Matthew Durington received his B.A. in Humanities specializing in Film, Anthropology, Sociology and African and African American Studies at the University of Texas in 1994. He completed his M.A. in 1999 and his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Temple University in 2003 specializing in urban and visual anthropology. He completed a post-doctorate at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa in 2004 and arrived at Towson University in the fall of that year. As of fall 2010, Dr. Durington is currently the director of the International Studies program in the College of Liberal Arts at Towson University and the coordinator for the Anthropology concentration in the department.
He has several research interests that fall under the fields of urban, visual and cultural anthropology respectively. His doctoral thesis, “Discourses of Racialized Moral Panic in a Suburban Community: Teenagers, Heroin and Media in Plano, Texas”, was the result of ethnographic research on a phenomenon of suburban teenage heroin overdose deaths in this suburb from 1998-2000 and various institutional and media responses during this time. Follow up work has studied the lingering effects of media participation by suburban residents and the shifting nature of illicit drugs in the suburb. He considers this study a "media ethnography" and is currently working on a manuscript based on this fieldwork forthcoming on Duke University Press.
Dr. Durington also has current research in both urban Baltimore and South Africa. In South Africa he explores suburban development and racial identity in the post-Apartheid era. He is focusing on "gated community" development in the suburbs north of Durban having conducted participant-observation in one estate during his post-doctorate. This research has been resulted in three different publications thus far: 2006 “Race, Space and Place in Suburban Durban: An Ethnographic Assessment of Gated Community Environments and Residents,” Geojournal 66(1-2):147-160; 2008 “Divergent and similar experiences of ‘gating’ in South Africa: Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town,” (co-authored with Charlotte Lemanski and Karina Landman), Urban Forum 19(2):133-158; and 2009 “Suburban Fear, Media and Gated Communities in Durban, South Africa,” Home Cultures 6(1):71-88.
Dr. Durington’s research in Baltimore city focuses on gentrification and concomitant issues in the community of Sharp Leadenhall. Classes including ‘Life in the City’ and other anthropology courses in the department have provided a service learning and civic engagement opportunity for Towson University students to work with Dr. Durington in this neighborhood and other areas of Baltimore City since 2006. This research is ongoing and has thus far resulted in multiple academic outputs including a co-authored publication with students: 2009 “Civic Engagement and Gentrification Issues in Metropolitan Baltimore” Metropolitan Universities Journal (20)1 (co-authored with Camee Maddox, Adrienne Ruhf, Shana Gass and Justin Schwermer).
He is also working with Keyan Tomaselli and students from the CCMS program at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on an ongoing research project exploring issues of San identity and Indigenous rights in the Kalahari. He spent parts of the summers of 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008 conducting participatory video work with San collaborators in Botswana exploring land and water rights issues. He is currently translating and editing footage from this fieldwork for a multi-media project entitled The Hunters Redux. This research has also resulted in the publication: 2008 “The Hunters Redux: Participatory and Applied Visual Anthropology with the Botswana San” in Pink, Sarah (ed.) Visual Interventions pp. 191-207. London: Berghan Books.
His ethnographic film work has resulted in a project entitled Record Store that is a result of 4 years of video work on youth subcultures and issues of collection/addiction in a Philadelphia record store. It is distributed by Berkeley Media and has screened in several venues both internationally and domestically in the United States.
Dr. Durington teaches courses on a variety of topics at Towson University including Visual Anthropology, Drugs in Global Perspective, The Anthropology of African Media, Moral Panics, Life in the City, Anthropological Theory and introductory courses in Cultural Anthropology. He is a faculty member of the African and African American Studies Committee, Cultural Studies Committee, International Studies Committee and Metropolitan Studies Committee in the College of Liberal Arts. He is also a faculty fellows representative for Men's Soccer at Towson and currently serves as Vice-President of the Towson University Faculty Association/AAUP.