Karen Hutton

Stipend Instructor



1 506 458 7998

Karen N.S. Hutton has a doctorate in Sociology, a MA in Anthropology and a BSc in Biology. She has also worked for close to a decade in forestry related employment – including involvement in the collection and statistical analysis of data in order to analyze the efficacy of chemical and bacterial sprays (B.t.) on the Eastern Spruce Budworm.

Both her undergraduate degree in science and her work in forestry led to an ongoing interest in the relationship between humans and the environment. Her research for her MA degree involved ethnographic fieldwork on feminist witchcraft in New Brunswick (“We are the Weavers, We are the Web”: Conjuring “Woman” in a Feminist Coven). Her focus in that research was on the connection between involvement in contemporary witchcraft ritual and political action on issues of gender equality and environmental sustainability.

Karen has continued her interest in religion and ritual in her PhD research [Iorana: The Ritual Resilience of Rapa Nui (Easter Island)]. This research examines the interaction between religion, ritual and the environment, specifically as it relates to the history of Rapa Nui (also known as Easter Island). Recent interpretations of archaeological data have challenged the popular parable that the Rapanui committed “ecocide.”

The focus of Karen’s research is the religious milieu of Rapa Nui, including the meaning and role of the famous stone statues (moai) and the later Birdman ceremony (tangata manu). She examines the role of religion and ritual in adaptation to the environment for the Rapanui specifically, but with an eye to the wider implications of this relationship (between meaning and matter) for contemporary global concerns.

Karen has been a part-time instructor at the Department of Anthropology, University of New Brunswick since 2005. One of Karen’s passions is teaching, she finds interacting with students to be intellectually stimulating and personally gratifying. Karen earned a Diploma in University Teaching (DUT) from the University of New Brunswick in 2008. Karen has taught courses on the anthropology of religion, gender, exchange systems and ecology.

Courses taught

  • ANTH 1001 The Human Experience: Socio-Cultural Approaches
  • ANTH 2114 Human Exchange Systems
  • ANTH 2014 Debates in Anthropology
  • ANTH 2174 Society and the Sacred
  • ANTH 3014 Theoretical Issues in Anthropology
  • ANTH 3114 Gender, Sex, a3nd Culture
  • ANTH 4024 Anthropology and Ethics
  • ANTH 4202 Selected Topics in Anthropology: religion, Ritual and the Environment
  • ANTH 4224 Religion in Practice
  • ANTH 5051 Gender Relations