Francine Barone

Fran BaroneDirector of Academic Development & Operations

Dr. Francine Barone is a digital anthropologist and media ethnographer. She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Kent (2010) based on 18 months of fieldwork on digital and urban spaces in Catalonia, Spain. Her research interests include urban ethnography, technology as material culture, place-making, sensory anthropology, media archaeology, and the socio-cultural impacts of the digital age. In 2009, she co-founded the Open Anthropology Cooperative, an experimental online collectivity of anthropologists, which grew to over 22,000 members. She first joined HRAF in 2013.

As Director of Academic Development and Operations at HRAF, Fran oversees day-to-day activities across all departments, including operational oversight for academic and database development, user engagement, academic outreach, and the production and dissemination of scholarly resources for cross-cultural, anthropological and archaeological research. She also writes anthropological content, publishes and presents original research, manages HRAF’s social media channels, and contributes to the technical development of the eHRAF databases.

In 2019, Fran redesigned our Teaching eHRAF platform, and currently manages and curates its open access anthropological teaching materials and syllabi. She produces original open educational resources including syllabi, courses and classroom activities, and advises instructors on innovative strategies for teaching with the eHRAF databases. She also conducts workshops on methods in anthropology and cross-cultural research. In 2020, Fran authored our Teaching Online portal to provide educator support during the transition to remote learning. In addition, she designs and produces the eHRAF Workbooks for teaching and learning anthropology and archaeology.

Fran applies her digital ethnographic experience to collaborate with our IT team in developing the eHRAF databases. With a background in usability research and anthropology, she is uniquely able to advise HRAF engineers on how best to incorporate insights from a diverse user base of academic anthropologists and social scientists into database updates and future releases. While at HRAF, she has advocated for the expansion of open access applications and services.

Since September 2020, Fran has been the Research Coordinator for HRAF’s NSF-funded iKLEWS Project (Infrastructure for Knowledge Linkages from Ethnography of World Societies). This project seeks to leverage exciting new innovations in AI, natural language processing, and machine learning to greatly expand the value of eHRAF World Cultures to students and researchers who seek to understand the range of possibilities for human knowledge, belief and behavior, including real-world problems such as: climate change, violence, disasters, epidemics, hunger, and war.

Selected publications and teaching materials can be found below. You can also find her articles and posts on the HRAF homepage, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Teaching materials

Nascent Worlds
Ethnographic Insights Across Cultures
HRAF Jeoparody Game
eHRAF Archaeology Jeoparody Game

Selected articles

Knowledge is power: anthropology of proverbs
Craving Comfort: Bonding with food across cultures
Luck of the Irish: Folklore and fairies in Rural Ireland
Unconditional Love: Is devotion to pets a cultural universal?
Home Truths: An Anthropology of House and Home
“I have worth”: female body confidence and perceptions of beauty around the world
The Social Life of Cheese
Towards an Anthropology of Fear: Are some things universally terrifying?
An Anthropology of Dads: Exploring Fatherhood in eHRAF
Women, gender and power in eHRAF
Burning questions: evidence for off-site fire use by hunter-gatherers
Romantic or disgusting? Passionate kissing is not a human universal
Winter solstice celebrations around the world