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William Wormsley

Emeritus Faculty

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

1911 Bldg 334

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Bill Wormsley has carried out extensive field research in Papua New Guinea, Yap (Micronesia), Vietnam, and Thailand.  At various times, that research has focused on migration, warfare, economic development, tourism, expatriate communities, and the negotiation of cultural identities.  Various pieces of that body of research have been funded by grants and fellowships from the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Wyoming, the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Applied Social and Economic Research (Papua New Guinea), the government of Papua New Guinea (and the provincial government of Enga Province), The World Bank, the John F. Kennedy Foundation, and the Thailand-US Educational Foundation (Fulbright Senior Scholar Program).  He is the Faculty Director of the Thailand Ethnographic Field School.  That annual program provides an opportunity for ten to twelve students to visit Thailand where they learn the methods that anthropologists employ in field research settings.  The field school is located primarily in Bangkok and (occasionally) the northeastern Thai city of Udon Thani.

He regularly teaches Cultural Anthropology, Peoples and Cultures of Southeast Asia, Peoples and Cultures of the Pacific, Warfare and Culture, Contemporary Issues (Tradition, Change, Modernization, etc.) in Southeast Asia, and Anthropological Field Methods.  He is currently completing preparation of three new courses.  Anthropology and Development will explore the ways in which anthropologists study and explain economic development and how they participate actively in that process.  The Anthropology of Water will explore the importance of water in human cultural history and the future of water in shaping culture in a world in which water is an increasingly rare and valuable resource.  Anthropology and the Art of Cross-Cultural Living will explore the processes of living and working in a culture that is often completely different from one’s own culture.  He has taught this course previously and it has been heavily sought after by students from very a broad range of majors and programs, including Anthropology, Business, Non-Profit Studies, and International Studies.


  • Labor Migration and Village Change in Imbonggu, Papua New Guinea
  • Economic Development and Social Change Papua New Guinea
  • Tribal Warfare and Development in Enga, Papua New Guinea
  • Alcohol Use and Abuse in Yap, Federated States of Micronesia
  • Rural-Urban Migration in Thailand
  • Tourism in Thailand
  • Expatriate Communiities and Cultural Identities in Thailand

Extension and Community Engagement

  • Presiding Office, Imbonggu Open Electorate, Parliamentary election (Papua New Guinea)
  • Research Fellow, Institute of Applied Social and Economic Research (Papua New Guinea)
  • Executive Director, National Social Science Research Committee (Papua New Guinea)
  • Member, Prime Minister’s Council on Village Development (Papua New Guinea)
  • Member, Enga Peace and Good Order Committee (Papua New Guinea)
  • Member, Enga Land Dispute Settlement Committee (Papua New Guinea)
  • Program Coordinator, World Bank (Enga Provincial Development Program)
  • President, Board of Directors, Veterans Vietnam Restoration Project (California and Vietnam)
  • Volunteer publicist, My Lai Peace Park Project (Vietnam)
  • Faculty Director, Thailand Ethnographic Field School (North Carolina State Study Abroad program in Thailand)


  • Teaching
  • Student Advising
  • Faculty Director, Thailand Ethnographic Field School
  • Faculty Advisor, Hmong Students Association

Office Hours

  • Mon:4:30-5:00
  • Wed:4:30-5:00
Or By Appointment

Research Publications

The White Man Will Eat You!  An Anthropologist among the Imgonggu of New Guinea  (1992; and numerous reprintings)  a volume in the series Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology (Series Editors, George and Louise Spindler)

Numerous articles in professional journals and popular media publications

Funded Research

  • National Science Foundation (Labor Migration in Papua New Guinea)
  • World Bank (Tribal Warfare and Economic Development in Papua New Guinea)
  • John F. Kennedy Foundation, Thailand (Rural-Urban Migration in Thailand)
  • Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, Thailand-US Educational Foundation (Rural-Urban Migration and Expatriate Communities and Identities)


Numerous invited lectures and presentations at professional conferences


B.A. Anthropology and Philosophy The College At Brockport State University Of New York 1970

Ph.D. Anthropology University of Pittsburgh 1978

Area(s) of Expertise

War and conflict (Papua New Guinea; Vietnam), Alcohol use and abuse (Yap/Micronesia), Social and Economic Development (Papua New Guinea), Globalization and Non-Western Cultures (Papua New Guinea; Thailand; Vietnam), Expatriate Communities (Papua New Guinea; Thailand), Southeast Asia, Oceania