Becky Read-Wahidi’s Successful Dissertation Defense: Devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe and Psychosocial Stress among Mexican Immigrants in the South

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Becky Read-Wahidi and her committee: Dr. Bill Dressler, Dr. Jason DeCaro, Dr. Michael Murphy, Dr. Kathy Oths, and Dr. Mariana Gabarrot, who skyped in from Mexico
Becky Read-Wahidi and her committee: Dr. Bill Dressler, Dr. Jason DeCaro, Dr. Michael Murphy, Dr. Kathy Oths, and Dr. Mariana Gabarrot, who skyped in from Mexico

On Tuesday, October 7, Becky Read-Wahidi successfully presented and defended her dissertation, titled “A Model Guadalupan: Devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe and Psychosocial Stress Among Mexican Immigrants to the South.” This was the first Anthropology Department Defense this academic year.

Becky began her presentation with some historical background on the Virgin of Guadalupe, who appeared to Indian peasant Juan Diego in 1531 with instructions to build a church in her honor. The Virgin of Guadalupe has been officially recognized by the Catholic Church, and has her own festival occurring on December 12. She is indigenous to Mexico, and is seen as a resistance to social injustice. Becky focused on the idea that the Virgin of Guadalupe could be a Mexican master symbol.

Becky then presented her cultural research in Scott County, Mississippi. She performed a cultural domain analysis, which included a consensus analysis and a consonance analysis, to place the idea of the master symbol within the context of immigration and to determine if the Virgin of Guadalupe is a “collective representation.” She focused on the biocultural aspects of the immigration experience, particularly the physical and psychological effects of stress, in order to evaluate the Virgin of Guadalupe as a coping mechanism. She developed her own scale for the consonance analysis, which included variables such as years in the US and Mississippi, comfort speaking English, and birthplace of children. The effects of stress were measured by participants’ reported health and life satisfaction, illness in the past month, and a comparison of life satisfaction now and before arrival in the US.

Becky’s research and analysis demonstrated that devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe was not buffering stresses. She did determine that there was a higher consonance with the more children a participant had, as well as higher perceived stress scores, which could potentially be linked to the Virgin of Guadalupe being seen as a mother figure and a complex family model, respectively.

Congratulations to Becky Read-Wahidi on her successful defense!

Fall 2014 FABBL #3: On the Mississippi Mound Trail

Photo by C. Madeiros
Photo by C. Madeiros
Jessica Kowalski presented FABBL #3. Photo by C. Madeiros.

Our third FABBL of the Fall 2014 semester occurred on October 10 with Jessica Kowalski’s presentation “On the Mississippi Mound Trail: A Report on Two Field Seasons of Excavations.”

Jessica discussed her work under the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, which contracted three different universities to perform excavations over two summers for a public highway project, with the intent of building tourist signs. Her particular area included 9 sites with 14 mounds over 13 weeks of field work. The historical period covered ca. 1200-1500 AD; and her presentation focused on research issues, political economy, mortuary practices, and changes in iconography during this period. The largest problem encountered during field work was how to formulate a research design for testing about 30 mound sites.

Their design looked at the project goals, time, and resources to determine chronology and construction techniques. The methods included LiDAR, mapping with GPS, exploratory testing through split spoon cores and bucket augers, and test unit excavation. The methods were updated slightly during the second season. Jessica then presented some sites that worked well with these methods, and some that yielded disappointing results with these methods, before focusing on the site that is the main focus of her dissertation research. The overall project yielded a chronology for dating mounds: Coles Creek Settlement 900-1200 AD, Winterville phase ca. 1200 AD, Late George Phase ca. 1400 AD. The Late George Phase sees a mound building explosion.

Jessica’s dissertation research focuses on Arcola, which has 3 of the 6 original mounds still standing. The first season encountered some problems relating to identification. They cored and augured Mound A, and excavated a test unit in which they found mound erosion, Late George phase and Protohistoric ceramics, and Winterville phase ceramics. During the second season they excavated Mound C, with a cut face on the summit. They found a burn floor surface and radiocarbon dated it to between 1435 and 1490 AD. Mound C has the potential for intact mound surfaces, and is a Late George phase site. During the presentation, she also discussed how to date a mound, including problems with balanced testing of mound fill and finding surfaces and the differences in the materials mounds are built on. Mississippi mounds are built of levee silts and sands for expedience, while Coles Creek mounds had a core and finish – the focus is on whether the mounds are built up or out and the sociopolitical implications of how the mounds were built. Jessica plans to continue research within the Arcola site.

Fall 2014 FABBL #2: Ecotourism in the Bribri Village of Yorkin

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Greg Batchelder presenting FABBL #2. Photo by C. Lynn

Our Fall FABBL series continued September 26 with Greg Batchelder’s presentation “Estibrawpa: Ecotourism in the Bribri Village of Yorkin. Celebrating Tradition and Improving Health.”

Greg’s presentation focused on his summer 2014 research in Costa Rica, where he learned about Estibrawpa, an ecotourism program created by the women of Yorkin, a village of about 200-250 people. Most of the men there worked on banana plantations, and therefore had to travel and remain away from home for long periods of time. This caused depression and lower health in the community, and the women in the village decided to organize an ecotourism company, in coordination with ATEC,  to create an alternative to wage labor on plantations. Men now work as guides, construction workers, organic farmers, and canoe captains to facilitate tourist visits to the village. The community has also been able to build schools in order to teach these trades, native language, and the Bribri historia—their own collection of creation myths and legends. The village also has a medical clinic, but it was closed during Greg’s visit.

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Photo by C. Lynn

Greg traveled to Yorkin by canoe and stayed for a week in the home of the Morales family. Houses in the village typically house many generations—8 members of the Morales family lived in the house—and the Bribri are a matrilineal/matrilocal society. The houses are on stilts with storage area underneath for chickens, ducks, pigs, and horses. There is also a communal area in the house, which includes the kitchen/dining area, where they have spring gravity fed water and some solar paneled electricity—although there can be a lack of sunlight at times. Families also usually grow their own corn, and there was possibly a shared community garden. The women also focused on organic coacoa production, which they sell in the village of Bambu. Family life is very important, and a more permissive and communal style of parenting seems to be practiced.

Greg was able to observe many of the benefits from the creation of Estibrawpa, including the resurgence in the community of an interest in traditions from the younger generations. While there is not much outside influence—the village is currently trying to get internet—the younger generations are becoming more interested in learning the native language and historia in order to be more successful in the ecotourism opportunities they have. He was also able to discern a perceived improvement in health from all members of the community, and intends to study this further. He plans to use blood pressure as a biomarker and potentially gain access to past health records in the clinic. The CESD depression scale will also be used. He plans to return next summer and to continue to collaborate with the community in Yorkin and possibly find a natural control group in order to provide further evidence of the improved health benefits of the ecotourism project.

 

Fall 2014 FABBL #1: Preliminary Results from Mound P Excavations

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The Department’s Friday Afternoon Brown Bag Lunch (FABBL) talks commenced this semester on September 12 with Erik Porth’s presentation: “Some Preliminary Results from the 2012 Fall Field School Mound P Excavations.”

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Erik Porth presenting FABBL #1. Photo by C. Lynn

Erik started the presentation with an overview of Moundville’s ceramic chronology and archaeological phases, then focused on Late Moundville (post-1450 AD) excavations at Mound P. The Late Moundville period is of particular interest because of the archaeological evidence it exhibits and lacks. Excavations at Mound P have provided the first assemblage from the entirety of the Moundville III phase, 1400-1520 AD.

Erik then presented the questions that this assemblage may be able to address: Why do the symbols change or stay the same? Does mound construction really halt during Moundville III? Do they stop producing ceremonial bottles? Is there a shift in non-local exchange networks, or do they disintegrate? And, what changes occurred with ceremonial object production and consumption?

Erik also provided an overview of the excavations of Mound P, starting with CB Moore in 1905 and ending with the latest excavations during the Fall Field School in 2012 overseen by Erik and Dr. John Blitz. It is the largest mound on the western plaza periphery, is one of the latest occupied mounds, and is not fully understood yet. The goals set forth for the 2012 Fall Field School were: to mitigate the impact of the new staircase connecting a viewing platform on Mound P to the Museum, to determine the location of midden deposits and recovery of representative artifact samples from Moundville III, and to understand the timing of mound deposits and construction phases.

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Photo by C. Lynn

Some of Erik’s preliminary results include identification of several different ceramics found at the west flank trench and an analysis of the bucket auger assemblages. He wrapped up the talk with the goals for his research, which were to locate and date mound midden deposits and to assess the building sequence of mound layers, and how he plans to compare the Mound P assemblage with the current phase system expectations for Moundville III. Erik’s presentation was a great start to our FABBL series this semester!

HI, TECH: vBookz App

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vbookzThis new periodic column from the Anthro Dept Tech Committee will share info related to technology we think may help your research, teaching, or scholarship efforts. This first column highlights the vBookz Voice Reader app.

I recall Dr. DeCaro coming into a faculty meeting a few years ago straight off the road from a road trip to discuss student comprehensive exams. He’d been pressed for time, so he’d converted them to PDF, had them read to him by some app, and recorded his comments via voice recorder. It sounded a little nuts at the time (not to mention dangerous potential listening material for sleep-deprived driving), but, since I’ve now joined the iPhone legion, I recently remembered that incident and tracked down an app to deal with the backlog of PDFs I needed to digest.

I don’t know if it’s the same one he used, but I found vBookz because of its relatively good ratings on iTunes. As reviews point out, the optional male or female voices are robotic and mispronounce a number of words, but it is good enough to make plowing through a pile of papers much easier. The responsive tech support (via email or Twitter) has also pointed out a few mistakes I made that has improved my listening experience. It costs $4.99 per language, but it has been well worth it. I can listen to articles and papers now while I’m driving, walking the dog, hanging out in my tree (building my treehouse), and riding my bike around town (trying not to get run over by Tuscaloosa drivers). While I use it primarily on my iPhone, you can use it on an iPad as well & follow along on either device, as it has a box that moves along on the word that is being read.

I like to sit with my iPhone reading an article to me while I open the article in a PDF reader on the iPad that will let me take notes and mark it up while I listen. In one week alone, I played through a 300+ page and another 20+ page manuscript I had agreed to review, several large articles I had assigned for classes, an article related to my research, a recently published article by my Tech Committee colleague Jo Weaver, and several papers Jim Bindon had been kind enough to send around that had been piling up in my email.

This app is great for those long articles you need to read for class but waited to read until the last minute—I recommend putting your headphones on and strolling around campus for a few minutes to bang it out. Listening seems to go much faster than reading because you don’t slow down when your mind wanders (though you may have to rewind occasionally). It’s also great for articles you’ve assigned for classes that you’ve read previously and didn’t want to read again but know you should freshen yourself up on.

For students who’ve been assigned a pile of articles and find yourself dozing off while reading them–put them on your iPhone and jump on the treadmill. You’ll be enriching your mind and body at the same time! In other words, stop avoiding your schoolwork by productively procrastinating–do both!

And for those papers or chapters that aren’t available in PDF, simply scan them in, run Adobe Reader’s OCR text recognition, resave, and vBookz will read that for you too. I’m scanning in almost all my books now so I can listen to your publications while I count my steps with the Jawbone UP24 I’ll tell you about next time!

So check it out: http://vbookz.com/V1/vBookz_Voice_Readers.html

And here are some other recent articles to get you started:

Lynn, Pipitone, & Keenan 2014

Kosiba & Bauer 2013

Oths & Groves 2012

Dressler et al. 2013

Blitz and Porth 2013

DeCaro et al. 2012

10 Things You May Not Know About Dr. Cameron Lacquement

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Dr. Cameron Lacquement

In our latest issue of “10 Things You May Not Know About,” we focus on Dr. Cameron Lacquement, our Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Dr. Lacquement is an archaeologist who specializes in Southeastern archaeology, ethnohistory, and prehistoric construction. His professional interests are prehistoric archaeology, Mississippian archaeology, experimental archaeology, architectural energetics, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, wood science technology, history of archaeology, marriage and kinship studies, and forensics.

Dr. Lacquement is also the editor of Architectural Variability in the Southeast, published in 2007.

 

Here are 10 things you may not know about Dr. Lacquement:

1. Was a state champion swimmer in high school.

2. Enjoys woodworking and carpentry.

3. Is the co-founder and pitcher of the Argonauts co-rec intramural softball team (est. 2006). Go ‘Nauts!

4. Resume includes gas station attendant, lifeguard, fish and reptile sales, whitewater rafting guide, carpenter, tobacco primer, and 2-year aquatic watermelon wrestling champion (Oak Ridge, NC – July 4th 1996 and 1997).

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University of Alabama Press, 2007

5. Once hitchhiked from NC to PA and back—but does not recommend it.

6. Thinks that Ben Affleck is a horrible choice for Batman.

7. Plays classical guitar.

8. Bowls on Wednesday nights in the “Druid City Lousy Bowlers League”

9. Is the second Dr. Lacquement in his family.

10. Knows all 11 herbs and spices in the Colonel’s secret recipe…. but he’ll never tell.

Best-Practices for Blogging about Course Readings in a Way that Fulfills Your Requirement & is ALSO Coherent to the General Public

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Uncategorized again?! (First, let me take a selfie)

I have increasingly been making my students blog about their assigned readings for class for a few reasons. One, I assume that forcing them to write in a public forum will increase their self-consciousness & encourage them to actively try to write better. Two, I believe in transparency & inclusiveness to the maximum extent possible. In the age of social media, it is fun to be able to include the author of an article or chapter in a class conversation as we are having it. We can Skype authors in for guest appearances, engage in live Tweeting with them (do you live Tweet your courses? let us know in the comments below!), or have extended conversations via blog comments, among other options. I’ve engaged in all of these & think they all enliven course material & increase the chances students will remember some things (for whatever reason).

That said, I’ve written up separate sets of instructions for my various classes, but I thought posting a more general set of “best practices” for blogging about course articles would be helpful for others & anyone who hasn’t yet realized that students need to be told some of these things. I hope this is helpful. Here they are:

  • Article reviews should generally run around 1000 words, which is equivalent to approximately two pages. Think about blog posts like they’re articles in Newsweek, something you can read relatively easily in one sitting but with the requisite Who, What, When, Where, Why, & How of journalistic endeavors.
  • Provide some background on the authors of the article or chapter you are discussing or summarizing. This means you will likely have to Google them and read their faculty or Academia.edu or whatever bios or even do a little deeper investigation.
  • Summarize the major points or contributions the article or chapter makes. This seems rather obvious, but I notice that students will literally write, “The author discusses [blah]. Then she talks about [blah].” You’re not giving a sports play-by-play. Synthesize the article or chapter in a manner similar to what may have been done or could be done in an abstract but in words that are more intelligible to you, an undergraduate, without putting the author down for using “big words” or being well-read.
  • Put the article/chapter in context with other readings you’ve done in the course you’re in, things in the media the piece remind you of, or whatever–i.e., bring something else to your summary & show that you’ve made a connection.
  • Indicate what you did not understand & whether that was because it was (at the moment) over your head or because it was not clearly written (things that are not clearly written can fool you by merely seeming to be over your head).
  • Strive for a tone that reflects the public forum of a blog while providing information that is also particular to the course. In other words, do not start your review off with “This week we were required to read…” or “This week’s reading…” or “This reminded me of last week’s reading because…” Even though everyone in the course knows what you are talking about, NO ONE outside the course knows what you’re talking about. A better beginning would be, “An article published by [name] in [year] entitled [title] tests the hypothesis that…” Or, if it’s a review article: “[name] published a great synthesis on [topic] in [journal or book].” You can even be funny, dynamic, or name-dropping (“My droogs KT Capuchin & Agustin Fuentes smacked it out of the park with a bad-ass synthesis of social network analysis & ecological niche construction in the Lende & Downey edited volume Encultured Brain (2012)!”). And while that last one was really schmaltzy, the point is that it’s referenced; & the reader, no matter who it is, can piece together what I’m talking about without being in the course
  • Include graphics. This can be tricky since you also should seriously avoid copyright infringement, but there are four ways to get good graphics:
    1. Scan images (e.g., tables, figures, etc.) from the article or chapter you are reviewing or other published scholarly material that you can cite.
    2. Utilize graphics that are approved for use. This article will provide some guidelines and the second page has links to numerous sites with media commons: http://www.blogher.com/bloggers-beware-you-can-get-sued-using-photos-your-blog-my-story
    3. Contact the author and ask for graphics. This will make your post especially awesome and unique because, let’s face it, every hack blogger out there is using the same graphics they’re glomming from the internet. Plus, the authors will be grateful to see you highlighting their work and likely very gracious in helping you.
    4. Take a photo yourself. You all have smartphones. “But first, before I publish, let me take a selfie.”
  • If you’re collaborating with someone else on your blog post (which, in my classes, you more than likely are), your partner should read and approve your blog before you both post. Proofread each other’s work. Be sure the review your partner has prepared doesn’t make you cringe. If it does, provide them feedback to help fix it. If your partner does a half-assed job despite your best efforts, let your instructor know (confidentially).
  • Give your post a snappy title that is at least slightly different than the chapter/article title (though it can play on it or be included).
  • Make sure you assign your posts to categories and give them tags. If you need new categories created, email your blog administrator a request. Otherwise, they can’t be searched unless someone’s keyword is, for no apparent reason, “uncategorized.”
  • Finally, & this is obvious, but, for the life of me, folks fail to do it. PROOFREAD YOUR WORK. Poor grammar & spelling, unless it’s contextually appropriate (e.g., slang is usually fine in blogs BUT ALSO HAS SPELLING CONVENTIONS) will probably get your grade dinged.Honestly, Microsoft Word AND WordPress have spellcheck, so I don’t get it (whoops, WordPress is telling me that “spellcheck” is not spelled correctly. I think I’ll just ignore that & keep typing, hoping my professor doesn’t notice?).

Maximizing Success for Undergraduate Anthropology Majors: Missed Manners

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Reblogged from Anthropology News “Missed Manners” (Part One) & (Part 2) by Ty Matejowsky & Beatriz Reyes-Foster:

Hey Tye,

Sorry I missed class last week. My parents bought me a cruise.  Did I miss anything important. If you could send me the missed lecture notes that wood be great. Thnx!

Faculty routinely receive hastily written emails like this one – unsigned messages laced with poor grammar and overly-familiar tones that make inappropriate requests without so much as a “please” or “thank you.”  Many professors are inclined to attribute such breaches of etiquette to a growing sense of entitlement among today’s undergraduates –“I pay your salary, therefore, you should do x or yfor me.”  While these faculty sentiments are certainly understandable as many students are inculcated with a consumer mentality, there may be something going on besides a deeply ingrained sense of privilege.  For all the legitimate concerns about treating our students as customers, these faux pas may simply reflect a genuine lack of familiarity about basic protocol, (n)etiquette, and letter-

If students and professors maintain some level of symbiosis whereby each depends on the other for support and advancement, there is still a good deal of asymmetry that characterizes this relationship. Rather than interacting with one another on mutually equal terms, a professional distance has, or until recently, generally insulated the two parties from the other.  As the ubiquity of email and social media makes interactions with faculty all the more feasible, the formal lines between instructors and undergraduates have become less and less rigidly defined.  Within this new context, where student tendencies towards informality and nonchalance seemingly prevail, professors are often left slack-jawed as this erosion of established academic boundaries shows no sign of abating.  Indeed, these problems may simply represent the new reality of academia.

In our last contribution, we discussed the importance of undergraduates seeking out faculty and others for professional mentorship.  This month, we would like to offer students some friendly advice on how to make a lasting positive impression on professors or potential employers by highlighting some basic rules of thumb to keep in mind when engaging them.  As such, we solicited from our colleagues working around the country some of their top pet peeves regarding student etiquette.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, their responses reflected certain common themes.  At the risk of coming across as too pedantic or sermonizing, we hope this contribution spotlights the ongoing importance of observing certain protocols when dealing with others in office, classroom, interview, and online settings. 

  1. Unless specifically directed to do so, never address your professor by his or her first name. Cognizant as we are about how standards of appropriate behavior may vary by faculty and departmental culture, these determinations cannot be assumed by students out of hand.  That is, until students have established a working relationship with a professor, it is far better to err on the side of formality than to presume this faculty member is open to such casualness or over-familiarity.  The usually unintentional audacity of some students – calling professors by their first names without prior consent, demanding access to lecture notes for missed classes – may lead to regrettable misinterpretations of intent or feelings of disrespect.
  2. Always use proper writing etiquette when addressing emails to your professor or others. Proficiency in negotiating the social media landscape gives students real advantages over older anthropologists in both online networking and collaborative interaction.  Yet, this knowhow must be applied sensibly in professional contexts.  When dealing with faculty or prospective employers online, good manners and respect are essential.  Always sign your email and be sure to identify what class you are referencing. Students should always preface emails with “Dear [blank],” employ proper grammar, avoid text lingo such as “OMG” or “LOL,” and end communications with “Sincerely, [your name].”  Such practices go a long way in creating positive impressions for those who may ultimately serve as professional references or employers.  Undergraduates should also be mindful of social media postings.  Ill-phrased Tweets or images carelessly uploaded to Facebook can have lasting repercussions that undermine long term educational or career aspirations. For this reason, it is probably a bad idea to become “friends” on Facebook with your professors.
  3. Never electronically request a letter of recommendation without first meeting with your professor and making sure he or she agrees to write it.  One of our colleagues was surprised when she unexpectedly received an email from a graduate institution requesting a letter of recommendation.  Although she knew the student seeking the letter, he had never asked her if she would be willing to write it!  One of the realities for aspiring anthropologists looking to advance within the discipline is the need to procure faculty letters of recommendation.  As graduate school or fellowship deadlines rapidly approach, it is easy for students to feel overwhelmed by the entire application process and be tempted to cut corners.  Stressful as such undertakings may be, it is still incumbent upon students to personally request reference letters in advance before moving forward with their applications.  Assuming that professors will simply draft a letter because they know a student is inadvisable and may work to dampen whatever enthusiasm a faculty member held for a particular student.
  4. There are some things that can’t be unsaid.  Yes, you worked hard on that paper. You studied many hours for that exam.  So when you are disappointed by the grade you earned, it is natural to feel angry.  Maybe the professor wasn’t as clear about what she or he wanted as you’d expect.  Maybe one or two exam questions seemed purposefully tricky.  So in the heat of the moment, you shoot off an email with a few choice words about your opinion of the professor’s ability to design a fair assessment.  As cathartic as this may feel, the next morning you start thinking that maybe you could have expressed your disappointment a little more diplomatically.  The problem is that the email is now long gone and your professor’s estimation of you as both a student and person have very likely been irreparably damaged.  There are some things that simply cannot be unsaid or unemailed.  Realistically, no amount of lost exam or assignment points is worth risking the respect and potential support that can come from your professor.  Much of this regrettable conduct could simply be avoided by taking a day or two to cool off or just expressing things a little less confrontationally.  If you feel strong about the matter, perhaps, politely scheduling an appointment with your professor during office to review the paper or exam in question is the best way to go.  Rather than accusing your professor of incompetence, phrase your request as one of seeking help.  Professors are much more likely to respond generously to genuine requests for help than indignant demands expressed without careful consideration.
  5. Try looking in the syllabus first.  Yes, really!  Students sometimes have no idea how many of their questions could be answered with minimal fuss if they simply first referred to their syllabus.
  6. Don’t assume work submitted late will be accepted.  Many professors realize that life sometimes throws curveballs that cause students to miss class or assignments.  While some faculty are more understanding than others when it comes to dealing with these unforeseen events, students should never just presume that all professors are accommodating to such matters.  If anything, students should not submit late work without first conferring with their professors.   If the faculty does indeed accept it, keep in mind that he or she is pretty much doing you a favor.
  7. Don’t blow off your face-to-face appointment, especially if it is outside of regular faculty office hours.  As professors at a major research university, our workload goes way beyond time in the classroom.  Many of us either teach multiple sections or have robust research and publication responsibilities, not to mention service on multiple committees and time spent grading, mentoring, and writing letters of recommendation.  Our time is likely one the most valuable gifts faculty can give students.  When asked for a face-to-face meeting outside of regular office hours, faculty are literally taking time away from other important matters to spend it with you.  It is just bad manners to blow it off or expect to reschedule at the last minute.
  8. If you like something, tell us!  So far, we have devoted considerable column inches advising students on how to judiciously avoid conflict with faculty.  However, a good way to make a lasting positive impression –and to effectively enhance your undergraduate experience—is to communicate with your professor when she or he is doing something right. If you enjoyed a particular assignment, a friendly email conveying such sentiments can help make your professor’s day.  It can also encourage her or him to use that assignment or ones like it more readily.  Believe us, many professors want to know what works to ensure that their students are enjoying class.  Positive feedback is a great way to build a good professional relationship with faculty. Just make sure you really mean it.

While the above advice is by no means definitive, such guidance hopefully helps aspiring anthropologists negotiate both the successes and setbacks that are inherent to university life, graduate school, and, ultimately, the anthropological profession.  Establishing effective rapport with faculty may necessitate students adhering to a few simple rules of thumb when it comes to etiquette.  Attention to such matters can help students develop a feel for not only how to best approach those who currently supervise their abilities, but also those who will end up vouching for their future performance as graduate school candidates or job applicants. At the end of the day, this advice won’t just help you negotiate your relationships with your professors.  It is a best practices list of basic professional courtesy, the kind of thing your future employers will simply expect you to know.

Beatriz Reyes-Foster, PhD is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the U of Central Florida (UCF). Her current research interests focus on issues surrounding reproduction in Central Florida, particularly on the ways in which women seeking vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) make decisions about their medical care, and peer breast milk sharing.

Ty Matejowsky is an associate professor who specializes in cultural anthropology. He received his PhD in 2001 from Texas A&M U. His research interests include fast food, economic anthropology, globalization, urbanization, culture change and development, disaster studies. Ty currently conducts his research in Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines.

Spring 2014 Awards in the Department

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Paul Eubanks is also the winner of the 2014 Bob Work Award for Scholarly Excellence in Archaeology for a paper entitled “The Timing and Distribution of Caddo Salt Production in Northwestern Louisiana.” Paul’s accomplishment will be recognized on Honors Day.

The January 2014 round of the Graduate School Research and Travel Awards was particularly tough, with 16 submissions, which is testimony to the efforts students and professors are giving to producing excellent proposals. We are delighted that all proposals submitted by the Department to the Graduate School received some funding. January 2014 awardees include doctoral students Rachel Briggs and Lynn Funkhouser and master’s students Achsah DorseyEmma Koenig, and Elizabeth Wix.

Kareen Hawsey and Paul Eubanks are the 2014-15 co-winners of the David and Elizabeth DeJarnette Endowed Scholarship, which is awarded at the annual spring DeJarnette barbecue at Moundville Archaeological Park. David DeJarnette, a southeast archaeologist, was the first anthropologist at the University of Alabama. The DeJarnette Scholarship is awarded each year to support graduate research about Moundville or Moundville-related topics.

Dr. Christopher Lynn was the recipient of a $890 grant from the College Academy for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (CARSCA) for a project entitled “Retention and Emotional Salience of Evolution Education via Comedy and Hip Hop.” In collaboration with Dr. William Evans of Telecommunication and Film, this project will use survey and skin conductance methods to test the impact of evolution education when delivered via hip hop playwright Baba Brinkman’s award-winning “Rap Guide to Evolution” show versus a stand lecture format.