Department
Of Sociology
Wofford
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Dr. Cynthia “Cissy” Fowler is Chair of the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Wofford College. Fowler is a deeply devoted anthropologist who is committed to academic and engaged scholarship, which for her involves teaching undergraduate anthropology courses; performing service for the College; engaging with the community through participation in local and professional organizations; reviewing and editing academic publications; and conducting research and writing. Fowler’s main area of study concerns biosocial dynamics on Sumba Island in Eastern Indonesia.  Another area of study occurs at the intersections of fire ecology and science and technology studies.  She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Indonesia, Hawai‘i, Vietnam, Brazil, and the U.S. South.

Fowler has published her research results in articles and books, including Fire Otherwise: Ethnobiology of Burning for a Changing World (2018), Biosocial Synchrony on Sumba: Multispecies Interactions and Environmental Variations in Indonesia (2016), and Ignition Stories: Indigenous Fire Ecology in the Indo-Australian Monsoon Zone (2013). Fowler is the co-editor alongside Dr. Elizabeth Olson of the monograph series Global Change/Global Health published by the University of Arizona Press. She co-edits, together with Dr. Steve Wolverton, the Contributions in Ethnobiology monograph series published by the Society of Ethnobiology.  Fowler is on the Editorial Board of Urbanities — Journal of Urban Anthropology and the Reviewer Board of Forests. Fowler was co-founder and co-editor of the Society’s open access journal Ethnobiology Letters.

Fowler has been an active member of the Society of Ethnobiology since 1999, serving as the President of the Board from 2017 to 2019. Fowler serves on Wofford’s Post-Graduate Scholarships Committee and Faculty Development Committee. She is a member of the Polk County Fire and Rescue Advisory Council and is certified as a Wildland Firefighter Type 2. She has completed ACA level 4 Swift Water Rescue training.

At Wofford College, Fowler teaches Introduction to Cultural Anthropology and Communications; Diversity; Global Health; Ecological Anthropology; Medical Anthropology; Ethnography; Ethnographic Film; and Cultures of Southeast Asia and Oceania.  In the January Interim terms, she has taught Water and Society; Fire Ecology of the Southern Appalachians; Earth to Exotic: Frolicking in the Foothills; Woodworkers Workshop; Nature and Culture on Bali; Holistic Health; Thailand: A Developing Country with Ethnic and Religious Diversity; and Land and Peoples of Peru: Amazon and Andes.

Fowler is the recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award for 2021-2022. She will conduct research on Sumba Island in collaboration with the University of Nusa Cendana on Timor Island. Her research project links global change with global health to better understand the ways in which ongoing change in freshwater on Sumba interacts with agropastoralists’ wellbeing.

Wofford College presented Fowler with the Covington Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences and the Humanities in August of 2020.  The United Methodist Church’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry awarded Fowler with the Exemplary Teacher of the Year Award in 2018.  In 2017, Fowler won a fellowship to attend the National Endowment for the Humanities “Islam in Asia” Summer Institute.  In 2017-2018, Fowler was a Community Engagement Faculty Fellow with Wofford College’s Center for Community Based Learning.

Publications

Fowler, Cynthia and Kaycia Best. 2019. State Line Burn: Collaboration Across the Border of North and South Carolina. An Interview with Brian Browning, Fire Management Officer for the Nantahala Ranger District of the Nantahala National Forest. Fire Learning Network Newsletter.

Fowler, Cynthia T. and James R. Welch, editors. 2018. Fire Otherwise: Ethnobiology of Burning for a Changing World. University of Utah Press.

Fowler, Cynthia T. and Scott Herron, guest editors. 2018. Ethics in Ethnobiology. Special Issue. Ethnobiology Letters 9.

Fowlerct, Cynthia T. 2018. Emerging Environmental Ethics for Novel Fire Regimes in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ethnobiology Letters 9(1):90-100.

Fowler, Cynthia. 2016.  Biosocial Synchrony on Sumba: Multispecies Relationships and Environmental Variations in Indonesia. Lexington Books.

2015. Wayfinding Women: The Generation of Landscapes and Society through Female Entrepreneurship. Urbanities 5(1):83-94.

Fowler, Cynthia T. and James R. Welch. 2015. Introduction: Special Issue on Fire Ecology and Ethnobiology. Journal of Ethnobiology  35(1):1-3.

2014. An Editor’s Opinion on the Ethics of Open Access. Ethnobiology Letters 5:1-3.

2013. Ignition Stories: Indigenous Fire Ecologies in the Indo-Australian Monsoon Zone. Carolina Academic Press, Durham.

2013.  Book Review of Fire: Nature and Culture by Stephen J. Pyne. Progress in Physical Geography 37(5):722-724.

Fowler, Cynthia and Amy Pittsenbarger. 2011. Interview with Ethnobiologist Dr. Elizabeth Widjaja. Letter from the Editors. Ethnobiology Letters 2:81-84.

2011. Performing Pisgah: Endurance Mountain Bikers Generating the National Forest. Anthropology News 52(3):11.

2009. National Teach-In on Global Warming. Anthropology and Environment Column. Anthropology News May 2009:42-43.

McMillen, Heather, Lisa Gollin, Cynthia Fowler, JD Baker, Dan Moerman, Elaine Elizabetsky, and Michael Heinrich. Tribute to the Late Nina Etkin. HerbalEGram 6(6).

2008. National Public Health Initiatives that Integrate Traditional Medicine. In Human Health and Forests: A Global Overview of Issues, Practice and Policy. Carol J. Pierce Colfer, editor. Pp. 295-315. London: Earthscan.

2007. With Evelyn Konopik.  The History of Fire in the Southern United States. Human Ecology Review 14(2):165-176.

2007. Book Review of Religion and Anthropology: A Critical Introduction by Brian Morris. American Anthropologist 109(1):221-222.

2004. Edited with Deborah Kennard. The Encyclopedia of Southern Fire Science.  Available at http://forestencyclopedia.net.

2005. Why is Maize a Sacred Plant? Social History and Agrarian Change on Sumba.  Journal of Ethnobiology 25(1):39-57.

2003. The Ecological Implications of Ancestral Religion and Reciprocal Exchange in a Sacred Forest in Karendi.  World Views: Culture, Environment, Religion 7(3):303-329. 

2003. Human Health Impacts of Forest Fires in the South: A Literature Review. Journal of Ecological Anthropology 7:39-63.

2001.  Book Review of People, Plants, and Justice: The Politics of Nature Conservation. Journal of Ethnobiology 21(2):73-76.

Wilcox, Bruce and Cynthia Fowler. 2001. Ecosystem Health and the Political Process: Ullsten and Rapport Revisited.  Journal of Ecosystem Health 7(3).