Peter G. Stromberg

Peter Stromberg

Department ChairProfessor of Anthropology Harwell Hall  2nd Floor
(918)631 2801
peter-Stromberg@utulsa.eduPersonal Page

My research interests are grounded in the study of religion as the foundation of social change in contemporary Western societies. In my earlier work I studied the relationship between evangelical Christianity and the welfare state in Sweden (Symbols of Community, University of Arizona Press, 1986), the evangelical conversion narrative (Language and Self-Transformation, Cambridge University Press, 1993), and the culture of entertainment in the United States (Caught in Play, Stanford University Press, 2009)

My current work focuses on a problem in the culture of mental health, namely the development and functioning of dynamic psychotherapy.  By clarifying psychotherapy’s roots in religious practice—and in particular by looking at the mechanisms whereby both of these cultural systems engage the body—I hope to broaden our understanding of the healing effects of narrative therapies.


Education and Degrees Earned

  • B.S. Mathematics, Purdue University, 1974
  • B.A. Anthropology, Purdue University, 1974
  • Ph.D. Cultural Anthropology, Stanford University, 1981

Previous Teaching Experience

  • University of California, Berkeley, Sociology Department, 1983
  • University of Arizona, Anthropology Department, 1984-1987

Previous Relevant Work Experience

  • Research Associate, Medical Anthropology, University of California San Francisco, 1983-84

Professional Affiliations

  • American Anthropological Association
  • Society for Psychological Anthropology

Courses Taught at TU

  • Patterns in Culture: Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 2043 )
  • Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion (ANTH 3443)
  • Contemporary Anthropological Problems (ANTH 4863)
  • Qualitative Research Methods (ANTH 6403)
  • History of Anthropological Theory (ANTH 7123)

Awards & Recognition

  • 2004 Henry Kendall College, University of Tulsa, Excellence in Teaching Award
  • 2001 Identity Construction and the Development of Dependency in Cigarette Smoking (with Lamont Lindstrom, Mark Nichter and Mimi Nichter), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
  • 1999 Outstanding Teacher Award, University of Tulsa
  • 1986 American-Scandinavian Foundation, Research Fellowship
  • 1983 National Institute of Mental Health, Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of California at Berkeley
  • 1981 National Institute of Mental Health, Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of California at San Diego
  • 1979 National Institute of Mental Health, Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford University
  • 1978 Social Science Research Council, Research Fellowship
  • 1978 Fulbright Research Fellowship
  • 1978 American-Scandinavian Foundation, Research Fellowship


  • Collective Excitement and Lapse in Agency: Fostering an Appetite for Cigarettes
    In Daniel Lende and Greg Downey, Eds., The Encultured Brain: An Introduction to Neuroanthropology. Pp.318-338. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 2012
  • The Emotional Pleasures of Reading Twilight
    In E. David Klonsky and Alexis Black, eds., The Psychology of Twilight. Pp. 215-232. Dallas, TX: BenBella Books. 2011
  • Person and Community in the Culture of Entertainment
    Pastoral Psychology 60: 737-744. 2011
  • Caught In Play: How entertainment works on you
    Stanford University Press, 2008.
  • Symbolic Valorization in the Culture of Entertainment: The Example of Legal Drug Use
    Anthropological Theory. 2008.
  • Taking Play Seriously: Low level smoking among college students
    (with Mark Nichter and Mimi Nichter). Culture, Medicine and Psychology 31: 1-24. 2007.