David Syring

David Syring
Professional Title
Professor of Anthropology & Director, Master of Professional Studies Program


  • 1997 Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Rice University (Houston, TX)
  • 1989 B.A. in History and English from Cornell College (Mount Vernon, IA) 

Professional Roles

  • Co-editor of Anthropology and Humanism, a publication of the American Anthropology Association.
  • Co-founder, The Participatory Media Lab at UMD.

Courses I Teach

  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Anthropology and Environment
  • Ethnobotany
  • Latin American Cultures
  • Cultural Theory for Wicked Problems
  • Digital and Participatory Research Methods
  • Anthropology Senior Seminar
  • Exploring Sustainability in Ecuador (short-term study abroad course)

Research and Teaching Interests

My research and teaching agenda focuses on humanistic approaches to resilient food systems, human-environment relationships, globalization and craftwork, sustainability as a theoretical framework and practical approach to addressing contemporary issues of social inequality, and participatory media creation with community groups. This agenda emerges from my early work on human perceptions of the landscape, and from the work I did for some years in the environmental nonprofit sector. I pursue this interest in a number of directions, including research within the United States and in Ecuador. I have conducted major community scholarship research projects revolving around sustainable regional food systems in the Western Great Lakes. I regularly conduct fieldwork in Saraguro, Ecuador, and am completing a series of participatory media pieces (films and digital stories) with the indigenous community I work with there. In addition, I have worked with multiple nonprofits in the Great Lakes region to teach participatory media making, specifically digital storytelling, to community groups.

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