Dr John Loewenthal

Thesis title: What do people want to do with their lives and why? An ethnography of graduate aspirations in New York and Los Angeles

Start year: 2015

Contact: 15095153@brookes.ac.uk

Supervisor(s): Professor Patrick Alexander

Research topic

This research consists of an 18-month ethnographic study of the aspirations of graduates from a private university in New York City, many of whom move to Los Angeles. I ask what graduates want to do with their lives, and how such ideas are produced, negotiated, and revised over time. I am currently writing up (2019–20) based at the Department for Educational Research, CINVESTAV, Mexico City.


Aspiration, Life Course, Graduate Transitions, Meanings of Work, Student Debt

General research interests

Social Anthropology; Youth Studies; Education; Aspiration and Imagined Futures; The Life Course

Academic school / department

School of Education, Humanities and Languages

Teaching experience

Modules taught

  • U20104 Introduction to Social Anthropology (Associate Lecturer)
  • Online Course Tutor in Social Anthropology, Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford

Further details

Academic and professional training

  • BA Archaeology and Anthropology – University of Oxford – First Class Honours
  • MA Anthropology and Education – Columbia University

Scholarships and prizes

  • 150th Anniversary PhD Studentship – Oxford Brookes University
  • Margaret Mead Fellowship – Teachers College, Columbia University
  • International Scholarship – Teachers College, Columbia University