B. Lynne Milgram
Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Graduate Studies
416-977-6000, Ext. 1680

Area(s) of Expertise

Economy, Gender, development


Lynne Milgram’s research is rooted in anthropology, but lends itself to interdisciplinary collaborations of all kinds. Analyzing the commoditization of crafts, consumption and small-scale entrepreneurial activities in the northern Philippines, Milgram’s doctoral research traced the channels through which women exercise agency in their changing roles in craft production and trade with the advent of global market forces. Subsequently analyzing the socioeconomic and political impacts of microfinance development projects mounted throughout the Philippines, Milgram explored the relationship between the institutional claim to empowerment and the capacity of program structures to generate ‘real’ opportunities for women.

Milgram’s current projects examine Philippine women’s engagement in the global trade and consumption of secondhand clothing between the Philippines and Hong Kong and women’s work as street vendors. Both enterprises straddle legal/illegal practice and have emerged as growing arenas of labour given increasing rural-to-urban migration and declines in formal-sector jobs. Milgram argues that these women operationalize multiple work options to simultaneously negotiate their positions as sites of globally competitive economic activity and local struggles over state restructuring. Milgram makes her findings applicable for policy formation by government and non-government organizations seeking to sustain livelihood opportunities for women via a range of appropriate initiatives.


1997 PhD, Department of Social Anthropology, York University Dissertation: “Crossover, Continuity and Change: Women's Production and Marketing of Crafts in the Upland Philippines."

1991 MA, Graduate Program in Interdisciplinary Studies, York University Thesis: “The Textiles of Highland Luzon, Philippines: A Case Study in Material Culture.”

1971 BA, English Literature, University of Toronto.

Professional Experience


2003-present Professor of Anthropology, Faculty of Liberal Studies, OCAD, Toronto, ON.

2001-2003 Associate Professor, Faculty of Liberal Studies, OCAD, Toronto, ON.

1991-2001 Lecturer, part-time & contract, Faculty of Design and Faculty of Liberal Studies, OCAD, Toronto, ON.

1997-2001 Sessional Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

1997-1999 Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

1992-1997 Teaching Assistant, Department of Social Anthropology, York University, Toronto, ON.

1993 & 1999 Sessional Lecturer, School of Craft and Design, Sheridan College, Oakville, ON.

1985 - 1988 Sessional Lecturer, Faculty of Craft and Design, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, NS.


1989 - 1993 Curator, Contemporary Gallery, Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto, ON.

1980- 2003  Curator, Asian ethnographic textiles (part-time and contract), Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto, ON. Selected Exhibitions include: 2003 Islands of Embellishment: Transforming Traditions in Philippine Textiles. Exhibition Brochure; 1998 Reclaiming the Past: Historical Traditions in Textile Reuse. In Spin-Cycle: Reclaimed and Reinterpreted: Global Trends and Traditions in Textile Recycling. Co-Curator. Exhibition Brochure; 1995 Japanese Innovations: The Textiles of Junichi Arai; 1993 Narratives in Cloth: Embroidered Textiles from Aomori, Japan. Exhibition Catalogue; 1991 Helen Frances Gregor: Cloth and Architecture – A Retrospective. Exhibition Brochure; 1989 Directions: from historical sources. Exhibition Catalogue.


1987-1992 Part-time Instructor, Masters Weavers Program, Ontario Guild of Handweavers and Spinners.

1988 - 1990 Part-time Instructor, Haliburton School of Fine Arts, Haliburton, ON.

1979-1988 Part-time Instructor, North York Board of Education, Toronto, ON. Textile arts classes for students and teachers with the OAC Artists in the Schools Program.

1979-1988 Part-time Instructor, University of Toronto, Faculty of Art Education, Toronto, ON.

1984 - 1986 Part-time Instructor, York University, Faculty of Art Education, Toronto, ON.


Selected Exhibitions


Awards \ Grants

2011 School for Advanced Research (SAR), Sante Fe, NM. Advanced Seminar Series Program, 2010-2011, (Co-applicant), 'Street Economics, Politics and Social Movements in the Urban Global South.'

2009-2010 OCAD Award for Distinguished Research and Creation, Ontario College of Art & Design.

2009 Nominated for the OCAD 2008/2009 Price Award for Excellence in Teaching.

2008-2011 SSHRC Standard Research Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Principal Investigator with co-applicant. 'Exploring Urban Resistance: street vending and negotiations over public space livelihoods in the Philippines and Vietnam.'

2007 R. L. Shep Textile Book Award. Awarded by the Textile Society of America (in 2008) for the publication, 'Material Choices: Refashioning Bast and Leaf Fibres in Asia and the Pacific', (co-edited with R. W. Hamilton), Los Angeles: Fowler Museum at UCLA.

2004-2007 SSHRC Standard Research Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. PI. 'Women and the Sourcing, Circulation and Consumption of Secondhand Clothing in the Philippines and Hong Kong.'

2000-2003 SSHRC Standard Research Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. PI. 'Women and Microfinance Development in the Northern Philippines.'

2001 Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). (Collaborator for Microfinance Research). 'WASTE-ECON: The Waste Economy in Mainland South-East Asia.' Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto.

1997-1999 SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto. 'Alternative Economies and Women’s Craft Cooperatives in the Philippine Cordillera.'

1997 Harold K. Schneider Prize in Economic Anthropology, Graduate Student Paper Competition, Awarded by the Society for Economic Anthropology.

1993-1996 SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

1994 Canada/ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Academic Support Program.

1990 & 1993 Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Ontario Ministry of Education.

1988 Rita K. Teetzel Fellowship for Graduate Studies, University of Toronto.



Selected Publications


(forthcoming) Street Economies in the Urban Global South. Co-edited with Karen Tranberg Hansen and Walter E. Little. Sante Fe, NM: SAR Press.

2009  Economics and Morality: Anthropological Approaches. Co-edited with Katherine E. Browne. Landham, MD: Altamira Press.

2007 Material Choices: Refashioning Bast and Leaf Fibers in Asia and the Pacific. Co-edited with Roy W. Hamilton. Los Angeles, CA: Fowler Museum at UCLA.

2000 Artisans and Cooperatives: Developing Alternative Trade for the Global Economy. Co-edited with Kimberly M. Grimes. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.

1994 The Transformative Power of Cloth in Southeast Asia. Co-edited with Penny Van Esterik. Montreal, QC: Canadian Asian Studies Association.


2010 From Trash to Totes: Recycled Production and Cooperative Economy Practice in the Philippines. Human Organization 69 (1): 75-85.

2008 Activating Frontier Livelihoods: Women and the Transnational Secondhand Clothing Trade between Hong Kong and the Philippines. Urban Anthropology 37 (1): 5-47.

2005 From Margin to Mainstream: Microfinance, Women’s Work and Social Change in the Philippines. Urban Anthropology 34 (4): 45-84.

2005 Piña Cloth, Identity and the Project of Philippine Nationalism. Asian Studies Review 29: 265-278.

2004 Refashioning Commodities: Women and the Sourcing and Circulation of Secondhand Clothing in the Philippines. Anthropologica. 46 (2): 123-136.

2002 Banking on Bananas, Crediting Crafts: Financing Women’s Work in the Philippine Cordillera. Atlantis: A Women’s Studies Journal 26 (2): 109-119.

2001 Operationalizing Microfinance: Women and Craftwork in Ifugao, Upland Philippines. Human Organization 60 (3): 212-224.

1999 Crafts, Cultivation and Household Economies: Women's Work and Positions in the Northern Philippines. Research in Economic Anthropology 20: 221-261.


2009 Negotiating Urban Activism: Women, Vending and the Transformation of Streetscapes in the Urban Philippines. In Dissent and Cultural Resistance in Asia’s Cities. Melissa Butcher and Selvaraj Velayutham, editors, 110-127. London & NY: Routledge.

2007 Recrafting Tradition and Livelihood: Women and Bast Fiber Textiles in the Upland Philippines. In Material Choices: Refashioning Bast and Leaf Fibers in Asia and the Pacific. Roy W. Hamilton and B. Lynne Milgram, editors, 119-131. Los Angeles: Fowler Museum at UCLA.

2005 Fair(er) Trade for the Global Economy: Capitalizing on Alternatives in Crafts in the Rural Philippines. In Petty Capitalists: Flexibility, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. Alan Smart and Josephine Smart, editors, 227-251. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

2005 Ukay-Ukay Chic: Tales of Secondhand Clothing Fashion and Trade in the Philippine Cordillera. In Old Clothes, New Looks: Secondhand Fashion. Alexandra Palmer and Hazel Clark, editors, 135-153. Oxford and New York: Berg.

2004 Crafts, Gifts and Capital: Negotiating Philippine Credit Relations. In Values and Valuables From the Sacred to the Symbolic. Cynthia Werner and Duran Bell, editors, 158-184. Landham, MD: Altamira Press.

2003 Women, Modernity and the Global Economy: Negotiating Work and Economic Difference in Ifugao, Upland Philippines. In Gender at Work in Economic Life, Gracia Clark, editor, 95-114. Landham, MD: Altamira Press.




Professional Affiliations / Boards / Juries

1995-present, Research Associate, Cordillera Studies Center, University of the Philippines Baguio, Baguio City, Philippines.

1997- present  Research Associate, World Cultures, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON.

2002-present  Research Affiliate, Asian Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

2008-present  Executive Board Secretary for Society for the Anthropology of Work (SAW), part of the American Anthropological Association.

2003-2008  Committee Chair for the Harold K. Schneider Graduate and Undergraduate Student Paper Prize, Society for Economic Anthropology (SEA), part of the American Anthropological Association.

1996-present  Committee Member, Veronica Gervers Fellowship Committee, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON.

1999-present Board Member, American Philippine Studies Group, part of the Association for Asian Studies.

1994-2000 Board Representative for Canada, Textile Society of America.

1980-present Adjunct Curator for Asian Textiles, Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto, ON.

External Grant Examiner: SSHRC (2007, 2009); Australian Development Research Awards (2008); Getty Foundation Publication Award (2001).

External Ph.D. Evaluation: University of Technology Sydney (2008).

External Manuscript Reviews: American Ethnologist, Anthropologica, Human Organization, Identities, Pacific Affairs, Journal of Marxism and Interdisciplinary Studies, Textile History, Research in Economic Anthropology, The Cordillera Review, Canadian Journal of Development Studies, Canadian Journal of Sociology and Anthropology, Urban Anthropology.