photo of Robin Sheriff

Robin Sheriff

Phone: (603) 862-2162
Office: Anthropology, Huddleston Hall, Durham, NH 03824

Robin E. Sheriff is a cultural anthropologist with a BA from Bard College and a PhD (1997) in Anthropology from the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York. Her previous work concerns race and racism in Brazil, with a focus on Rio de Janeiro. In documenting how racism is experienced by ordinary Brazilians of African descent, she contributed to a growing national discussion that led to significant policy changes in Brazil. She has published articles in American Anthropologist, Cultural Anthropology and the Journal of Latin American Anthropology. Her book Dreaming Equality: Color, Race and Racism in Urban Brazil (Rutgers 2001) describes her 20 months of fieldwork in a hillside favela in Rio.

Robin Sheriff’s current work focuses on nighttime dreaming and its links to history, culture, and sociality. Growing out of her UNH seminar on the anthropology of dreaming, this research investigates the dreams of emerging adults in the US, and gives special attention to the prominent and changing roles of media and technology in both waking and dreaming states. Her articles, “Dreaming of the Kardashians” (Ethos 2017) and “Mobile Dreaming” (Subjectivity 2019), for example, offer novel perspectives on the shifts in consciousness and subjectivity occasioned by smartphones, reality television, and social media among today’s generation of US college students. With Jeannette Mageo, she is co-editor of New Directions in the Anthropology of Dreaming (Routledge 2021) which brings together research from around the world. Among her chapters is “Dreaming Bloody Murder,” an exploration of young women’s fascination with true crime, its impact on their dream lives, and how women’s nightmares enact and comment on their gendered vulnerabilities.

Courses Taught

  • ANTH 411: Global Perspectives:Intro Anth
  • ANTH 510: Animals, Identity, and Culture
  • ANTH 597: Special Top/Dreams and Visions
  • ANTH 611: History Anthropological Theory
  • ANTH 625: Sexuality in Cross-Cultural
  • ANTH 785: Dreams and Dreaming
  • ANTH 797: AdvTop Dreams and Dreaming


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, City University of New York
  • B.A., Anthropology, Bard College

Research Interests

  • Brazil
  • Dreaming and culture
  • Multispecies ethnography
  • Race and racism
  • Sociocultural anthropology
  • United States

Selected Publications

  • Sheriff, R. E. (2022). Dog Dreams: Oneiric Representations of Interspecies Sociality among Middle-Class Young Adults in the United States. Society & Animals, 31(4), 451-468. doi:10.1163/15685306-bja10069

  • Sheriff, R. E., & Chin, E. J. (2022). Shopping dreams: Oneiric imagination, consumption, and identity projects among US young adults. JOURNAL OF CONSUMER CULTURE, 22(2), 378-397. doi:10.1177/1469540520955220

  • Sheriff, R. (2020). The anthropology of dreaming in historical perspective. In New Directions in the Anthropology of Dreaming (pp. 23-49). Abington, Oxon UK: Routledge.

  • Mageo, J. M., & Sheriff, R. E. (2020). New Directions in the Anthropology of Dreaming. Routledge.

  • Sheriff, R. (2020). Dreaming bloody murder: women's dreams of mortal threat, true-crime culture, and metonyms of gendered vulnerability. In New Directions in the Anthropology of Dreaming (pp. 93-113). Routledge.

  • Sheriff, R. E. (2019). Mobile dreaming: oneiric subjectivities in the age of the smartphone. SUBJECTIVITY, 12(2), 137-153. doi:10.1057/s41286-019-00068-7

  • Sheriff, R. E. (2019). Degrees of mixture, degrees of freedom: genomics, multiculturalism, and race in Latin America.. JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE, 25(2), 415-416. doi:10.1111/1467-9655.13058

  • Sheriff, R. E. (2017). Dreaming of the Kardashians: Media Content in the Dreams of US College Students. ETHOS, 45(4), 532-554. doi:10.1111/etho.12179

  • Sheriff, R. E. (2000). Exposing silence as cultural censorship: A Brazilian case. AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST, 102(1), 114-132. doi:10.1525/aa.2000.102.1.114

  • Sheriff, R. E. (1999). The theft of carnaval: National spectacle and racial politics in Rio de Janeiro. CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY, 14(1), 3-28. doi:10.1525/can.1999.14.1.3

  • Most Cited Publications