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Michael Simonton Profile Photo
  • Advisor, Celtic Studies Minor
  • Director, Celtic Studies Minor
  • Faculty Sponsor, Tuath an Ard Tíre Ardaí: The Celtic Studies Club

Contact Information

Research & Teaching Interests

Cultural anthropology; applied anthropology; Celtic Europe; Afro-Caribbean; North American Indians; psychological anthropology; culture change; gerontology; peasant studies; religion; teaching on the web.

Current Research

My current research is a qualitative longitudinal study of aging in the north west of Ireland. I have followed the same group of people (or their living relatives) through twenty five years of their life courses as the country and social matrix has experienced recession, inflation, economic boom times, and reversal of emigration that includes new populations in the Irish census. The effects that these contextual variables have had on the lives of my respondents is exemplified, not only in my descriptions of life in the north west of Ireland and my research on institutionalization in a County Mayo nursing home, but in their own stories elicited through in-depth taped interviews that led to a series of life history autobiographies, with a focus on one family in particular in the style of Oscar Lewis' work in The Children of Sanchez and La Vida.

My other research interests have been focused on the origins and migrations of ancient Celtic peoples just prior to and during the Iron Age. My current view in this regard is a rapprochement of those of Barry Cunliffe (mobile warrior elite with expanding sphere's of influence) and Simon James (the current 'Celtic' people may not be the direct descendents of the original Iron Age Celts). Rather, I have tried to use a combination of ancient history, linguistics, oral literature, and archeology to trace the movements of two culturally and geographically related peoples across Europe by different routes to end up as neighbors on the other side of the continent, where they settled among a much larger (demographically) and hostile indigenous population.

In recent years I have sometimes taken students to Ireland in order to expand their knowledge of Celtic culture.

Currently, my textbook, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, has just been published (in 2012).

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D. National University of Ireland, Galway
  • M.A. The Ohio State University
  • B.A. University of Dayton


  • ANT 100 Cultural Anthropology
  • ANT 370 Celtic Europe
  • ANT 371 Psychological Anthropology
  • ANT 372 Peasant Societies
  • ANT 375 Anthropology of Aging
  • ANT 376 Irish Society through Film


  • 2010-present Member, Editorial Board of the Kentucky Journal of Anthropology and Sociology
  • 2006 & 2007 Northern Kentucky University Student Support Services Faculty of Distinction Award
  • 1985 Finalist, The Ohio State University Distinguished Teaching Award

Selected Publications