The University of Michigan campus, where Dr. Kottak is a professor (Photo by Bernt Rostad)

Conrad Phillip Kottak was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1942. Kottak is an anthropologist, professor, and author of numerous college textbooks that are currently in use. Kottak earned a doctorate degree from Columbia University in New York. His resume includes a large amount of research that he conducted in Brazil, Madagascar, and the United States. He visited a number of towns and villages in these countries and documented how the societies are structured. Much of this research is reflected in Kottak’s textbooks.

Kottak currently serves as an anthropology professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor at the Population Studies Center. He has taught at the school in some capacity since 1968. Kottak has developed a number of theories about anthropology and sociology. One of his more intriguing theories is that certain American cultural phenomena, Star Wars, Star Trek, and the story of how Thanksgiving originated are starting to become more like myths, and eventually, they will be similar to the stories of Roman and Greek mythology, which are studied in humanities courses. More recently, he has studied how middle-class families use various forms of media to manage their lives both personally and professionally when it comes to the choices they make on a daily basis. He has also explored how local cultures and populations are structured and how they often resist being incorporated into larger populations.

In 1992, Kottak received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts at the University of Michigan. He also was awarded the American Anthropological Association’s Mayfield Award for Excellence in the Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology in 1999. In 2008, he became an elected member of the the National Academy of Sciences.

Kottak has authored the following college textbooks that many professors utilize in their classes today:

Researching American Culture: A Guide for Student Anthropologists (1982)

Prime-Time Society: An Anthropological Analysis of Television and Culture (1990)

Assault on Paradise: Social Change in a Brazilian Village (1999)

Anthropology: The Exploration of Human Diversity and Cultural Anthropology (2003)

On Being Different: Diversity and Multiculturalism in the North American Mainstream (with co-author Kathryn A Kozaitis) (2003)

Mirror For Humanity: A Concise Introduction to Cultural Anthropology [7th edition] (2010)

If you are a student enrolled in an anthropology or sociology class and are required or recommended to have any of these books, use to find where these titles are available for purchase online and to compare prices on them from a variety of textbook websites. Many books are also available for rent.