Dr. Mary Good

Assistant ProfessorDr. Mary Good - Cultural Anthropologist picture
Cultural Anthropology
Office: 118 Piccolo Building
Phone: 336.758.3423
Email: goodmk@wfu.edu

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 current research (previously funded by the Spencer Foundation 2017-2018) investigates the experiences of Tongan youth as they seek employment opportunities. The project explores the unique challenges youth face as they navigate job searches, skills training, re-valuations of labor, and unemployment in an uneven, emergent neoliberal economy.

Previous research undertaken by Dr. Good examined the ways in which digital media including text messaging, online social networking, and television/film viewing among Tongan teenagers and young adults affected their ideas about social obligations and family responsibility. Dr. Good has an ongoing interest in the intersections between digital media and face-to-face social relationships among youth.

Dr. Good has worked with WFU students on a number of undergraduate research projects, including research on transnational adoptions; 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 a Fellow of the Association for Social Anthropology of Oceania (www.asao.org). She also belongs to the American Anthropological Association and various sections and interest groups (SLA, AES, SEA, SAW, ACYIG, PIG).

Research and Scholarly Activities


2019                Flexibility, Possibility, and the Paradoxes of the Present: Tongan Youth Moving into the Future. Contributed to the volume Pacific Youth: Local and Global Futures. Helen Lee, ed. Canberra: Australian National University Press.

In Press           Comment: Stretching Bonds and Strengthening Ethics in Avoiding Giving. Response to Elise Berman’s Avoiding Sharing: How People Help Each Other Get Out of Giving. Accepted by Current Anthropology. Slated for publication Spring 2020.   

2018                Responsibility and Adventure: Tongan Youth and Circular Migration. Youth Circulations Blog invited guest contributor, posted 2 January 2018. http://www.youthcirculations.com/blog/2017/12/10/responsibility-and-adventure-tongan-youth-and-circular-migration

In Review        Relational Status and Multi-Faceted Profiles: Facebook Use among Tongan Youth and the Presentation of Selfhood. Submitted to Anthropological Quarterly.

In Review        Not Just Junk: Snack Sharing and Moral Ambiguities among Tongan Youth in an Emergent Neoliberal Economy. Submitted to American Ethnologist.

In Review        Socialization and Globalization: Reading Pasifika Literature and Understanding Globalization in a Tongan Secondary School. Submitted to Anthropology and Education Quarterly.

In Review        “Holla Mai! Tongan 4 Life!” Transnational Citizenship, Youth Style, and Mediated Interaction through Online Social Networking Communities. Contributed to the volume Reppin’ Da Native City: A Youth Studies Reader of Oceania. Keith Camacho, ed. Under Contract with University of Washington Press, in final round of peer reviews.

In Prep            Reframing the Farmer: The Construction of Unemployment, Employment, and Entrepreneurship in the Emergent Neoliberal Economy. Article manuscript currently in preparation to be submitted to Anthropology of Work Review.

In Prep            “My Heart Is in the Phone:” The Mediation of Moral Sentiment in Mobile Phone Romance. Article manuscript currently in preparation to be submitted to Ethos.

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.

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

2010                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.

2009                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.

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

Invited Talks

2019                “‘Holla mai! Tongan 4 life!’: Transnational Citizenship, Youth Style, and Mediated Interaction through Online Social Networking Communities” Research presentation invited by the Dr. Keith Camacho as part of the Youth Studies in Oceania Conference, UCLA, 13 April 2019

2019                (Internal Invited Talk) Stress Comes from Somewhere, and It’s Actually a Moral Sentiment in Tonga. Research presentation as part of the Wake Forest University New Ideas Series sponsored by the Dean of the College, 17 January 2019

2018                (Internal Invited Talk) Translation in Culture and Meaning. Keyword Crossings Series, Wake Forest University Humanities Institute, 3 October 2018. Keyword: Translation.

2017                “What’s Your Status? Online Social Networking, Morality and Selfhood among Tongan Youth.” Research presentation invited by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology Speaker Series, High Point University, High Point, North Carolina, 5 April 2017

2016                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

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

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

2014                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

Museum Exhibitions

2015-2018       “Childhood: Exploring Youth Culture around the World.” Permanent exhibition in the Museum of Anthropology, Wake Forest University, October 2015 – July 2018. Curated this exhibit with the assistance of Andrew Gurstelle, Museum Director and Sara Cromwell, Assistant Museum Director and developed in conjunction with students from my Anthropology of Childhood and Youth course in Spring 2015. Students completed research and wrote labels for individual objects accompanied by explanatory panels authored by Good and Gurstelle.

Invited Workshops/Seminars (Participant)

2019                Youth Studies in Oceania Workshop, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 12-13 April 2019

2014                Telenovelas and Soap Opera in the Global South, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 14 October 2014

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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