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, historical ethnography, child development and attachment, gender and sexuality, art/artifacts and photography, Oceania and the US.


Self and Culture (ANTH 404); Psychological Anthropology (ANTH 521); Advances in Cultural Theory (ANTH 507); Publishing and Professional Communication (ANTH 593)

Current Research

Jeannette Mageo is a psychological anthropologist. Her work focuses on dreaming and the self, on child development, and on how subjectivity, identity, and emotion evolve out of cultural and historical experiences. Dr. Mageo in the fieldSince 1980, she has been involved in research and publication on Samoan culture, history, and psychology. In 2003, she began studying U.S. culture through dreams. In recent years she has turned to examine the collision of Samoan and European cultures and psychologies in the colonial encounter through performance art, historical photos, and colonial artifacts. Dr. Mageo has also researched and published on gender and sexuality, transvestism, prehistory, folklore, 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.

Representative Publications

2013 Attachment Reconsidered: Cultural Perspectives on a Western Theory. Naomi Quinn and Jeannette Mageo, eds. New York: Palgrave-MacMillian, in the Society for Psychological Anthropology's series.

2013 "Dreaming and its Discontents: US Cultural Models in the Theater of Dreams." Ethos 41(4):387-410.

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.

2001 Cultural 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.
Anna Jordan, MA
Matthew Newsom, 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

Attachment Reconsidered












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