Marcus B. Griffin is a cultural anthropologist, who is working with the U.S. Army as part of the Human Terrain System in Iraq. He is presently taking a year’s leave of absence from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, where he has been the professor of anthropology and sociology since the fall of 2000.
Dr. Griffin has a unique perspective in the field of anthropology, as he spent a significant part of his childhood and early adolescence (in the early 1970’s and returning in the early 1980’s) living among the native Agta Negritos of the Philippines with his anthropologist parents. His father, P. Bion Griffin, is professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, while his stepmother, Annie Estioko-Griffin, is a retired archaeologist.
In 1984, while he was still a high school student at the prestigious Iolani School in Honolulu, Hawai’i, young Marcus participated in the summer field school at Grasshopper Pueblo, a project of the University of Arizona in Tucson. In 1988, while a college student at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, he accompanied his father on a semester-long research trip in Indonesia. He finished his bachelor’s degree in anthropology with distinction at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in 1991.
On several occasions between 1991 and 1995, Marcus returned to the Philippines to conduct his doctoral research among the Agta tribe, the same group he lived with as a child. He completed his Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1996, under the advisorship of F. K. Lehman, who is a specialist in Southeast Asian studies.
Marcus has since taught courses in anthropology, sociology, and human development at a number of colleges across the United States, including his two alma maters, the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also taught in the University of New Hampshire system and at the Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
Over the years, he has written numerous articles for both popular magazines and academic journals, including the Australian Journal of Anthropology and Anthropos, and with his father, has co-authored chapters in various books including Hunting for Sustainability in Tropical Forests, published by Columbia University Press in 1999 and the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers, published by Cambridge University Press in 2000. By the end of his year-long assignment in Iraq, he will have completed his manuscript, tentatively titled There I Was: An Anthropologist in Iraq.