Paul Mullins

Paul Mullins

Prof. Paul Mullins

PhD (University of Massachussets, Amherst)

Chair, Professor Department of Anthropology, Indiana University-Purdue University
Docent, Historical Archaeology, University of Oulu

PopAnth Author, Community Advisor

Paul is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI), where he teaches archaeology, popular culture and applied anthropology. He is also Docent in American Historical Archaeology at the University of Oulu (Finland) and President of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Paul’s research interests focuses on the relationship between racism and material consumption. He is interested in how consumers use material goods to secure some measure of self-determination. For instance, many African Americans often consumed model genteel goods because they understood themselves to be full Americans and did not accept the racist notion that American and Black were exclusive identities. On the other hand, mass-produced objects provide a range of possible meanings that can variously accommodate resistance, simply reproduce existing inequality, or – more commonly – do both of these things. For example, he has examined Barbie material culture to probe the historically complex meanings the doll’s producers have forged since 1959: at various moments and in particular consumers’ hands, Barbies have been quite visionary, politically indecisive, or utterly reactionary.

Paul also writes about doughnuts in American history, trans-Atlantic material culture, and Finnish ruins. He blogs about his work on his website, Archaeology and Material Culture, and on the Society for Historical Archaeology’s President’s Corner.

PopAnth Publications

2014 Air Guitar World Champion Nanami "Seven Seas" Nagura of Japan. Image by Aleksi Ollila

Pleasure, community, and air guitar

Some people say that air guitar can bring world peace. Others claim it is embarrassing. What’s the social purpose of this fine, yet imaginary, art? Continue reading »

Comic Con poster. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

The new normals: Geek style and consumer culture

Never has there been a more glorious moment to be a geek: once caricatured as socially awkward outsiders, geeks are now at the leading edge of style. Continue reading »

South by Southwest hipsters image, courtesy of Todd Dwyer (Flickr 2009)

Authentic cool: Global hipsters and consumer culture

Hipsters: meaningless “cool” or meaningful culture? Exploring the hipster mindset in a sympathetic fashion. Continue reading »

Ghost bike

The boulevard of death: Ghost bikes and spontaneous shrines in New York City

Roadside memorials for traffic accident deaths are more important than graves to the bereaved. How public grieving is taking over NYC. Continue reading »

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