Ernie Olson

Professor of Anthropology and Religion

Zabriskie 305


Ernie Olson

"Anthropology is an excellent tool for connecting the local culture with the global picture and for understanding cultural diversity amid rapid global change. Local archaeology in the Cayuga Lake area, field ethnography in Hawaii, and anthropology courses at Cornell are a few ways in which Wells College offers a rich experience for the sociology / anthropology student."

Professor Olson's interests include the anthropological study of the Pacific, particularly Tonga, Hawaii, and Native America. The specialized areas for his teaching and research include environmental justice, culture change, ritual studies, religion, and colonialism. The wide range of topics and subfields in anthropology allows him the personal freedom to pursue research interests. Professor Olson believes that the focus on cultures from around the globe is what attracts students to anthropology.


1980 B.S. University of Montana, Anthropology
1985 M.A. University of Arizona, Anthropology
1993 Ph.D. University of Arizona, Anthropology

Select Publications

Olson, E. Enduring Traditions among the Eastern Shoshoni. Endangered Peoples of North American and the Caribbean. Greenwood Press, 2004.

Olson, E. Leaving Anger Outside the Kava Circle: An Important Context
of Conflict Resolution in Tonga." Cultural Variation in Conflict Resolution: Alternatives to Violence. Lawrence Erlbaum Press, 1997.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Anthropology
  • Anthropology and Religion
  • Cultures and Religions of Hawaii
  • Cultures of the Pacific
  • Indigenous Peoples of North America
  • Native Americans and the Environment
  • Meaning and Place
  • Anthropology and Ritual Studies