Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Gender

Educational Background

  • B.A., Anthropology and Philosophy, College of William and Mary
  • M.A. and Ph.D., Anthropology, Brown University

Teaching and Research Interests

  • dance and performance
  • gender, ethnicity and nationalism
  • religion and ritual
  • disability, performance and culture
  • South Asia, especially India and Sri Lanka

Prof. Reed has conducted field research on performance, religion and politics in Sri Lanka for over two decades. Her book and DVD, Dance and the Nation: Performance, Ritual and Politics in Sri Lanka (2010), was awarded the Outstanding Publication Award from the Congress on Research in Dance and a Special Citation Award from the Society of Dance History Scholars. To view video excerpts from the DVD see:


  • ANTH/WMST 232 Gender and Sexuality in South Asia
  • ANTH 244 South Asian Culture and Society
  • ANTH/WMST 282 Dance and Culture
  • UNIV 232 Peace and Society
  • WMST 150 Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies

Selected Publications


Dance and the Nation: Performance, Ritual, and Politics in Sri Lanka. University of Wisconsin Press. Book with DVD (2010).


"Women and Kandyan Dance: Negotiating Gender and Tradition in Sri Lanka" In Theorizing the Local: Music, Practice and Experience in South Asia and Beyond. Richard Wolf, ed., pp. 29-47. New York: Oxford University Press (2009).

"Buddhism, Sri Lanka" "Kohomba Kankariya," "Ankeliya," "Sri Pada," "Pattini," "Skanda," "Firewalking." South Asian Folklore: An Encyclopedia, Margaret Mills, Peter Claus, and Sarah Diamond, eds. New York: Routledge (2003).

"Performing Respectability: The Berava, Middle Class Nationalism and the Classicization of Kandyan Dance in Sri Lanka." Cultural Anthropology (May 2002) vol. 17 (2): 246-277.

"The Politics and Poetics of Dance" Annual Review of Anthropology 1998, vol. 27: 503-32. Palo Alto: Annual Reviews (1998).


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