Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Professor Kathleen M Adams

Key information

Department of Anthropology and Sociology Professorial Research Associate
Ph.D. (Univ. of Washington)
Email address


Kathleen M. Adams is Professorial Research Associate at SOAS, Professor Emerita at Loyola University Chicago, and Adjunct Curator at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.

Adams has published extensively in the areas of cultural heritage, critical tourism studies, Indonesian arts, museums, and the politics of identity and nation-building. Her regional area of focus is island Southeast Asia (especially Indonesia), with a secondary regional interest in Northern California. Her current projects involve the intersections of various forms of mobilities, restitution / repatriation of sacred Indonesian ancestral arts, and narratives of identity as embodied, performed and negotiated in two smaller Northern California museums (currently in development).

Adams’s award-winning books include Art as Politics: Re-crafting Identities, Tourism and Power in Tana Toraja (2006; republished in Indonesian in 2022) and The Ethnography of Tourism: Edward Bruner and Beyond (2019, coedited with Naomi Leite and Quetzil Castañeda). She has also authored or co-edited Intersections of Tourism, Migration, and Exile (2023, co-edited with Natalia Bloch), Indonesia: History, Heritage, Culture (2020), and Everyday Life in Southeast Asia (2011, co-edited with Kathleen Gillogly; republished in Chinese in 2021), among others. Her articles have appeared in a wide array of journals, including Annals of Tourism Research, Tourism Geographies, The International Journal of Heritage Studies, Museum Worlds, and American Ethnologist.

Key publications

In Press “Like a Bridge over Troubled Water? Fieldwork, Publicly-Engaged Scholarship, and Trafficked Indonesian Mortuary Materials.” For Pragmatic Imagination and the New Museum Anthropology (C. Hodge and C. Kreps, eds.). Bloomsbury/Routledge. Exp. Publication: Fall 2023.

2021 “Identity, Heritage, and Memorialization: The Toraja Tongkonan of Indonesia.” In Riello and Gerritsen (eds.), Writing Material Culture History, 2nd Edition. London: Bloomsbury.

2021(Post-) Pandemic Tourism Resiliency: Southeast Asian Lives and Livelihoods in Limbo.” Co-authored with J. Choe, M. Mostafanezhad, and T. Phi. Tourism Geographies. 

2021 “Tourism as Industry and Field of Study: Using Research and Education to Address Overtourism.” (with P. Sanchez). In Overtourism and Education: Strategies for Sustainable Futures (Séraphin & Yallop, eds.). Routledge.

2020 “The Politics of Indigeneity and Heritage: Indonesian Mortuary Materials and Museums.” Museum Worlds. 8(1): 68-87.

2020What Western Tourism Concepts Obscure: Intersections of Migration and Tourism in Indonesia.” Tourism Geographies, 1-26. 

2020 “Intangible Heritage as a Tourist Destination: Contributing to Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage through Sustainable Tourism” Introduction to special issue of Volkskunde (with A. van der Zeijden et al.). 121(4): 519-548.

2019 “Returns Unraveled: Reflections on Appropriate Destinies for Museum Objects with Questionable Pasts,” (with J. van Beurden & P. Catteeuw). Volkskunde 120(3): 305-339.


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