Dr. Jessica Bodoh-Creed: Anthropology Professor

Hello fellow Golden Eagles! For this week’s Campus Celebrity we have an easy-going, relatable professor who is well known for her classes on gender nearly every quarter and is not afraid to laugh off a joke made in her expense (for those who have her classes this quarter, you know what I’m talking about). Meet Dr. Jessica Bodoh-Creed, a 5 year adjunct professor here at Cal State LA for the Anthropology Department. Dr. Bodoh-Creed has a BA in Anthropology from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, a Masters in Anthropology from California State University, Los Angeles, and a PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Riverside. Originally from Corpus Christi, Texas, Dr. Bodoh-Creed moved to Southern California with her husband, a screenwriter, so that he may work in the entertainment industry. When asked if she had a favorite quote she stated that she doesn’t have one, but that she likes to call her students “My Darlings”.

Quirky Factoid: “My husband would tell you that I’m an explainer.”

As an alumni from the university that you now work at, was there any awkwardness transitioning from a former student to one of the faculty?

No. I loved being a student at CSULA and loved the faculty and department. They were very welcoming and helpful when I came back to teach.

What would you say is your favorite subject in Anthropology?

I don’t necessarily have a favorite, but I am very much interested in Medical Anthropology as well as the Anthropology of Media. Medical anthropology is very popular right now, a lot of people are working in it and it’s almost become a separate sub-discipline with how large it has become. Media Anthropology does not really exist right now. It’s much harder to gain access to media sources with the intention to conduct ethnographic research.

When did you begin teaching at Cal State LA?

I started teaching here in April 2010 and that was also when I was an ABD (all but dissertation). What that means is that I had completed all my PhD course work except for my dissertation. So the entire time that I was teaching I was also conducting my research. The only time I didn’t teach was Spring Quarter 2013, so that spring and summer, when I had already completed my research, I wrote my dissertation. All 368 pages in the time of 2 quarters.  

Your students must have been very proud and inspired. What was the title of your dissertation and what was it about?

Yes! I was finding out whether or not I got my PhD at around the same time as their finals, so they kept asking me “Did you get it? Did you get it?” and finally the week of finals I told them I got it and they cheered for me. My dissertation is titled, When Pfizer Meet McDreamy, A Classic American Love Story Between Medicine and the Media. I wrote it like a book and I was looking at knowledge production - who created it and how it was represented in the media. I was using anthropological methods to study medical media and I did that by conducting ethnographies on the sets of popular medical TV shows like ER and Grey’s Anatomy as well as interviewing some of the people who worked on the shows.

Did you always know you wanted to work in the field of Anthropology?

I started off as a geoscience major. My grandfather worked in oil and gas and so I thought I wanted to work in that field as well. Seeing how my grandfather got to travel all over the world for his work made me want to do it too. But I wasn’t very good at it and one class in particular I was doing horribly at until the professor said “maybe this isn’t for you”, and at that same time I happened to be taking an Anthropology class. I ended up getting a minor in geosciences just because I had taken so many classes.

Where are some places that you’ve traveled with regards to your ethnographic studies?

I did research in Honduras for some time, but I use all of my travels with regards to teaching. Once you’re an ethnographer you never really stop. I’ve traveled throughout Central America, from Mexico down to Panama. On the African continent I’ve been to Ghana and the Ivory Coast. And I’ve also been to Spain and Portugal.

Have you ever failed a class in college?

No, but I hardcore failed an exam in a geoscience class once. I had the “I know this!” feeling and got so excited that I answered questions that didn’t exist on the exam and neglected to answer the actual questions there. I was so over-prepared that I failed! Half of life is following directions and now as a teacher I try to stress this point to students. Actually, that should be my favorite quote! Half of life is following directions.

Do you have a favorite place to eat on/off campus?

On campus would be the University Club; that’s where I take my graduate assistants sometimes. Off campus, it would have to be a tie between Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and The Counter. I love a good burger.

What are classes are you teaching this quarter?

I’m teaching ANTH 250 Cultural Anthropology, ANTH 388 Gender Roles in a Cross Cultural Perspective, and ANTH 497 History of Ethnological Theory.

Last Question, and I really like to ask Professors about this to see their reactions – Do you think the zombie apocalypse is a legitimate possibility?

No. But it would be awesome if it did.