Robert J. Priest

Professor of Anthropology
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Robert J. Priest

Professor of Anthropology


  • PhD, Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley (1993)
  • MA, Social Science, University of Chicago (1984)
  • MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (1982)
  • BA, Bible and Theology, Columbia International University (1979)


Why I enjoy Teaching at Taylor

As a Christian scholar, I love teaching in a community of people committed to integrating Christian understandings and convictions into all that we do. As an anthropologist, I love teaching students with global experiences and interests. As an MK, I love teaching in a place that values MKs, and where I can capitalize on the strengths of MKs in the classroom. As someone older, I love having the opportunity to dream with young people about possible futures God may have for them – especially futures in which the things I teach may provide them tools for success.


Dates with my wife – long walks, feeding animals in the Gas City Zoo, kayaking on the Mississinewa River, watching movies, and eating out at restaurants from around the world, including Mexican, Thai, Egyptian, Japanese, Chinese, Ethiopian, Peruvian, and Southern Soul Food.

Reading escapist fiction – C.J. Box, J.K. Rowling, Lee Child, Anne Perry, Stephen King, MC Beaton, Thomas Perry, and John Grisham.

Getting together as a family with my daughter, three sons, a daughter-in-law, and a son-in-law – as well as two grandchildren – to visit and play games.

Major Career Accomplishments

2014 – 2017 – President of the Evangelical Missiological Society

2013 – 2014 – President of the American Society of Missiology

2004 – Participant in a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar “The Seven Deadly Sins as Cultural Constructions in the Middle Ages,” at Darwin College, Cambridge University, July 12 – August 13

2002 – Recipient of the annual “Understanding Award” in Urban Intercultural Mission, by the Evangelical Free Church of America

1984 – The Earl and Esther Johnson Prize ($1,000), awarded by the University of Chicago for M.A. thesis: Functionalist Anthropology and the Criticism of Missionaries

Professional Memberships and Service

American Anthropological Association

American Society of Missiology – President (2013 – 2014), Board Member since 2009

Association of Professors of Mission

Evangelical Missiological Society – Regional VP and Board Member (2002 – 2011), President from 2014