Dr. John Hammetter


(414) 288-4037
Lalumiere Language Hall, 108


Though I was born and raised in Milwaukee, I spent so much of my childhood in Wauwatosa that I’ve always considered it my home town. I graduated from Pius XI High School and received a B.A. in Anthropology from Marquette University, so I have a good understanding of its students and culture. In 1988, I helped excavate the Philistine city of Ashkelon in present-day Israel. In 1992, I conducted ethnobotanical fieldwork among the Navajo in New Mexico.

I earned my Ph.D. in Anthropology and Geography from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, in 2002. My dissertation, which drew from the disciplines of social history, landscape architecture, art history, cultural geography, and historical archaeology, represented the first anthropological study of residential yards and gardens. I asked why people endure the pain of transforming the space around their homes into gardens. Simply put, I concluded that both the act of gardening and the appreciation of their garden provide avid gardeners with a primary source of meaning in their lives.

I also spent 23 years in the Air Force, in both active duty and reserves, retiring in 2005. I was stationed in many different places during my military career—Germany, England, Spain, Turkey, Panama, and the United Arab Emirates, to name a few. I also traveled extensively on my own whenever possible, once going to Nepal for a month. While in these places I conducted informal ethnographic fieldwork through observation, participation, and inquiry, all of which characterize the anthropological enterprise. So I bring a great deal of personal experience into the classroom in addition to formal training.


Contact the Department of
Social and Cultural Sciences

Lalumiere Language Hall, Room 340
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
Phone: (414) 288-6838 | Fax: (414) 288-6444