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Christa B. Tooley, Ph.D.

Wheaton in Chicago

Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and Anthropology
On Faculty since 2012

Office: MSC 219
Phone: (630)752-7068


Ph.D., Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh, 2012.
Thesis title: ‘Save Our Old Town’: Engaging developer-led masterplanning through community renewal in Edinburgh

M.A., Christian Thought, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Summa Cum Laude, 2006.

M.S., Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh, Distinction awarded to dissertation, 2002. 

B.A., Political Science and International Studies, Texas A&M University, Summa Cum Laude, 2001.

About Christa B. Tooley

My research interests lie broadly in exploring the social life of cities, and more particularly the informal and innovative strategies by which urban residents claim their rights to the city. This research often involves the interdisciplinary integration of social anthropology, geography, sociology, politics and philosophy, among others. I completed my PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh in 2012 and am delighted to be an urban anthropologist at large, contributing to both the Urban Studies and Sociology and Anthropology programs. As a joint appointment in Sociology and Anthropology, I teach various anthropology courses within the major and help students explore the links between urban life, culture, globalization and society. I am currently enjoying the opportunities Wheaton College offers to introduce students to the marvels and challenges of life in the city, from Edinburgh, Scotland to Chicago, just around the corner.

When not reading, writing or teaching about cities, these sustained interests still inform family activities, with my husband, son and daughter, as well as our contributions to church and community, as we seek to better understand, practice and communicate God’s grace both to and within the city. Beyond these particularly urban pursuits, however, I also love the rural delights of camping, hiking and getting (reasonably) lost, and an especially perfect day would include a canvas, easel and perhaps three or four extra hours.

Classes taught

  • ANTH 216: Introduction to cultural anthropology
  • ANTH 354: Culture in the contemporary world
  • ANTH 376: Culture theory
  • ANTH 380: Consumption and material culture
  • ANTH/URBN 390: City in cultural perspective
  • URBN 231: Chicago
  • URBN/ANTH 370: Place-making in urban contexts
  • URBN 496: Internship
  • URBN 494: Advanced Urban Studies Seminar

Professional Memberships

  • American Anthropological Association
  • Society for Urban, National and Transnational/Global Anthropology


“Urban (re)development in comparative perspective: discourse by policy-makers and protestors,” at the American Anthropological Association. San Francisco: November 2012 (forthcoming).

“Remembering and representing Edinburgh,” at the Taking Up Space Conference. Duke University: 2010.