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Brockport / Anthropology / Faculty / Pilapa Esara

Pilapa Esara

PhD, Brown University
Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology

Dr. Esara will be on sabbatical for the 2014-2015 academic year.

B - 4, Cooper Hall
Office Phone:
(585) 395-5345
Curriculum vitae:

Courses Taught

  • ANT 100      Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • ANT 200      Ethnographic Experience
  • ANT 305      Sex, Gender & Power
  • ANT 315      The Migration Experience: a cultural perspective
  • ANT 321      Culture Change and Globalization
  • ANT 368      Forced from Home: Refugees, IDPs & Asylees
  • ANT 394      Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology
  • ANT 416/516   Exiled to America: Refugee Resettlement Experiences
  • ANT 470      Anthropology as a Profession

Areas of Specialization

Issues of displacement and refugee resettlement; ethnographic documentary production; gender inequality and social difference; social practices of marriage and intimacy; processes of migration and identity negotiations; economic development and globalization; Asia and its diasporas

Current Research Projects

Persons of refugee-status arrive in the U.S. to start their lives anew as survivors of violence and persecution. New York state is ranked fourth in the nation as a destination for newly-arrived refugees. The majority of these arrivals settle in western New York (90% in 2012 according to BRIA) and almost a quarter call Monroe County "home". How do refugees start over in Rochester, NY? What are their adaptation needs and challenges? I am currently analyzing the results of an ethnographic study which asked these questions concerning refugees of Burma origins.

Past research has focused on social change and economic development in Thailand. My ethnographic documentary entitled, "Day In, Day Out: Selling Food in Bangkok" offers a window into Thailand's urban foodscape. Life for the average laborer in Bangkok can be difficult. Many rent single rooms without kitchen facilities. To meet their everyday nutritional and material needs, working class residents turn to the street, to local food vendors and sidewalk merchants. The documentary explores the mundane complexities and challenges of being a small-time Bangkok entrepreneur based in an urban slum. I have also studied social change in Thailand through the lens of intimate relationships and changing notions of marriage and family.


Esara, P. (2014) Loving Warm Families: Exploring gender equality within Thai marriages. Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, 35.

Esara, P. (2013). The Refugee Adaptation Project: Preliminary Report. Executive Summary (translated into Burmese with English text) with translation by Pri Lahtaw and a photo courtesy of Sarah Ann Jump.

Ferguson, J. (Ch. ed.), Cassaniti, J., Costa, L., Johnson, A., Johsnson, T., Esara, P., Kitiarsa, P., Musikawong, S., and Zeamer, E. (2013) “Thailand Chapter”. In J. Barker, E. Harms, and J. Lindquist (Eds.), Southeast Asian Figures of Modernity. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Esara, P. (2012, June) Moral Scrutiny, Marital Inequality: Cohabitation in Bangkok, Thailand. The Asian Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 13:3:211-27. 

P. Esara, (2011, December) [Review of the book Marketing Dreams, Manufacturing Heroes: The Transnational Labor Brokering of Filipino Workers, by A. R. Guevarra] Gender & Society, 25:6.

Esara, P. (2009) Imagining the Western Husband: Thai womens desires for matrimony, status and beauty. Ethnos, 74:3:403-426

Esara, P. (2004) Women Will Keep the Household: The Mediation of Work and Family by Female Labor Migrants in Bangkok. Journal of Critical Asian Studies 36:2:199-216.


Esara, P. (Producer, Director). (2012). Day in, Day Out: Selling food in Bangkok. [Motion Picture]

  • Adjudicated Screenings:
    • Nov. 2012 – Brownfish Short Film Festival (New York, NY)
  • Screenings:
    • Jan. 2013 – NYFQ (formerly Emerging Filmmakers Series), (Rochester, NY)
    • Dec. 2012 – 3rd Athens Ethnographic Film Festival (Athens, Greece)
    • Nov. 2012 – SUNY-wide Film Festival  (Fredonia, NY)
    • Sept. 2012 – DocUtah Documentary Film Festival (St. George, UT)
    • June 2012 – 6th Annual Philadelphia Independent Film Festival (Philadelphia, PA)

Last Updated 8/6/14


Dr. Ramsay published an article: Ramsay, J.H. and Eger, A. 2015. Analysis of Archaeobotanical Material from the Tupras Field project of the Kinet Höyük Excavations. Journal of Islamic Archaeology 2 (1): 35-50.

Dr. Feldman was recently on the Coy Barefoot Show (2 radio 30 minute shows) in May and June 2015:
The Coy Barefoot Show, 107.5 FM (Charlottesville, VA), 2015 (two 30 minute shows on “Same Sex Marriage” and “Baltimore, the Police, and African Americans”).

Dr. Feldman chaired a session and gave a presentation at the Society for Applied Anthropology meeting in March: “Panic and Stigma: Similarities and Differences of the HIV/AIDS and Ebola Crises,” paper presented at the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA), Pittsburgh, March 2015

Dr. Keating publishes an article on Cambodia in "The Indigenous World 2015," published by the International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs. (IWGIA). Copenhagen.

Dr. Keating participates in the 14th UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City, April 20–21.

Dr. Keating presents a paper at the Association for Asian Studies Conference in Chicago, March 25–29.

Dr. Esara Carroll presents her research on refugee resettlement at the Society
for Applied Anthropology, March 2015.

Dr. Esara Carroll talks about International Women's Day on WXXI's Morning
Edition radio program, March 2015.

Dr. Ramsay publishes two articles in Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, February 2015 and March 2015.


Welcome back!  We are looking forward to an exciting fall semester!