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Wesley Shumar

Wesley Shumar, PhD

Department Head and Professor of Anthropology
Department of Anthropology
Department of Global Studies and Modern Languages
Office: PSA 117
Phone: 215.895.2060
Fax: 215.895.1333

Additional Sites:


  • PhD, Cultural Anthropology, Temple University, 1991
  • MA, New York University
  • BA, University of Pennsylvania

Research Interests:

  • Culture of Higher Education
  • New Media and Learning
  • Ethnography and Education
  • Craft Culture
  • Semiotic of Consumer Culture


Wesley Shumar is a cultural anthropologist.

Since 1997 Shumar worked as an ethnographer at the Math Forum, a virtual math education community and resource center. Currently he is Principal Investigator on The Math Forum's Virtual Fieldwork Sequence: a three-year NSF project at the Math Forum that is investigating the potential of this online educational community to affect the culture of math education for preservice teachers. He was also a co-Principal Investigator on Leadership Development for Technology Integration: Developing an Effective NSDL Teacher Workshop Model. This project is a three-year NSF project to develop and refine a hybrid workshop model that supports teachers to integrate National Science Digital Library (NSDL) resources and technologies into their classrooms with an immediate goal to directly engage over 1,000 teachers, grades 5-9.


Ethnography of cyberspace, online learning communities, political economy of higher education, globalization, activity theory, semiotics, critical realism, psychoanalysis, identity and the self.



  • Shumar, W. (Forthcoming). Inside Analysis of an Online Mathematics Education Community. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Canaan, J. & Shumar, W. (Eds.) (2008). Structure and Agency in the Neoliberal University. New York: Routledge.
  • Renninger, K. A. & Shumar, W. (Eds.) (2002). Building Virtual Communities. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Shumar, W. (1997). College for Sale: A Critique of the Commodification of Higher Education. London: Falmer Press.

Book Chapters

  • Shumar, W. (forthcoming) Conclusion. In John Mock (Eds.) The Impact of Internationalization on Japanese Higher Education. Sense Publishers.
  • Shumar, W. & Mir, S. (2011) Cultural Anthropology Looks at Higher Education. In the Blackwell Companion to the Anthropology of Education, Blackwell Publishers.
  • Porpora, D. & Shumar, W. (2010) Self Talk and Self Reflection: A View from the U.S., in Margaret S. Archer (Ed.) Conversations about Reflexivity. London, New York: Routledge.
  • Charles, E. S. & Shumar, W. (2009) Student and Team Agency in VMT in Stahl, Gerry (Ed.) Studying Virtual Math Teams, Series: Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Series, Vol. 11, New York: Springer.
  • Shumar, W. (2009). Interaction, Imagination and Community Building at the Math Forum. In D. Akoumianakis (Ed.),  Virtual Community Practices and Social Interactive Media. Hershey, PA: IGI Global Inc.
  • Shumar, W. (2009). Communities, Texts, Consciousness: The Practice of Participation at Math Forum. In Joni Falk and Brian Drayton (Eds.) Creating and Sustaining Online Professional Learning Communities. New York: Teacher College Press.
  • Shumar, W. (2008). Space, Place and the American University. In Canaan, J. & Shumar, W. (Eds.) Structure and Agency in the Neoliberal University. New York: Routledge, pp. 67-83.

Journal Articles and Proceedings

  • Robinson, S. & Shumar, W. (2014). Ethnographic Evaluation of Entrepreneurship Education in Higher Education; a methodological conceptualization International Journal of Management Education. Volume 12, Issue 3, November 2014, Pages 422–432.
  • Shumar, W. (2014). Wither the Welfare State: The New Global Adventures of Higher Education. Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Science. Volume 7, Number 1, Spring 2014, pp. 92-104.
  • Shumar, W. & Madison, N. (2013) Ethnography in a Virtual World. Ethnography and Education. Vol. 8 (2): 255-272.
  • Shumar, W. (2010). Key Contributors: Homi Bhabha. Cultural Studies of Science Education, Vol. 5(2): 495-506.
  • Sarmiento, J. & Shumar, W. (2009). Boundaries and roles: Social location and bridging work in the Virtual Math Teams (VMT) online community. Special issue of Computers in Human Behavior, October, 2009.