Amy Stambach

Short Biography & Significant Contribution

Amy Stambach is Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is also an affiliate of the Department of Anthropology, the African Studies Program, and the Global Studies Program. Born in Pennsylvania, Professor Stambach completed Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Doctoral of Philosophy degrees in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Stambach is a leading international scholar of anthropology and education in both the United States and East African contexts. Her East African research and early publications (including her first book Lessons from Mount Kilimanjaro: Schooling, Community and Gender in East Africa) are the result of two years of anthropological fieldwork in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania between 1991 and 1993. Since then, she has continued to be a frequent visitor to Africa and has expanded her research interests to include the missionary work and educational initiatives of a U.S.-based church active in Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. This has culminated several recent publications, including her forthcoming book.

With over 30 articles and book chapters, Stambach has brought new perspectives to theoretical debates on a range of issues in the United States and East Africa, including school choice and consumerism in education; religion, education and the state; evangelism; abortion; gender in the science profession; and teaching about Africa. The significance of her work has been recognized around the world as evidenced by the numerous invitations to participate in international symposia on education in Australia, Uganda, Canada, South Africa, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, England, India, and the United States. In addition, she has received research support from such prestigious organizations as the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the National Academy of Education, the Mellon Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and Fulbright-Hays (Group Study Abroad).

In addition to her broad research contributions to the field of comparative and international education, Stambach has been instrumental in developing course offerings at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, including developing graduate seminars in international education policy, anthropology and education, African education, and theories of social and educational change. Stambach has also provided important contributions to the University of Wisconsin-Madison International Education Committee, and to the Department of Educational Policy Studies (EPS) Concentration in Comparative and International Education, which continues to attract and graduate top candidates from the US and around the world.

Faculty Web page

Educational Background

B.A., University of Chicago (Anthropology, 1987)

M.A. University of Chicago (Anthropology, 1991)

Ph.D. University of Chicago (Anthropology, 1996). Principal fields: Cultural Anthropology; African Studies; Comparative Education.

Professional Background

Research Affiliate and Lecturer, Board of Anthropology, The University of California at Santa Cruz (1993-94)

Lecturer, The College, The University of Chicago (1994)

Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Educational Policy Studies; Affiliate of Department of Anthropology, African Studies Program, and Women's Studies Program (1997-2003)

Visiting Fellow, University of Toronto, African Studies Program (2005-2006)

Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Educational Policy Studies; Affiliate of Department of Anthropology, African Studies Program, and Global Studies Program (2003-2008)

Affiliations (associations, organizations, institutions)

American Anthropological Association

African Studies Association

Comparative and International Educational Society

European Association of Social Anthropologists

Royal Anthropological Institute

Selected Publications

Phillips K. & Stambach, A. (2008): "Cultivating Choice: The Invisible Hand of Educational Opportunity in Tanzania," in The Globalisation of School Choice? Edited by M. Forsey, S. Davies, and G. Walford. Oxford: Symposium Books.

Stambach, A. (2006): Guest Editor of Thematic Issue: The Cultural Politics of Education and Religion, Social Analysis: The International Journal of Cultural and Social Practice 50(3):1-126. Introductory Essay Revising a Four-Square Model of a Complicated Whole: On the Cultural Politics of Religion and Education, Social Analysis 50(3):1-18.

Stambach, A. and Malekela, G. (2006): Education, Technology, and the New Knowledge Economy: Views from Bongoland.Globalization, Societies and Education 4(3):321-336.

Stambach, A. and M. David (2005): Feminist Theory and Education Policy: How Gender is 'Involved' in Family-School Choice Debates.Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 30(1):1633-1658.

Stambach,. A. (2004): Faith in Schools: Religion, Education, and the State. Social Analysis: The International Journal of Cultural and Social Practice 48(3):90-107.

Stambach, A. (2003): "Kutoa Mimba: Debates about Schoolgirl Abortion in Machame, Tanzania," in The Socio-Cultural and Political Aspects of Abortion. Edited by Alaka Basu. Westport: Greenwood Publishers.

Stambach, A. (2000): Evangelism and Consumer Culture in Northern Tanzania. Anthropological Quarterly 73(3):171-179.

Stambach, A. (2000): Using Texts on Education to Teach about Africa: A Research Note. Educational Practice and Theory 21(1):87-95.

Stambach, A. (1999): "Curl Up and Dye: Civil Society and the Fashion-minded Citizen," in Civil Society and the Political Imagination in Africa. Edited by Jean and John Comaroff. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Stambach, A. (1998): "Too Much Studying Makes Me Crazy": School-Related Illnesses in Tanzania. Comparative Education Review42(4):497-512.

Stambach, A. (1998): "Education, Mobility, and Money: Comparative Reflections on the Meaning of Investment". Advances in Educational Policy: Perspectives on the Social Functions of Schools Volume 4:3-18, Kenneth Wong, editor.


Created: 3/14/2008

Updated: 3/17/2008

Contributed By: Kristy Kelly and Kristin Phillips, University of Wisconsin-Madison