James G. Peoples

Professor of Sociology/Anthropology


B.A., University of California, Santa Cruz
Ph.D., University of California


James Peoples came to Ohio Wesleyan in 1988, having previously taught in the anthropology departments of the University of California, Davis, and the University of Tulsa. His main anthropological fieldwork was on Kosrae, a small island in the Federated States of Micronesia, where he studied the impact of American subsidies on the island’s agricultural and cash economy.

Peoples’ first book, Island in Trust, published in 1985, summarized the results of this field research. He is the co-author of Humanity: An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, a textbook now in its ninth (2011) edition. He also co-authored Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, published in 1999, and Essentials of Cultural Anthropology (second edition, 2011). He has written numerous articles for professional journals and scholarly monographs, including one translated into Chinese in 2008.

Currently he is directing the East Asian Studies Program, working on another monograph on Micronesia, serving as secretary of the Japan Studies Association, and developing a paper on Japan for publication. His research areas are interactions between humans and the natural environment, and the peoples of Oceania and East Asia.  In recent years, he has journeyed to South Korea, Japan, and China, and most of his future work will be in East Asia.

At Ohio Wesleyan he teaches courses in cultural anthropology, human ecology, Pacific cultures, East Asia, and Native Americans of the Southwest.

Areas of Interest / Expertise

  • Korea
  • Micronesia
  • International environmental problems

Publications / Presentations

  • Peoples, James G. “Cultural Anthropology.” Anthropology. Ed. Zhiming Zhao and Gang Chen. Beijing, China: China Renmin University Press, 2008: 1–30.
  • Island in Trust
  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • Co-author, Humanity: An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • Eleven articles and chapters in scholarly journals and books

Contact Info


Elliott Hall #309
Ohio Wesleyan University
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-368-3839
E jgpeople@owu.edu