For the past several years, the UA College of Arts & Sciences has been developing the Alabama-Greece Initiative. As outlined on the Initiative website, it is an effort to “develop an extensive and formal collaborative relationship with Aristotle University in Thessaloniki (AUTh).” In 2015, archaeologist and chair of our Anthropology Department was selected for the Initiative.
Dr. Brown established a relationship with AUTh faculty developing a museum studies program & is returning this summer with UA students to conduct research at Vergina. Vergina is the site of the tomb of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, & a large, extended cemetery for the inhabitants of the city of Pella, which was Phillip’s capital & Alexander’s birthplace, before it was destroyed by an earthquake in 90 BC.
This year, I was selected to participate in the 2017 Initiative. Along with Luoheng Han, Ana Corbalan, Andrew Dewar, Vaia Touna, Rebecca Salzer, Amir Zaheri, and Arun Gupta, I traveled to Thessaloniki to meet with potential collaborators and develop a proposal for research. I met with George Kitsios and George Athanasopoulos and discussed plans for an exciting study I’ll share more about in the future. In the meantime, following are some of the photos from our wonderful visit. Thanks to Dean Olin and our partners at AUTh for making this opportunity possible and for the lovely hospitality!
Arriving over Thessaloniki
Selfie with the Thessaloniki sunset from the balcony where we were having dinner the first night
Night view from our windows of the Electra Palace hotel on Aristotle Square in Thessaloniki
Morning visit to the nearby street market
Dean Olin opening the mini-conference on the first day at AUTh
Spryros Pavlides shows us a replica of the world’s oldest computer, made in Greece, on a tour of AUTh, May 10, 2016
Getting a personal tour of AUThs cast museum May 10, 2016).
The original Petralona skull, from the AUTh vaults! May 10, 2016)
The original Ouranpithecus macedonia skull, which is a hominid /or gorilla ancestor, from the AUTh vaults May 10, 2016).
Mezes for dinner with almost the whole crew! May 10, 2016).
Getting a tour of the Archaeology Museum at Pella, May 11, 2016.
Touring the Pella ruins, May 11, 2016
A household floor mosaic in the ruins of Pella May 11, 2016).
We stopped off at “Meat Palace” for lunch between Pella and Vergina, May 11, 2016.
AUTh invited us to an exhibition by their students doing a traditional dance for the Erasmus Conference being held at AUTh, May 11, 2016.
I enjoyed a humble moment in Aristotle Square, May 12, 2016.
“Postmodern selfie” with Vaia Touna photographing Ana Corbalan on the top of the White Tower, with the Thermaic Gulf in the background, May 12, 2016.
Vaia shares the joy of really good souvlaki with me, May 12, 2016.
Palace Arch next to the Rotunda
My collaborators George Athanasopoulos and George Kitsios showing me the Rotunda of Galerius, May 12, 2016.
One of the surviving frescos in the Rotunda.
The old Roman Agora.
More Roman Agora.
You can still perform or see performances in the Roman Agora amphitheatre!
Amir and Ana discussing contemporary art, May 12, 2016.
Andrew Dewar, Danae Stefanou, and her students performed in the Contemporary Art Museum, May 12, 2016.
Andrew Dewar performing in the Contemporary Art Museum, May 12, 2016.
After the performance, Andrew gave a talk for Danae’s lecture series, May 12, 2016.
Visit to Hagios Demetrios, the main sanctuary of Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki (with a Google Photos filter applied).
This is where Demetrios was martyred (i.e., killed) by his fellow Roman soldiers for being a Christian. It is a former Roman bath, now the catacomb shrine under the Church of Saint Demetrius, May 13, 2016.
George Athanasopoulos in front of his “neighborhood parish,” which just happens to be the early 14th-century Byzantine Church of Saint Nicholas Orphanos, May 13, 2016.
Thessaloniki from the grounds of the 14th century Vlatades Monastery, May 13, 2016.
From the old city walls of Thessaloniki, May 13, 2016.
Ruins and archaeology are literally everywhere anyone needs to dig, May 13, 2016.
View of the Thermaic Gulf from our rooms in the Electra Palace Hotel on Aristotle Square during the day, May 14, 2016.
The Greek Agora (with Google Photos filter), May 14, 2016.
Filterless Greek Agora from another angle, May 14, 2016.
The old walls are everywhere, May 14, 2016.
…And under everything, May 14, 2016.
More wall, other side of town! (May 14, 2016)
The old hippodrome site right in the middle of town, May 14, 2016.
…is a great place to live downtown for humans… (May 14, 2016).
…And stray cats (May 14, 2016).
Alexander the Great with Mount Olympus in the background (May 14, 2016).
Mount Olympus at dusk (May 14, 2016).
Thessaloniki’s White Tower from one of the bar boats (May 14, 2016).
In 2015, Dr. Meredith Jackson-de Graffenried (PhD, 2009) became Country Director of Helen Keller International (HKI) for Bangladesh.
Dr. Charlan Kroelinger (MA, 1997), Team Leader for the Maternal and child Health Epidemiology Program at the CDC, was recognized with a Superior Leadership Award by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Director. “She has strengthened and expanded the program through innovative staff assignments in 13 states, mentored young professionals who will carry the field into the future, and developed new tools to better understand and communicate the importance of improving quality of care to women and their infants.”
Kelsey Herndon (MA, 2015) has been awarded a 2016 DEVELOP Program internship by NASA. They work on remote ecological forecasting and related projects.
Daniel R. Turner (BA, 2010; M. Phil Cambridge 2012) has been admitted to the PhD program in archaeology at Leiden University, Netherlands. He will be joining an archaeological project focused on the monumental architecture of Mycenaean Greece.
We’re very proud of our alumni and their successes! If you know of any alumni updates that we don’t, please let us know.
We are pleased with all of the successes of our students, but the defense of a doctoral dissertation is a special achievement. We want to recognize the hard work displayed by three of our students for their landmark achievement this past fall.
Jenna James successfully defended her dissertation, “Social Houses at Carson Mounds, 22-CO-518 as Evidenced by Dental Morphological Analysis” on August 14.
LisaMarie Malischke successfully defended her dissertation, “The Heterogeneity of Early French and Native Forts and Settlements. A Comparison to Fort St. Pierre (A.D. 1719-1729) in French Colonial Louisiane,” on August 28. Jenna and LisaMarie also received their doctorates at the graduation ceremony in December.
Paul Eubanks successfully defended his dissertation, “Salt Production in the Southeastern Caddo Homeland,” on November 17.
We admitted six new doctoral students in the fall, including Adrienne Bryan (MA, UCLA), Lessye DeMoss (MA, UA), Kareen Hawsey (MA, UA), Jenna Hurtabise (MA, LSU), Avery McNeece (MA, Mississippi State), and Camille Morgan (MA, UA).
Several master’s students graduated in the summer 2015, including Lessye DeMoss, Johnna Dominguez, Kareen Hawsey, and Kelsey Herndon. Congratulations to the new MAs!
Subsequently, we welcomed a new class, including Anna Bianchi (BA, Birmingham Southern), Diana Simpson (BA, Wake Forest), Juliann Friel (BA, UA), Jake Aronoff (BA, Central Michigan), David Scott (BA, UA), Larry Monocello (BA, Case Western Reserve), and Robert Templin (BA, U of Pittsburgh).
Though most of our undergraduate majors graduate in May, several graduated in the summer and fall as well, including Laken Romine, Isabelle Andrade, Justin Beams, Megan Crawford, Michael Krause, Anne Lewis, and Lauren Nolan. Congratulations to those students—we wish them luck whatever their futures hold and hope they stay in touch!
We are all chagrined by the retirement of Dr. Michael Murphy. Dr. Murphy, who is now Professor Emeritus as of the end of the fall 2015 semester, leaves an indelible stamp on our department. As professor and chair, Michael Murphy provided a firm and friendly rudder in guiding the development of the Anthropology Department over many years. We will write a more in depth piece next issue on Michael’s career and legacy and share photos from his January retirement party. Before he could completely leave the world of academic service, behind, we thought we should grab him in parting for a “10 Things You May Not Know” column for the newsletter he edited the first issue of in 2003. Michael regaled us all with many fascinating stories over the years, so coming up with things we might not know was challenging for him.
“I spent a lot of time as a child in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains and the Mohave desert. My most vivid childhood recollection is of being ‘chased’ by a snake on my grandfather’s ranch. It was probably a red racer (Coluber constrictor) and, more than 60 years later, it still visits me occasionally in dreams.
My first paid job for corporate America was working in a California grape packing shed between Bakersfield and Delano when I was fifteen and sixteen. An early eye-opener about our economic system, my understanding of the experience was enhanced a year later when Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers movement gradually worked its way south to the vineyards surrounding my former place of employment.
The first anthropology book I ever read was A.L. Kroeber’s Handbook of the Indians of California. For some long-forgotten reason, the Baker Street Library would not allow a 12-year-old to check it out, so I had to read it, bit by bit, in situ.
My first course in cultural anthropology at UCSB was taught by the great archaeologist, Jim Deetz. My first course in archaeology was conducted by Chris Peebles of Moundville fame when he was a grad student.
While a grad student at UCSD in the 1970s, for five years I loved with an extraordinary ensemble of students and others in “Seacliff,” the third oldest dwelling in La Jolla: solid redwood interior walls, magnificent views of the ocean located across the street, $50 per month.
For over 30 years I have collaborated with my great friend Juan Carlos Gonzalez Faraco on work in southern Spain. As far as I can tell, this by far is the longest international collaboration between ethnographers of Spain. Our very first publication was co-authored with Jim Bindon and our most recent work together is as co-authors on a paper with Bill Dressler.
I attended what was billed in Santa Barbara as Santana’s “first concert outside of the San Francisco Bay Area.”
Both long-time department member, Allen Maxwell, and I were quite independently admonished by Margaret Mead for not having pen and notebook on our persons at all times. I wonder how many others got chewed out by Maggie for the same reason.
My beard was once bright red.
Most of you who know me, know that I definitely “married up.” You just don’t know how VERY high up I married! Thanks, Milady!”
In the fall, we hosted several in-house lectures and workshops and were graced by talks by a few visiting scholars.
On October 8, we were able to take advantage of a visit to Tuscaloosa by Dr. Natilee A. McGruder, Director of the River Region Food Policy Council (RRFPC), who graced us with an Extemporaneous Talk called “The Local Food System: Getting to Know Your Neighbor.” On November 6, we inaugurated our new “Biocultural Anthropology and Health Lecture Series” with a talk by UAB Professor of Philosophy Marshall Abrams entitled “Modeling the Development of Sustainable Rice Production and Religious Practice in Bali.”
Several speakers participated in the FABBL (Friday Afternoon Brown Bag Lunch) series, hosted by the Anthropology Club. On September 25, doctoral candidate Lynn Funkhouser presented “The Mexican Soldiers of Greenwood Island, Mississippi.” On October 9, doctoral student Courtney Andrews presented “Finding Culture in Acculturation: Does Cultural Consonance Mediate the Relationship between Acculturative Stress and Health Outcomes among Mexican Immigrants?” On October 23, doctoral candidate Rachel Briggs presented “Public Archaeology in Western North Carolina: Recent Excavations at Spanish Fort San Juan de Joara.” On November 6, doctoral candidate Daniel LaDu presented “Interaction Spheres and ‘Circle-Maps’: Considering the Role that Extra-Regional Exchange Plays in the Process of Culture Change.”
On December 4, Dr. David Meek was kind enough to give a department workshop on spatial ethnographic research design.
Finally, the Department of Anthropology is affiliated with the Alabama Lectures on Life’s Evolution (ALLELE) speaker series, which hosted four lectures in the fall. On September 28, ALLELE co-hosted a talk by science personality Bill Nye the Science Guy called “The Importance of Teaching Evolution.” This was the biggest ALLELE talk to date, with thousands of people turning out for three successive giveaways for roughly 5,000 tickets. Dr. Lynn wrote a summary of the event for the EvoS Consortium (http://evostudies.org/2015/10/how-exactly-is-evolution-a-crosscutting-concept-enter-bill-nye-the-science-guy/). Geologist Linda Ivany (Syracuse University) gave a talk on October 15 called “The Pace of Life—The (Often) Missing Element in Studies of Evolution Using Fossils.” On November 12, historian Ron Numbers (University of Wisconsin-Madison) gave a talk called “Baptizing Dinosaurs: How Once-Suspect Evidence of Evolution Came to Support the Biblical Narrative.” And on December 3, evolutionary psychologist Rebecca Burch (SUNY Oswego) gave a lecture rescheduled from the spring entitled “Semen Chemistry: Implications, Innovations, and Controversy.”
Our students and faculty also gave talks around the University. Dr. Marysia Galbraith gave a talk about her experience in Poznan, Poland for the Fulbright Scholar Program on September 3 entitled “Memory in Fragments: Reassembling Jewish Life in Poland.” On December 4, undergraduate Lauren Pratt presented “Status and Stature in Two Prehistoric Burial Populations” in the Computer-Based Honors Program. (faculty advisors, Drs. Blitz and Jacobi).
Elliot Blair has continued his research constructing social network visualizations of aggregated mission communities in 17th century La Florida. He has also continued working on two collaborative projects using compositional analyses to examine the sourcing and circulation of glass beads in the 16th to 18th century Southeast.
John Blitz published a study of the relationship between skeuomorphs and technological change with evidence from archaeology, ethnography, and psychology. What is a skeuomorph? Look it up! Dr. Blitz co-authored a preliminary report with graduate students Jessica Kowalski and Grace Riehm on the results of the undergraduate field school investigation of Mounds A and B at Moundville Archaeological Park. The goal of the project was to date the final construction stages of the two mounds. Preliminary results suggest that Mound A construction ended by A.D. 1350, but evidence from Mound B was inconclusive.
Ian Brown has been preparing for an archaeological investigation at the site of Vergina (burial place of Phillip II of Macedonia) in Greece. He is the new editor of Teocentli, a journal that has been going since 1926 that provides a unique perspective to the history of archaeology through the use of autobiography. Dr. Brown published one book on the archaeology of coastal Louisiana and a couple of book chapters, one dealing with Plaquemine culture pottery from the Anna site in Mississippi and another on the Mangum site, a late prehistoric site in Mississippi and, with Paul Eubanks, published an article in the Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology about the archaeology of salt in eastern North America. Dr. Brown has also been working on a longtime study of the connections between prehistoric Indian mounds and historic cemeteries.
Jason DeCaro advanced two ongoing research projects, regarding the effects of food security and maternal mental health on child outcomes in Mwanza, Tanzania, and the psychobiology of school adjustment in West and Central Alabama. For the first of these projects, funded by the University of Alabama Research Grants Committee, he spent a month and a half in Tanzania collecting interview data regarding childcare practices and the social settings in which children develop – a follow-up on previous work where he and collaborators found subtle biological impacts of maternal depression. For the second of these projects, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and done in collaboration with three psychology faculty, his team measured physiological stress responses in over 300 children attending Head Start programs to see how individual differences in the stress response relate to social and emotional learning during the transition into kindergarten.
Bill Dressler is continuing work on his National Science Foundation-funded research on gene-environment interactions and depression in Brazil. Currently he is in the process of writing manuscripts for publication based on those data, two of which have been submitted (one to the American Journal of Human Biology and one to Journal of Anthropological Research; one paper based on the research was published in Field Methods in January of 2015).
Marysia Galbraith developed a new research project “Memory in Fragments: Reassembling Jewish Life in Poland” which explores the resurgence of interest in Jewish culture in Poland, and in particular local-level projects that preserve and commemorate tangible and intangible heritage even in the absence of Jews. She spent the 2014-2015 academic year in Poznan, Poland, funded by a sabbatical leave, Fulbright Fellowship, and UA’s Research Grants Committee Award. She will return to Poland in summer 2016 to continue research.
Keith Jacobi continued his bioarchaeological research of warfare and violence in the prehistoric Southeastern U.S. in general and northern Alabama in particular. He is also assessing the reliability of cadaver dogs for a forthcoming article.
Lisa LeCount directed the Actuncan Archaeological Project in Belize Central America for the seventh year from May 19 until July 19, 2015. Research focused on the site’s E-group, a type of mound complex known to be the earliest public architecture on many ancient Maya sites. Goals of the excavations were to determine the types of activities performed on the mounds and the date of construction episodes. The work was funded by the National Geographic Society: Committee for Research and Exploration (CRE 9658-15) and UA’s College Academy for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity.
Chris Lynn continued data collection for a study of fireside relaxation, began new data collection and analysis for the tattooing and immune response study, started a new study of the influence a career in anthropology has on family life, and initiated a collaboration to investigate the relationship between psychological absorption and the genetic polymorphism COMT.
Steve Kosiba continued his research on the religious and ritual practices that constituted Inca authority in the capital of their empire (Cuzco, Peru). He is preparing a manuscript on how the construction of the Inca temple at Huanacauri manifested Inca notions of time and divine rulership (for Latin American Antiquity). Kosiba recently submitted a co-authored article (with Andrew Bauer, Stanford University) to the Journal of Social Archaeology and two grant proposals (National Geographic Society and National Science Foundation) for archaeological and historical research at Rumiqolqa, a quarry and colony where the Inca and Spanish Empire forcibly relocated hundreds of workers to cut stone for the construction of the city of Cuzco.
David Meek is currently developing several new research projects. The first is a geostatistical analysis of rural school closings in Brazil. This study seeks to assess whether race and the development of agroindustrial capital are factors behind the massive wave of school closures. The second is a study of learning in transnational social movement exchanges. This project explores how social movement activists learn through becoming embedded in communities of practice.
Kathy Oths continues to work up her new data on treatment choice from her restudy of the northern Peruvian Andes hamlet of Chugurpampa, where she worked over 25 years ago. Topics include changes and continuities in medical beliefs and practices, secular trends in child growth, and the demographic transition, all in the context of modernization and climate change. She has been aided in her analyses by three incredible Emerging Scholars, Hannah Smith, Rachel Madey, and Fatima Becerra. She has also finished two ethnographic films on a highland huesero (bonesetter) this past fall, in collaboration with Adam Booher.
Sonya Pritzker joined the faculty of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alabama in August 2015. She has continued to publish on the translation of Chinese medicine in various venues, including the Routledge Handbook of Chinese Translation and the Routledge Handbook of Chinese Medicine. Her recent research has been focused on an ongoing project examining the development of integrative psychologically oriented Chinese medicine (IPOCM) in China, funded by the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. This research documents, through close ethnographic study of everyday clinical encounters, the emergence of IPOCM through interactive practice in various clinical settings.
Jo Weaver returned to rural Brazil for the 2015 field season, where she conducted preliminary research on eating habits, common recipes, and prestige and non-prestige foods in the community. This research was supported by a grant from UA’s Research Grants Committee. Future phases of the work, which will also include research sites in Haiti and Ethiopia, will be funded by a National Science Foundation senior award.
It is with much sadness that, in addition to sharing the accomplishments of our department over the past months, we also say goodbye to friends. In June 2015, we received news that Dr. John Cottier had passed away. In addition to being a wonderful person and a fine archaeologist, he was a good friend to all of us in Alabama and was a standard feature at the DeJarnette barbecue. He established the Auburn Archaeology Lab and provided the initial training for many students who made their way to UA. He was in fact a student of David DeJarnette’s, having received his M.A. with us in 1970. Our condolences to his family, students, colleagues, and friends.
In December, we were also saddened to lose Ruby Howard, a dear friend and our department’s longtime Graduate Secretary and receptionist. Several of our faculty and students who knew her shared their remembrances:
Ruby Howard was a facilitator and an enabler. And I mean that in a good sense. Ruby made things happen. She made things easy. Long before arriving on campus in 1991, to assume my new job as Associate Professor, Ruby was in contact with me. She was a fountain of information on all that was Tuscaloosa and UA. She conjured up places to live, eating venues, and things to do when once my family arrived. She knew we had two small children, so words of wisdom were offered on schools, churches, doctors, dentists—you name it! Ruby Howard was my own personal travel agent it seemed. I really wasn’t used to so much attention from a stranger, but it was hard to resist Ruby’s helping hand. My family couldn’t accompany me in the bleak winter of 1991, so I really didn’t need a house. “Not to worry,” said Ruby, “I’ve secured for you a place in Ed Williams’ remodeled basement, just a few minutes walk from department.” Okay, I needed to be careful in voicing issues, because no matter what I said, every need announced, any question asked, and Ruby was immediately there with supplies or answers. I initially thought that I must be a very special person in Ruby’s eyes, but later learned that this was the way she was with everyone. For Ruby Howard everyone was indeed a special person, and because of that she made our department a warm and inviting place for any and all who walked in the door. I can still see her smiling face as she said “Good morning” each day. Never angry, never sad, always glowing, always ready to pick up the phone and find the solution from her myriad of contacts on campus. That was Ruby Howard. It took a long time following her retirement for all of us in the Department of Anthropology to come to terms with her absence. That she was no longer with the University was impossible. How ever could we survive without Ruby? But she did leave our world, and now she is no longer with The World, but, with that said, the world is a far better place for Ruby having been a part of it. She will always be missed and she will always be with us.
—Ian W. Brown, Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology
Ruby Howard was a truly exceptional person. Although she only worked 20 hours a week, she did more than most full-time employees and always did it with a smile and a kind word. She was unfailingly pleasant, never seemed to be sad (if she was, she never let on) and always did whatever she could to help everyone she encountered. Student, professor, book salesperson, janitor; anyone who came through the door would benefit from her presence. During my years as Chairperson she did everything she could to help Sue and me adjust to the University and to Tuscaloosa. She located the house we rented in Northport when we first arrived in 1986 as well as the one we later purchased without us asking. She even helped us convince Mrs. T., the elderly widow from whom we bought our house, that we were “worthy” of it. Another notable trait was her devotion to her family. A widow with two small children, Ruby made certain they grew up to be well educated and respectable adults. She spoke with them often on the office telephone and you could always know who she was talking to by the stern note in her voice. She was extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of Tuscaloosa and its people, and quite willing to share what she knew with newcomers. As an outsider, I could never have navigated the town and campus as well as I did in my first years without her. She was a true Southern Lady in the very best sense of the term and is missed by all who had the good fortune to know her.
—Richard Diehl, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology
For those who didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Ms. Ruby, you lost out on something truly special. She was one of the finest ladies I’ve ever known. I still recall the first time I met Ms. Ruby in the departmental office. She already knew I was from Mississippi, and made sure to inform me about the other graduate students who hailed from the Magnolia State. It was a delight to her that there were a passel of southerners in my cohort, for the simple reason that she was happy that we had a chance to further our education and show the world that our geography had nothing to do with our potential. No matter where you were from though, she cared, with all her being. Her jacket was red, her lips were red, her necklace was big, and her heart was huge.
As a graduate student, I could always rely on Ms. Ruby giving encouragement during the desperate hours, and she ALWAYS helped to get students through university bureaucracy and hurdles. Ms. Ruby unfailingly put the students at the top of her concerns. She would make the call that needed to be made to someone, somewhere on campus to get things dealt with for me, and anyone else who needed help. She never failed to give a smile when you saw her, and a hug when needed. Ms. Ruby was as important for my successfully getting through UA as my professors. When we finished our M.A. degrees, she was genuinely proud of all of us (even the Yankees), and it was obvious she was a little sad to see us go. We were her birds leaving the nest. This is heartbreaking for me. She will always be sorely missed. Rest in Peace Ms. Ruby: you were a Real Southern Lady.
—Virgil Roy “Duke” Beasley, III, Cultural Resources Investigator, University of Alabama Museums, Office of Archaeological Research
I worked with Ruby for 18 years in the department. Although our ages were years apart, Ruby was young at heart and a mentor to many. She impacted my life immensely. She possessed such a positive attitude and faced life with such vigor. She gave me advice on children, church, husband, work and I consider her to be one of the best friends I’ve ever known. She made all parents feel at ease who visited with their soon to be freshmen and made them so welcome with her genuine caring ways. She possessed a wealth of knowledge on any subject and freely gave it! You simply trusted her advice and judgment. Ruby always knew of any news before it was news, especially State government as well as UA government! She helped me become a more confident person over the years, and she was my second mother.
Ruby was a young widow who lost her husband in her 40s. She raised two small children who became outstanding adults and educators. She never gave them any slack. She never minded discipline, and her children always respected and “minded” their mom.
Ruby was quite the prankster too! Many mornings I would arrive at work frustrated from running late and getting children off to school and Ruby would find a hiding spot behind a door and jump out and shout “boo”! After screaming we would laugh til we cried and when I regained my composure and got my coffee retreating to my office to get serious with work, nothing wakes you more than reaching for your computer mouse and looking down to see a big life like rubber roach! Coffee flying after my blood curdling screams and more laughter! Ruby was quite a character and always comical!
I loved her, and the Department was better for having a “Ruby” to represent it.
—Pam Chesnutt, retired Administrative Assistant, Department of Anthropology
Our long-time secretary and friend, Ruby Howard, embodied a number of the great virtues of university life. She knew a lot about important matters and she was very generous in sharing her knowledge. Her understanding of the minutiae governing the administrative processes of our collective business at UA was unparalleled. Because the arcane details of how the university is supposed to work are constantly changing, if she was unsure about how someone needed to do something, she knew precisely the right person to ask about it. Her personal social network within the institution was simply awesome. These days whenever I conduct a frustrating search on the UA website, I think about how much more efficient she was in quickly getting to exactly the information required. Ruby was way better than Google, before there was a Google. She also had a talent for gently encouraging her many contacts in the administration to cut some slack, or recommend a secret go-around, for a woebegone professor or student who failed to do this or that in a timely manner. Ruby excelled at helping people extract themselves from misadventures of their own creation.
Her skills in these areas extended far beyond our campus. Her knowledge of and her contacts within the wider Tuscaloosa/Northport community were also without peer. Many of us learned a good deal from Ruby, not only about such matters as who to call when the basement floods, but also about how our wider community really works, about the historical and social connections between local power brokers, and about what developments are looming just beyond the horizon.
But above and beyond her knowledge, her social connections and her generosity in sharing them both with her friends in the department, Ruby was simply a very kind person. she exuded good will; being helpful was not part of a job description for her, it was who she was.
—Michael D. Murphy, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology
Every semester we profile a faculty or staff member from the Anthropology Department who you may see every day but know less about than you realize. In fact, many of us became interested in anthropology because of the interesting adventures it presents. Dr. John Blitz (http://jblitz.people.ua.edu/), Professor of Anthropology and Curator at the Alabama Museum of Natural History, is a classic example. He is an anthropological archaeologist whose research has focused mostly on precolumbian Mississippian societies of the American Southeast, but his experiences are much more diverse. Here are 10 things about Dr. Blitz and his interesting life you may not already know:
He has had two completely different first and last names during his life.
In Ethiopia, he entered Emperor Haile Selassie’s lion’s den and petted a lion.
He has fished with dynamite.
He participated in a shaman’s curing ceremony in the Ecuadorian rain forest but fell asleep because it was so boring.
He crossed the Nile from Luxor to the Valley of the Kings in a dhow.
He helped map an underwater shipwreck in the Florida Keys before he decided archaeology on dry land was hard enough.
He went four days without eating in the mountains of Utah on a vision quest.
He once had two pet bush babies named Teeny and Weeny.
He survived a street car accident on Halloween night in New Orleans.
He loves to dance.
Check our blog and newsletter archives for things you didn’t know about our other fascinating anthropology faculty and staff.
Several of our faculty were invited to give lectures around the country this past fall. Dr. Lesley Jo Weaver flew to Arizona State University on October 23 to give a talk for their School of Human Evolution and Social change entitled “Chronic Diseases in India: A Biocultural Approach” and another for Smith College’s South Asian Studies Concentration (Connecticut) entitled “Studying Illness in India: The Case of Type 2 Diabetes and Mental Health.” Dr. Marysia Galbraith was invited to give a guest lecture at UA called “Memory in Fragments: Reassembling Jewish Life in Poland” and to provide information about Fulbright opportunities for students and faculty on September 3. She gave a version of this lecture called “The Holocaust in Historical Perspective” on October 15 for Dr. Steve Jacobs’ Religious Studies class (REL 223). Dr. Jason DeCaro was invited to give a lecture as part of the William W. Winternitz Conference for the College of Community Health Science at UA in September entitled “Culture gets under the skin: The implications of everyday experience for human biology and health.” Dr. Sonya Pritzer was also invited to give a Winternitz Lecture (December 1) entitled “Conducting Research in Integrative Medicine.” Dr. Kathy Oths was invited to give a lecture for the UAB Honors Program on September 28 entitled “Farmers Markets and Foodies: Conflict, Change, and Resolution in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.” Dr. Lisa LeCount was invited to give a Spark Talk for the Gulf Coast Exploreum on November 5th entitled “Like Water for Chocolate: The Importance of Ka’Kaw in Domestic and Political Rituals among the Ancient Maya of Central America.”
Conference Panels and Presentations
Our students and faculty are always well-represented at conferences, both in terms of session organizing and presenting, and this past fall was no exception.
American Anthropological Association (AAA), 114th Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, November 17-22
DeCaro JA. What Constitutes a ‘Constitution?’ Biological Sensitivity, Canalization, and the Biocultural Substrates of Differential Resilience. In the symposium, Stress and Health from Genes to Culture: Genetic, Epigenetic, Developmental and Biocultural Interactions.
Dressler WW, and JA DeCaro. Organized symposium Stress and Health from Genes to Culture: Genetic, Epigenetic, Developmental and Biocultural Interactions.
Dressler WW. Culture as a Mediator of Gene-Environment Interaction. In the symposium, Stress and Health from Genes to Culture: Genetic, Epigenetic, Developmental and Biocultural Interactions.
Kosiba, S. Animism and Authority in the Indigenous Americas. In the symposium, Sacred Matter: Animism and Authority in the Indigenous Americas.
LeCount, LJ, J Yaeger, B Cap, and B Simova (MA former). Tangled Web: Classic-period Political Pragmatics on Naranjo’s Eastern Frontier in the Mopan River Valley. In the symposium, Beyond the Familiar: Towards a Pragmatic Model for Classic Maya Political Organization.
Lynn, CD , and M Howells. Anthropologists, Kids, and Careers: When Family is Strange and the Field Familiar. In the symposium, Hidden Motivations and Glossed Justifications: Problems and Priorities in Biocultural Field Research.
Meek, D. Organized symposium Educating for Food Sovereignty (two sessions; invited by the Culture & Agriculture section).
Oths, KS, & HN Smith (BA current). Ecological, Social, and Cultural Contributions to Rapid Secular Change in Child Growth in Andean Peru.
Pritzker, S. Making the Strange Familiar and the Familiar Strange: Reinventing Classical Theories of Chinese Medical Psychology in Contemporary Beijing. In the symposium, Making Strange Traditions Familiar in Conventional and Complementary Therapeutic Settings.
Pritzker, S. Organized symposium Making strange traditions familiar in conventional and complementary therapeutic settings.
Pritzker, S. Organized open business meeting Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Integrative Medicine (IM) Group.
Thomas, M (PhD current). The Social Ecology of HIV Risk Among Southern African American Female Youth. In the symposium, “Anthropology and HIV/AIDS: Has the Strange Become Too Familiar?”
Weaver, LJ. Raced Encounters in Fieldwork: Reflections and Questions. In the symposium, “Hidden Motivations and Glossed Justifications: Problems and Priorities in Biocultural Field Research.
Weaver, LJ, and CD Lynn. Organized symposium Hidden Motivations and Glossed Justifications: Problems and Priorities in Biocultural Field Research (Invited session sponsored by the Biological Anthropology Section and the General Anthropology Division).
Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management, 37th Annual Fall Research Conference, Miami, FL, November 12-14
Boxmeyer C, Gilpin A, DeCaro JA, Lochman J, Mitchell Q. Power PATH: Integrated Two-Generation Social Emotional Intervention for Head Start Preschoolers and their Parents.
Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (ASAP), 7th Annual Meeting, Greenville, SC, September 24-27
Galbraith, M. “Do Not Open: Heritage in Embodied Silences.”
Belize Archaeology and Anthropology Symposium (BAAS), 13th Annual Conference, San Ignacio, Belize, June 29-July 3
LJ LeCount. Founding Families, Collective Action and Urban Settlement Patterns at Actuncan, Belize.
Cognitive Development Society, 9th Biennial Meeting, Columbus, OH, October 9-10
Nancarrow A, Gilpin A, Boxmeyer C, DeCaro JA, Lochman J. Roles of Self-Regulation and Familial Economic Stress on Head Start School Readiness.
Thibodeau RB, Brown MM, Gilpin AT, Boxmeyer C, DeCaro JA, Lochman J. Relations between Executive Functions in Childhood across Multiple Informants.
Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA), 75th Annual Meeting, Pittsburg, PA, March 24-28
Oths, KS, & HN Smith (BA current). Rapid Ecological, Social, and Cultural Change in the Northern Peruvian Andes and Its Effects on Child Growth.
Society for Psychological Anthropology (SPA), Biennial Meeting, Boston, MA, April 9-12
DeCaro JA. Enculturing the Brain: Toward a Neuroanthropology of Childhood.
De Vore, W (Adjunct), and K Jacobi. Facial Mutilations Associated with Scalpings from the Middle Tennessee River Valley. Invited participant Middle Tennessee Valley Excavations Revisited: Bioarchaeological Research on Personal and Communal Identities.
Eubank, P (PhD current). Salt Production in the Southeastern Caddo Homeland.
Funkhouser, JL (PhD current). Preliminary Investigations of an Early Moundville Cemetery. Invited participant Middle Tennessee Valley Excavations Revisited: Bioarchaeological Research on Personal and Communal Identities.
Gordon, F and W De Vore (Adjunct). Surviving Childhood: Evidence of Violence in Children from the Middle Tennessee River Valley. Invited participant Middle Tennessee Valley Excavations Revisited: Bioarchaeological Research on Personal and Communal Identities.
Hawsey, K (PhD current). White Oak Creek Archaeology in Dallas County, Alabama.
Ide, J (Moundville). Juvenile Identities, Communal Burials, and their Cultural Implications. Invited participant Middle Tennessee Valley Excavations Revisited: Bioarchaeological Research on Personal and Communal Identities.
Morgan, C (PhD current). Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones but Warfare Really Hurts Me. Invited participant Middle Tennessee Valley Excavations Revisited: Bioarchaeological Research on Personal and Communal Identities.
Nelson, TC (PhD current). Debates on Group Identity: Revisiting the McKee Island Phase in Guntersville Basin, Alabama. Invited participant for Middle Tennessee Valley Excavations Revisited: Bioarchaeological Research on Personal and Communal Identities.
Stewart, A (PhD current). Does Infection in Life Trump Treatment in Death? Burial Differences and Treponemal Infection. Invited participant for Middle Tennessee Valley Excavations Revisited: Bioarchaeological Research on Personal and Communal Identities.
Thompson, B (MA former). Bioarchaeological Analysis of Prehistoric Skeletal Populations from the Middle Tennessee River Valley in North Alabama. Invited participant for Middle Tennessee Valley Excavations Revisited: Bioarchaeological Research on Personal and Communal Identities.
Thompson, VD, AD Roberts Thompson, J Speakman, EH Blair, and A Hunt. All that Glitters Is Not Gold: pXRF Analysis of Gilded Beads from Spanish Period Sites in the Southeast.
Several students and faculty received grants, awards, and other honors this past fall. Congratulations to all. You make us very proud!
Doctoral student Courtney Andrews placed fourth in the 3rd annual Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. The Alabama Center for Public Television is working on stories about the finalists and the 3MT that should air in the spring.
The College of Arts & Sciences selected Johnna Dominguez‘s (MA, 2015) thesis entitled “‘Nice Ink, Man’: A Biocultural, Mixed Methods Approach to Tattooing as Costly Honest Signaling among Southern Women” for the 2015 Outstanding Thesis Award and Paul Eubank’s dissertation “Salt Production in the Southeastern Caddo Homeland” for Outstanding Dissertation Research Award. She will be recognized at Honors Day in the spring. Congratulations to Johnna, Paul, and their advisers, Drs. Chris Lynn and Ian Brown, respectively.
The College of Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Creativity and Research Academy (UCRA) awarded $500 to undergraduates Ashley Daugherty, Nick Roy, and Caitlyn Walker (Dr. Chris Lynn, adviser) toward travel expenses to present “Sexual Fluidity Positively Influences Group-Oriented Prosocial Behavior” at the American Association for Physical Anthropology conference in Atlanta, GA this spring.
At the 2015 holiday party, Paul Eubanks was awarded the Panamerican Award for Scholarly Excellence in Archaeology, while Jessica Kowalski was presented with the Richard Krauss Award for Teaching, Research, and Service by a Graduate Student in Anthropology.
Thanks to generous support from the graduate school, a number of our students have received funds for research or conference travel for the fall term. They are: Martina Thomas ($300), Paul Eubanks ($300+$300 supplement as a graduate ambassador), Mirjam Holleman ($300), Clay Nelson ($200), and Rachel Briggs ($200). Each of these students also has received $100 from the Anthropology Department toward presentations at Southeastern Archaeology Conference, American Anthropological Association annual meeting, and elsewhere.
Dr. Lesley Jo Weaver received an NSF Senior Award for her work on food insecurity and mental health in Brazil. This is a collaborative 3-site project with her colleagues at Emory and Duke who work in Ethiopia and Haiti, respectively. It consists of two separate grant submissions, one from UA with Jo as the PI, and one from Emory With her colleague as the PI. The grant supports 3 phases of research scheduled to span 3 years in each site.
Congratulations to Dr. Jason DeCaro (and Psychology collaborator Dr. Ansley Gilpin) on the receiving of a major grant from the Imagination Institute. Imagination Institute “grants are aimed at the development of better ways of assessing and promoting imagination and creativity,” according to the Penn News press release. Drs. DeCaro and Gilpin “will receive $199,940 to advance the measurement and improvement of fantasy orientation and imaginative play in children. They aim to answer two important questions to propel research in childhood imagination: How is children’s imagination best defined and measured? and can imagination be stimulated to enhance children’s development?”
Dr. David Meek is the recipient of a $1,000 travel award. By virtue of this award, The Academic Conference and Presentation Committee recognizes his participation in The 6th International Conference of the Network of School Gardens, which “will support the dissemination of community engagement research and scholarship and provide relevant training opportunities.”
Blair, EH.“Glass Beads and Global Itineraries.” In Things in Motion: Object Itineraries in Archaeological Practice, edited by R Joyce and S Gillespie, pp. 81-99. School for Advanced Research Press, Santa Fe.
Blitz, JH and LE Downs*, eds. Graveline: A Late Woodland Platform Mound on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Archaeological Report No. 34. Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson, Mississippi. 39 figures, 27 tables, 156 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0-938896-00-5.
Brown, IW. Plaquemine Culture Pottery from the Great Ravine at the Anna Site (22AD500), Adams County, Mississippi. In Exploring Southeastern Archaeology, edited by P Galloway and E Peacock. Oxford, MS: University Press of Mississippi.
DeCaro, J. Beyond catecholamines: Measuring autonomic responses to psychosocial context. American Journal of Human Biology. Epub ahead of print, doi/10.1002/ajhb.22815/.
DeCaro, J, M Manyama, and W Wilson. Household-level predictors of maternal mental health and systemic inflammation among infants in Mwanza, Tanzania. American Journal of Human Biology Epub ahead of print, doi/10.1002/ajhb.22807/.
Eubanks, P, and IW Brown. Certain Trends in Eastern Woodlands Salt Production Technology. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, 40(3):231–256.
Meek, D. Taking research with its roots: restructuring schools in the Brazilian landless workers’ movement upon the principles of a political ecology of education. Journal of Political Ecology 22: 410-428.
Burns, R, and D Meek. The politics of knowledge production in the geoweb. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 14(3):786-790.
Murphy, MD, and JC Gonzalez Faraco. El Rocio del Baron de Davillier y Gustave Dore. Exvoto 5 (4): 161-182.
Panakhyo, M* and K Jacobi. Limited Circumstances: Creating a Better Understanding of Prehistoric Peoples through the Reanalysis of Collections of Commingled Human Remains. In Theoretical Approaches to Analysis and Interpretation of Commingled Human Remains, edited by A Osterholtz, pp. 75-96. Springer, New York.
Simova, B*, DW Mixter, and LJ LeCount. The Social Lives of Structures: Ritual Resignification of the Cultural Landscape at Actuncan, Belize. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 12:193-204.
Weaver, LJ, SV Madhu. Type 2 diabetes and anxiety symptoms among women in New Delhi, India. American Journal of Public Health, 105(11):2335-2340.
In our ongoing effort to bring more depth to our play (name that ethnographic reference), we bring you 10 things you may not know about Professor Kathy Oths. Dr. Oths is Professor of Anthropology in our Biocultural Medical track, specializing in medical anthropology in Latin America. In addition:
“I was raised in a small Appalachian coal mining town in Southeastern Ohio.
The first record I bought as a kid was a 45 rpm single by Johnny Cash for 83 cents.
As a Wellston High School sophomore, I was elected queen of the First Annual Sweetheart Dance by the student body.
I was a VISTA volunteer on the Navajo Reservation in 1980 doing carpentry, solar energy, and weatherization.
I lived for 6 months in a Spanish nunnery.
I was scrum half for the Stanford Women’s Rugby team.
Of all the manual labor jobs I’ve done, the slime line (pulling roe and milt out of salmon guts) for an Alaska fish factory was the most ‘exotic’… and smelly.
I was a food carnie in a past life—part of my grad school education was financed by selling fry bread tacos at fairs and festivals from a traveling booth I built.
During my second year of college, psychologist Ernest Hilgard hired me as a research assistant to hypnotize subjects.
I was the occasional roadie for The Vivians, an alt grrrl band from Cleveland.”
The Department of Anthropology is pleased to be able to announce the hiring of two new faculty members. Dr. Sonya Pritzker and Elliot Blair have been hired in tenure-track positions beginning in August to fulfill the Department’s needs in Linguistics and Archaeology, respectively.
Dr. Sonya Pritzker is a medical and linguistic anthropologist whose research focuses on the management and expression of emotion in China, the development of Chinese medical psychology in the U.S. and China, and the translation of Chinese medicine in the U.S. Her book, Living Translation: Language and the Search for Resonance in U.S. Chinese Medicine, was published in 2014. Since completing her Ph.D. at UCLA in 2011, she has worked as a faculty researcher in the UCLA Department of Medicine, where she has received further training in clinical translational science and has participated in team science projects examining the neuroanthropology of IBS, the treatment of obesity with Chinese medicine, and the development of innovative research methods in integrative medicine. Prior to her doctoral studies in anthropology, she completed her masters training in Chinese medicine and has been a licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of Chinese herbal medicine since 2002. She is involved in several national and international organizations focused on the development of integrative medicine in the U.S. and beyond, including the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health and the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research. She is also Co-Chair of the Society of Medical Anthropology’s special interest group on complementary/alternative medicine and integrative medicine, and is affiliated faculty at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, Helfgott Research Institute at the National College of Natural Medicine, and the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine. She has received research funding from the U.S. Department. of State, the U.S. Department of Education, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the UCLA Office of the Vice Chancellor of Research.
Dr. Elliot Blair is an anthropological archaeologist whose research focuses on the early colonial and Late Mississippian periods in the American Southeast. His current research focuses on population aggregation and identity at Mission Santa Catalina de Guale, a 16th and 17th century Spanish mission located in coastal Georgia. Drawing upon practice-based approaches to the archaeology of colonialism and exploring identity through situated learning theory, he examines the persistence of social identities as diverse populations formed new communities under the pressures of missionization. In his work he uses social network analysis to explore the structure of past social relationships at multiple scales. His interests sit at the intersection of empirical, archaeometric analyses and a social archaeology of materiality and identity. In addition to archaeological survey and excavation, he draws upon a diverse suite of methodologies and materials, incorporating shallow geophysics, artifact compositional analysis (e.g., glass trade beads), and ceramic analysis in his research. Prior to completing his doctorate, he worked for the American Museum of Natural History. He has also worked on archaeological projects in Alaska, California, Mongolia, Mexico, Costa Rica, and the British Virgin Islands.
Additionally, we are pleased to announce that Dr. Christopher Lynn received tenure this spring and was promoted to Associate Professor as of August. Dr. Lynn was hired as an Assistant Professor in 2009 and was recognized for his past six years of academic achievement, teaching proficiency, and record of service. Dr. Lynn has published numerous articles outlining his research in the cognitive science of religion, cognitive evolution, and the development of the Evolutionary Studies program and Human Behavioral Ecology Research Group at Alabama. Dr. Lynn is a biological anthropologist and part of our Biocultural Medical Anthropology focus and has developed and teaches numerous courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, including “Evolution for Everyone,” “Monkeys, Apes and Other Primates,” and “Anthropology of Sex.” Finally, Dr. Lynn’s services extends from establishing our Department Facebook page and Bama Anthro Blog Network to chairing the Tech Committee and editing our newsletter to serving on the University’s steering committee for the ALLELE series and establishing courses in elementary-level Anthropology as part of our Department’s outreach efforts. We are pleased that Dr. Lynn will be with us for the foreseeable future!
Experiential learning is important across the University of Alabama, and Anthropology is no different. Students in my “Primate Religion and Human Consciousness” (UH 300) and “Evolution for Everyone” courses had fun (I hope) this semester with a few of the activities I set up. Primate Religion & Human Consciousness is a course in the cognitive science of religion I teach every spring for the Honors College. This semester we explored cooperation and prosociality by replicating Milgram’s “lost letter” study in Tuscaloosa. Students stuffed envelopes with fake money and sheets with pre-set locations, addressed the envelopes to me, put stamps on them, and dropped them off around town to see how many would be returned from various districts. They also chose cooperative groups (two teams chose churches and the other team chose the UA swim team) to investigate how cooperation is inculcated and maintained. I was impressed at the students’ integration of the two activities in developing conclusions about the roles of sociality in communities that were contrary to many of their initial expectations.
In “Evolution for Everyone” (ANT 150), the goal is to expose students to evolutionary principles and their cross-disciplinary applications and implications. This semester, drawing instructor Charlotte Wegrzynowski introduced students to the principles of drawing, which was once a basic skill of field naturalists before the age of photography. This activity emphasized different ways of knowing and the details we often miss or can never understand without the experience of paying close attention to the parts that make up the whole and the connections between our intellectual and kinesthetic experiences.
“Primate Religion & Human Consciousness” students set up “lost letter” study.
“Primate Religion & Human Consciousness” students stuff envelopes with funny money to test pro-sociality.
Drawing instructor Charlotte Wegrzynowski teaches “Evolution for Everyone” students drawing from life.
“Evolution for Everyone” students draw their own hands.
Psychology instructor Josh Eyer shows “Evolution for Everyone” students that holding a pen in your mouth can change your emotions.
Several of our faculty were invited to give lectures:
Dr. Bill Dressler was invited to the Departments of Anthropology and Public Health at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC on April 10 to give a lecture entitled “Cultural Consonance: Linking Culture, the Individual, and Health.”
Dr. Chris Lynn was invited to speak to the EvoS program at SUNY New Paltz in New Paltz, NY on April 13 and gave a lectured called “Transcendental Medication: Defraying the Costs of Analysis Paralysis.” Dr. Lynn also collaborated with colleagues Dr. Michaela Howells and Katherine Cully at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, who were invited to conduct a workshop called “Understanding Humans: Using an Anthropological Approach in STEM Classrooms” at the 1st Annual K-12 STEM Education Conference in Wilmington, NC on January 9.
Additionally, our Department was well-represented by undergraduate and graduate students and faculty at spring conferences, workshops, and events:
Alabama Archaeological Society Winter Meeting, Florence, AL, January 24
Eubanks, Paul N. Salt production technology in Southern Alabama and the Greater Southeast.
Alabama Science Teachers Association conference, Birmingham, AL, March 3-4
Lynn, Christopher D., and Greg Batchelder. Anthropology is Elementary: Translating the Science of Humanness through Hands-On Activities.
Caddo Conference Organization Annual Meeting, Arkadelphia, AK, March 27-28
Eubanks, Paul N. Salt production trends in the Caddo homeland and in the Southeastern United States.
Darwin Day Colloquium, Tuscaloosa, AL, February 12
Daugherty, Ashley, and Melinda Carr. Fireside Relaxation: A Burning Question.
Friel, Juliann. Reflections on Being Human.
Human Biology Association Annual Scientific Meeting, St. Louis, MO, March 25-27
Dominguez, Johnna T., Jason A. DeCaro, and Christopher D. Lynn. Tattooing as Protection against Enemy Arrows: Enhanced Immune Response among the Heavily Tattooed as an Allostatic Stress Response.
Lynn, Christopher D., JuliannFriel, William Evans, and Baba Brinkman. Evolution Education through Excitement and Anger: “Rap Guide to Evolution” Influences on Skin Conductance..
Louisiana Archaeological Society Annual Meeting, Leesville, LA, February 20-22
Eubanks, Paul N. A summary of the 20-14 excavations at Drake’s Salt Works.
Mississippi Archaeological Association annual meeting, Greenwood, MS, April 11
Funkhouser, Lynn and Daniel LaDu. The faunal record at Mazique (22Ad502): Initial impressions from the 2013 field season.
Kowalski, Jessica A. and H. Edwin Jackson. On the Mound trail: Mississippian polities in the Lower Yazoo Basin.
Malischke, LisaMarie. Watercolor ideal versus architectural reality: New interpretations of Fort St. Pierre, Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Northeastern Evolutionary Psychology Society, Boston, MA, April 9-11
Carr, Melinda, Ashley Daugherty, and Christopher Lynn. A Burning Question: Fireside Relaxation.
Lynn, Christopher D., and Max J. Stein. Religious Collectivity and the Behavioral Immune System in Limón Province, Costa Rica.
Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, April 15-19
Eubanks, Paul N. and Ian W. Brown. Salt production and economic specialization at Drake’s Salt Works.
LeCount, Lisa J. and David W. Mixter. Organized symposium Lowland Maya Territories: Local Dynamics in Regional Landscapes
LeCount, Lisa J. and David W. Mixter. Between Earth and Sky: The Social and Political Construction of Ancient Lowland Maya Territories.
Society for Applied Anthropology, Pittsburgh, PA, March 24-28
DeMoss, Lessye. Cultural models for life preparation: An exploration of young American men’s shared understandings of this developmental task.
Dressler, William W. What is generalized cultural consonance?
Morrow, Sarah Elizabeth. Shared beliefs without shared consensus: A look at experiential model development in food insecure women.
Oths, Kathryn and Hannah Smith. Rapid ecological, social, and cultural change in the Northern Peruvian Andes and its effects on child growth.
Read-Wahidi, Mary Rebecca. Continuity and change in Guadalupan devotion.
Weaver, Lesley Jo, Bonnie Kaiser, and Craig Hadley. Food insecurity and mental health in three settings: Preliminary results and future directions.
Southern Anthropological Society Annual Meeting, Athens, GA, March 9
González-Faraco, Juan Carlos, Inmaculada Iglesias-Villarán, and Michael D. Murphy. Youth Culture and HIV/AIDS in Spain.
Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference, Tuscaloosa, AL, April 7
Becerra, Fatima. Herbal medicine use in the Peruvian highlands.
Carr, Melinda, and Ashley Daugherty. A burning question: Fireside relaxation.
Forrister, Anna. 50 years of all deliberate speed.
Hallquist, Sommer and Madeline Anscombe. Dealing with death. A study of children’s changing grave themes and what they reveal about American society.
Lawhon, Taylor. An investigation of Caddo salt production at Drake’s Salt Works.
Dr. Blakely Brooks, Teaching Assistant Professor at East Carolina University, who received his Ph.D. from UA in 2011, is in the news (http://www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/news/globalclassroom.cfm)for shattering stereotypes and promoting global understanding. Says Brooks, “The stereotypes our students have, they find out they just aren’t correct. And the foreign students find out their ideas of Americans often aren’t correct.”
Jonathan Belanich, who received his BA in 2014 in Anthropology and Biology and is currently enrolled in the MA program at Mississippi State, received Honorable Mention for his National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program application. This program is highly competitive, and our faculty wrote letters of recommendation for his proposal, so we consider this an honor that reflects on our preparation of him.
On February 12, Charles Darwin’s birthday, the UA Evolutionary Studies Club hosted the 3rd annual Darwin Day Colloquium. The event was hosted by the Alabama Museum of Natural History and featured an afternoon of talks from UA students and faculty, in addition to a talk by alumnus Dr. Amanda Glaze and keynote by University of Louisiana at Monroe evolutionary psychologist Dr. Kilian Garvey. Special thanks to the hard work of Club members, particularly Taylor Burbach, who understands why Dr. Lynn recruits students who get as stressed about things as he does—they are the type who get things done, and the result was a smashing success.
This annual event is open to anyone interested in promoting cross-disciplinary evolutionary studies in Alabama and the Southeast region. This includes students of ALL ages, teachers, and those with a personal but abiding interest in improving science-based integrative education. Neither Charles Darwin nor Alfred Wallace (the co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection) were academics!
The Department of Anthropology is one of the regular sponsors of the Alabama Lectures on Life’s Evolution, organized by the University’s Evolution Working Group (EVOWOG). This past academic year, EVOWOG hosted lectures by paleontologist Anthony Martin, journalist Chris Mooney, archaeologist Patrick McGovern, and biologists Michael Antolin and Sean Carroll. Although they were all special events, the Anthropology Department’s contribution this year was Patrick McGovern. “Dr. Pat” has been called “the Indiana Jones of beer archaeology” for his work in deciphering the codes of ancient beverages to understand humanity’s long history with intoxication and domestication. Several years ago, Dr. Pat teamed up with Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware, which won a contest among several craft breweries, to recreate the ancient ales for which McGovern has identified the recipes. Dr. McGovern gave a talk for the ALLELE series on January 29 and, while here, was kind enough to meet with our students and attend an Ancient Ales tasting, organized by the Evolutionary Studies Club and at one of our local craft breweries, Druid City.
In addition to Dr. Pat and the Master’s Colloquia presentations discussed in a previous article, the Anthro Club also brought guest lectures our way by hosting four FABBLs (Friday Anthropology Brown Bag Lunch lectures) during the spring.
February 20, doctoral student Sarah Morrow presented “PowerPATHS in West Central Alabama: Updates on Program, Process, and Pedagogy.”
March 6, doctoral candidate Mitch Childress presented “Cox Mound Gorgets: Distributions, Chronology, and Style.”
March 27, doctoral candidate Rachel Briggs presented “An Introduction to Residue Analysis and the Mississippian Standard Jar.”
April 10, doctoral candidate Jessica Kowalski presented “Results from the Alabama Anthropology Club Surface Collection at the Arcola Mounds.”
This past spring, five students came closer to completing their journeys to master’s degrees by presenting the results of their thesis research at our March and April colloquiums.
On March 6, archaeology student Luke Donohue presented “Group Mobility and Lithic Resource Use in the Archaic to Woodland Transition at the Morrow Site.” Bioarchaeology student Kelsey Herndon gave her talk on “The Embodiment of Status in the Mississippian Component of the Perry Site.” Both students graduated in May. Luke and Kelsey are currently working for Environmental Corporation of American as Project Archaeologists, based in Alpharetta, GA. They are responsible for visiting sites all over the Southeast and the rest of the U.S. and performing archaeological and environmental surveys.
At our April 24 colloquium, Kareen Hawsey, another archaeology student, presented “Vessel Morphology and Function in the West Jefferson Phase of the Black Warrior River Valley, Alabama.” Lessye DeMoss and Johnna Dominguez are biocultural medical students. Lessye presented “A Cultural Model of Life Goals for Young Men in the Roanoke Valley,” while Johnna gave her talk called “‘Nice Ink, Man’: A Biocultural, Mixed Methods Approach to Tattooing as Costly Honest Signaling Among Southern Women.”
Kareen and Lessye plan on sticking around for a while and have been admitted to our Ph.D. program. Kareen will be working with Dr. Brown to study the terminal Woodland in central Alabama. Lessye will continue her studies in the Biocultural Medical track with Dr. Dressler, studying cultural models of life goals in Alabama, how life goals are to be achieved, and affects on health when unable to manifest evidence of achieving widely shared goals (for example, not being able to buy a home or have nice clothes). Johnna is the Administrative Assistant at Seeds of Hope, the food justice ministry at the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles in California where she is working to turn unused church yards into community gardens and improve community access to fresh vegetables. She aspires to continue to integrate her training in medical anthropology with the outreach ministry of the Episcopal Church.
Check out the display cases at the ground floor entryway of ten Hoor and adjacent to ten Hoor’s room 30. There are three brand new exhibits on the topics of “Anthropology in the News,” “Anthropology in the Movies,” and “Jobs in Anthropology.” There is a lot of important information in these exhibits, which I am sure will be of interest to many—especially to students interested in jobs available to Anthropology majors and minors. Thanks to graduate students Brass Bralley, Angelica Callery, Camille Morgan, Clay Nelson, Cynthia Snead, and Ashley Stewart for putting together these terrific displays.
And speaking of exhibits, does anyone recognize the curator in the lower right?
The Department of Anthropology continued to publish consistently in the spring semester, with one book and several peer-reviewed articles becoming available.Davis, J.R., C.P. Walker, and J.H. Blitz. Remote sensing as community settlement analysis at Moundville. American Antiquity 80(1):161-169. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7183/0002-7322.214.171.124
Dressler, W.W. The five things you need to know about statistics: Quantification in ethnographic research. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.
Dressler, W.W., M.C. Balieiro, and J.E. dos Santos. Finding culture in the second factor: Stability and change in cultural consensus and residual agreement. Field Methods 27: 22-38.
Eubanks, Paul N. A reconstruction of the Caddo salt making process at Drake’s Salt Works. Caddo Archaeology 25:145-166.
Hadley, C. and DeCaro, J. A. Does moderate iron deficiency protect against childhood illness? A test of the optimal iron hypothesis in Tanzania. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. [Epub Apr 25 ahead of print] doi: 10.1002/ajpa.22756
Meek, D. Towards a political ecology of education: The educational politics of scale in southern Pará, Brazil. Environmental Education Research 21(3):447-459. DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2014.993932
Meek, D. The cultural politics of the agroecological transition. Agriculture and Human Values. [ePub ahead of print 01 April 2015] DOI 10.1007/s10460-015-9605-z
Meek, D. Counter-summitry: La Via Campesina, the People’s Summit, and Rio+20. Global Environmental Politics 15(2):11-18. doi:10.1162/GLEP_a_00295
Murphy, M.D., and J.C.González Faraco. El Rocío de Gerald Brenan, una autoetnografía epistolary (Gerald Brenan’s Rocío, an epistolary autoethnography). Gazeta de Antropología 31(1), artículo 07. http://hdl.handle.net/10481/35338
Weaver, L.J., C.M. Worthman, J.A. DeCaro, and S.V. Madhu. The signs of stress: Embodiments of biosocial stress among type 2 diabetic women in New Delhi, India. Social Science and Medicine. 131:122-130. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.03.002
The Department of Anthropology expanded its community outreach activities this past spring. The Department began participating in the Tuscaloosa Magnet School Elementary (TMSE)-UA Partnership in 2010 by offering a 12-week course in “Anthropology” in the fall. This past year, we offered “Anthropology of Costa Rica” in the fall and “Anthropology of Madagascar” in the spring. Anthropology of Costa Rica was led by doctoral student Greg Batchelder and capitalized on his research experience there and complemented the Magnet School’s ethos as an International Baccalaureate Program. Anthropology of Madagascar was led by doctoral candidate Lynn Funkhouser and was chosen because of the Evolutionary Studies program’s sister relationship with an EvoS program in Madagascar.
In addition to teaching Anthropology of Madagascar at TMSE, Arcadia Elementary started a similar partnership program, and we offered the course there as well. In all cases, courses are led by graduate students and taught by upper-level Anthropology undergraduates who have excelled in the program. Instructors draw from a workbook of lessons we have developed over the past several years but are also responsible for developing one lesson and activity from scratch. Thanks to Taylor Burbach, Meghan Steel, Andrea Roulaine, Erica Schumann, and Juliann Friel for teaching our elementary students this year. Imagine what our discipline will be like when undergraduates arrive who have been exposed to the anthropological perspective since 3rd grade!
For the fall 2015, we have established a formal service-learning course called “Anthropology is Elementary” that will be taught by Lynn Funkhouser and can be taken for 3 credits by undergraduates who have completed the introductory courses in all four subdisciplines. Students will be placed at TMSE, Arcadia, or—a new location—Tuscaloosa Magnet School Middle. Spots are still open, so contact Lynn for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
But that’s not all! We have participated annually in Woodland Forrest Elementary School’s DiscoverFest as part of their Earth Day celebration. This year, several of our graduate students spent the day teaching elementary students about archaeology via “garbology,” or using simple household trash as a means of understanding the cultures of the people who left it behind. Thanks to Lynn Funkhouser, Sarah Morrow, and LisaMarie Malischke for their efforts on behalf of our community children!
On January 29 the Anthropology Department and Evolution Working Group hosted biomolecular archaeologist Dr. Patrick McGovern for an ALLELE (Alabama Lectures on Life’s Evolution) talk from his book, Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcohol. The event included a meeting with the ANT 150 “Evolution for Everyone” students, dinner with Anthropology students, EVOWOG members, and Wendi Schauffer from UA Press, the ALLELE talk, and an Ancient Ales tasting after the talk at Druid City Brewing.
Special thanks to the Evolutionary Studies Club for organizing the tasting and Druid City for hosting and to our students who helped with the logistics. Dr. Pat’s work is endlessly fascinating and will be included in a new spring 2016 course on the “Anthropology of Drugs.” Master’s student Cassie Medeiros, whose research focus is the archaeology of alcohol, particularly evidence of moonshine stills in Alabama, was particularly thrilled to be a part of the event.
Lynn Funkhouser with Dr. Pat
Lynn Funkhouser and Cassie Medeiros with the Indiana Jones of beer archaeology, Patrick McGovern,.
EVOWOG/Anthro dinner at Epiphany
Ancient Ales tasting at Druid City Brewery
A great turnout for our Druid City hosts!
Patrick McGovern talking with biologist Steven Secor.
EvoS Club members hosted and tended bar.
Taylor Burbach and Erica Schumann serving Ancient Ales.
Selfie with Dr. Pat and photobomb from psychologist Josh Eyer.
Numerous students and faculty were recognized for achievements and commitment this spring. Several undergraduates mentored by Anthropology faculty were recognized at the annual Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference as follows: Mark Ortiz, Honorable Mention for Oral Presentations in the Fine Arts and Humanities division (David Meek, faculty mentor); Taylor Lawhon, 4th Place for Oral Presentations in the Social Sciences division (Ian Brown, faculty mentor); Rachel Madey, 1st Place for in Emerging Scholars Fine Arts and Humanities Division and International Focus (Kathy Oths, faculty mentor), and Sommer Hallquist and Madeline Anscombe, 2nd Place in Emerging Scholars Fine Arts and Humanities division (Ian Brown, faculty mentor).
This year’s recipients of David and Elizabeth DeJarnette Endowed Scholarships in Anthropology are doctoral candidates Lynn Funkhouser and Jessica Kowalski. Doctoral student Greg Batchelder received the Allen R. Maxwell Endowed Anthropology Scholarship. The competitions were extremely tough, as always, so these honors are indeed great. For this year, each awardees will be receiving scholarships of $8,000 each to be used toward their research.
Achsah Dorsey, who received her M.A. in Anthropology in 2014, received the University of Alabama Outstanding Research by a Master’s Student Award for her thesis “Food Insecurity, Maternal Mental Health, and Child Well-Being in NW Tanzania.” This follows receipt of the same award in the Arts & Sciences in the fall 2014.
This year’s Honors Day allowed three of our outstanding undergraduates to be recognized. Katelyn Moss received a Dean’s Award of Merit, while Taylor Lawhon, JessiMays, and Melinda Carr were acknowledged as recipients of the “Smitty” and Hughes Awards. Taylor received the C. Earl Smith Award, which is given to the graduating senior with the highest GPA in Anthropology. Jessi and Melinda were co-recipients of the Lynn Hughes Award, which is given to students in Anthropology or Economics who capture the imagination of the faculty through potential, intransigence, inventiveness, perseverance, or a combination of qualities.
The following students received funding from the Graduate School for their proposals to the Graduate Student Research and Travel Fund: Mirjam Holleman, Lynn Funkhouser, Lessye DeMoss, Daniel LaDu, Rachel Briggs, LisaMarie Malischke, and Paul Eubanks.
The Research Advisory Committee (RAC) selected Jason DeCaro as the 2015 recipient of the President’s Faculty Research Award for Arts & Sciences—Social Sciences. These awards, organized by the RAC and sponsored by our President and by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, recognize select University of Alabama faculty members whose research or scholarship represents excellence in their field.
Dr. DeCaro and his collaborators Ansley Gilpin, Caroline Boxmeyer, and John Lochman were also recipients of the 2015 Center for Community-Based Partnerships Awards for Outstanding Faculty/Staff-Initiated Engagement Effort. In addition, David Meek and Sarah Morrow were recognized at the same event with a Community Engagement Fellowship Award.
Dr. Lisa LeCount was awarded a National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration grant for $21,412 and a College Academy for Research, Scholarship and Creativity Activity grant ($5,000). These grants were to support another season of the Actuncan Project—“Archaeological Research at Actuncan’s E-Group: Testing the Political Significance of Preclassic Lowland Maya Public Architecture.” E-groups are the earliest known public architecture on ancient Maya sites. Multiple models have been proposed to explain their significance, the most recent of which suggests that Middle Preclassic (1000 to 400 B.C.) E-groups served as high-points on the geopolitical landscape to claim territory visible from them. The proposed research seeks to test this model by excavating Actuncan’s E-group to discover the heights of early architectural stages and performing ArcGIS geospatial analyses (least-cost path and radial line-of-sight) to determine the territorial boundaries visible or walkable from contemporaneous E-groups within the upper Belize River valley.
Finally, Chris Lynn received the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award at the Undergraduate Honor’s Day celebration. This highly coveted award is issued each year by the Leadership Board of the College of Arts and Sciences and recognizes a single faculty member for his or her superior teaching ability and absolute dedication to students. This is a most deserving award for Dr. Lynn and a great honor for our Department.
The Department’s Friday Afternoon Brown Bag Lunch (FABBL) talks commenced September 12 with PhD student Erik Porth‘s presentation, “Some Preliminary Results from the 2012 Fall Field School Mound P Excavations.” Erik presented an overview of excavations at Mound P from the Moundville III phase, 1400-1520 AD. 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.
Thanks to the Anthropology club and Dr. Oths, we were able to welcome Dr. Eileen Anderson-Fye on September 18 to discuss some of her research with the faculty and students. Dr. Anderson-Fye gave an informal talk titled “Education, Well-being and Rapid Socio-cultural Change: A Longitudinal Mixed-Methods Investigation of Girls’ Secondary Education in Belize” to students in the department, which gave them the opportunity to discuss issues around ethnographic research. Later in the day, Dr. Anderson-Fye gave a talk titled, “How Fat is Too Fat?: Obesity Stigma, Upward Mobility, and Symbolic Body Capital in Four Countries.” She discussed how, through cross-cultural research in Jamaica, Belize, Nepal, and Korea, she has found that obesity stigma can alter a person’s view on body image and cause harm.
Our Fall FABBL series continued September 26 with PhD student 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. Greg traveled to Yorkin by canoe and stayed for a week in the home of the Morales family. 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. He plans to return next summer and to continue to collaborate with the community in Yorkin and study their ecotourism project.
Our third FABBL on October 10 was by PhD student Jessica Kowalski, who presented “On the Mississippi Mound Trail: A Report on Two Field Seasons of Excavations.” Jessica’s research focuses on Arcola, which has 3 of 6 original mounds still standing. The first season 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 and found a burn floor surface and radiocarbon dated it to between 1435 and 1490 AD.
On November 7, PhD candidate Paul Eubanks presented “Saline on the Bayou: An Exploration of Caddo Salt Making at Drake’s Salt Works.” Paul has found that salt production in Northwestern Louisiana during the protohistoric and early historic periods developed largely in response to increased salt demand following European contact. Several salt licks were available to the Caddo natives of the area, but the proximity to Europeans, as well as availability of liquid brine, resistance to flooding, and fuel availability influence the preference for production at Drake’s Salt Works.
On November 21, Dr. David Dye from the Department of Anthropology at Memphis University visited and gave a talk on “Lighting Boy War Bundles in the Lower Mississippi Valley.” Dr. Dye is a renowned authority on the subject of Mississippian warfare. He has authored numerous books and articles on the subject including War Paths, Peace Paths: An Archaeology of Cooperation and Conflict in Native North America and The Taking and Displaying of Human Body Parts as Trophies by Amerindians (coedited with Richard J. Chacon). In his various studies he uses the Eastern Woodlands as an arena to explore the relationship of conflict and cooperation throughout prehistory. By virtue of an approach to archaeology that is multidisciplinary, he draws on cultural anthropology, folklore, iconography, and ethnohistory to offer new insights into the political and religious nature of warfare. His research orientation is the material culture and political history of the Midsouth, focusing on Mississippian elites and he is also interested in documenting symbolic weaponry and ceramic iconography from the Midsouth through photography. Through these efforts, he has to recognized the diffusion and symbolic importance of “Lightning Boy,” one of the Twins of Mississippian cosmology whose ritual appearance was critical for organization of warfare.
Missy Sartain joined the department on March 22, 2010 as an Office Associate II (we prefer Demi-Goddess) and is the beautiful face at the front desk in the Anthropology Department Office. Before joining us, Missy spent 6 years as a legal secretary, the last 2 years in domestic law. As the proud mother of three boys, she found all the domestic law conflicts around children unpleasant. She finds life in the Anthropology Department much calmer. Since we all regularly stop to chat with Missy, you might think you know a lot about her, but we recently asked her to share 10 things you may not know:
“I was born in Anchorage, Alaska.
I’ve lived in Germany.
I’m about to celebrate my 50th birthday.
I want to visit San Diego before I die.
I am a huge NASCAR (Go, Dale, Jr.!) and Alabama softball and football fan (well, you probably all know that).
I like to fish and sit out in the sun.
I once won a Valentine’s Day poetry contest on the radio, which won me a prime rib dinner for me and my fella.
At one point, I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up.
I like to grill out and eat BBQ and Mexican.
I am excited to be going to see Def Leopard’s reunion show (I was a headbanger in the 80s).”
Since the mid-1980s, Dr. William Dressler and colleagues have been examining the influence of culture on individual well-being through pioneering the cultural consonance approach. Cultural consonance measures how successful people are in achieving the broad goals that are collectively valued in their society, especially goals across the life-span (for example, creating a satisfying family life). Dr. Dressler recently completed research funded by the National Science Foundation aimed to replicate and extend research on gene-environment interactions and subjective well-being among persons of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds in an urban center in Brazil.
Research in the past decade has shown that individuals with different genetic profiles are variably influenced by stressful environmental events and
circumstances in terms of their sense of subjective well-being, including feelings of depression. While intriguing results have been observed, the range of environmental events and circumstances that have been investigated has been relatively narrow. A major goal of Dr. Dressler’s recent research was to understand how different kinds of environmental experience may—or may not—be modified by genes.
The project focused on two genetic polymorphisms thought to influence well-being. One, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, affects the health and development of nerve cells. The other, a receptor for the neurotransmitter serotonin, is related to the transmission of nerve impulses in the brain. In addition to cultural consonance, three indicators of experience in the social environment were studied. Childhood adversity refers to stressful events in childhood, such as the death or serious illness of a parent or a history of maltreatment. Stressful life events refer to current events such as divorce, death of a spouse or child, and unemployment. Frustration tolerance is a psychological disposition in which small and large setbacks can be accepted.
Data were collected in a survey of over 400 adults from diverse socioeconomic groups. Genotypes were determined from samples of cells from the cheek. Other data were collected in face-to-face interviews. Subjective well-being was measured as the number of symptoms of depression, isolation, and hopelessness the respondent had experienced in the two weeks prior to the interview.
Major results were as follows: Childhood adversity was moderated by genotype, especially by the serotonin receptor gene. Persons with a specific variant for the gene were at much higher risk of reporting high levels of depressive symptoms if they had experienced childhood adversity (Fig. 1). The moderation of genotype-by-childhood adversity in relation to depressive symptoms was especially strong among persons from a low socioeconomic background (Fig. 2). Persons with this serotonin receptor variant and who experienced childhood adversity also had lower frustration tolerance. Cultural consonance proved to be the strongest influence on subjective well-being—risk of high levels of depressive symptoms was strongest for people with low cultural consonance (Fig. 3).
The results of this research present a more nuanced view of the influence of genes, the environment, and the interaction of genes and environment on subjective well-being. Persons who experience high adversity in childhood are more likely to experience lower well-being as adults, especially if they have a particular genetic background. On the other hand, if those individuals are able to achieve the kinds of goals in life that are widely valued in their society, they are less likely to experience depression, isolation, and hopelessness as adults. Additionally, their genetic background does not alter the experience of cultural consonance.
Subjective well-being has been shown to have a powerful influence on physical health and social and economic productivity over the life-span. This well-being matters to individuals and to society. The influences on well-being are complex, ranging from the molecular biology of individual genetic differences to the collective goals and values called culture that help to hold a society together. Understanding and enhancing well-being for individuals and society depends on the analysis of these diverse influences, and this research contributes to that end.
We are grateful to the many former students, colleagues, and other donors who made possible the establishment of our newest scholarship opportunity for our students, the “Jim Knight.” According to the resolution, they “contributed $13,687.36 to The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama to honor Dr. Knight and to promote the education of students in the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Alabama.” This was matched by $12,500 in Capstone Foundation funds as directed by the College of Arts and Sciences to be used for the same purpose. To ensure the continuity of this and other efforts to fund our students and programs, we humbly welcome tax-free donations toward the Knight Endowed Scholarship or any of the following initiatives:
The Allen R. Maxwell Endowed Anthropology Scholarship is awarded to support graduate student research in the areas of ethnography or linguistic anthropology. Established through a bequest from Dr. Maxwell’s estate, it is our first award specifically dedicated to ethnographic or linguistic field research.
The Anthropology Club Fund supports the activities of the Anthropology Club, which includes camping trips, workshops, and guest speakers each semester. The opportunity to participate in Club activities is critical in fostering the ethic of collegiality and professionalism so import to our Department.
The Anthropology Field School Gift Fund goes to the support of our undergraduate field schools in archaeology. Our field schools receive no budget from the University and depend heavily on these gifts for supplies and operating expenses. Our annual field schools for undergraduates date back to 1956, and, traditionally, they are among the most memorable experiences of our alumni.
The Anthropology Lectureship Fund goes to support distinguished guest speakers from outside the University. We try to have at least four guest speakers per year. These speakers greatly enrich our undergraduate and graduate programs by exposing our students to prominent ideas by the leading lights in our discipline.
The C. Earle Smith Award is given for academic excellence at the undergraduate level in anthropology. The annual award goes to the graduate senior in anthropology having the highest overall grade point average. Names of former “Smitty” Award winners are prominently displayed on a plaque in the Department.
The David and Elizabeth DeJarnette Endowed Scholarship in Anthropology is awarded to support graduate student research on Moundville or Mesoamerica-related topics. Each spring, the award is made during the popular DeJarnette BBQ, held at Moundville Archaeoligical Park on the Saturday of Honors Week. Since it was founded in 1993 by Sarah and James Caldwell, the endowment has steadily grown. In recent years, our DeJarnette Scholars have received awards of as much as $6,000.
The Evolution Education Fund (EEF) supports evolution education activities organized by and in conjunction with the University of Alabama. EEF supports evolution education broadly construed and across academic and professional disciplines. Funded activities include the Alabama Lectures on Life’s Evolution (ALLELE, http://evolution.as.ua.edu/), organized and hosted by the Evolution Working Group; Darwin Day activities hosted by the Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) minor and Club, which are housed in the Department of Anthropology (http://evolutionarystudies.as.ua.edu/); Speaking Evolution TV series and teacher resource site (http://www.speakingevolution.org/); and other evolution education-related programs and opportunities.
The Hughes Prize recognizes students who have captured the imagination of the faculty by potential, intransigence, inventiveness, perserverance, insight, or a combination of those traits.
The Panamerican Consultants, Inc. Award (formerly The Bob Work Award) is a graduate student paper competition with a monetary prize. Archaeology graduate students submit papers for review by a faculty, and the winner receives recognition at our annual Holiday party.
The Richard A. Krause Award is given for academic excellence at the graduate level in anthropology. The recipient of this annual award is chosen by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department based on classroom performance and the promise of the student’s proposed thesis or dissertation research project.
The Vernon James Knight Endowed Scholarship in Anthropology will be awarded to students enrolled in the Anthropology graduate program who are conducting research on the anthropology of art and design, with a preference for iconography projects. Secondary consideration shall be given to undergraduate majors with the same research interests.
Checks directed to any of these initiatives should be made out to the UA College of Arts and Sciences and mailed to the Department at the address below. If you would like to discuss a contribution, please contact Department Chair Ian Brown (email@example.com) or College of Arts & Sciences Director of Development Kathy Yarbrough (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Archaeologist Dr. Steve Kosiba was especially busy throughout the spring and summer 2014. Dr. Kosiba started a new archaeological project at Huanacauri, one of the earliest and most important religious complexes of the Inca Empire. The research received funding from the National Geographic Society, the Brennan Foundation, and the University of Alabama. The goal of the research was to understand the religious practices that first supported Inca regional authority in Cuzco, their sacred capital city. Perched on a 4,120m summit overlooking Cuzco, Huanacauri was essential to Inca ceremonies and beliefs. According to legend, one of the first Incas became a god at Huanacauri. Here, in ceremonies held during the height of Inca rule, young boys became elites and Inca emperors affirmed their rule (2, 12, 22). Preliminary research, however, indicates that this site was established long before Inca ascendancy (11). In light of these findings, Kosiba directed intensive archaeological excavations to test whether the Incas adopted, transformed, or invented traditional ritual practices as they converted this mountaintop into an emblem of their authority.
The excavations offered an unprecedented glimpse of the ritual practices through which the Incas established their divine authority in Cuzco. Kosiba and the excavation team—including Katherine Lazzara, a UA Anthropology graduate student—assiduously worked on the mountaintop, enduring frigid conditions, hail, blistering sun, and high winds to recover and document the remains of this important Inca shrine. In particular, they uncovered intact buildings that were used for corn beer (chicha) production, suggesting that alcohol and intoxication were essential to the most solemn and sacred Inca rituals. In essence, they may have discovered the highest and holiest brewery in the indigenous Americas! What is more, the excavations demonstrated that Huanacauri was most likely built long after the Incas consolidated their state in Cuzco, overturning theories which hold that the Incas grounded their religion of mountaintop shrine worship in earlier cultural traditions. Finally, the excavations revealed that the Incas destroyed and interred the shrines of Huanacauri as they relinquished their power in the face of Spanish conquest in 1532 AD. The project is now conducting a comprehensive analysis of the materials, soils, and building materials from Huanacuari.
In addition to the fieldwork, Dr. Kosiba also presented his research to academic and public audiences on a “world tour” of lectures in Baton Rouge, LA (Louisiana State University); Providence, RI (Brown University); Stuttgart, Germany (Linden Museum); Austin, TX (Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology); Leipzig, Germany (Max Planck Institute); Lima, Peru (Proyecto Qhapaq Ñan and Ministerio de Cultura); and Pisac, Peru (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru). In these talks, Kosiba presented archaeological, ethnohistorical, and Geographic Information Systems data to offer insights into how indigenous American perceptions of history and nature. Many of the lectures focused on how the Incas came to know and understand their past when they walked ritual pathways on which they encountered and communicated with mythological beings and culture heroes embedded in the stones and shrines of Cuzco.
Article an adaptation of introduction to SEAC symposium in honor of Jim Knight by Amanda Regnier
After over 24 years of the service to the Department, Dr. Vernon James “Jim” Knight, Jr. became Professor Emeritus in May 2014. Jim Knight’s history with UA is much more extensive, however, as his legacy stretches over the past 40+ years.
Dr. Knight’s first field experience in Alabama occurred working alongside the father of Alabama Archaeology, David DeJarnette, north of Mound R at Moundville in 1973 (Figure 1). After graduating from the University of Alabama in 1975, he went to work for the early incarnation of the Office of Archaeological Research at Moundville (OAR). In that same year, Dr. Knight published “Some Observations Concerning Plant Materials and Aboriginal Smoking in Eastern North America” in the Journal of Alabama Archaeology. We wonder how many archaeologists can say that an article they wrote just might have inspired numerous unofficial experimental studies among the archaeologists of the 1970s, and probably beyond? Or more seriously, how many archaeologists can say that their first published work in a state journal is still being cited?
In 1977, Dr. Knight completed his MA at the University of Toronto. His thesis was based on materials from survey work done in the Rother L. Harris reservoir (Figure 2) along the Tallapoosa River of east central Alabama in 1974, where he worked with John O’Hear. His thesis resulted in an initial culture historical sequence for this portion of the Alabama Piedmont. Dr. Knight continued to work in the Coosa and Tallapoosa drainages of eastern Alabama in the 1980s and authored a number of reports detailing surveys in east Alabama.
Dr. Knight’s long tradition of research into Mississippian ritual dates back at least as far as his work along the Lower Chattahoochee, particularly at Cemochechobee, where he worked alongside Frank and Gail Schnell for the Columbus Museum of Arts and Sciences. (Figure 3) Whispered graduate student legends state that he may have been thrown from the mound by an angry crewmember during that field project. Dr. Knight’s work in the Chattahoochee followed in the footsteps of Mr. DeJarnette, who worked in the Lower Chattahoochee in the mid-20th century. Anyone who has worked in that region has consulted his work on chronology at Cemochechobee and Singer-Moye, as well as his later Walter F. George survey and excavation reports to familiarize him/herself with the lower Chattahoochee culture historical sequence. In the past several years, he has worked with Karen Smith, who received her MA with Dr. Knight in 1999, on Swift Creek paddle designs and Woodland period chronology in the Chattahoochee and Lower Appalachicola.
Dr. Knight returned to OAR in 1981 after completing his doctoral research at the University of Florida in just three years and rose to the level of Senior Research Archaeologist. Dr. Knight directed or contributed to several studies of Woodland ceremonialism in Florida and Alabama during this time, (Figure 4) including his dissertation advisor Jerry Milanich’s work on McKeithen Weeden Island culture in north Florida and the OAR excavations of the Copena mound at the Walling site in the Tennessee Valley of northern Alabama. Based on these and other excavations at Woodland sites, Dr. Knight created a model of Woodland platform mound symbolism focused on feasting and gift exchange with an emphasis on world renewal ceremonialism. These are intriguingly linked to historic Green Corn ceremonialism.
Dr. Knight’s work on Upper Creek archaeology goes back to his MA work in the Tallapoosa (Figure 5). His first Creek publication was in conjunction with Marvin Smith in 1980 and focused on ceramic changes at the Big Tallassee site between A.D. 1550-1800. His mid-1980s report of excavations at the Tukabatchee site in Elmore County established a chronology of Late Mississippian through Removal-period occupation in the lower Tallapoosa. His study of the importance of European goods and political leadership during the Early Historic period laid the groundwork for subsequent research on leadership in the Creek confederacy. Dr. Knight continued his work on the emergence of the historic Creeks, Creek ceramics, and the role of Creek clanship and political organization into the 1990s.
In the mid-1980s, as the 450th anniversary of the Hernando de Soto expedition approached, Dr. Knight served as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Alabama De Soto Commission (Figure 6). The goal of the commission was to evaluate new evidence for the route of the expedition through Alabama in 1540 and revise Swanton’s map created for the 400th anniversary. Working closely with geographical, historic, and archaeological scholars, notably Alabama geologist Douglas Jones and esteemed southeastern ethnohistorian Charles Hudson, the Commission tackled the thorny issue of the location of major Alabama sites along the route. The central focus in Alabama was the location of Chief Tascalusa’s attack at Mabila; arguments over its location proved as heated as the battle itself. The work of the commission ultimately resulted in the publication of the updated translations of the expedition narratives, a pair of volumes that sit on the shelves of countless archaeologists, historians, and amateur enthusiasts. In 2006, working with Dr. Jones, Dr. Knight once again convened a group of archaeologists, historians, and geographers to evaluate new evidence and reconsider old evidence. The end result was an edited volume that synthesizes the work of scholars from multiple disciplines and narrows down a location for Mabila.
Dr. Knight is probably best known for his work on Mississippian cultures, where he has published seminal works on Mississippian religion and ritual, symbolism and iconography, and social hierarchy. His dissertation and resulting publications explored Mississippian ritual, religion, and symbolism via structural theory, Muskogean ethnographic data, and archaeological evidence. This study described the symbolism in the Mississippian platform mound and identified three distinct branches of Mississippian religion.
In 1988, Dr. Knight joined the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alabama. He promptly set to work developing a research plan to work at Moundville (Figure 7). His decade-long NSF-funded excavations at Moundville began in 1993. In the 1990s and 2000s, his work researchers from other institutions and numerous projects by his graduate students turned the previous interpretation of the site onto its head (Figure 8). Working with Vin Steponaitis, Dr. Knight created a new site history that demonstrated the site reached peak population early in its history and later became a vacant center used for burials. His work comparing Moundville to a Chickasaw camp square provided a new way of looking at the arrangement of mounds around the plaza. The mound excavations at Moundville trained a decade’s worth of UA undergraduates in basic field methodology and resulted in an award-winning monograph (Figure 9).
Dr. Knight’s research into Mississippian iconography and the methodology of iconographic research has led to some a series discoveries on the nature of Mississippian religion. In 2001, along with James Brown, George Lankford, and the rest of the Iconography Working Group, Dr. Knight put forth the notion that so-called “Southeastern Ceremonial Complex art” depicted mythological heroes engaged in acts detailed in legends, many of which can be attributed via ethnographic research (Figure 10). Dr. Knight bade the term “Southeastern Ceremonial Complex” farewell a few years later and then proclaimed we shouldn’t refer to these representational images as “art” either. Regardless of what you call this corpus of representational images found on artifacts from southeastern Mississippian sites, this realization about southeastern iconography opened up a whole new world of iconographic studies, and allowed archaeologists to tie motifs to particular site histories (Figure 11). Dr. Knight’s work with Vin Steponaitis on the iconographic style of Moundville demonstrated a preponderance of death or Beneath World images, according well with the use of the site as a burial place for residents of the surrounding Black Warrior Valley for much of its history. After years of teaching the intense graduate Iconography seminar at the University of Alabama, Dr. Knight really did write the book on New World iconographic methodology (Figure 12). It is a clear, concise summary of how to go about this research with the most rigorous methodology and avoid traps into which many other researchers have fallen.
In the early 2000s, Dr. Knight began branching into the Caribbean, working in Cuba (Figure 13). At the El Convento site, a large Late Ceramic Age village with a post-contact component, he reinterpreted ceramic chronologies and provided a basic occupational sequence. He then correlated the revised site history with existing ethnohistoric accounts to provide evidence that El Convento was the site of the encomienda of Bartolomé de Las Casas. Las Casas was the first person to argue on behalf of the rights of the indigenous peoples of the New World. In multiple years of fieldwork at El Chorro de Maíta, Dr. Knight and his research team sought to identify correlates of sociopolitical complexity in residential contexts at a large Late Ceramic Age chiefly center. These excavations provided new data regarding the production of highly crafted ritual items, the extent of post-contact material throughout the site, and offered a new model for the occupational history of the site. Artifacts and dates indicate the site had no early component and was very likely to have been established as a chiefly center. These data have implications for emergent complexity in Eastern Cuba and for the archaeology of the Late Ceramic Age. Knight has also conducted a formal analysis of ceramics from Chorro, resulting in a new interpretation of ceramic vessel shape and data regarding potential foodways of the peoples who lived in the Caribbean.
More recently, Dr. Knight has started an iconographic analysis of ceremonial gear from Cuba, including engraved shell gorgets, carved stone idols, and engraved shell beads. When this study is completed, this will be the first time someone has assembled the corpus of such items from Cuba. This will be critical for understanding the relationship of Late Ceramic Age Cuba to contemporaneous peoples throughout the Caribbean, addressing questions of rapidly adopted religious constructs, population movement, and new cultural practices.
Dr. Knight has influenced many careers in archaeology. His attention to the details of training students extends to lessons not evident in his publications but is obvious in the ways other working archaeologists now conduct fieldwork.
Lessons Learned from Dr. Knight
When working in the field:
Keep your field equipment clean, organized, and in working order at ALL times!
Seriously, no, I mean it. Keep your field equipment clean, organized, and in working order at ALL times!
Don’t be the guy with a trowel holster. In fact, why do you even need to have your own trowel? Just use one from the field desk.
Keep your field skills sharp, so when you occasionally jump into a unit to show your students how it’s done, they are in awe of your ability to flatten a floor or straighten a wall.
When working in the lab:
Field rules 1 & 2 also apply to the lab.
Leaving a tray of anything out on the lab table and walking away is asking for a disaster.
When dealing with students:
Never underestimate the power of a raised eyebrow and uncomfortable silence to bring a wayward graduate student into line.
If that doesn’t get the message across, lean back in your chair and press your fingertips together.
If that fails, take off your glasses.
When a graduate student is hiding from you, call them and ominously say, “This is your conscience calling,” whenever they answer the phone. Maintain an uncomfortable silence while they inform you of their progress. Repeat on a weekly basis until they finally turn something in.
Knight’s rules for writing:
If it is obvious, then you should never have to state it.
Be intentional and decisive in your writing, and choose sides. Remind your students, following Marvin Harris, YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE!!!
Don’t worry about following theoretical trends. Do what you are interested in, and do it well. Regardless of whether someone notices down the line, you will still have made a good effort doing what interests you.
“In regards” is NOT to be used. There is always something else you can use.
Good writers do not use the phrase “in terms of…”.
NO POSTAL ABBREVIATIONS.
Avoid words like “important” and “valuable.” One assumes so.
Nothing is ever unique—so don’t use that word!
Never say “interesting” in formal writing.
“Great” is a word widely used by sportscasters. Please discard it forever.
“As well” is never a good way to start a sentence.
“Drastically” is a word much misused. Means an extreme or radical effect, almost violent, not simply unsuitable. Make sure this is what you mean.
For emphasis, use italics. All caps is shouting in prose.
Good writers never say “looked at,” as in someone looked at something in their research. Instead, good writers use words that are not as vague.
A total of $32,134 was donated to the Department of Anthropology from 19 different organizations or private individuals in 2013-14. We received one donation since the last newsletter from Roberta S. Largin. We are grateful for the support. These gifts helped support faculty research ($21,000), graduate student research ($8900), or student scholarship ($2234) during this past year. In-kind donations were also made to provide books for the Anthropology Reading Room Library and benches for the ground floor in ten Hoor.
The Department distributed $12,200 in student awards and scholarships during the academic year. The majority of these funds went to two graduate student recipients of the DeJarnette Scholarship (Clay Nelson and Rachel Briggs, $5,000 each), but a number of undergraduates also benefited from scholarship aid as well (Maryanne Mobley and Meghan Steel, and Katie Moss—$500 each). The Alan Maxwell Scholarship is now an endowed fund, awarded this year to Max Stein, and will be reported upon in next year’s annual report.
We welcome contributions and have several funds to which donations can be made, including the DeJarnette, Maxwell, Smith, and Krause awards, the Anthropology Club, and the Archaeology Field School at Moundville. Please contact Teri Kirkendoll (email@example.com) for more information or to make a contribution.
Mr. Daniel Turner (UA Anthropology BA, 2010) is currently Field Director for Panamerican Consultants, Inc. His senior year research at UA resulted in a publication, “Palisade Construction and Labor Costs in the Moundville Chiefdom,” Journal of Alabama Archaeology 65(2):66-77. Daniel continued his study of labor costs and ancient architecture with a study of Viking earthworks while enrolled at Cambridge University, where he received his MPhil degree in Archaeological Research in 2012.
Ms. LeeAnne Wendt (UA Anthropology BA, 2006) was named the Tribal Archaeologist for the Muskogee Nation of Oklahoma beginning in September. After graduating from UA, she worked for Panamerican Consultants, Inc. in various capacities as an archaeologist. She received her MA degree in Anthropology from the University of Mississippi this year.
This past fall, we welcomed three new faculty members. Drs. Lesley Jo Weaver and Cameron Lacquement joined our faculty as Assistant Professors. In addition, Dr. David Meek, spouse of Dr. Weaver, joined as an Adjunct Faculty member in our department and taught a course for us in the fall 2014.
Jo Weaver received her Ph.D. and M.P.H from Emory University. She does research around the topics of chronic diseases, mental health, and nutrition in Brazil and India. Her doctoral work focused on social and family roles among women with type 2 diabetes in urban North India. Here she found that although women’s family roles in this cultural context can be extremely demanding and may detract from women’s ability to take care of their diabetes, these roles provide a source of social cohesion that appears to protect them from the mental ill health that often accompanies diabetes. Dr. Weaver is currently developing a new project on food insecurity and mental health in rural Brazil. As a response to public health and development initiatives that tend to examine only the nutritional aspects of food insecurity, this project is designed to test the relative contribution of both nutritional and social pathways in the established link between food insecurity and mental ill health. This is one arm of a larger global comparative study she is conducting with colleagues who work in Ethiopia, Haiti, and Malawi. Pilot work she conducted in 2013 suggested that in this community, social aspects of food insecurity, such as eating foods that carry the stigma of being “poor people’s foods,” may be just as damaging to mental health as the nutritional insufficiency that is sometimes also associated with food insecurity.
Cameron Lacquement received his undergraduate degree from Western Carolina University in anthropology focusing on forensics and criminal justice in 2002. He received his masters from UA under the supervision of Dr. Jim Knight in 2004 by examining domestic architecture in the Black Warrior and Tombigbee River valleys. The project required examining the archaeological evidence in the area but also had a experimental component, which involved the building and burning of a full-sized early Mississippian flexed pole house. During this time, he started branching out to other disciplines to support his research including wood science technology and structural engineering. His master’s research has been published as a book through the University of Alabama Press and an article in the Journal Of Primitive Technology. In 2009, Dr. Lacquement received his Ph.D from UA. His dissertation research examined prehistoric monumental structures and landscapes and quantified the amount of labor necessary to create them in order to address the sociopolitical organization of labor involved in the construction of prehistoric monuments in the Southeast US. Portions of his research have been published and presented at SEAC. Since completing his degree, Dr. Lacquement has served as a instructor and now Assistant Professor in the department. He teaches many of the introduction classes, creates and maintains online classes, and serves as the Director of Undergraduate Studies. In his off-time, Dr. Lacquementenjoys woodworking and carpentry, bowling, and playing softball for the department’s team, the Argonauts.
David Meek (PhD University of Georgia, 2014) is an environmental anthropologist, critical geographer, and education scholar with an area specialization in Brazil. Dr. Meek theoretically grounds his research in a synthesis of political ecology, critical pedagogy, and place-based education. His interests include sustainable agriculture, social movements, and environmental education. Dr. Meek’s work has been conducted using a combination of traditional anthropological and cartographic methods, such as GIS, remote sensing, and historic aerial photography. Dr. Meek has carried out research on sustainable agriculture education within Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement. This research explored how people learn about sustainable agriculture through political participation and the potential impact this learning has on agricultural practices and landscape changes. Dr. Meek’s past research focused on the relationships between public policies, economic incentives, and educational processes within an agrarian reform settlement in the Brazilian Amazon. Dr. Meek is currently collaborating on a research project with UA’s Dr. Caroline Boxmeyer looking at the relationship between K-5 students’ participation in the Druid City Garden project and academic performance, environmental knowledge, and nutritional choices. Dr. Meek has also been appointed a co-coordinator for a UNESCO-funded project that is bringing twenty MST activists from Brazil to various locations in the United States to work on agroecological community organizing. As part of a larger applied anthropological research project, he is exploring how this transnational solidarity exchange program influences US grassroots organizations’ knowledge about strategies of social mobilization, and agroecological techniques. While scholarship on transnational solidarity movements is growing, this research focuses on the unexplored element of non-formal learning that happens within these networks. In a series of publications currently under review, Dr. Meek has begun advancing a theoretical framework of the political ecology of education. This perspective illuminates how the reciprocal relations between political economic forces and pedagogical opportunities—from tacit to formal learning—affect the production, dissemination, and contestation of environmental knowledge at various interconnected scales. The various research projects that Dr. Meek is involved with provide empirical data to support the advancement of the political ecology of education framework.
In addition to faculty, eight new graduate students joined the department in the fall, and three of our previous MA students were accepted to continue working with us as doctoral students. Clay Nelson is an archaeologist who received his BA and MA from UA and will continue at the doctoral level focusing on Southeastern U.S. archaeology and Mississippian societies. Ashley Stewart received her BA from Auburn in 2010 and a master’s degree from our department this past spring and will continue her focus in bioarchaeology here at the doctoral level. Mirjam Holleman joins us as a doctoral student in the Biocultural Medical program. She completed her BA and MA in the Netherlands and will focus on disabilities research in Poland.
Several new master’s students also joined us. Shannon Edsall (BA, Auburn) and Allyson Harrison (BA, University of Michigan-Dearborn) joined us to study bioarchaeology. Katie Lazzara (BS/BA, University of Iowa), Cassie Medeiros (BA, William & Mary), and Gracie Riehm (BA, University of Georgia) are archaeology students. Katie is here to study Andean archaeology, Cassie joined us to study the archaeology of alcohol, and Gracie is interested in Southeastern archaeology and the Late Mississippian and Contact periods. Nikki Henderson (BS, Emory) and Edward Quinn (BA, University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse) are biocultural medical students. Nikki joined us to study mental health and addiction, while Edward is focused on social rank and chronic stress.
Briggs, Rachel V.
The Hominy Foodway in the Historic Native Eastern Woodlands. Presented at the 71st Annual Southeastern Archaeology Conference, Greenville, South Carolina, November 12-15.
Dressler, William W. Cultural consonance as a mediator of health disparities. Abstracts of the 113th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Washington, DC, December 3-7.
Galbraith, Marysia H.
Przeszłość, teraźniejszość i pryszłość: zmienne orientacje czasowe w Polsce od 1989 (Past, Present, and Future: Changing Temporal Orientations in Poland since 1989), University of Rzeszów,Rzeszów, Poland, November 4.
Galbraith, Marysia H.
Being and Becoming European in Poland: European Integration and Self-Identity, at the conference Political Culture: European Norms and Polish Reality, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland, December 17.
Herndon, Kelsey E., B.A. Houk, and D.S. Sandrock
The 2014 Excavations at Chan Chich, Belize. Presented at the 2014 Belize Anthropology and Archaeology Symposium; San Ignacio, Belize, July 4.
Knight, Vernon James The Archaeology of Moundville’s Sociogram. Invited lecture for the Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. September 29.
Lynn, Christopher D., Virgil Roy Beasley, III, Kelsey E. Herndon, H. Francois Dengah, II, A. Brooke Persons
Anthropology is Elementary and can be Taught There: Teaching Four-Field Anthropology to 3rd and 4th Grade Students. Talk at presented at the 113th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Washington, DC, December 3-7.
Lynn, Christopher D., and Baba Brinkman
“Rap Guide to Evolution” Influences on Knowledge, Attitudes, and Emotions. Talk at the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA, October 17-18.
Meek, David Producing Places: Politics of Mapping Technologies and Cartographic Production. American Anthropological Association annual conference. Washington, D.C., December 3rd-7th.
Nelson, Ted Clay Mortuary Practices, Social Status, and Wealth at the Rhodes Site in Moundville, Alabama. Paper presented at the 71st annual meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Greenville, SC, November 13.
Oths, Kathryn Global Health Policy toward Traditional Healers: A 21st Century Update (poster). American Anthropological Association, Abstracts of the 113th Annual Meetings, Washington, DC, Dec. 3-7.
Regnier, Amanda, Erin Phillips, and Rachel V. Briggs
From Mound Ritual to Iconography to Spanish Conquistadors: Papers in Honor of Vernon James Knight, Jr. 71st Annual Southeastern Archaeology Conference, Greenville, South Carolina, November 12-15.
Simova, Borislava, David W. Mixter, and Lisa J. LeCount
The Social Lives of Structures: Veneration Rituals and Changing Cultural Landscapes at Actuncan, Belize. A paper presented at the 12th annual Belize Archaeology symposium, San Ignacio, Belize, July 2.
Weaver, Lesley Jo “My mind is a little different”: Suffering and Resilience among Women with Type 2 Diabetes in North India. American Anthropological Association annual conference, Washington, DC, December 3-7.
Rebecca Read-Wahidi and Jera R. Davis received the PhD in Anthropology in December. Read-Wahidi defended her dissertation, “A Model Guadalupan: Devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe and Psychosocial Stress Among Mexican Immigrants to the South.” Her dissertation committee included Jason DeCaro (advisor), William Dressler, Michael Murphy, Kathryn Oths, and Mariana Gabarrot.
Davis defended her dissertation on October 17. The title of her dissertation is “On Common Ground: Social Memory and the Plaza at Early Moundville.” Her dissertation committee members were John H. Blitz (advisor), Vernon J. Knight, Lisa J. LeCount, Kathryn Oths, and F. Kent Reilly III. An article on her dissertation research will appear in the January 2015 American Antiquity.
On October 10, the University of West Alabama at Livingston hosted an “Afternoon of Anthropology” with Dr. Kathy Oths, who gave two talks on her work for our department. She gave a talk about her study of Tuscaloosa farmers markets entitled “Farmers Markets and Foodies: Conflict, Change, and Resolution” and another regarding her project in Peru called “Medical Tradition in the Peruvian Highlands: What Time and Climate Change Have Wrought.”
Just in time for the holidays, Dr. Chris Lynn published initial results of his study of fireside relaxation in the open access journal Evolutionary Psychology, which has received attention from Huffington Post, Discover Magazine, Men’s Health, Fox 4/WBRC in Birmingham, Mail Online, Paleo (in Spanish), and UA A&S Desktop News. In the experimental study, Lynn found that even watching a fire simulation (e.g., a Yule log DVD) for as little as 15 minutes can reduce blood pressure when it simulates some of the naturalistic conditions of a real fire, such as the crackling sounds. He speculates that this capacity may have played an important role in human cognitive evolution, given the long history of humans and controlled fire.
Several students have been involved in Dr. Lynn’s fireside relaxation study over the past few years, and last year undergraduate Meghan Steel gave a presentation about it at the American Anthropological Association annual meeting that was blogged about by Sydney Yeager for the Anthropology of Consciousness. Meghan introduced a prosociality measure to the third iteration of the project, and Lynn found that participants who scored higher on the prosociality scale achieved greater relaxation benefits.
Dr. David Meek was awarded a $700 SECU Faculty travel grant from the Office of Academic Affairs to travel to the University of Mississippi and collaborate with scholars at the Southern Foodways Alliance.
At the annual Department Holiday party on December 18, doctoral students Rachel Briggs and Paul Eubanks were presented with the Panamerican and Richard A. Krause Prizes, respectively. Professor Emeritus Richard Krause is an archaeologist and cultural anthropologist who served the Department of Anthropology at UA for 31 years during a crucial period of development. Because of his commitment to graduate student training, the Krause Prize was established to recognize students who display academic excellence at the graduate level based on the promise of the student’s proposed thesis or dissertation. The Panamerican Award for Scholarly Excellence in Archaeology
Paul Eubanks was also a finalist in the “Three-Minute Thesis” that was sponsored by the UA Graduate School in November.
Achsah Dorsey (MA 2014) received the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Research by a Masters Student award for her biocultural work in Tanzania on maternal and child health. She is now a finalist for the University-wide honor. Achsah recently began PhD studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
An outstanding group of Graduate School Research and Travel Award applications were received in the fall. The Anthropology Department can only nominate a limited number because of a requirement to provide matching funds. Nine applications were received, and five were nominated. The graduate school awarded funding as follows:
Erik Porth, $300 from the graduate school, $100 from the department
Lynn Funkhouser, $300 from the graduate school, $100 from the department
Jessica Kowalski, $300 from the graduate school, $100 from the department
Greg Batchelder, $100 from the graduate school, $100 from the department
Ashley Stewart, $100 from the graduate school, $100 from the department
Greg Batchelder was also the recipient of a $200 Research and Travel Grant from the UA College of Arts and Sciences toward traveling to Washington, DC to present ?? at the American Anthropological Association annual meeting.
Skeuomorphs and the Construction of Object Value in the Ancient Eastern Woodlands. Paper presented at the 79th Annual Meeting, Society for American Archaeology, Austin, TX, April 23-27.
Briggs, Rachel V.
Evidence for Nixtamalizaton in the Southeastern United States. Poster presented at the 79th Annual Society for American Archaeology Conference, Austin, TX, April 23-27.
Briggs, Rachel V.
The Ethnohistory of Nixtamalization in the Southeastern United States. Paper presented at the 37th Annual Society for Ethnobiology Conference, Cherokee, NC, May 11-14.
Brinkman, Baba and Christopher Lynn Quantifying Impacts of Peer-Reviewed Rap. Eighth Annual Conference of the NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society, New Paltz, NY, April 10-13.
Brown, Richard A., II, and William W. Dressler
Cultural consonance and the course of diabetes. Abstracts of the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, March 19-23, Albuquerque, NM.
Dressler, William W.
Who’s culturally consonant, and why? Abstracts of the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, March 19-23, Albuquerque, NM.
Dressler, William W.
Cultural Consonance: Linking the Cultural, the Individual, and the Biological. Invited lecture for the Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, Jan. 31.
Dressler, William W.
Culture: Consensus, Contention, Distribution, and Consonance. Invited lecture for the Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA, March 14.
A Reconstruction of the Caddo Salt Making Process at Drake’s Salt Works. Paper Presented at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Caddo Conference, Tyler Texas.
Herndon, Kelsey E., BA Houk, M Willis, and CP Walker.
The Structure from Motion Solution: Mapping Structure A-5 at Chan Chich, Belize. Presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology; Austin, Texas.
Kosiba, Steve “The Cultural Landscape of Cusco before the Inkas” and “Wari Influence on Inka State Development.” Invited Lectures. Papers presented at the special symposium “The Inkas and their Origins,” Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany.
Kosiba, Steve “By this Standard: The Materiality of Social Difference in the Inka Heartland.” Paper presented at the 79th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Austin, TX.
Kosiba, Steve “Feeding Time: Human-Animal Sacrifices and the Making of Ontological Boundaries in the Inka Empire.” Invited Lecture. Paper presented at the special symposium “Animal Magnetism: The Push and Pull of Consocial Life,” Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology, Brown University, Providence, RI.
Kosiba, Steve “Assembling an Inka Landscape: The Construction of Land and Subjects at Inka Imperial Ollantaytambo (Cusco, Peru).” Invited Lecture. Paper presented at the Linden Museum, Stuttgart, Germany.
Kosiba, Steve “Cultivating a Sacred Environment: Politics, Ecology, and the Production of Landscape in the Early Inka Empire.” Invited Lecture. Paper presented to the Department of Anthropology and Geography, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.
Kosiba, Steve “La percepción del espacio en el mundo andino.” Invited Lecture. Paper presented at the special conference of the Programa de Estudios Andinos, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru. Pisac, Peru.
Kosiba, Steve “The Nature of the Inka City: Labor Coordination and Road Networks in Imperial Ollantaytambo and Cusco.” Invited Lecture. Paper presented at the special symposium “Nuevas Tendencias en el estudio del Camino Inka,” Proyecto Qhapaq Ñan and Ministerio de Cultura. Lima, Peru.
Lawhon, Taylor, Karl Bennett, and Paul Eubanks Preliminary Interpretations from Two Potential Habitation Zones at Drake’s Salt Works. Paper Presented at the 71st Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Greenville, S.C.
Lynn, Christopher Hard-to-Fake Signaling of Religious Commitment Reduces Biological Stress where Just Trying to Manage Impressions Does Not. Eighth Annual Conference of the NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society, New Paltz, NY, April 10-13.
Murphy, Michael Dean
Diversidad y contrastes en la cultura universitaria norteamericana (Diversity and Contrastes in American University Culture” presented at the Universidad de Huelva (Spain). February 14.
Murphy, Michael Dean
Lo público y lo privado en la cultura universitaria norteamericana: el caso de la Universidad de Alabama (The Public and the Private in American University Culture: the Case of the University of Alabama) presented at the Universidad de Granada (Spain). February 25.
Oths, Kathryn S., Adam Booher, Rodrigo Lazo, and Max Stein Biomedicine Meets a Highland Bonesetter: A Workshop Inspired by Systematic Discovery. Society for Applied Anthropology, Albuquerque, NM, Mar. 18-22.
Pratt, Lauren V. and Christopher Lynn Human Evolution at the Hearth: The Influence of Fire on Relaxation and Psychophysiology. Eighth Annual Conference of the NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society, New Paltz, NY, April 10-13.
Stein, Max J.
Culture, Social Networks and Health among Andean Migrants in Northern Peru. Paper presented to Department of Anthropology, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS.
Wells, E. Christian, Lisa J. LeCount, Thomas R. Jamison, Kara A. Rothenberg, and David W. Mixter
Ancient Maya Urban Soilscapes as Geochemical Reservoirs: Characterization of Lime-plaster Surfaces from the Palace Complex at Actuncan, Belize. A paper presented at the Association of American Geographers in the Special Session Geoarchaeology: Soils, Sediments, Cultural Stone, and Paleoenvironments, organized by Timothy Beach, Tampa, Florida, April 8-12.
Blitz, John H., C. Fred Andrus, and Lauren E. Downs
Schlerochronological Detection of Seasonality at a Late Woodland Mound. American Antiquity 79(4):697-711.
Brown, Ian W. Time Travelers in England: Americans in Search of Salt. Tuscaloosa, AL: Borgo Publishing.
Dressler, William W. and Kathryn S. Oths
Social Survey Methods in Anthropological Fieldwork. In: Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology. 2nd Ed., H. Russell Bernard and Clarence C. Gravlee, Eds., Altamira Press.
González Faraco, Juan Carlos and Michael D. Murphy
El Rocío de Antoine de Latour. Exvoto 4(3): 253-281.
Herndon, Kelsey E., G. Zaro, B.A. Houk, S. Mitchell, and E. Gallis
The 2014 Excavations of the Chan Chich Dynastic Architecture Project. In The 2014 Season of the Chan Chich Archaeological Project, edited by B.A. Houk, pp. 31-68. Papers of the Chan Chich Archaeological Project, Number 8. Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, Texas Tech University, Lubbock.
Knight, Vernon James Taking Stock of Social Theory in Southeastern Archaeology. Southeastern Archaeology 33(2):206-207.
Kosiba, Steve and Andrew M. Bauer
Mapeando el paisaje politico: hacia una análisis SIG de las diferencias medioambientales y sociales. Cuadernos de Qhapaq Ñan 2(1):120-160.
Lynn, Christopher D.
Hearth and Campfire Influences on Arterial Blood Pressure: Defraying the Costs of the Social Brain through Fireside Relaxation. Evolutionary Psychology 12(5):983-1003, epjournal.net/3397.
Mixter, David, Kara Fulton, Lauren Bussiere, and Lisa LeCount
Living through Collapse: An Analysis of Maya Residential Modifications during the Terminal Classic Period at Actuncan, Belize. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 11:55-66.
Weaver, Lesley Jo and Bonnie Kaiser.
Developing Locally-Validated Mental Health Measurement Tools: Examples from India and Haiti. Field Methods epub ahead of print, 25 Sept 2014, DOI: 10.1177/1525822X14547191.
Weaver, Lesley Jo
Review of Reconstructing Obesity: The Meaning of Measures and the Measure of Meanings. Medical Anthropology Quarterly epub ahead of print, 31 July 2014, DOI: 10.1111/maq.12133.
Willis, M.D., B.A. Houk, Kelsey E. Herndon, and C. Walker
Structure from Motion Mapping of Structure A-15 at Chan Chich. In The 2014 Season of the Chan Chich Archaeological Project, edited by B.A. Houk, pp. 21-30. Papers of the Chan Chich Archaeological Project, Number 8, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, Texas Tech University, Lubbock.
After many years of loyal service, the database built in the Stone Age of the internet (the ’80s) by our own esteemed technology advance guardsman, Professor Emeritus Jim Bindon, was retired by necessity. It was built in ColdFusion, essentially the Beta of databases, and was no longer supported. Fortunately, we were able to have it transferred to another server and service and are now up and running again with institutional support. Thank you, Jim, for your technological innovations and many years of maintaining them for our behalf.
In addition to tried and true wonders of technology to streamline our workflow are new innovations. One I’ve become fond of in 2014 is the vBookz PDF Voice Reader app. This app reads PDFs that have been processed with OCR text recognition software. It comes at a cost of $4.99 from the Apple Store and can be used with a female or male voice. While the voices are a bit robotic and mispronounced some words, it is good enough to make plowing through a pile of papers that need grading, theses and dissertations that need evaluating, or the numerous readings per week for our various classes much easier. I even scan in books to make better use of the time I’m walking the dog, driving to campus, or even so I can walk around campus and enjoy the weather while reading. Listening goes much faster than reading because you don’t slow down when your mind wanders (though you may have to rewind occasionally).
The Department of Anthropology was lucky to have several visitors who gave planned and extemporaneous talks in the spring 2014. On February 21, the Anthropology Club co-hosted a FABBL (Friday Afternoon Brown Bag Lunch) talk with Dr. Mark Moberg from the University of Southern Alabama entitled “How ‘Fair’ is Fair Trade: Contrasting Views of Economic Morality among Caribbean Banana Farmers.” Dr. Moberg is the editor-in-chief of Human Organization, the research journal for the Society for Applied Anthropology. His work focuses on trade, globalization, and political economy in the Caribbean and Latin America.
As part of our Extemporaneous Talks series (ET #3), Dr. Jim Hall, formerly of UA’s New College and now of Rochester Institute of Technology, gave a talk on February 24, 2014 about UA anthropologist Solon Kimball and the Talladega Study. Kimball, who was a founding member of the American Ethnological Association and Council on Anthropology and Education, was instrumental in developing and administering the Talladega Study, which led to the establishment of the town’s public health program. The Study highlighted a painful aspect of academia at that period time with regard to segregation. Dr. Hall spoke of how Kimball and his collaborators appear to have been anti-segregationists but could not convince the Talladega community to allow African-Americans, who constituted 1/3 of the town’s population, to participate in the study. In 1978, Kimball helped establish the Zora Neale Hurston Fellowship Award Fund to honor outstanding African-American graduates in anthropology, and the Kimball Award is issued every other year by the American Anthropological Association to an anthropologist who effects change in public policy. Though Kimball’s presence in our department is not part of the living memory of any current faculty members, Dr. Jim Knight, who grew up in the Talladega area, recalled taking an undergraduate course with Kimball when he had moved on from UA and was a professor at the University of Florida.
ET #4 was presented on March 9 by Dr. Deborah Keene, a Senior Fellow for the Blount Undergraduate Initiative, Assistant Professor in Geological Sciences, and an Adjunct Faculty member of the Department of Anthropology. Her talk, “How Should You Prepare Pro-Evolution Students for an Anti-Evolution Reality?” dealt with her experience with investigating anti-evolution rhetoric in teaching students to examine sources critically.
On March 7, 2014, the Department of Anthropology and Lambda Alpha hosted a guest lecture “”Joara and Fort San Juan: Eventful Archaeology at the Berry Site”) and workshop (“Structure and the Problem with Macrosociality”) with Dr. Robin Beck. Dr. Beck is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Assistant Curator of North American Archaeology at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. He has worked in the Andes and in eastern North America, including NSF-supported research along the Catawba River at the Berry site in North Carolina. Dr. Beck received his master’s degree from UA in 1997 and his PhD from Northwestern University in 2004, both in anthropology.
Dr. Elizabeth Paris gave ET #5 on April 2 entitled “Form and Function in Small Maya Cities: A View from Highland Chiapas.” Dr. Paris is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at St. Lawrence University and previously an Adjunct Instructor and Research Associate of Anthropology at the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. Paris is a Mesoamerican archaeologist who talked about her work investigating smaller and less complex sites than those usually studied in the Maya region to distinguish between diversification and specialization in urban structural organization.
Our final lecture of the semester was a FABBL by PhD student Greg Batchelder on April 11 (“Batchhunder’s Travels: Participatory Aesthetic Experience in World of Warcraft: Effects on Mood and Mental Wellness”). Greg earned his master’s degree at Colorado State University, where he also participated in team research under Dr. Jeffrey Snodgrass on a psychological anthropological study of World of Warcraft play.
As highlighted in the Tuscaloosa News and UA News, PhD student Clay Nelson has received a graduate research assistantship from the Office of Archaeological Research (OAR) and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation to look at Creek homeland sites. The goal of the project is to finds links between the archaeological record of the Tennessee Valley and sites in Alabama and Georgia. Nelson will be advised by Dr. Ian Brown and Eugene Futato, deputy director of OAR. Nelson’s goal is to better understand what was happening in the Southeastern U.S. after European contact.