Elizabeth Bird

Professor Emerita




  • Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Strathclyde (U.K.)
  • M.A., Journalism & Mass Communications, University of Iowa
  • M.A., Folk Life Studies, University of Leeds (U.K.)
  • B.A., Anthropology, University of Durham (U.K.)


Undergraduate and graduate classes that included Research Methods, Cultural Anthropology, Folklore, Legal and Ethical Issues in Applied Anthropology, Visual Anthropology, and Media Anthropology.


For many years, my research focused on practices around the media in everyday life, with particular interests in the role of news and journalism in framing cultural issues, and the relationship of media texts and audience practices. More recently, I worked (and continue to work) on cultural heritage. In particular, I have worked since 2010 in Asaba, Nigeria, on a collaborative project that used videotaped oral histories and survivor testimonies to document a little-known massacre of civilians that happened in 1967 during the Nigerian civil war. The goal was to reclaim the history of the event, and use this both to explore the working of collective memory and to assist the community in developing public memorialization. Using funding from the American Council of Learned Societies, my co-authored book on Asaba was published in 2017 (S.E. Bird and F. Ottanelli, The Asaba Massacre: Trauma, Memory and the Nigerian Civil War, Cambridge University Press. The book won the Oral History Association’s Book Award in 2018. My second book focused around the civil war was published in 2018 (S.E. Bird and R. Umelo, Surviving Biafra: A Nigerwife’s Story. For more information about my Nigerian work, visit this website. Visit this link for a video that draws on our interviews and other sources, and tells the story of the massacre.

I am currently collaborating with the Sulphur Springs Museum and Heritage Center, as an Executive Board Member, assisting with exhibit development, grants, and other activities.