James Preston

Title: Lecturer
Concentration: Symbolic anthropology, anthropology of death, globalism and cultural change, comparative religion, psychological anthropology, cultures of South East Asia; South Asia, Native North America.
Education: Ph.D., Hartford Seminary Foundation 1974
Email: prestonj@sonoma.edu


Dr. James Preston has been Professor and Chair of Anthropology and Founding Chair of the Religious Studies Program at the State University of New York, Oneonta.  He has conducted research on Hinduism in India and among Native American Catholics.  Dr. Preston has published numerous books and articles on a wide variety of topics in symbolic anthropology and religious studies.  He is presently an adjunct faculty member in several departments at both Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University.  Recently he taught courses in the Life Long Learning Programs at both Sonoma State University and the University of California at Berkeley.

Courses Taught:

  • ANTH 203: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 340: Living in Our Globalized World

Selected Scholarship:

Dr. Preston has published three book and over 30 articles on a wide variety of topics in anthropology.  He has contributed 5 articles to the Encyclopedia of Religion edited by Mercia Eliade.  He has also organized a large number of symposia and delivered numerous invited papers and lectures.  In 2002 Dr. Preston was invited to deliver the keynote lecture at the Plenary Session of the Society of the Anthropology of Religion in Providence.  His lecture was entitled “Disappearing Boundaries: Religious Imagination in an Imploding World System.”

Current Research:

Dr.  Preston continues to conduct research among Native American Catholics and particularly Mohawk populations on the devotion to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha who is being raised to sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church.  He is also preparing several manuscripts for publication.