars on the anthropology of peace and war and the anthropology of contemporary world issues; and the core course on “the peopling of New York City” for the CUNY Honors College. For Baruch’s Feit Interdisciplinary Seminars program he has co-taught a seminar on Darwin with a paleontologist, on the press and democracy with a journalist, and on decolonization and post-colonialism with an English professor.
Prof. Petersen works actively to develop the skills of new teachers in his own department, in the college, and throughout the CUNY system. He participates in the college’s writing initiatives and is a regular contributor to its teaching blog. He has recently participated in national programs on higher education and citizenship. A veteran who saw considerable combat duty in Vietnam, he now serves as the faculty advisor for Baruch’s veterans club. He is also deeply engaged in the affairs of Baruch’s Faculty Senate and the campus chapter of the university’s faculty union, PSC-CUNY.
Among the international conferences he has recently participated in are the "Migration, Network and Colonial Legacies in Pacific Islands," at the Center for Asia-Pacific Area Studies, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, “Island State Security Conference” at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu; “Power and Hierarchy in the History of Civilizations,” at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia; “Global Perspectives on Island Archaeology,” University of Auckland, New Zealand; “Political Culture, Representation and Electoral Systems in the Pacific,” University of the South Pacific, Port Vila, Vanuatu; “Narrating Colonial Encounters: Germany in the Pacific Islands,” the University of Washington; “The Eighth Annual Symposium on Democracy,” Kent State University; “Pacific Worlds and the American West,” the University of Utah; and the Pacific Science Congress, Tahiti.
His books include One Man Cannot Rule a Thousand: Fission in a Ponapean Chiefdom; Ethnicity and Interests at the 1990 the Federated States of Micronesia Constitutional Convention; and Lost in the Weeds: Theme and Variation in Pohnpei Political Mythology. In 2009 the University of Hawaii Press published his Traditional Micronesian Societies: Adaptation, Integration, and Political Organization.
Among his recently published articles are:
“Keeping the Peace in Micronesia.” The Pig in a Garden Series, Stinky Journalism.org. May 18, 2009.
“Hambruch’s Colonial Narrative.” Journal of Pacific History 42 (3): 317-330, 2007.
“Micronesia’s Breadfruit Revolution and the Evolution of a Culture Area.” Archaeology in Oceania 41:82-92, 2006.
“On Checks and Balances Within the Federated States Of Micronesia’s Presidential System.” Journal of Pacific Studies, 29:25-49, 2006.
“Important to Whom? On Ethnographic Usefulness, Competence and Relevance.” Anthropological Forum, 2005.
“Lessons Learned: The Micronesian Quest for Independence in the Context of American Imperial History.” Micronesian Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences 3:45-63, 2004.
“Routine Provocation and Denial: From the Tonkin Gulf and Hainan to Kyoto and the Pacific Islands. In E. Shibuya and Jim Rolfe, eds. Security in Oceania in the Twenty-first Century. Honolulu: Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, pp.193-230, 2003.
“Strategic Location, Sovereignty, and Cash in the Federated States of Micronesia.” In J. Fitzpatrick, ed., Endangered Peoples: Oceania. Westport: Greenwood, 2001.
“Indigenous Island Empires: Yap and Tonga Considered.” Journal of Pacific History 35:5-27, 2000.
“Sociopolitical Rank and Clanship in the Caroline Islands.” Journal of the Polynesian Society, 108 (4): 367-410, 1999.
“Strategic Location and Sovereignty: Modern Micronesia in the Historical Context of American Expansionism.” Space & Polity 2:179-205, 1999.
“Politics in Post-War Micronesia.” In R. Kiste and M. Marshall, eds., Anthropology in American Micronesia. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1999, pp.145-197.