Dr. Mary Good

Assistant ProfessorDr. Mary Good - Anthropology
Cultural Anthropology
Office: Anthropology Building
Phone: 336.758.3423
Email: goodmk@wfu.edu


Dr. Good will be on research leave for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Dr. Mary Good (Ph.D., University of Arizona) is a linguistic and cultural anthropologist whose research focuses on youth, global modernity, and morality in Tonga. Her previous research project investigated the ways in which digital media including text messaging, online social networking, and television/film viewing among Tongan teenagers and young adults affects their ideas about social obligations and family responsibility.

In 2017-2018, Dr. Good will begin a new research project funded by the Spencer Foundation on the experiences of Tongan youth as they seek employment opportunities. This project will explore the unique challenges youth face as they navigate job searches, skills training, re-valuations of labor, and unemployment in an uneven, emergent neoliberal economy.

Dr. Good has worked with WFU students on a number of undergraduate research projects, including research on low-income high school students who work part-time in Winston-Salem; youth and sex education in Ecuador; gender fluidity and cultural identity in Samoa; and NGOs, sustainable development, and gender in Peru.

Prior to coming to Wake Forest, Dr. Good mentored student research on Food media and cooking practices in the US; health behavior and health communication in Ecuador; Food and culture in rural Wisconsin; and a variety of other projects.

Dr. Good is the current Chair of the Association for Social Anthropology of Oceania (www.asao.org).

Research and Scholarly Activities

Recent Media Coverage

“Studying Youth Culture” Interview with Shawn Fitzmaurice, SciWorks Radio program, on 12/18/15


“Americans Aren’t the Only Ones Convinced Women Speak Differently” by Moira Lavelle, Public Radio International’s The World, on 7/24/15




Good, Mary K. 2014 The Fokisi and the Fakaleitī: Provocative Performances in Tonga. In Gender On the Edge: Transgender, Gay, and Other Pacific Islanders. Niko Besnier and Kalissa Alexeyeff, eds. University of Hawai’i Press. Pp. 213-240.

Good, Mary K. 2013 Filipino Film Lovers: Morality and Modernity among Tongan Youth. Anthropology Now 5(3): 41-51.

Strand, Thea, Michael Wroblewski, and Mary K. Good. 2010 Words, woods, woyds: Variation in Schwar Realization in Southern Louisiana.” Special theme issue of Journal of English Linguistics: Accommodation to the Locally Dominant Norm: Variationist Analyses. 38(3): 211-229.

Hart, Jenifer, Janice Monk, Barbara Mills, Lindy Brigham, and Mary K. Good. 2009 “Agents of Change: Faculty Leadership in Initiating and Sustaining Diversity at the University of Arizona” In Doing Diversity in Higher Education: Faculty Leaders Share Challenges and Strategies, ed. Winnifred R. Brown-Glaude. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Good, Mary K. 2002 Educational Initiatives: The Citywide American Indian Education Council. In Native Chicago, Second edition, ed. Terry Straus. Chicago: Albatross Press.

Invited Presentations

Reframing the Farmer: Youth, Entrepreneurship, and Unemployment in Tonga. Research presentation invited by the Department of Anthropology Brownbag Speaker Series, University of North Carolina – Charlotte, 20 October 2016

“What’s Your Status?” Facebook, Morality, and Selfhood among Tongan Youth. Research presentation invited by the Department of Anthropology Speaker Series, University of South Carolina, 25 March 2016

Building Youth Culture through Media. Presentation invited as part of opening for the Exploring Youth Culture Around the World exhibit by the Museum of Anthropology, Wake Forest University, 23 February 2016

Trajectories of Pathos and Possibility: Watching Filipino Teleserye in Tonga. Research presentation invited by Center for Humanities/Digital Humanities Institute as Part of a panel on “Telenovelas and Soap Opera in the Global South,” University of Wisconsin-Madison, 14 October 2014

Working to Get Closer: ‘Filled Pauses’ and the Organization of Physical Movement in Social Interaction. Anthropology Graduate Student Organization Brown Bag series, Fall 2005.

Selected Volunteered Presentations

Flexibility, Possibility, and the Paradoxes of the Present: Tongan Youth Moving into the Workforce. Paper presented at the Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group meetings, Los Angeles (UCLA), CA, March 3-5, 2017

Liminal, Marginal, Critical? Tongan Youth and (Un)employment. Paper presented as part of the working session “Pacific Youth, Pacific Futures” at the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania Meetings, Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i, February 8-12, 2017

Emotion, Intensity, and Gendered Morality in the Field. Paper presented as part of the working session “Women Fieldworkers” at the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania Meetings, Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i, February 8-12, 2017

Exhibiting Knowledge: Museum Installations as Final Projects. Paper presented at the Society for Applied Anthropology Meetings, Vancouver, BC, Canada, March 29-April 2, 2016

Forging Friendships and Making Modernity in the Tongan National Youth Congress. Paper presented as part of the working session “Friendship and Peer Relationships” at the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania Meetings, San Diego, CA, 10-14 February 2016

What the Internal Assessment Reveals: Kinship, Generosity, and the Modern Self in Tongan High Schools. Paper presented at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings, Denver, CO, 18-22 November 2015

“Kalasi Kehe”/A Different Class: Negotiating Romance, Navigating Class through New Media in Tonga. Paper presented at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings, Washington DC, 3-7 December 2014

Engaging Styles and Memorable Profiles: Slang, Style-shifting, and the Presentation of Self in Tongan Youths’ Online Social Networking. Paper presented at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings, Chicago, IL, 20-24 November 2013

Teaching and Student Engagement

Courses Regularly Taught

ANT111 People and Cultures of the World

ANT340 Anthropological Theory

ANT337 Economic Anthropology

ANT385 Special Topics – The Anthropology of Childhood and Youth

ANT385 Special Topics – Culture and Representation in the Pacific Islands

Student Engagement

Dr. Good enthusiastically welcomes the opportunity to work with students on mentored undergraduate research in a variety of areas related to her research expertise. She has worked with students in the past on cultural anthropology and linguistic anthropology projects in the Pacific Islands, the United States, and in other areas. Past undergraduate research advised by Dr. Good has included projects on children and youth; food and culture; identity and the politics of representation; discourse and power; gender and social relations; and economic activity.

Students working with Dr. Good have received funding from Wake Forest’s URECA program, the Richter Scholarship Program, the Anna Julia Cooper Foundation, and other outside sources. Past projects have been presented at the Wake Forest Undergraduate Student Research Symposium as well as national-level Anthropology conferences including the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA), the American Anthropological Association (AAA), and the Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group (ACYIG) meetings.



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