Anthropology Department
George Gemelch

George Gmelch

Job Title
Professor of Anthropology

Research interests

George Gmelch's primary research interests are environmental anthropology, culture change, migration, and sport cultures. He is currently studying mobile work and culture change in rural Newfoundland as part of a Canadian seven-year multidisciplinary team project.


George Gmelch is the author and editor of 15 books and 75 articles dealing with his research topics. His most recent books are In the Field: Life and Work of Cultural Anthropology (UC Press 2019, with Sharon Gmelch); Playing with Tigers: A Minor-League Chronicle of the Sixties (Nebraska 2016) and Irish Travellers: The Unsettled Life (Indiana 2014, with Sharon Gmelch), an account of the contemporary settled life of the Travellers that the Gmelches first studied in the 1970s; Tasting the Good Life: Wine Tourism in Napa (Indiana, 2011, with Sharon Gmelch), a study of wine tourism in Napa. He has also written for general audiences for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Psychology Today, Society, Stanford Magazine, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Natural History.

Additional media


George Gmelch (B.A., Stanford and Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara) joined the Union faculty in 1982. He partially retired from Union in 2008, retaining a half line, shared with Sharon Gmelch. He did his early research in Ireland among a then nomadic group known as Travellers. Since then he has done research on return migration in Ireland, Newfoundland and Barbados, studied the ecology of salmon fisherman in Alaska, the ecology and nomadism of Gypsies in England, the culture of professional baseball players in the United States, tourism workers in Barbados, wine tourism in the Napa Valley, and currently work mobility and community change in rural Newfoundland. He currently directs Union College's internship program in San Francisco.

Academic credentials

B.A., Stanford University; M.A., UC Santa Barbara; Ph.D., UC Santa Barbara