Dr. Samuel Dira is a cultural anthropologist whose research focuses on cultural responses to social-ecological changes and the transmission and acquisition of local ecological knowledge. Since 2012, he has conducted extensive ethnographic research among Sidama farmers and Chabu foragers in southwestern Ethiopia. His research aims to answer questions such as: How do peoples with distinctive subsistence strategies perceive social-ecological risks? What ecological knowledge and skills help them survive difficult times? How do children acquire the skills and knowledge to survive difficult times? Recently, Dr. Dira has conducted ethnographic research on perceptions and coping strategies to environmental risks in northwestern Florida. This research examines the socioeconomic and health impacts of landfills and hurricanes, and how coping strategies vary across diverse socioeconomic, demographic, and racial groups among the residents of Pensacola, Florida. Dr. Dira teaches courses such as Cultural Anthropology, Peoples and Cultures of Africa, and Environmental Conservation in Africa.
- Ecological Anthropology; Environmental Justice; Applied Anthropology; Medical Anthropology; Development Anthropology; Hunter-Gatherers, East Africa/Ethiopia; Cultural Learning; Childhood and Culture; Indigenous Ecological Knowledge.
Presentations, Exhibitions, Performances and Published Work:
- Dira, SJ and BS, Hewlett (2018). Cultural Resilience among the Chabu Foragers in Southwestern Ethiopia. African Study Monographs, 39(3): 97–120.
- Helfrecht, C; Hagen, EH; DeAvila, D; Bernstein RM; Dira SJ, and Meehan, CL (2017) DHEAS Patterning across Childhood in Three Sub-Saharan Populations: Associations with Age, Sex, Ethnicity, and Cortisol. American Journal of Human Biology. DOI: 10.1002/ajhb
- Dira, S.J and B.S, Hewlett (2016). Learning to Spear Hunt among Ethiopian Chabu Adolescent Hunter-Gatherers. In Social Learning and Innovation in Hunter-Gatherers. H. Terashima and B.S. Hewlett, eds. Tokyo, Japan: Springer.
- Quinlan RJ; Dira, SJ; Caudell, M, and Quinlan, MB (2016). Culture and Psychological Responses to Environmental Shocks: Cultural Ecology of Sidama Impulsivity and Niche Construction in SW Ethiopia. Current Anthropology 57(5).