Judith Schachter (Modell)

Professor Emeritus
Ph.D.: University of Minnesota, 1978
Department Member Since: 1984


JUDITH [Modell] SCHACHTER is a Professor of Anthropology and History at Carnegie Mellon University. From 2001 until 2006, she was Director of the Center for the Arts in Society, an interdisciplinary Center joining the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Fine Arts. Her publications include Ruth Benedict (1983); Kinship with Strangers (1994), A Town without Steel: Envisioning Homestead, (with Charlee Brodsky, 1998); A Sealed and Secret Kinship (2002); Constructing Moral Communities: Pacific Islander Strategies for Settling in New Place (Editor, Special Issue, Pacific Studies, March-June 2002). Schachter has published a number of methodological and theoretical articles on life histories, visual anthropology, and kinship, with a focus on adoption. Her work has concentrated on analyses of families in crisis, including economic collapse, disruptions of kinship patterns, and loss of political and cultural autonomy. In recent articles, she has explored the interconnections between individual lives and historical processes. Schachter does extensive research in Hawai'i, and a book portraying the history of American imperialism in Hawai`i through the lives of individuals is due to appear in spring 2013. Her new project is on 1950s Americanization policies and programs in Hawai`i. In addition, she is exploring the impact of US law on the adoption of children from Pacific Island societies.

selected Publications

From Romance to Reality: Representations of Pacific Islands and Islanders. Special Issue of Pacific Studies. Co-edited with Nancy Lutkehaus. August 2015.
"Reclaiming Paradies: Cinema and Hawaiian Nationhood" in From Romance to Reality, pp. 229-252.
"From 'Squatter' to Homesteader: Being Hawaiian in an American City." In City and Society, v. 28 (1). January 2016. pp. 23-47.
The Legacies of a Hawaiian Generation (Berghahn 2013).
Outrage! Controversy, Art, and Society. Co-edited with Richard Howells and Andreea Deciu Ritivoi. Palgrave-MacMillan 2012.
(Im)permanence: Cultures in/out of time. Co-edited with Stephen Brockmann. Publisher is the Center for the Arts in Society, distributed by Penn State Press.
Constructing Moral Communities: Pacific Islander Strategies for Settling in New Places. Editor, Special Issue, Pacific Studies, March-June 2002.
A Sealed and Secret Kinship: The Culture of Policies and Practices in American Adoption, New York: Berghahn Books, March 2002.
A Town Without Steel: Envisioning Homestead (with Charlee Brodsky), Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, October 1998.
Kinship with Strangers: Adoption and Interpretations of Kinship in American Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.
Ruth Benedict: Patterns of a Life. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983.
Articles and Essays
“Ruth Fulton Benedict.” Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, new edition 2014.
"Sovereignty, Identity, and Indigeneity: The Case of Hawai`i.” Beyond Colonialism, E. Engel and E. Bischoff [eds.] LIT-Verlag, 2013.
“Sovereignty, Indigeneity, Identities: Perspectives from Hawai`i.” With Albrecht Funk. Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture. May 2012.
“Bringing Adoption and ARTS Together: A New Turn in Kinship Theory.” Scripta Nova [Special Issue]. February 2012.
“Ruth Fulton Benedict” IN Dictionnaire des Sciences Humaines. 2nd ed. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2012.
“One Hundred Percent Hawaiian: Life Stories, Politics, and Anthropology,” Anthropology and Humanism, Vol. 35 (1), 81-100. June 2010.
Ruth Fulton Benedict,” Fifty Key Anthropologists, edited by A. and H. Lyons. London: Routledge, 2010.
“Writing Lives: Ruth Benedict’s Journey from Biographical Studies to Anthropology,” Pacific Studies, Special Issue, June/Sept. 2009.
“International Adoption: Lessons from Hawai`i,” International Adoption, edited by D. Marre and L. Briggs. New York: New York University Press, 2009.
“Adoption in Cross Cultural Perspective” IN The Chicago Companion to the Child. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.
“’A Relationship Endeared to the People’: Adoption in Hawaiian Custom and Law,” Pacific Studies, Special Issue, Sept./Dec. 2008.
“Ruth Fulton Benedict” IN Dictionnaire des Sciences Humaines.  Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2006
“Matching in American Adoption Practice,” “Foster Care,” “Hanai: Hawaiian Customary Adoption” IN The Encyclopedia of Adoption. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006.
“Ruth Benedict’s Concept of Patterns Revisited” IN Reading Benedict/Reading Mead: Feminism, Race, and Imperial Visions. D. Janiewski and L. Banner (eds.) Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.

Courses Taught

Claiming the Pacific: Pacific Islander Struggles for Survival
Colonization and De-colonization in Pacific
Circulation of Children in a Global Context
Rights to Representation: Indigenous People and their Media
Hawaii: America’s Pacific Island State
Visual Anthropology
Cultural Understanding/Misunderstanding: Translating Language, Culture, and Histories in Japanese, Vietnamese, and U.S. Relations

Contact Info

Department of History
Baker Hall 240
P: 412.268.2880
F: 412.268.1019