Roger N. Lancaster is is director of Cultural Studies at George Mason University's College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Born on a small farm in North Carolina, Lancaster grew up during struggles around desegregation and the Vietnam War. A student activist on gay, race, and peace issues, he majored in anthropology at Chapel Hill and went on to receive his M.A. and Ph.D. at Berkeley, where his fields included social inequality, gender/sexuality, and Mexico and Central America. His doctoral dissertation, Thanks to God and the Revolution: Popular Religion and Class Consciousness in the New Nicaragua, was published by Columbia University Press (1988).
Lancaster has taught at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, (where he helped establish the Program in Central American Studies) and at Columbia University. At George Mason, he has served as Anthropology Coordinator, and, for the past several years, as Director of the Cultural Studies Ph.D. Program. He has also served on the Executive Board for the Society for Cultural Anthropology and on the editorial board at Journal for Latin American Anthropology.
His second book, Life is Hard: Machismo, Danger, and the Intimacy of Power in Nicaragua (University of California Press, a Centennial Book, 1992), received both the C. Wright Mills Award (Society for the Study of Social Problems) and the Ruth Benedict Prize (Society of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists). Lancaster has also edited (with Micaela di Leonardo) The Gender/Sexuality Reader: Culture, History, Political Economy (Routledge, 1997). His most recent books are The Trouble with Nature: Sex in Science and Popular Culture (California, 2003) and Sex Panic and the Punitive State (California, 2011)