Contact details


Role: IGS at LMH Former Director, now Research Associate

Lidia Dina Sciama


I was born in Italy where my first field of study was Modern Languages and Comparative Literature. After an academic year at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, I spent a year at Cornell University in the US, where I completed a Masters degree with a thesis on Nathanael West. In Oxford, I studied social Anthropology and wrote a DPhil thesis based on long-term fieldwork on a Venetian Island, Burano.

Research interests

Relations between Anthropology and Literature, biography and autobiography; the Social Anthropology of Southern Europe, with a focus on ideas of honour and shame, gender, sexuality and women’s labour; anthropological aspects of humour and comedy.


In Oxford I have supervised and monitored IGS students. I have taught Anthropology and Literature at Mount Holyoke College, in the USA, and Social Anthropology at the University of Ca’ Foscari, in Venice.

With S. Ardener, Elisabeth Hsu and others, I co-convened a long-standing seminar series on Ethnicity and Identity at the Oxford Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology.

Selected publications

  • Humour, Comedy and Laughter (Edited and Introduced for Berghahn 2016)
  • War and Women across Continents (Co-edited with S. Ardner and F. Armitage and Contribnuted to, for Berghahn 2016)
  • A Venetian Island; Environment, History and Change in Burano (Berghahn 2003, 2006)
  • Beads and Beadmakers. Gender, Material Culture and Meaning (co-edited with Joanne Eicher, and introduced for Berg 1998).
  • ‘The Problem of Privacy in Mediterranean Anthropology’, (in S. Ardener ed.1981).