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J. Christopher Kovats-Bernat (born 1970) is an American cultural anthropologist with a specialization in Haiti.

J. Christopher Kovats-Bernat, Ph.D.
Photo of Dr. J. Christopher Kovats-Bernat.jpg
Kovats-Bernat in Haiti, July 2014
Born(1970-08-14)August 14, 1970
EducationB.A., Muhlenberg College (1993)
M.A., Temple University (1997)
Ph.D., Temple University (2001)
OccupationCultural Anthropologist, Ethnographer
Spouse(s)Dina Kovats-Bernat

Early life and educationEdit

Kovats-Bernat was raised in Kensington, a Philadelphia neighborhood, and Allentown, Pennsylvania.[1] He earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy and anthropology from Muhlenberg College in 1993,[2] and his Ph.D. in anthropology from Temple University in 2001, with a dissertation on street children in Port-au-Prince.[3]


Kovats-Bernat has worked as a faculty member at Muhlenberg College since 2001[2] and has been a visiting assistant professor at Shippensburg University.[1] His recent research has focused on Voudoun and Haitian witchcraft; in 2014 he received a grant from the National Geographic Society for fieldwork in Haiti about the rites of zombification,[1][4]

He has also been a Consultant on Civil Affairs (Officer Grade P-5, Civilian) for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti,[citation needed] and Distinguished Visiting Research Affiliate and Ethnologist-in-Residence (Distingué Invité des Adjoints de Recherche et Ethnologue en Résidence) with the Faculty of Ethnology at the State University of Haiti.[citation needed]


In 2006 he published Sleeping Rough in Port-au-Prince: An Ethnography of Street Children and Violence in Haiti.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

Kovats-Bernat is married to Dina, whom he met at Muhlenberg College.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Molly Foster (September 18, 2018). "SU visiting anthropology professor shares heart-wrenching account of his time in Haiti". The Slate. Shippensburg University. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Dana Perillo (Winter 2002). "Coming to Work at a Place You Call Home". Muhlenberg magazine. Muhlenberg College. p. 17. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  3. ^ J. Christopher Kovats-Bernat (2001). The Impact of Poverty, Violence and State Repression on the Cultural Identity and Social Agency of Street Children in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti (PhD). Temple University. OCLC 52318042.
  4. ^ "Grantee 2014: J. Christopher Kovats-Bernat". National Geographic Society. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  5. ^ Gainesville: University Press of Florida. ISBN 9780813033020. Nathanial Gardner (August 2008). "Review: Sleeping Rough in Port-au-Prince: An Ethnography of Street Children and Violence in Haiti by J. Christopher Kovats-Bernat". Journal of Latin American Studies. 40 (3): 608–10. doi:10.1017/S0022216X08004616. JSTOR 40056726.