Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Catherine Lutz

Catherine Lutz

Catherine Lutz

Thomas J. Watson, Jr. Family Professor of International Studies, Professor of Anthropology

Areas of Interest: War and security, militarization, peacekeeping, automobility, photographic representation, gender.


Professor Lutz is the author or co-author of many books and articles on a range of issues, including security and militarization, gender violence, and transportation.  Writing and speaking widely in a variety of media, she has also consulted with a variety of civil society organizations as well as with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the government of Guam.  She is past president of the American Ethnological Society and was selected as a Guggenheim Fellow.


Professor Lutz's research has focused on the transformations of war, as well as on peacekeeping and gender, military basing and anti-basing social movements, photographic representations of the world of nations, and car cultures and political economy.

She is currently leading a large interdisciplinary project on the human, social, and financial costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Costs of War project has brought together over 35 scholars and practitioners from across the social sciences with expertise in these areas, and their research output is available at costsofwar.org.


Militarization. International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, in press.

The Empire of Choice and the Emergence of Military Dissent. In John Collins and Carol Granahan, eds. Ethnographies of US Empire. Durham: Duke University Press, in press (with Matthew Gutmann).

Schooled (with Anne Fernandez). New York: Teachers College Press, 2015.

US Reconstruction Aid for Afghanistan: The Dollars and Sense. Costs of War, (with Sujaya Desai), Watson Institute for International Studies Working Papers Series, 2015, and www.costsofwar.org.

The U.S. Car Colossus and the Production of Inequality. American Ethnologist, 2014, 41 (2): 232-45.

Cars and Transport: The Car-Made City. In Donald Nonini, ed. Blackwell Companion to Urban Anthropology. New York: Blackwell, 2014, pp. 142-53.

War. In The Anthropology of Morality. Didier Fassin, ed. New York: Blackwell, 2012 (with Kathleen Millar).


Anthropology/International Relations 1232, War and Society

This course provides cross-cultural, ethnographic, and historical perspectives on war. The focus is less on battles, elite war strategies, and relations between states than on what war is like for those caught within it.  Course readings and lectures use cultural, political economic, and feminist approaches to understanding war and its effects on social life.  Case studies are drawn from many eras and areas of the globe, including past war in Mozambique, the aftermath of terror wars in Guatemala, and the Cambodian genocide. We will also look at efforts that have been made to prevent war.

Anthropology 450, Two Billion Cars: Humans, Markets, Cultures, and the Automobile

With the possible exception of the computer or antibiotics, the car is arguably the most significant invention of the last two centuries.  It has fundamentally reshaped landscapes, lives, and economies, and its impact will only increase as the global vehicle population doubles, as predicted, to two billion by the year 2030. This class explores the immense social, political, health, and environmental consequences, as well as the cultural and political economic explanations for the car population explosion.  Alternative forms and futures for transit will be considered throughout the course.