Dr. David Kozak

Dr. David Kozak
Professor of Anthropology


    • Medical anthropology
    • Applied anthropology
    • Global health
    • Religion and shamanism
    • Oral traditions
    • Adventure culture and tourism
    • Substance abuse
    • Native American cultures
    • U.S. Southwest
    • East Africa


    • Ph.D., Anthropology, Arizona State University, 1994
    • M.A., Anthropology, Arizona State University, 1990


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Dr. David Kozak is available to comment on topics related to areas of interest or expertise. If you need further assistance, contact Public Affairs at 970-247-6073 or by email.

About Dr. David Kozak

David Kozak is a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Fort Lewis College. He joined the college in 1994 and served as chair of the department from 2000 to 2003. Dr. Kozak has an extensive background in ethnocriticism, the analysis of oral performance and texts across cultures. He is an applied medical anthropologist who focuses on using his expertise to address problems such as diabetes and obesity. He has consulted for the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, Indian Health Services and the Regional Substance Abuse Prevention Project. He has presented his research at lecture series, conferences and symposiums around the country. Dr. Kozak is a past book review editor for Culture and Agriculture, a journal of the American Anthropological Association. Dr. Kozak is the 2010 recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Society of Leadership and Success. He was awarded Fort Lewis College’s Alice Admire Outstanding Teaching Award in 2001 and named the college’s Featured Scholar in 2000. 


In January 2015, Inside Dazzling Mountains: Southwest Native Verbal Arts, edited by Fort Lewis Anthropology Professor David Kozak, was named a 2014 Choice Outstanding Academic Title by the American Library Association

Inside Dazzling Mountains is a collection of songs, stories, chants and orations from the four major language groups of the Southwest: Yuman, Nadíne (Apachean), Uto-Aztecan, and Kiowa-Tanoan. Dr. Kozak collected oral works in 18 different languages, which were translated by anthropologists and indigenous language linguists from around the greater Southwest. As a Ph.D. student at Arizona State University, Dr. Kozak researched the Tohono O’odham tribe of southern Arizona and translating healing songs for his dissertation— and he has remained committed to language preservation throughout his anthropology career. He was recruited by well-known poet, critic and translator Brian Swann—editor of the Native Literatures of the America series and a longtime colleague with whom Dr. Kozak had collaborated on other projects—to become editor of Inside Dazzling Mountains.About the Book

Choice is a publication of the American Library Association that reviews scholarly books online and in its print magazine. Each January, Choice publishes a list of Outstanding Academic Titles that were reviewed during the previous calendar year. Only 10 percent of the works reviewed in Choice are named to the Outstanding Academic Titles list each year.

Dr. Kozak Explains the Book

“The Native Southwest has the richest linguistic diversity of anywhere in the United States, and possibly North America, so an anthology of this sort was important. This book includes several languages that are endangered—and will die with the oldest members of those communities. I hope it can serve as a resource for communities that embrace these stories, songs and languages.” 

In The Media

Inside Dazzling Mountains: New Translations of Southwest Native American Verbal Arts, Editor, University of Nebraska Press, 2013

“Translating the Boundary Between Life and Death in O’odham Devil Songs,” Born in the BloodUniversity of Nebraska Press, 2009

Devil Sickness and Devil Songs: Tohono O’odham PoeticsSmithsonian Institution Press, 1999