David Iyam

Professor David Iyam

Department of Anthropology

562.907.4200, ext. 4893

Academic History

B.A., University of Calabar, Nigeria
M.A., M.F.A., Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

Academic Focus

Cultural dynamics of urban and rural economies, women in development, minority groups differentiations

Academic Interests

Sustainable resource management, social and economic conditions of post- colonial societies, social-cultural aspects of film and television

Professor David Iyam graduated with a B.A. in theater arts from the University of Calabar in Nigeria. He then continued his education until 1992 at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received an M.F.A. in theater arts, as well as a M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology.

He first began teaching at Whittier College in 1999 as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and would officially become a part of the faculty in 2001. Besides being the head professor of the anthropology program, Iyam has also served as the coordinator of the Comparative Cultures Council and was a member of the Global and Cultural Studies Program. He has also directed several Whittier Scholars’ students over the years on their final projects and advised them on research in Turkey, France, Ghana, India, and Ethiopia. Professor Iyam has been highly involved in student activities with his service as a faculty adviser for the Black Students Union, Franklin Society, Lambda Alpha, and the Anthropology Club.

Iyam was the recipient of several awards and grants, including the Fulbright Research/Lecture Grant in 2006, the Ph.D. Dissertation Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1989, and an invitation to participate in the Workshop on Scientific Research in Africa, in Zimbabwe in 1990. He is a published author of three books, with his most recent titled work, Aneji, and is a professional member of the African Studies Association, Society of Visual Anthropology, and the Association of Africanist Anthologists.

Download Curriculum Vitae


Matriarchy and Power in Africa 2013. Matriarchy and Power in Africa, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
Nigeria 1999. Nigeria, Revised edition, (With Ruby Bell-Gam), World Bibliographical Series, ABC-CLIO Ltd., Oxford, England.
The Broken Hoe 1995. The Broken Hoe: Cultural Reconfiguration in Biase Southeastern Nigeria, the University of Chicago Press, 1995.


  • 2008. "'A Pond Defiled,” The Rock, Whittier College, Spring 2007: 24-27
  • 1996. "'Full 'Men and 'Powerful' Women: Reconstructing Gender Status in Biase Southeastern Nigeria,” Canadian Journal of African Studies, 3, 1996.
  • 1996. "Farming in the Belly of Darkness: Ritual Observances in the Subsistence Strategies of the Biase of southeast Nigeria," Dialectical Anthropology, 21: 67-88.


  • 1985. Inyono --The Cult, 16mm, Color, 17 min. (With Ruby Iyam)
  • 1982. Balloons, 8mm, Color, 7 min.
  • 1982. A Matter of Health: Crisis Intervention in La Puente, Video, 15 min.