Phillip H. McArthur is a folklorist and anthropologist. His work in the Marshall Islands and elsewhere in Micronesia closely examine notions of place in Micronesia, the Pacific Islands, and indeed the Marshallese's tumultuous relationship with the United States. Dr. McArthur has spent much of his career documenting and analyzing Marshallese narratives, folklore, songs, performances, etc.
Dr. McArthur's research emphasizes social theoretical and semiotic approaches to traditional narrative (i.e. myth, oral history), cultural performance (ritual, ceremony, festival, spectacle), history, cosmology, and local cultures within the contexts of nationalism and globalization. This includes a deepening attention to political and economic forces, and their relationship to social power and practice. With a geographical specialization in Oceania, he additionally includes comparative studies on cultures of Asia, Native America, Africa and the Classical world. He also integrates deep interests in comparative philosophy, the history of ideas, and traditional arts informed by ethnographic and historical methods.
His teaching represents a wide range of topics centered in theory, cultural studies, and expressive culture. Students of Phillip McArthur have noted that in each course he seeks to fuse anthropology, humanistic inquiry and communications perspectives. While Oceania provides one geographical focus, his research and teaching philosophy seeks to bring to bear a comparative perspective into the classroom through exposure to a range of cross-cultural materials. He continues to develop curriculum (most recently as the founder of Brigham Young University-Hawaii's International Cultural Studies undergraduate program) that engages students to think about culture in critical and thought-provoking ways. In this way, students learn to develop culture sensitivity and insight to function productively within academics, the private sector, government, and the community.
Critical Thinking Pedigree
Phillip McArthur studied under the renowned folklorists and scholars Richard Bauman and Beverly J. Stoeltje. Currently Phillip McArthur teaches courses on Anthropology Theory and Method, Narrative, Political and Economic Anthropology, Cultures of Oceania, and Cultural Studies at Brigham Young University-Hawaii.
- "Oceania." In A Companion to Folklore 2012. Regina Bendix and Galit Hasan-Rokem, eds. Wiley-Blackwell Press. pp. 248–264.
- "Ambivalent Fantasies: Local Prehistories and Global Dramas in the Marshall Islands" 2008. Journal of Folklore Research 45(3): 263-298.
- "Modernism and Pacific Ways at Knowing: An Uneasy Dialogue in Micronesia." 2007. Pacific Rim Studies 1(1):7-24
- Introductory Note "Folklore, Nationalism, and the Challenge of the Future", in The Marrow of Human Experience: Essays in Folklore, William Wilson. Ed. Jill Terry Rudy. Logan: Utah State University Press. 2006
- "Narrative, Cosmos, and Nation: Intertextuality and Power in the Marshall Islands". 2004. Journal of American Folklore 462: 1.
- "Oceania: An Overview". In CultureGrams: World Addition, Vol. IV (Asia and Oceania). 2002. Lindon: Axiom Press.
- "Narrating to the Center of Power in the Marshall Islands". 2000. In We are a People: Narrative and Multiplicity in the Construction of Ethnic Identity. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Paul Spickard and W. Jeffrey Burroughs, eds.
- "More Than Meets the Ear: A Marshallese Example of Folklore Method and Study for Pacific Collections". 1997. PIALA: Identifying, Using and Sharing Local Resources. pp. 49–71. University of Guam.
- Dean, College of Arts and Humanities
- Professor, Cultural Anthropology and Integrated Humanities
- Affiliated Faculty, Jonathan Napela Center for Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Studies
- Editor-in-Chief, Pacific Studies and Napela Center Publications
- Ph. D. Folklore Studies (Cultural Anthropology, Performance Studies/Semiotics) Indiana University
- M.A. Folklore Studies Indiana University
- B.A. Anthropology Brigham Young University
- A.A.S Psychology Ricks College
- The Pacific Institute
- The American Folklore Society
- Indiana University
- Indiana University, Folklore Dept.