Skip to content

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!

In fact, next year, the University of Alabama and its Evolutionary Studies program will host the first annual SouthEastern Evolutionary Perspectives Society meeting February 12-14, 2016. Proposals for academic and creative presentations are being accepted through July 31, 2015. Email Amanda Glaze (alglazephd@gmail.com) or Steve Platek (splatek@gmail.com) to submit your proposal or for more information. Please consider joining us!

Chris Lynn, Jeff Lozier, Wendi Schnauffer, Lynn Funkhouser, Pat McGovern, Cassie Medeiros
Chris Lynn, Jeff Lozier, Wendi Schnauffer, Lynn Funkhouser, Pat McGovern, Cassie Medeiros dining before ALLELE talk.

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."

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.

2014-09-12 12.18.03
Doctoral student Erik Porth

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.

Eileen Anderson-Fye rolling tide with l-r) Chris Fye, Kathy Oths,  Bill Dressler after her visit to the department
Eileen Anderson-Fye with (l-r) Chris Fye, Kathy Oths, & Bill Dressler.

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.

2014-09-26 12.16.14
Doctoral student Greg Batchelder

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.

image (1)
University of Memphis anthropologist Dr. David Dye

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.

 

Dr. Mark Moberg, University of Southern Alabama
Dr. Mark Moberg, University of Southern Alabama

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.

Fellow Mayanist Lisa LeCount poses with ET#5 speaker Elizabeth Paris (Photo by C. Lynn).
Fellow Mayanist Lisa LeCount poses with ET#5 speaker Elizabeth Paris (Photo by C. Lynn).

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.

Greg Batchelder's World of Warcraft avatar.
Greg Batchelder's World of Warcraft avatar.

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.