College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Anthropology

Dr. Jeannette Marie Mageo

Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz
Cultural Anthropology

Research Interests

Psychological Anthropology, Self, Dreams, Cultural Memory, Power, Spirit Possession, Historical Ethnography, Pacific Islands, U.S. culture


Self and Culture (ANTH 404); Psychological Anthropology (ANTH 591); Advances in Cultural Theory (ANTH 507); Publishing and Professional Communication (ANTH 593)

Current Research

Jeannette Mageo is a psychological anthropologist. Her current work focuses on dreaming and the self and on how subjectivity, identity, and emotion evolve out of cultural and historical experiences. Dr. Mageo in the fieldFrom 1980 she has been involved in research and publication on Samoan culture,history, and psychology.  Recently, she has begun investigating performance art and folk art in Samoa.  

Since 2003, she has studied U.S. culture through dreams. Gender is a consistent dimension of her published work. Dr. Mageo has also researched and published on child development, sexuality, transvestism, prehistory, and spirit possession. She consulted for and appeared in a documentary made for Channel 4 in Britain, Paradise Bent: Boys will be Girls in Samoa, which is framed by her historical interpretation of Samoan transvestism.

Together with Professor Naomi Quinn, Professor Mageo staged a Lemelson/SPA Conference entitled “Rethinking Attachment and Separation in Cross-Cultural Perspective” at the Spokane Riverpoint campus May 19-21, 2011.  

Representative Publications

2012 "Dreaming Sexed Identities and Althusser." Anthropology and Humanism 37.1.

2011 Dreaming Culture: Meanings, Models, and Power in U.S. American Dreams. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

2011 "Empathy and Attachment in Samoa." The Anthropology of Empathy: Experiencing the Lives of Others (Douglas Hollan and Jason Throop, eds.), pp. 69-93.  New York: Berghahn.

2010  "Transforming Will, Transforming Culture" In Toward an Anthropology of the Will (Jason Throop and Keith M. Murphy, eds.), pp. 123-139. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

2010 "Internalization and the Dream: The U.S. Cinderella Model of Sexuality and Agency."  Anthropological Theory 10(3):229-247.

2010 "Race, Gender, and Foreign Exchange in Samoan Performing Arts." Anthropological Forum 20(3):269-289. For a special issue on Imagination and Innovation in the Pacific.

2008 "Zones of Ambiguity and Identity Politics in Samoa," Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 14:61 -78

2006 "Figurative Dream Analysis and U.S. Traveling Identities." Ethos 13(4):456-487.

2005 "Male Gender Instability and War." Peace Review 17(1):73-80.


2003 Dreaming and the Self: New Perspectives on Subjectivity, Identity, and Emotion. Edited volume State University of New York Press (SUNY), for their series on dreaming.

2002 Toward a Multidimensional Model of the Self. Journal of Anthropological Research. 58:339-365.

2002 Power and the Self. Edited Volume. Cambridge University Press.

2001 Dream Play and Discovering Cultural Psychology. Ethos. 29:187-217.

2001Cultural Memory: Reconfirguring History and Identity in the Pacific. Edited Volume. Univeristy of Hawai'i Press.

1998 Theorizing Self in Samoa: Emotions, Genders and Sexualities. Univeristy of MIchigan Press.

1996 Spirits in Culture, History, and Mind. Co-Edited with Alan Howard (University of Hawai'i). Routledge.

1996 Samoa, on the Wilde Side: Male Tranvestism, Oscar Wilde, and Limnality in Making Gender. Ethos. 24(4):588-627.

Dr. Mageo with children in the field1996 Spirit Girls and Marines: Possession and Ethnopsychiatry as Historical Discourse in Samoa. American Ethnologist 23:61-82.


1995 The Reconfiguring Self. American Anthropologist. 97:282-296.

1994 Hairdos and Don’ts: Hair Symbolism and Sexual History in Samoa. Man 29:407-432.

1992 Male Transvestism and Cultural Change in Samoa. American Ethnologist. 19:443-459.

1991 Samoan Moral Discourse and the Loto. American Anthropologist. 93:405-420.


Graduate Students

Emily Casillas, Ph.D.,
Maia Clay, Ph.D.,
Nicole Tyllas, Ph.D.


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College Hall 224

Curriculum Vitae


Dreaming Culture



Dreaming and the Self



Power and the Self



Cultural Memory



Theorizing Self in Samoa



Spirits in Culture, History, and Mind












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