Professor Emeritus
Ethnography, cognitive and applied anthropology, comparative religion, South Asia, United States



Professor Emeritus David McCurdy taught Anthropology at Macalester starting in 1966 and was chair of the department for extended periods throughout his tenure.

McCurdy has received numerous teaching awards. He was the first recipient of the American Anthropological Association/ Mayfield Award for Undergraduate Teaching (1997). He was also the recipient of the Macalester Distinguished Teaching Award (1995). And he was made the subject of an article in 1977 by Change Magazine for innovative teaching in anthropology, Change, Special Report on Innovative Teaching, No. 6, 1977.

McCurdy completed his undergraduate work at Cornell University and received his B.A. in 1957. He finished his Masters in Anthropology from Stanford University in 1959.  In 1964, he completed his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Cornell University.

Currently McCurdy’s interests in anthropology include ethnographic research, cognitive anthropology, applied anthropology as well as comparative religion in the United States and South Asia.

His research to date consists of a major ethnography (1961-1963), then restudy (1985, 1991, 1994) of a Bhil tribal community in Rajasthan, India. He has also conducted a cross-cultural study of spirit possession (1966-1967).

His ethnographic studies have encompassed corporate managers (1983), stockbrokers (1980), Jehovah Witnesses (1973), as well as members of an environment movement (1968-1969).  He has also performed continued ethnography (1988-1999) on a national motorcycle association.

McCurdy has authored and edited numerous books, many of which are assigned in anthropology classes taught here at Macalester.