Elizabeth G. Traube

Professor of Anthropology

Winchester House, 1

Professor, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


BA Radcliffe College
MA Harvard University
MAA Wesleyan University
PHD Harvard University

Elizabeth G. Traube

Elizabeth Traube conducted ethnographic research in Timor-Leste before and after the Indonesian occupation.Her original research on ritual and cosmology explored exchange practices that continue to inform post-independence life in unexpected ways. In her recent and current work on Timor-Leste she is concerned with narrative practices, especially how locally preserved stories about the colonial past have operated in shifting circumstances to frame visions of possible futures, and how Timorese have incorporated outsiders, including the ethnographer,into their cultural schemes. Central to this work is an interest in elucidating the powers and limits of indigenous agency in confrontations with forces of modernity. 

Another aspect of her current scholarship involves cultural and media studies, especially television. She is interested in the relationship between industrial and aesthetic shifts, with a focus on how television storytelling is being transformed as the industry continues to respond to new technological, economic, and cultural conditions. 


I received my B.A in Folklore & Mythology from Radcliffe in 1970 and my PhD in Anthropology from Harvard in 1977. I came to Wesleyan straight from graduate school and have helped to shape and reshape the Anthropology Department. I have also partiipated actively in Wesleyan's robust interdisciplinary community, especially as a participant at and Director of the Center for the Humanities.  It was at the Center that I became involved in cultural studies, an interest that sustained me through the 24 years when Timor was inaccessible. I first returned to East Timor in 2000, during the UN transitional administration, and I have visited several times since independence was restored. I am an enthusiatic member of the transnational Timor-Leste-Studies community that has taken shape over the past decade. I have also remained involved with cultural studies and teach courses on television and on youth cultural practices.  

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Fall 2023, on sabbatical.



Fall 2024
ANTH 244 - 01
Television:The Domestic Medium

ANTH 295D - 01
Modern Media