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Meet our new faculty: Maryann Bylander

August 19, 2014

The following Q&A is part of a series created by the college dean’s office to introduce new faculty. Get to know Assistant Professor of Sociology Maryann Bylander, who joins the faculty this fall, in the interview below.

Education: Ph.D. (2012) and M.A. (2006), University of Texas at Austin; B.A. (2003), Rice University

Research and teaching interests: Development and globalization, research methods, migration, poverty and inequality, credit and debt, gender, the environment

What most excites you about joining the Lewis & Clark community?

So much! My undergraduate degree was at Rice, and I loved the closeness of that community. After being in larger institutions for the past several years, I am looking forward to moving back to a place where there is a strong sense of community. I also love the kinds of global & local engagement I see at Lewis and Clark. There is a tremendous amount of global reach among faculty and students here, but also a really clear recognition of the importance of connecting global and local. This seems quite important.

Describe the current trajectory of your scholarly research.

My research currently focuses on questions of migration and development. I am interested in how and why migration may promote development, as well as the challenges it poses and why it might be problematic to view it as a new “global development solution.” This work also leads me to explore mainstream views about development and some of the disconnects between how we view “development” and the lived realities and aspirations of those in the “developing” world. To date, most of my work focuses on Southeast Asia, but my future plans include looking at similar questions in other parts of the world. I am part of a team that was recently awarded a Field Research Grant from the Royal Geographical Society in the United Kingdom to study migration, vulnerability, and governance in six cities in Asia and Africa, so I look forward to working in new contexts!

What kind of hobbies or special activities do you enjoy outside of work?

Music, the outdoors, languages, and travel.

What were your childhood goals/aspirations?

When I was young, I dreamed of being a ballerina. In high school, I wanted to be a lawyer or a judge.

What are you listening to in your car right now?

Nothing—the last two years in London, I haven’t had a car. But I plan to drive from Texas to Portland next month and will probably spend most of that time listening to bluegrass. I love the sound of the banjo.

What was your favorite childhood story?

The ones my dad made up. We had a game where my brother and I picked a story title and three characters. No matter how hard we tried to stump him with titles and characters that didn’t seem to work together, he always came up with a creative way to fit them together and make us laugh.

Sociology and Anthropology