Katherine Wiley

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Katherine Wiley

Status:Working Remotely

  • Professional
  • Biography


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, Indiana University, 2013
  • M.A., Anthropology, Indiana University, 2010
  • B.A., Ph.D., Colgate University, 2000

Areas of Emphasis or Expertise

  • Social Hierarchy and Inequality
  • Gender
  • Economic Anthropology
  • Islam
  • Dress
  • Islamic Republic of Mauritania


Katherine Wiley is a cultural anthropologist with research interests in social hierarchy and gender in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. She received her Ph.D. from Indiana University in 2013 and joined the faculty at PLU in 2014. She conducts research in semi-rural Mauritania, analyzing how ex-slaves and slave descendants are understanding their identities and reworking social hierarchy, given that slavery was legally abolished there in only 1980. She gets at these questions by examining women’s work and economic activities, particularly market trading, veil production and economic exchanges at weddings. Her publications include a chapter in an edited volume, African Dress, as well as a peer-reviewed article in the Journal, Africa. Katherine became interested in Africa while teaching English in the Peace Corps in Mauritania; she now serves as the Coordinator for the Peace Corps Prep program at PLU. Prior to becoming an anthropologist she has worked in international health and journalism.