November 16, 2012
Miller, class of 2002, returns to the College of Arts and Sciences to teach
Miller, who started out as a theater design major switched his major after
taking a course with anthropology Professor Ted Fortier.
Miller earned his master’s in anthropology from Western Washington
University where he focused on applied and visual anthropology. He taught at
Linn-Benton Community College in Oregon where he also managed the multicultural
center. For his doctoral studies, he chose the University of South
“Cultural anthropology today is a broad field,” he
said recently. “I’ve always been particularly drawn to applied anthropology
because it is more participatory, particularly applied visual
Miller has worked primarily with Native
Americans and migrants from Mexico and Honduras. Using his theater background,
he develops visual narratives – video and film – that bring insight into
cultural issues through storytelling.
Since the origin of
modern photography and film in the late 1800s, media have been used as a
research tool. Anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, her husband,
pioneered ethnographic research with photography and film as their primary
tools. With today’s technology, ethnographic research is more accessible than
“Ethnographic films and images engage students,”
Miller said, “and they develop greater understanding and appreciation of
Miller provides opportunities for students to
create their own films and images.
“It is one thing to see
an image or a film in class, but it is another for students to collect and
produce media themselves,” he said. “Taking the step from media consumer to
producer can be very powerful.”
When students provide visual
documentation of their own cultures, Miller finds that they not only learn about
the diversity of their classmates, they also see their own cultures in a new
of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 42 undergraduate
majors, 37 minors, and 6 master’s degrees.
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