Wesleyan portrait of Joseph  Weiss

Joseph Weiss

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Winchester House, 4

Associate Professor, Science and Technology Studies


BA University British Columbia
MA University of Chicago
PHD University of Chicago

Joseph Weiss

Joseph Weiss is a settler scholar who works between sociocultural anthropology and Indigenous studies.  His research explores the intersections between settler colonialism, time, ecology, and Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. Dr. Weiss has been conducting fieldwork with the Haida community of Old Massett since 2010, where has also worked as a full-time volunteer teaching assistant and occasional school play director. His first book, Shaping the Future on Haida Gwaii: Life Beyond Settler Colonialism (University of British Columbia Press, 2018) is based on this fieldwork, exploring how the Indigenous Haida Nation in Western Canada addresses political and social change through a series of different future-oriented cultural strategies. Dr. Weiss is currently finishing his second book, tentatively titled Irreconcilable: Indigeneity and the Violence of Colonial Erasure in Canada, which analyses the ways in which the agents, structures, and ideologies of settler colonial erase their own constitutive and ongoing violence, and, in turn, how Indigenous Peoples refuse to become reconciled to these continuing modes of domination. He is also at work beginning a third project, examining settler colonial networks of extraction between Canada, Mexico and the United States. Dr. Weiss also maintains abiding interests in commissions of inquiry, the production of political legitimacy, and research ethics in the social sciences. His research has been funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the American Philosophical Society, Wesleyan University, the Canadian Museum of History, and the University of Chicago. Dr. Weiss is formerly Curator of Western Ethnology at the Canadian Museum of History.

Representative publications:


Under Review. Irreconcilable: Indigeneity and the Violence of Colonial Erasure in Contemporary Canada. Under Review, University of North Carolina Press.

2018. Shaping the Future on Haida Gwaii: Life Beyond Settler Colonialism. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. 


2024. "Settler Shock: Colonial Fetishism and the Disavowal of Violence in Contemporary Canada. Public Culture, in press.

2022. w/ Hilary Morgan Leathem. "Sovereign Graffiti on Haida Gwaii: A Photo Essay." BC Studies 214 (Summer 2022): 9-27. https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.no214.196174

2022. "The Era of Endless Repatriation: Respectful Relationality and the Reconfiguration of Colonial Authority." Anthropologica63(2). https://doi.org/10.18357/anthropologica6322021360

2021. “Not Built to Last: Military Occupation and Ruination under Settler Colonialism.” Cultural Anthropology 36, no. 3: 484–508. https://doi.org/10.14506/ca36.3.10.

2020. "Giving Back the Queen Charlotte Islands: The Politics of Names and Naming between Canada and the Haida Nation." Native American and Indigenous Studies 7.1: 62-86. muse.jhu.edu/article/761798.

2018. w/ Virginia R. Dominguez and Alaka Wali. "Anthropologists and Museums: An Interview with Joseph Weiss." American Anthropologist 120 (4):808-812.  https://doi.org/10.1111/aman.13137

2015. "Challenging Reconciliation: Indeterminacy, Disagreement, and Canada’s Indian Residential Schools’ Truth and Reconciliation Commission." International Journal of Canadian Studies 51:27-55. https://doi.org/10.3138/ijcs.51.27

Short Essays:

2019. "King of the Post-Anthropocene." Geist 113. https://www.geist.com/fact/columns/king-of-the-post-anthropocene/

2019. "The Erotics of Destruction and the End of the Anthropocene." Visual and New Media Review, Fieldsights, October 1. https://culanth.org/fieldsights/godzilla-and-camille-the-erotics-of-destruction-and-the-end-of-the-anthropocene

2019. "Who Gets to have Eco-Anxiety?" Edge Effects, April 25. https://edgeeffects.net/who-gets-to-have-ecoanxiety/

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Student Appointment Hours: Thursdays, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM


(Note: I do not do drop-in appointments. You must make an appointment with me prior to meeting.)


Fall 2024
ANTH 101 - 01
Intro to Cultural Anthropology

ANTH 112F - 01
Anthropology of Godzilla (FYS)

ANTH 213 - 01
Indigenous Anthropology