About

decent smiling copy (2)I AM a cultural anthropologist living in Seattle, Washington, with my partner and our cat Mister. I grew up in small-town Oregon, and at age eighteen, after a mere two months in university, took off for the complete unknown of the South Pacific.  I spent the next several years working my way around the world, taking all kinds of jobs and landing in numerous adventures.

Finally, at the ripe old age of twenty-three, I decided I had better make something more of myself and returned to university (I had also considered becoming a professional musician, but since I basically have no musical talent, this fantasy lasted a very short time).

Mister
Mister

It was during my first college anthropology class that I realized anthropology was my calling, and I eventually earned a Ph.D. (at the London School of Economics).  Since that time, my professional, creative and life path has been eclectic and winding. I’ve been involved in teaching; working in film; co-founding and co-directing a nonprofit based in Brazil for sixteen years; international research; and writing— for both academic and nonfiction audiences.

Willson on trawler in Iceland
Me on trawler in Iceland

Research and projects have taken me to such diverse places as Papua New Guinea (working with PNG-born Chinese traders, and later in a remote village along the Sepik River), Inner Mongolia, the favelas of Northeast Brazil, and, most recently, Iceland.

Feel free to contact me via the Contact link for queries about my work, speaking engagements, etc.