BirthKevin Birth
Ph.D, UCSD 1993

Birth Book 3Birth Book 2Birth Book 1
Professor, Department of Anthropology, Queens College-CUNY

Office: Powdermaker Hall 313C
Phone: (718) 997-5518
Fax: (718) 997-2885

Research                   Publications                    Books                    Recent Presentations

Having determined in high school that I was a mediocre fiddle-player and tobacco chewer, I left Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to pursue anthropology. In graduate school at the University of California at San Diego, I was trained in social and psychological anthropology. In 1989, I began my research on cultural concepts of time, and conducted ethnographic field research in rural Trinidad. In 1993, one of my esteemed professors said, "You know too much about this place, you better leave." Soon after, I left California in my old Mazda with my pregnant wife and new Ph.D. to seek my fortune at Queens College, where I had been hired on the basis of wearing purple pants during my interview.

Since then, I have continued to do research on time, but have expanded my interests to include the experience of Carnival and music, chronobiology, social rhythms, political economy, and even a bit of theology and liturgical studies.

Research Focus:
  • Social anthropology
  • Psychological anthropology 
  • Time
  • Festivals 
  • Ethnicity 
  • Caribbean

Courses Taught:
  • Intro to Cultural Anthropology (101)
  • History of Anthropology (200) 
  • Peoples of the Caribbean (219) 
  • Psychological Anthropology (309) 
  • Seminar in Contemporary Anthropological Theory (320)

2016.  Calendar Time, Cultural Sensibilities, and Strategies of Persuasion. in "Time, Temporality, and Global Politics". E-International Relations. (DOWNLOAD PDF)

2014. The Remarkable Clocks of the Magdalen Chapel. The Bulwark: The Magazine of the Scottish Reformation Society 4(4):14-17.


2014.  Non-clocklike Features of Psychological Timing and Alternatives to the Clock Metaphor.  Timing and Time Perception 2(3):312-324.


2014. "The Vindolanda Timepiece: Time and Calendar Reckoning in Roman Britain". Oxford Journal of Archaeology 33(4):395-411.


2014. Breguet’s Decimal Clock: A Masterpiece from the Enlightenment.  Frick Collection Members’ Magazine, Winter 10-11.


2013. The Princess and the Pea: Research Strategies for the Study of the Mediation of Timescales by Artifacts.  In Requirements for UTC and Civil Timekeeping on Earth, American Astronautical Society, Science and Technology Series, volume 115, pp. 191-204.


2013. Zmanim, Salat, Jyotish and UTC: The Articulation of Religious Times and the Global Timescale. In Requirements for UTC and Civil Timekeeping on Earth, American Astronautical Society, Science and Technology Series, volume 115, pp. 209-228.  


2013. Calendars: Representational Homogeneity and Heterogeneous Temporality.  Time and Society 22(2): 216-236.


2011. The Regular Sound of the Cock: Context-Dependent Time Reckoning in the Middle Ages. Kronoscope 11(1-2): 125-144.


2011. “Signs and Wonders: The Uncanny Verum and the Anthropological Illusion” in David Lipset and Paul Roscoe (eds.) Echoes of the Tambaran: Masculinity, History and the Subject in the Work of Donald F. Tuzin. pp. 117-136.  Canberra: Australian National University Press.


2008.  The Creation of Coevalness and the Danger of Homochronism, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 14(1): 3-20. Also, “Reply to Fabian,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 14(3): 665.


2006.  Time and the Biological Consequences of Globalization. Current Anthropology 48(2): 215-236. [Download PDF]


2006. What is Your Mission Here? A Trinidadian Perspective on Visits from the “Church of Disneyworld.” Missiology 34(4): 497-508.


2006. Més que una pura succession: les alters dimensions del Temps [More than Pure Succession: the other dimensions of time]. Revista d’etnologia de Catalunya 28: 20-27.

2006. The Immanent Past: Culture and Psyche at the Juncture of Memory and History. Introduction to the special issue “The Immanent Past.” Ethos 34(2): 169-191.


2006. Past Times: Temporal Structure of History and Memory. Ethos 34(2): 192-210.


2005. Time and Consciousness. Companion to Psychological Anthropology. Robert Edgerton and Conerly Casey, eds. Pp. 17-29. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers

2004.  Finding Time. Field Methods 16(1): 70-84.


2001. Sitting There: Discourses of the Embodiment of Agency, Belonging, and Deference in the Classroom. Journal of Mundane Behavior 2(2).


1997. Most of Us are Family Some of the Time: Inter-racial unions and Trans-racial kinship in Eastern Trinidad. American Ethnologist 24(3):585-601.

1996. Trinidadian Times: Temporal Dependency and Temporal Flexibility on the Margins of Industrial Capitalism. Anthropological Quarterly 69(2):79-89.


      1995. Putting Romance into Systems of Sexuality: Changing Smart Rules in a Trinidadian Village (with Morris Freilich). Romantic Love. William R. Jankowiak, ed. pp. 262-276.  New York:                 Columbia University Press.


1995. The Ethnic Ambiguities of Getting Married: The Official Pronouncements, Local Interpretations, and Personal Experiences of Trinidadian Hindu Indians. International Journal of Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies 2(2):80-91.

1994. British Anthropology and Psychoanalysis Before World War II: The Evolution of Asserted Irrelevance. Canberra Anthropology 17(1):53-69.

1994 Bakrnal: Coup, Carnival, and Calypso in Trinidad. Ethnology 33(2):165-177.

1990. Reading and the Righting of Writing Ethnography.  American Ethnologist 17(3): 549-557.


2012. Objects of Time: How Things Shape Temporality.  New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

2008. Bacchanalian Sentiments: Musical Experiences and Political Counterparts in Trinidad. Duke University Press.

1999. Any Time is Trinidad Time. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

Recent Presentations

2014. Failed, Forgotten, Discarded, or Marginalized. United States Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C.   


2014. Sediments of Timekeeping: A Walkshop on Recognizing Past Time Reckoning Techniques in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Temporal Design Workshop, School of Design Infomatics, University of Edinburgh.

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