Cinema & Media Studies

Matthew H. Amster





Campus Box 2985


Plank Gym
Room 308
300 North Washington St.
Gettysburg, PA 17325-1400


BA Evergreen State College
MA Brandeis University
PhD Brandeis University

I am a cultural anthropologist, with experience in filmmaking, and geographic expertise in Southeast Asia and Scandinavia. My initial area of research was in Borneo was among small indigenous group know as the Kelabit. I was located in Sarawak, Malaysia where I conducted fieldwork in both in both rural and urban settings, exploring many facets of Kelabit life, with special focus on religious conversion and change, urban ethnicity, gossip and social networks, the role of the international border and its impact on the Kelabit. In 2008, I completed my first film, “The Internet and the Water Buffalo,” about the introduction of the Internet into the interior highlands of Borneo. Since coming to Gettysburg in 2002, I have written about Civil War reenactors from an anthropological perspective, and have collaborated on a documentary film entitled “Hallowed Ground” which explores people’s deep passions connected to the history and the battlefield in Gettysburg. In 2012, I started a new research project on Viking reenactment and contemporary Norse paganism, first working in Denmark while a Visiting Professor at Aarhus University, and then as a researcher at Stockholm University in 2018-2019. I teach “Introduction to Cultural Anthropology” (ANTH 103), “Culture on Film: Explorations in Anthropological Cinema” (ANTH 215), “Scandinavia Today: Culture, Politics, and Immigration (ANTH 242), “Religion, Power, and Belief” (ANTH 227), “History of Anthropological Theory (ANTH 300) and “Capstone Experience in Anthropology” (ANTH 400).