Alex K. Carroll

Alex K. Ruuska
Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Alex CarrollOffice: 2411 Jamrich Hall
Sociocultural Lab: 2318 Jamrich Hall
Phone: 906-227-2030


BA, BS Rocky Mountain College (Billings, MT)
MA Seattle University (Seattle, WA)
MA, PhD University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)


Fall 2007: AN 100 Introduction to Socio-cultural Anthropology 100 (2 sections)

Winter 2008: AN 100 Introduction to Socio-cultural Anthropology 100 (2 sections),
AN 320 Native Peoples of North America

Alex K. Carroll joins NMU as a fulltime assistant professor of anthropology. She received her doctoral degree from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona in May of 2007 with a major in sociocultural anthropology and a minor in archaeology. Alex is currently teaching Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology courses and working to reinstate the minor in anthropology.  

Dr. Carroll is a North American and Caribbean specialist. Her research centers on the analysis of ritual, performance, and cultural landscapes. She is currently preparing her dissertation for publication with University of Arizona Press and a previously co-written book, Ancient Voices, Storied Places, is soon to be released by Malki Press.

Alex’s recently finished working on an ethnographic traditional cultural use study of the Blackfeet in relation to Yellowstone Park and Grand Teton National Park. In addition, in the fall of 2007 Dr. Carroll was awarded a grant to conduct a two-year study of rock art in the Great Basin. She will be interviewing Western Shoshone and Southern Paiute elders to explore relationships between oral history traditions and the archaeology of cultural sites within the Mormon Mountains.

Dr. Carroll was recently invited to visit Sias International University in Xinzheng City, Henan Province in China as an international scholar. She has been asked to speak about her research findings on Place, Performance, and Memory in the 1890s Ghost Dance. In addition, she will be using this trip as an opportunity to begin studying sacred landscapes from a cross-cultural perspective.

 Alex enjoys teaching, travel, used bookstores, crowded cafes and the company of good friends and family.


I am interested in collective healing practices utilized by North American indigenous communities from the protohistoric through the present. To this end I study place, ritual performance, social memory, embodiment, power, identity, oral traditions, and social movements.

My theoretical and methodological frameworks are informed by educational and fieldwork experiences gleaned from sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, Native American Studies, and existential-phenomenological psychology.

For the past six years I have worked at the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology at the University of Arizona. In this capacity I have worked in the Caribbean and through North America. For two years I conducted fieldwork in the out islands of the Bahamas to explore environmental perception, traditional ecological knowledge systems, and the viability of Marine Protected Areas. Within North America I have collaborated extensively with multiple indigenous representatives from Paiute, Shoshone, and Mojave Communities of the Great Basin and Mojave Desert, as well as Shasta and Wintu of Northern California, and the La Courte Oreilles Ojibway of Wisconsin. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to work with Blackfeet, Zuni, and Acoma Pueblo Communities on a broad spectrum of ethnographic and ethnohistorical research as well as consultation in compliance with Native American legislation.

Geographic Areas of Interest:

North America



2007 Ancient Voices, Storied Places: Contemporary Themes in the Indian History: of South Central Nevada. California: Malki Press (Zedeno first author, Carroll second author, Stoffle third author).


2007 ‘The metaphysics of ritual space among the Northern Paiute and Haulapai Ghost Dancers,’ Accepted for publication in Practice and Theory in the American Southwest (University Press of Colorado).
2004 “Shifting Risks: Hoover Dam Impacts on American Indian Sacred Landscapes” In Facility Siting: Risk, Power and Identity in Land Use Planning. Edited by Asa Boholm, Ragnar E. Löfstedt. Earthscan Publications Ltd. (Stoffle first author, Carroll fourth author).
1999 Existential-Phenomenological Psychology (Halling first author, Carroll second author) In Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology: A Historical and Biographical Sourcebook. Editor: Donald Moss.

Journal Articles:

2004 “Landscapes of the Ghost Dance: A Cartography of Numic Ritual,” (Carroll first author, Zedeno, second author, Stoffle third author). Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, July 2004.
2003 “Selective Remembrance: Narratives of Ethnic Configuration and Spatial Displacement in the Life of Queho, 1880s-1940, The Arizona Anthropologist, (Carroll, single author).