Associate Professor of Education and Director of the Center for Human Origin & Cultural Diversity.

Phone: 314/516-6023
Email: jalh@umsl.edu

Education: Dr. Lewis-Harris received her PhD at Washington University, St. Louis in 2005. She joined the Anthropology Department in Fall 1997.

Research and Teaching: Dr. Lewis-Harris has worked and carried out research in the Pacific for the past 21 years. Her research interests are art, cultural phenomena in relation to identity, and how minority cultures are portrayed in public spaces. She teaches Cultures of Oceania, Problems in Teaching Social Studies and Teaching Cultural Diversity.

Personal History: Dr. Lewis-Harris' curiosity in foreign cultures began as a child, meeting West African missionaries at her grandfather's church. Her first occupations as an artist and teacher, and interest in West Africa lead her to become a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa. On her return to the United States via North Africa and Europe, she presented cultural enrichment programs in St. Louis, Missouri and Tucson, Arizona. Her residence in Arizona introduced her to several Arizona based Native American and Latino artists and their cultures. Working with these artists and others, she organized exhibits and taught cultural enrichment classes. Resuming her travel overseas, Lewis-Harris and her family spent the next six years in Papua New Guinea, where she worked for the United Nations Development program and the national government. Her work in Papua New Guinea introduced her to art collecting, small business promotion and museum work. Part of her duties included the management of the national crafts warehouse, international promotion of Papua New Guinean art and culture, advising small hand craft industries and consultant work with the national museum.

Upon her return to St. Louis, she began her ten year career in museum work at the Saint Louis Art Museum. Her early work included the coordination of school programs and supervision of the museum instructors. She later became Assistant Curator for the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. During this time she initiated several innovative community outreach programs, reinstalled the Oceanic galleries and curated over twelve exhibits. She has published numerous articles on Pacific, African American and African art and culture. Her current position as Director for the Connecting Human Origin and Cultural Diversity incorporates her numerous work experiences in a community/school service program.