Robert M. Hayden

Professor of Anthropology, Law and

Public & International Affairs

Director, Russian & East European Studies

University of Pittsburgh


The website of a senior anthropology professor is a kind of virtual illuminated manuscript of a life.  My own path through anthropology, and life, has not been exactly straight.  This site contains some materials on my fieldwork, research and teaching, and you’re welcome to trace some of my meandering pathways, mental and professional.

The formal details are contained in my Curriculum Vitae

My training in anthropology started at Franklin & Marshall College, went through an MA at Syracuse University, and the Ph.D. and J.D. at SUNY-Buffalo, though I was seconded to the University of Wisconsin to learn Telugu and finish my graduate and law school careers with advanced work in law & social science.  The law and anthropology went together as a dual degree program in Buffalo, supplemented at Wisconsin.

As for fieldwork: I worked on the Allegany Seneca Reservation even as an undergraduate, 1971-77, but fieldwork leading to my doctoral dissertation was in India, 1975-79.  I worked in Yugoslavia from 1981 until the country passed out of existence in 1991, and in the successor republics (but mainly Serbia) since then.  While Bosnia was collapsing in 1992, I did more work in India.  I continue to spend part of every year in Serbia and to write on issues in the Balkans.  My fieldwork and publications are linked from the following pages: India fieldwork, Yugoslavia Fieldwork, Antagonistic Tolerance Project.

The subject matter of my research went from religion and culture at the Allegany Reservation, to an ethnographic study of the council of a caste of nomads in rural India, to an ethnographic study of a socialist labor court in Yugoslavia.  Thus far law and social science, but as Yugoslavia collapsed into the violent antithesis of law, I found myself analyzing things I never had thought I would study: the cultural logic of ethno-national violence and the corresponding logic of the constitutional structure of ethnocracies, ethnic cleansing, the pretenses of international criminal justice in the Balkans, and the hypocrisy of certain forms of what is ostensibly humanitarianism, and of some forms of anthropology. Some of this work is reasonably well known, if not uncontroversial.

However, my major current project is an international, interdisciplinary and comparative study on competitive sharing of religious sites, which my colleagues and I call “Antagonistic Tolerance.” Thus far we have done research in Bulgaria, India, Portugal and Turkey and we’re planning work in Peru and Mexico.  You can learn more about the project at the Antagonistic Tolerance Project Website.  Links to web sites for the other research will be added to this main page.

TEACHING: As Director of the Center for Russian & East European Studies since 1998, I have a reduced teaching load.  However, I continue to teach graduate and undergraduate seminars, and they can be viewed at this link: Course Syllabi.