John Abbott, Instructor

(205) 348-0534 |

Alex Benitez, Instructor

(205) 371-2234 |

James Bindon, Professor Emeritus

I studied a variety of biological outcomes among Samoans such as infant and childhood health and growth, adult obesity and blood pressure, DNA polymorphisms and physique, and chronic diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. I related these health outcomes to residence in different communities, diet and activity patterns, education and occupation, and stress due to changing lifestyles as a result of modernization and migration (see several of the papers listed below for details). I also conducted similar research on biocultural aspects of health among the Mississippi Choctaw, in an African-American population in Alabama and among hotel workers in Hawaii.  For the past decade plus, I have been reading and teaching about all aspects of race: origins of the concept, misapplications to humans especially in the U.S., genetics and race, etc.

Elliot Blair, Assistant Professor

25-E ten Hoor Hall | (205) 348-6542 |

  • Complex societies of the Americans
  • Mississippi and Colonial Southeast U.S.
  • Mission Santa Catalina de Guale

John H. Blitz, Professor Emeritus

25-D ten Hoor Hall | (205) 348-4074 |

  • Theoretical: Anthropological archaeology, origins of rank, class, and complex societies, sociopolitical differentiation and integration, political economy of households and communities, material correlates of social memory and collective identity, technological change
  • Methodological: regional and site settlement analysis, pottery chronology and function, analysis of monumental architecture
  • Regional and Temporal: U.S. Southeast, especially Mississippian and Woodland periods (Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia), Maya Lowlands (Belize)

William F. Bomar, Adjunct

(205) 348-7551 |

Ian W. Brown, Professor Emeritus

416 Mary Harmon Bryant Hall | (205) 348-9758 |

  • Southeastern U. S. archaeology
  • Museum anthropology
  • Archaeological material culture
  • Native American prehistory and ethnohistory
  • The role of salt in world history and prehistory
  • Historical archaeology
  • Historic cemeteries and gravestone studies
Rachel Cajigas

Rachel Cajigas, Instructor

25F ten Hoor |

  • geoarchaeology
  • early agriculture in NW Mexico/SW United States
  • Southeastern archaeology
  • mound building and monumental architecture
  • coastal environments
  • shallow geophysical prospection

Katherine L. Chiou, Assistant Professor

24-D ten Hoor Hall / LAB: 415 Mary Harmon Bryant Hall | (205) 348-1929 |

  • Anthropological Archaeology
  • Paleoethnobotany/Archaeobotany
  • Andean Archaeology
  • Archaeology of Food
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and 3D Modeling
  • Household Archaeology
  • Archaeological Ethics
  • Genus Capsicum


Jason DeCaro, Marilyn Williams Elmore and John Durr Elmore Professor and Department Chair

14 ten Hoor Hall | Office: (205) 348-9061, Lab: (205) 348-7792 |

  • Human development across the lifecourse
  • Biocultural medical and psychological anthropology
  • Human evolutionary biology
  • Social epidemiology
  • East Africa, Central America, USA

Richard Diehl, Professor Emeritus

Richard Diehl is a Mesoamerican archaeologist. He received his education from William T. Sanders and Paul T. Baker, who taught him cultural ecology, cultural evolution, and the centrality of field research to all good anthropology. Diehl’s research has focused on the pre-Columbian cultures of central Mexico and the Olmec culture of the tropical lowlands of the Mexican Gulf coast (see Olmec head in photo to the right). His field research includes projects at Tula, San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán Matacapan, Kaminaljuyu, and La Mojarra, settlement pattern surveys in the Basin of Mexico, and ethnographic research on contemporary settlement patterns in the Basin of Mexico and peasant agriculture in the tropical lowlands of Veracruz.

William Dressler, Professor Emeritus

24-B ten Hoor Hall | (205) 348-1954 |

  • Biocultural medical anthropology
  • Culture and disease risk
  • Culture and the individual
  • Cultural consonance

Marysia Galbraith, Professor

17 ten Hoor Hall | (205) 348-8412 |

  • National and ethnic identity
  • East and Central Europe
  • Globalization

Katy Groves, Instructor

(205) 348-5947 |

Courtney Helfrecht, Assistant Professor

13 ten Hoor Hall | (205) 348-7293 |

  • Biocultural medical anthropology
  • Impact of cultural/physical stressors on biomarker patterning and developmental trajectories
  • Socio-cultural and evolutionary determinants of childhood health and growth
  • Evolution of human childhood
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: Ethiopia (Sidama agropastoralists) and Central African Republic (Aka foragers and Ngandu horticulturalists)

Holly Horan, Assistant Professor

10-B ten Hoor Hall |

  • Applied biocultural, medical anthropology
  • Decolonizing anthropology
  • Syndemic Theory
  • Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Latin America
  • Maternal and infant health with an emphasis on timing of delivery
  • Developmental origins of health and disease and stress during the childbearing year
  • Alternative models of maternity/reproductive health care
  • Birth workers (doulas and midwives) and their capacity for improving health outcomes for the under/unjustly-served
  • Social justice and community engaged research (CEnR)
  • Health Systems Reform

Deborah Keene, Adjunct

1036 Tom Bevill Building |

Vernon James Knight, Professor Emeritus

(205) 348-2026 |

Knight’s interests include the origin and development of complex societies, the archaeology of social organization and religion, and archaeological approaches to iconography. His work particularly concerns the late prehistoric, early historic, and colonial periods of the Southeast and Caribbean, with emphasis on ethnohistorical reconstruction. Knight believes that graduates of a course of study in anthropological archaeology should be at home in the field, in the laboratory, in the classroom, and in the museum. He views his role in graduate training as primarily one of developing the student’s research competence, both through guiding their mastery of published scholarship and through providing opportunities for practical experience. He serves with the Museum of Natural History as Curator of Southeastern Archaeology.

Richard Krause, Professor Emeritus

He has conducted field research in the Great Plains of North America, Alaska, South Africa, Yucatán and the Southeastern United States. His primary interests include ethnoarchaeology, pottery manufacture and use from both ethnographic and archaeological perspectives, the articulation of mid-range theory with field and laboratory research and the epistemological precision of basic units of analysis, classification, and interpretation.

Cameron Lacquement, Assistant Teaching Professor

24-C ten Hoor Hall | (205) 348-1961 |

  • Southeastern archaeology
  • Monumental and domestic architecture
  • Moundville

Lisa LeCount, Professor

25-C ten Hoor Hall | 205-348-3733 |

  • Latin American archaeology
  • Origins of ancient Maya states
  • Pre-Columbian households
  • Feasting
  • Pottery
Chris Lynn

Christopher D. Lynn, Associate Professor

12 ten Hoor Hall / LAB: 37a Rowand-Johnson Hall | 205-348-4162 |

  • Biocultural medical anthropology
  • Human behavioral ecology
  • Evolutionary studies
  • Cultural impacts on health
  • Dissociation, absorption, and trance
  • Signaling theory, cooperation, and commitment

Stephanie McClure, Assistant Professor

15 ten Hoor Hall | (205) 348-2855 |

My overarching area of interest is culture, the body, and health. Said in another way, my primary research interest (currently) is the body as the subject andobject of culture, and the bearing that subject/object duality has on how health is understood, experienced, assessed, etc.

My current pursuits with respect to that overarching interest fall into three categories:

  • physicality and identity
  • intersectionality
  • physical activity and wellbeing

My current projects  and their category alignment:

  • Utility of  robust norms assessment for increasing the predictive capacity of health behavior theories (physicality and wellbeing)
  • Effect of the psychosocial benefits of physical activity on girls’ school performance (physicality and wellbeing)
  • Collage construction as a method for exploring physicality and identity (physicality and identity)
  • The role of race/gender as a key intersection in African American adolescent girls’ physicality (intersectionality)
  • History as a social determinant of health (this really goes back to my overarching question).

My population focus is African American women and girls.

Michael D. Murphy, Professor Emeritus

Since 1984 Dr. Murphy has been studying Andalusian Marianism with a field research focus on the pilgrimage to La Virgen del Rocio, a statue of the Virgin Mary whose shrine is located in the marshlands of the Guadalquivir River. Much of this work has been done in collaboration with Dr. Juan Carlos González Faraco of the Universidad de Huelva. The two have also investigated the round up and drive of horses from the marshes of Doñana National Park to the Andalusian town of Almonte. In addition to its continuing importance as a venerable local cultural practice, the annual round-up of marsh mares constitutes the last remnant of the Spanish equestrian and livestock cultural complex that directly inspired the free-range ranching traditions of the gaucho, the vaquero, and the cowboy of the Western Hemisphere.

Kathryn Oths, Professor Emeritus

24-B ten Hoor Hall | (205) 348-1954 |

  • Biocultural medical anthropology
  • Treatment choice
  • Healers
  • Health outcomes
  • Latin America

Lisa Pawloski, Professor and Associate Dean for International Programs

Clark Hall 302 | (205) 348-0047 |

Dr. Pawloski is the Associate Dean for International Programs and a Professor of Anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her previous roles included founding Chair of the Departments of Nutrition and Food Studies and Global and Community Health at George Mason University.  She also served as Dean of Academic Affairs on the George Mason University Korea campus in Songdo Korea.

Dr. Pawloski is an expert in childhood obesity and biocultural aspects of health and nutrition among children, adolescents, and young adults. As a Fulbright Scholar in 1997, she examined the nutritional status of adolescent girls from the Segou Region in Mali, West Africa to explore factors impacting malnutrition in that region. Her current interests involve exploring the biocultural, geographic, and social determinants of obesity in transitional countries. Dr. Pawloski has most recently worked and conducted research in Thailand, Iraq, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Chile, and Paris, France.


  • PhD, Anthropology, Indiana University, 1999
  • MA, Anthropology, Indiana University, 1996
  • BA, Biology (Minors: Chemistry and Anthropology), Texas A&M University, 1991
Sonya Pritzker

Sonya E. Pritzker, Assistant Professor

15 ten Hoor Hall | (205) 348-6554 |

  • embodied social justice
  • language, emotion, and the body
  • intimacy, self-development, social action and cultural change in China
  • translation in Chinese medicine
  • methodology in integrative medicine research
  • the globalization of Chinese medicine
  • the development of integrative medicine in the U.S. and China

Claire Thompson, Instructor

ten Hoor Hall | (205) 454-4954 |

  • Southeastern archaeology with a focus on Woodland and Mississippian cultures
  • Origins and development of complex societies
  • Political economy
  • Hierarchy, heterarchy
  • Lithic and ceramic technology
  • Zooarchaeological analyses.

Alexandre Tokovinine, Assistant Professor

25-B ten Hoor Hall | (205) 348-1906 |

  • Maya archaeology and epigraphy
  • Iconography
  • 3D scanning and virtual reality

Joseph Vogel, Professor Emeritus