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Melissa Beresford is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at San José State University and affiliated adjuct faculty in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology at Arizona State University, her M.A. in Social Science from the University of Chicago, and her B.A. in Urban Studies and Planning from the University of California, San Diego.

As an economic anthropologist, Dr. Beresford's research investigates how people respond to economic inequality and resource insecurity. To date, her work has examined the cultural politics of entrepreneurship and economic development initiatives, informal and diverse urban economies, and urban water insecurity.  She is also an anthropological methodologist, focused on researching and innovating methods for qualitative data anlaysis. Her fieldwork is primarily based in Cape Town, South Africa, however she has collaborated on research in Latin America, the United States, and in cross-cultural context.

As an enthusiastic and experienced teacher, Dr. Beresford's primary teaching foci include supporting diverse students; research methods training; pedagogy and practice of diverse teaching modalities (including online); experiential learning (undergraduate research experiences, study abroad); and citizen science projects. She also teaches workshops on Qualitative Data Analysis for the National Science Foundation Research Methods in Anthropology training program and Arizona State University's Institute for Social Science Research.


Research Interests

Economic and ecological anthropology; socio-economic inequality; water/resource insecurity; entrepreneurship, markets, and diverse (non-market & hybrid) economies; ethnographic research methods; qualitative data analysis