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Affiliated Department or Office
Department of Integrative & Global Studies
Great Problems Seminar
Social Science and Policy Studies
PhD Anthropology Albany, State University of New York 2012
MS Urban Studies University of New Orleans 2005
BA Anthropology Brandeis University summa cum laude 1999

I am an economic anthropologist who conducts both interdisciplinary and applied research. I study global issues from an ethnographic perspective examining local phenomena and placing it within their global context. My work has covered a variety of topics from spirituality and health to remittance strategies of Peruvian migrants. My dissertation research, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, examined the use of microfinance loans on rural livelihoods in Nicaragua. My current work is on the social and solidarity economy and its intersection with sustainable development.

I truly believe that as anthropologists our work should make a difference. After witnessing dozens of unsuccessful development projects as a Peace Corps volunteer I realized that something needed to change. Over the years I have come to realize that it is not only development that needs to adjust to a new global society but it is also anthropologists that have to recognize our role in making these changes possible. Whether working in academia or as a practicing anthropologist I promote public anthropology and I strongly advocate that anthropologists use their knowledge to inform public policy and debate.

Dr. Kurlanska has been published in Ethnology, American Journal of Health Promotion, and AnthroNews and has received research grants from the National Science Foundation, The Institute for Meso-American Studies and the New York Latino Research Network. She has also received awards based on her research from the Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology and the Society for Economic Anthropology. In 2010, The Center for A Public Anthropology honored her with the Eleanor Roosevelt Global Citizenship Award which seeks to highlight teachers who emphasize civic engagement in introductory anthropology courses. In 2016 Dr. Kurlanska was recognized as Leadership Fellow by the American Anthropological Association.

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 1: No Poverty

SDG 1: No Poverty - End poverty in all its forms everywhere

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SDG 2: Zero Hunger

SDG 2: Zero Hunger - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

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SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

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SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities - Reduce inequality within and among countries

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SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

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SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

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SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

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Scholarly Work

Kurlanska, Courtney. 2022. “Flipping the Classroom: COVID Made me do it!” Currents in Teaching and Learning. 13(2) 38-48. 

Kurlanska, Courtney. 2020. “Life and death of a community library: a case study in micro-development.” In The Cultural Turn in International Aid: Impacts and Challenges for Heritage and the Creative Industries. Edited by Sophia Labadi (123-138). New York: Routledge. 

Kurlanska, Courtney. 2017. "Development, Disempowerment and Debt: The Transformation of Aided Self Help Housing in Nicaragua." Urban Anthropology 46 (3-4). 

Professional Highlights & Honors
American Anthropological Association Leadership Fellow, 2016

Public Anthropology Eleanor Roosevelt Global Citizenship Award, 2010