Dr. Heather O'Leary

Assistant Professor




O’Leary was a Wenner-Gren and a Fulbright Fellow in India, where she has traveled and performed ethnographic research in Hindi for more than a decade. She speaks Hindi and Urdu, having received a Foreign Language and Area Studies Award from United States Department of Education. She researches how sustainable development plans in coastal cities can be more inclusive. She is an active leader member of many respected anthropology organizations, including presently serving on the executive committee for the International Union for Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences and the steering committee of the World Anthropological Union.


  • M.A., University of Chicago
  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota


O’Leary teaches undergraduate courses in anthropology and interdisciplinary social sciences, including courses on gender in the cross-cultural perspective, environmental movements methodologies and a senior capstone course. She is currently launching a lab with students to monitor citation disparities of gender and race related to the use in academic journals and representations of environmental justice in popular culture anthropology papers.


Dr. Heather O’Leary champions citizen engagement for sustainable urban development. Her research interests include transnational disparities related to women’s rights, water politics, urbanization and the environment. She regularly presents on these topics at national and international anthropology conferences and works with governance institutions like the OECD to find social-science solutions.

Graduate Students

Eric Campbell, Hussein El Mouallem, Taylor Gantzert, and Rebekah