Douglas Harper

Not to be confused with Douglas Harper (born 1948), compiler of the Online Etymology Dictionary.

Douglas A. Harper (born 1948) is an American sociologist and photographer.[1] He is the holder of the Rev. Joseph A. Lauritis, C.S.Sp. Endowed Chair in Teaching with Technology at Duquesne University, a chair funded by a grant from the Mellon Foundation.[2]


Harper was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States. He earned a B.A. from Macalester College in 1970 and a Ph.D. in sociology from Brandeis University. While doing research for his Ph.D. dissertation about railroad tramps, he rode freight trains for 20,000 miles (32,000 km) in the western United States.[3]


After graduation, Harper wrote a book, Good Company,[4] about railroad tramps.

Harper made extensive use of photo elicitation interviews in his 1987 book, Working Knowledge, a sociological treatment of the rural bricoleur in America.[5] His 2001 publication, Changing Works, applied the same method to the historical reconstruction of cultural memory.

Harper later co-authored books on post-colonial culture in Hong Kong, Italian food culture, and the semiotics of Italian fascism, in which he researched images as method of cross-cultural communication. In 2014, he studied the sociology of public space in the Italian piazza and in the de-industrialized regions of the American Rust Belt.

Harper has taught sociology at SUNY Potsdam, the University of South Florida, and Duquesne University, and as a guest professor at the University of Amsterdam and University of Bologna. He edited the academic journal Visual Studies during its first thirteen years and wrote five works of visual ethnography published by the University of Chicago Press. His Visual Sociology (Routledge 2012) is a comprehensive treatment of the topic.

Harper was co-founder of the International Visual Sociology Association with Leonard M. Henny and others; in 2013 he was elected its president.[6]

He has had many photographic exhibitions in the US and abroad.




  1. Mary Strong; Laena Wilder (May 1, 2009). Viewpoints: Visual Anthropologists at Work. University of Texas Press. pp. 38–. ISBN 978-0-292-70671-2.
  2. Becker, Howard S. (1 November 2007). Telling About Society. University of Chicago Press. p. 199. ISBN 978-0-226-04126-1.
  3. Kornblum, William (January 31, 2011). Sociology in a Changing World. Cengage Learning. p. 30. ISBN 1-111-30157-3.
  4. Kolb, Bettina (January 31, 2012). "Unveiling Space by Using Participatory Photo Interview". In Silva, Carlos Nunes. Online Research Methods in Urban and Planning Studies: Design and Outcomes. IGI Global. pp. 120–137. ISBN 978-1-4666-0075-1.
  5. "Doug Harper: IVSA President". International Visual Studies Association. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  6. Book Review : Douglas Harper, Visual Sociology. New York: Routledge, 2012, 294 pp. ISBN 978-0-415-77896-1. Retrieved 2016-11-25.
  7. "Good Company. Douglas Harper (Book)". 1982-01-03. Retrieved 2016-11-25.
  8. "Photogrpahic image of cover of Cape Breton 1952 : The Photographic Vision of Timothy Asch" (JPG).\accessdate=2016-11-25.
  9. "Working Knowledge: Skill and Community in a Small Shop by Douglas Harper" Peter F. Murphy The Oral History Review Vol. 16, No. 2 (Autumn, 1988), pp. 157–159, Oxford University Press
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/25/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.