Meet our Faculty: Dr. Samuel Weeks
Dr. Weeks is an assistant professor of anthropology, as well as the interim program director for the BS in interdisciplinary studies program within the College of Humanities and Sciences. You’ll also find him teaching within the Hallmarks Program for General Education.
What do you do here at Jefferson?
The primary focus of my energies at Jefferson is teaching in the Hallmarks Core for General Education and the new program in Interdisciplinary Studies, housed in the College of Humanities and Sciences. As of late, I’ve been particularly excited about the Interdisciplinary Studies major, where we examine the most pressing issues of our time, then devise ways to study them – all done with an eye to effecting change.
As for my research, I examine banking secrecy and tax havens, in particular the European country of Luxembourg. During the last five years or so, I’ve been studying how this tiny country uses secrecy and artificially low tax rates as a way of attracting the money of wealthy individuals and corporations from around the world. A recent article of mine, published in Journal of Language and Politics, examines five linguistic strategies that officials in the Luxembourg financial center use to justify their activities, some of which are morally dubious. As I ask, in an era of increasing inequality – to say nothing of the twin challenges of COVID-19 and climate change – why is it that a rich few are able to forgo their societal obligations by avoiding their fair share of tax?
How long have you been at Jefferson?
This academic year will be my fourth at Jefferson – how time flies!
What is the best part of your job?
Being able to explore fascinating new material alongside Jefferson students is by far the best part of my job. Because the College of Humanities and Sciences prioritizes interdisciplinarity, I am able to teach a wide variety of material – from anthropology (the field of my training), to sociology, intellectual history, psychoanalysis, and film studies.
What’s one piece of advice you give students?
A piece of advice that I always give to students is to use the powerful (and free!) Inter-Library Loan service offered by the Jefferson libraries. Philadelphia is situated in one of the most university-dense areas in the country, if not the world. Given that the libraries of all these universities are connected via Inter-Library Loan, Jefferson students have at their fingertips nearly any book that they will ever want or need!
What’s something people would be surprised to find out about you?
I lived for two years in the West African country of Cape Verde, where I served as a Peace Corps community-development volunteer. It was an incredibly formative time for me: professionally, intellectually, culturally, and linguistically. When teaching, I bring in my experience in Cape Verde whenever possible – in part to encourage Jefferson students to consider joining the Peace Corps after they graduate!
Please tell us about any awards or appointments you’ve recently received:
I was recently named Interim Director of Jefferson’s exciting new program in Interdisciplinary Studies. Additionally, in May 2021, I was awarded an Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Society of Leadership and Success, the largest student-run organization on the East Falls campus. I am particularly proud of this accolade, for I put a significant amount of effort and passion into my teaching, and it was wonderful to see this recognized by Jefferson students!