Timothy Finan

About Timothy Finan

I was born in Bad Axe, Michigan, and raised in Port Austin, a small town of friendly bean farmers situated on the shores of Lake Huron. I studied literature and history at the University of Detroit, then at the University College of Dublin. Upon graduation, with the weight of the Vietnam War bearing down, I joined the Peace Corps and went off to be a rural extension worker in a small village of sugarcane farmers in Ceará, Northeast Brazil.

This transformational experience sent me back to graduate school, this time in Anthropology, so that I could acquire both the intellectual foundations and technical skills in development and anthropology. I also studied Agricultural Economics to add to my toolkit. In my professional life, I have worked extensively in Africa, Europe, and Latin America, and less so in Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, and Albania. Most of my research has been in Portugal, the Cape Verde Islands, Chad, and Brazil. My research interests focus around various dimensions of world poverty, including vulnerability, livelihood security, climate and society interactions, natural resource management, and public policy. I am a devotee of participatory research and development and have worked to develop new, more effective methodological tools.

Currently my main research activity is a five-year study of climate vulnerability in Ceará and a study of freshwater prawn farming in Southwest Bangladesh. My driving ambition in life is to demystify the public perception of anthropology and to promote it as an applied profession that contributes to the betterment of our global community. Being the director of a unique applied research institute like BARA, I am convinced that a diverse and global society needs the anthropological perspective. In real life, I play handball and the piano—neither very well.

Areas of Study

Lusophone and Francophone Africa, Brazil, Latin America, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh

Research Interests

Livelihood Vulnerability Analysis, Climate Variability and Global Change, Food Security,
Applied Anthropology, Development, Participatory Development, Policy Analysis, Research

Timothy Finan's picture

Contact Information

Research Anthropologist
Telephone: 520-621-6972
Office: Geronimo 300


1981 University of Arizona, Ph.D. Major: Cultural Anthropology, Minor: Agricultural Economics
1975 University of Arizona, M.A. Cultural Anthropology
1969 University of Detroit B.A. Literature and History

Courses Taught

Mixed Methods in Applied Social Science Research (ANTH 609)
Anthropology and Development (ANTH 331)
Global Change Workshop (GC 597A)