Fall 2015 Alumni Updates & Anthros in the News

Alumni News

In 2015, Dr. Meredith Jackson-de Graffenried (PhD, 2009) became Country Director of Helen Keller International (HKI) for Bangladesh.

Max Stein, left, a UA doctoral student working in Peru, sits with Oths in her campus office (Bryan Hester).
Max Stein, left, a UA doctoral student working in Peru, sits with Oths in her campus office (Bryan Hester).

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.

Kelsey Herndon (MA, 2015) teaches Tuscaloosa Magnet School Elementary kids as part of our department's
Kelsey Herndon (MA, 2015) teaches Tuscaloosa Magnet School Elementary kids as part of our department’s “Anthropology is Elemental” outreach program.

Anthros in the News

In June, Dr. Kathy Oths was featured in UA’s Research Magazine in “Who Will Heal? Climate Change Disrupts Ancient Medical Tradition in Andes” (http://research.ua.edu/2015/06/who-will-heal-climate-change-disrupts-ancient-medical-tradition-in-andes/). In December, Dr. Virgil “Duke” Beasley (lecturer; MA, 1997) and Dr. Matt Gage (OAR) were featured an article entitled “Using the Future to Understand the Past” (http://research.ua.edu/2015/12/using-the-future-to-understand-the-past/).

In the July UA News (http://uanews.ua.edu/2015/07/ua-researchers-to-explore-imaginative-play-links-to-cognitive-development/) and August 2015 Desktop News (http://www.as.ua.edu/2015/08/11/does-imaginative-play-influence-cognition/) from the College of Arts & Sciences, Dr. Jason’s DeCaro‘s grant from the Imagination Institute and collaboration with Dr. Ansley Gilpin (Psychology) on their project was featured .

Our departmental elementary and middle school outreach program, rechristened “Anthropology is Elemental,” is pictured among the College of Arts & Sciences’ “Outreach and Economic Development Programs” (http://www.as.ua.edu/about_as/outreach-economic-development-and-entrepreneurship-programs-2/).

Dr. Chris Lynn was mentioned among faculty selected for the 2016 Alabama-Greece Partnership (http://www.as.ua.edu/2015/11/16/faculty-selected-for-2016-alabama-greece-partnership/). Dr. Lynn was also mentioned in UA News in conjunction with ALLELE series talks by evolutionary psychologist Dr. Rebecca Burch (http://uanews.ua.edu/2015/12/scientist-to-discuss-reproductive-chemistry-in-uas-allele-lecture-series/), paleontologist Dr. Linda Ivany (http://uanews.ua.edu/2015/10/paleontologist-to-discuss-skeletons-use-in-reconstructing-ecosystems-at-ua/), historian Dr. Ron Numbers (http://uanews.ua.edu/2015/11/historian-to-present-lecture-on-christianity-and-dinosaurs-at-ua/),

Fall 2015 Faculty Research Updates

Department of Anthropology promotional video

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.

Conferences, Panels, & Invited Talks

Department of Anthropology promotional video

Invited Lectures

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.

Southeastern Archaeological Conference (SEAC), 72nd Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN, November 20

  • 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.

Grants & Awards

Department of Anthropology promotional video
3MT winners with Dean Franko, including Sandra Lucia Almeida Zambrano, Anjana Venkatesan, Jordan Rippy, Territa L. Pool, and Courtney Andrews (Source: http://graduate.ua.edu/news/anjana-venkatesan-wins-the-ua-3mt-competition/).
3MT winners with Dean Franko, including Sandra Lucia Almeida Zambrano, Anjana Venkatesan, Jordan Rippy, Territa L. Pool, and Courtney Andrews (Source: http://graduate.ua.edu/news/anjana-venkatesan-wins-the-ua-3mt-competition/).

Several students and faculty received grants, awards, and other honors this past fall. Congratulations to all. You make us very proud!

Students

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.

Faculty

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.”

 

 

Fall 2015 Department Publications

Department of Anthropology promotional video

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.

James, HR*, Y Manresa*, RL Metts*, CD Lynn, and B Brinkman. The Effects of Performance-Based Education on Evolutionary Attitudes and Literacy EvoS Journal: The Journal of Evolutionary Studies Consortium 71:44-56, http://evostudies.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/James_Vol7Iss1.pdf.

Lynn, CD. Family diversity. Anthropology News (online), http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2015/10/28/family-diversity/.

Lynn, CD. Cheap thrills and elementary anthropology. Anthropology News 56 (9-10):29.

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.

Meek, D, and R Tarlau. Critical food systems education and the question of race. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. Advance online publication, http://dx.doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2015.054.021

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.

Weaver, LJ. Challenges of mixed methods research. Anthropology News 56 (7-8):14. doi/10.1111/j.1556-3502.2015.560705_s.x/.

Weaver, LJ. Talking about race with “white person bias.” Anthropology News (online), http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2015/10/15/talking-about-race-with-white-person-bias/.

*UA graduate or former student.

Conferences and Presentations

Dr. Bill Dressler, Invited Lecture, East Carolina University, April 10, 2015.

Several of our faculty were invited to give lectures:

Dr. Bill Dressler, Invited Lecture, East Carolina University, April 10, 2015.
Dr. Bill Dressler, Invited Lecture, East Carolina University, April 10, 2015.

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.

Ashley Daugherty and Melinda Carr explaining their NEEPS poster, Boston,  MA.
Ashley Daugherty and Melinda Carr explaining their NEEPS poster, Boston, MA.

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., Juliann Friel, 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.

Lessye DeMoss at SfAA, Pittsburgh Photo: K.Oths)
Lessye DeMoss at SfAA, Pittsburgh (Photo: K.Oths)

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.

Alumni News and Anthropologists IN the News

ECU anthropology professor Dr. Blakely Brooks leads an ECU Global Understanding class.
ECU anthropology professor Dr. Blakely Brooks leads an ECU Global Understanding class.
ECU anthropology professor Dr. Blakely Brooks leads an ECU Global Understanding class.

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.

Dr. Chris Lynn was considered “Worth Quoting” in the January and February UA Dialog. From January (http://dialog.ua.edu/2015/01/dialog-extra-for-jan-5-2015/): “Stress can kill you, literally, and having means of reducing stress is going to be critical for the survival of species,” as quoted in Men’s Health. Lynn is the author of a study that suggests that sitting by a fire can lower people’s blood pressure and help them relax. From February (http://dialog.ua.edu/2015/02/dialog-extra-for-feb-5-2015/): “When we aren’t used to having down time, it results in anxiety … (a)nd we reach for the smartphone. It’s our omnipresent relief from that,” as quoted in the Aberdeen (South Dakota) News. The March UA Dialog (http://dialog.ua.edu/2015/03/accolades-for-march-2-2015/) recognized Dr. Lisa LeCount for being awarded a National Geographic Research and Exploration grant and Dr. Jason DeCaro (http://dialog.ua.edu/2015/03/uas-first-faculty-research-day-set-for-april-8/) for being selected for the President’s Faculty Research Award. In April, the UA Dialog (http://dialog.ua.edu/2015/04/accolades-for-april-13-2015/) also recognized Achsah Dorsey and her adviser Jason DeCaro for her receipt of the University’s Outstanding Research by a Master’s Student award. In May, recent Anthropology BA Maryanne Mobley was recognized with 13 other UA graduates in UA Dialog (http://dialog.ua.edu/2015/05/14-ua-graduates-receive-fulbright-awards-for-2015-16/) for being honored with a Fulbright Award. Maryanne will be traveling to teach in South Korea.

The Biocultural Medical Anthropology faculty were asked to contribute a guest column for the Anthropology News online this year based on their “Biocultural Systematics” blog. Three columns have appeared so far by Bill Dressler, Jason DeCaro (http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2015/03/02/whats-biological-about-biocultural-research-part-1/), and Jo Weaver (http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2015/04/14/challenges-of-mixed-method-research/); and Dr. Dressler’s column “‘Culture’…Again” (http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2015/01/30/culture-again/)received enough page views to merit publication in the May print edition of Anthropology News.

Our colleague, Dr. John Blitz, is cited heavily in this recent American Archaeology article (http://www.archaeologicalconservancy.org/atlatls-arrows/, vol. 19, No. 1, 2015), “From Atlatls to Arrows.” Congratulations John—Good stuff!

The Crimson White profiled Dr. Chris Lynn‘s efforts to develop the Evolutionary Studies program this semester (http://www.cw.ua.edu/article/2015/02/lynn-grows-evolutionary-studies-at-alabama). Congrats to Dr. Lynn for his hard work on the EvoS program, and please contact him at cdlynn@ua.edu to enroll or for more information. The Crimson White also published a piece (http://www.cw.ua.edu/article/2015/01/campfires-aid-blood-pressure-study-says) on Dr. Lynn Fireside Relaxation Study, the Evolutionary Psychology article that came out at the end of 2014, and the efforts of students like Melinda Carr and Lauren Pratt and alumnus Meghan Steel in this ongoing study.

Finally, Dr. Lynn provided ideas for UA News‘ “UA Matters” column in February for an atypical Valentine’s Day (http://uanews.ua.edu/2015/02/ua-matters-happy-atypical-valentines-day/) and in April for those considering online dating (http://uanews.ua.edu/2015/04/ua-matters-thinking-of-online-dating-a-few-items-to-consider/).

Published Anthropology from the Spring

The Department of Anthropology continued to publish consistently in the spring semester, with one book and several peer-reviewed articles becoming available.dressler book coverDavis, 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/10.7183/0002-7316.79.4.161

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

Student and Faculty Awards

Jason DeCaro with co-recipients of an Award for Outstanding Faculty/Staff-Initiated Engagement Effort, John Lochman, Ansley Gilpin, and Qshequilla Mitchell.

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).

Lynn Funkhouser accepts her award from Ian Brown.
Lynn Funkhouser accepts her award from Ian Brown.
Jessica Kowalski accepts a DeJarnette Scholarship.
Jessica Kowalski accepts a DeJarnette Scholarship.
Greg Batchelder accepts the 2015 Maxwell Scholarship from Dr. Brown.
Greg Batchelder accepts the 2015 Maxwell Scholarship from Dr. Brown.

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.

Katelyn Moss receives undergraduate honor from Dean Olin.
Katelyn Moss receives undergraduate honor from Dean Olin.
Taylor Lawhon, Jessi Mays, and Melinda Carr receive undergraduate honors from Cameron Lacquement.
Taylor Lawhon, Jessi Mays, and Melinda Carr receive undergraduate honors from Cameron Lacquement.

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, Jessi Mays, 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 HollemanLynn FunkhouserLessye DeMossDaniel LaDuRachel BriggsLisaMarie 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.

Chris Lynn receiving AS Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award from Dean Olin.
Chris Lynn receiving AS Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award from Dean Olin.
Jason DeCaro with co-recipients of an Award for Outstanding Faculty/Staff-Initiated Engagement Effort, John Lochman, Ansley Gilpin, and Qshequilla Mitchell.
Jason DeCaro with co-recipients of an Award for Outstanding Faculty/Staff-Initiated Engagement Effort, John Lochman, Ansley Gilpin, and Qshequilla Mitchell.

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.

Physiological Research at Head Start Creates Opportunities for UA Students

Students Ashley Daugherty, Caitlin Baggett, and Linnea Moran conduct an assessment on hat day at Head Start.

The past year marked the beginning of data collection for Dr. Jason DeCaro’s multiyear Head Start research project. This interdisciplinary project focuses on child development during the transitions from prekindergarten through first grade. Dr. DeCaro joins Drs. Ansley Gilpin and John Lochman of the Psychology Department and Dr. Caroline Boxmeyer of the Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, as well as community partners from the Community Service Programs of West Alabama.

Students Ashley Daugherty, Caitlin Baggett, and Linnea Moran conduct an assessment on hat day at Head Start.
Students Ashley Daugherty, Caitlin Baggett, and Linnea Moran conduct an assessment on hat day at Head Start.

Funded by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Power PATH is an intervention program designed to improve emotional, behavioral, social, and cognitive wellbeing. Included in Power PATH is PATHS, a supplemental preschool curriculum that offers children techniques for dealing with difficult emotions and processing emotions in appropriate ways in the classroom. The addition of parent intervention meetings, adapted from the Coping Power program, is a novel contribution of the UA project. Parents learn about the PATHS curriculum and can reinforce the lessons from PATHS at home, receive resources related to managing stress and improving their own wellbeing, and have an opportunity to network with other parents.

As one of only four grants funded by the ACF to study “dual-generation” approaches in Head Start that address the needs of the entire family, this is a fantastic opportunity to evaluate programs that could affect Head Start programs across the county. Children learning the curriculum are being compared to a control group of children not learning the curriculum to determine any differences between the two groups. Dr. DeCaro leads the portion of the project that evaluates physiological responses to stress in four-year-olds during their first exposure to the PATHS curriculum and again at the end of the study in first grade. Physiological assessments include ECG, skin conductance, saliva samples for the stress-related hormone cortisol, and basic anthropometric measurements. During the fall 2014 semester alone, the physiological teams were in contact with more than 100 four-year-olds.

This project has created many exciting opportunities for students. Graduate students Sarah Elizabeth Morrow and Edward Quinn of the Anthropology Department and Allie Nancarrow of the Psychology Department have led field research teams at nine different Head Start centers across West Alabama. This project has also afforded our Department the opportunity to expose an unprecedented number of undergraduates to real biocultural research. Forty-four undergraduate students were involved on the physiological side of the project in fall 2014 alone. Students majoring in a broad range of disciplines, including anthropology, biology, chemistry, premedical studies, environmental engineering, international relations, and computer science found roles within this study.

Students Steven Beall, Lauren Pratt, and Tiffini Taylor observe a child as he watches videos for his assessment.
Students Steven Beall, Lauren Pratt, and Tiffini Taylor observe a child as he watches videos for his assessment.

Student field teams work in groups of two or three, dividing up duties of interviewing, collecting ECG and skin conductance data, and keeping the study protocols on task and organized. Other students conduct lab work, analyzing ECG data, organizing and analyzing written data sheets, and checking video recordings to identify key events in the interview protocol. The third major aspect of student involvement is with lab management. Students work closely with graduate students and Lab Manager, Shanta Hardrick Burrell, to learn about informed consent management, file keeping, and how to maintain records in order to protect respondents.

One of the most exciting aspects for many students has been to simply interact with the children. From drawing pictures together to discussing their favorite birthday presents, assessments are special times when each child feels listened to and attended to by the field team. As a complex and important research project, Power PATH will continue to expand over the next few years. We look forward to continuing to work with a diverse and broad range of students (and community volunteers) in order to make this program a success. If you are interested in joining this project in some capacity, please contact Sarah Elizabeth Morrow, lead physiological graduate student at semorrow@crimson.ua.edu. Students are eligible for either ANT or PY credits; volunteers are also always welcome!

UA Anthropologists in the News

Paul Eubanks (Photo: A&S Desktop News).
Peruvian bonesetter Don Felipe Llaro with Dr. Kathy Oths
Peruvian bonesetter Don Felipe Llaro with Dr. Kathy Oths

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.”

Chris Lynn on Fox 6 News.
Chris Lynn on Fox 6 News.

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.

Dr. David Meek and students in his "Anthropology of Food" course enjoy the pleasant weather outside recently.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.

The Fall 2014 issue of the College of Arts and Sciences Collegian (Vol. 23, No. 1) features three articles on research in our department. Dr. Marysia Galbraith is recognized for the receipt of a third Fulbright Grant to extend her study of Polish identity. Along with collaborators in the Department of Psychology, Dr. Jason DeCaro is recognized as a recipient of a $2.2 million grant to assess the efficacy of local Head Start programs. The Collegian also details doctoral student Paul Eubanks‘ NSF-supported study of Caddo Indian salt production in what is today Northwest Louisiana.

Eubanks was also a finalist for the “Three-Minute Thesis” competition hosted by the UA Graduate School, as highlighted in the UA News.

DeCaro, Collaborators Receive Head Start Grant

Dr. Jason DeCaro
Dr. Jason DeCaro
Dr. Jason DeCaro

Jason DeCaro is one of several recipients of a grant from the Administration of Children and Families who will implement and assess intervention programs to improve school readiness and child well-being among Head Start preschoolers in West Alabama. In partnership with the Community Service Programs of West Alabama (CSPWAL), he and the other grantees (Ansley Gilpin and John Lochman from Psychology and Caroline Boxmeyer from Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine) will follow children into first grade to assess the effectiveness of programs that teach children social and emotion regulation skills, and support parents and teachers in fostering positive home and school environments. DeCaro and colleagues are receiving $2.25 million over 5 years to assess these program, which a classroom curriculum for the children, and interventions to address broader challenges – such as parental mental health, job prospects, and financial obstacles – that influence family well-being. Dr. DeCaro’s involvement in the project centers around assessing child stress to determine what difference stress responses at baseline make in the effectiveness of the intervention, and how well the intervention does in mitigating stress over the long term.

UA Anthropologists in the News in the Summer & Fall 2013

CW / Emily Young

In June 2013, Dr. Jason DeCaro got a chance to set the record straight when Evolutionary Psychologist Geoffrey Miller put his tweet in his mouth with the following:nyu5n-3-web

Dr. DeCaro, who subsequently tweeted from his own account what a degrading and unwarranted claim Miller had made, was contacted by The NY Daily News. Dr.  DeCaro pointed out that “Current human biology and health psychology research show conclusively that a combination of genetics and social environment have far more to do with obesity than does ‘willpower,’ contrary to what people often assume.”

In October, Dr. Chris Lynn was interviewed for an article on glossolalia (speaking in tongues among Charismatics and some other religious practitioners through the ages) and stress reduction. Dana Foundation is a private philanthropic organization dedicated to brain research. The article discusses Dr. Lynn’s dissertation fieldwork among Pentecostals in upstate New York, which compared rates of speaking in tongues to salivary biomarkers of stress and found some preliminary evidence for a relaxation effect.

CW / Emily Young
CW / Emily Young

In November, Dr. Lynn was also interviewed about UA’s Evolutionary Studies program, housed in the Department of Anthropology, for the newsletter EvoS Illuminate, published by the EvoS Consortium. In it, Dr. Lynn highlights the program at Alabama, discusses his evolution blogging efforts, and background. Later that month, Dr. Lynn and EvoS Club President and Anthropology major Taylor Burbach were contacted by The Crimson White for an article about the EvoS program. The article highlighted the importance of the program for UA students and the outreach efforts they’re engaged in for the community.

In December, Ph.D. student Tina Thomas published a piece in Anthropology News entitled “Multiple Worlds Theory and ‘High Risk Girls’ Versus Those that ‘Stay Inside’” about her research into risky behavior among teenage girls in Alabama and HIV risk. Alabama has one of the lowest rates of condom use among high school students in the United States, and Thomas’ research has found that this may be due, in part, to girls’ conceptualization of the protection afforded by condoms. According to Thomas, many of her participants believe that condoms have a high failure rate because of notions that they can clip off or break easily. Thomas’ continuing research seeks to understand the cultural models underlying these beliefs in high- and low-risk groups in Alabama.

Alabama is a Serious Presence at Anthropology Conferences

Department of Anthropology promotional video

Alabama Anthropology research was well represented at regional and national conferences this past fall!

Armine Goertz, Jolynn. Fragments and Field Notebooks. Franz Boas and the Chehalis Oral Tradition. Paper presentation at the 112th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Chicago, IL, Nov. 20-24, 2013.

Davis, Jera R. Moundville’s Defining Moment: Plazas, Architecture, and Collective Vision in Polity Formation. Paper presented at the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Tampa, FL, Nov. 6-9, 2013.

Dengah II, H.J.F. Blessings of the Holy Spirit: How Religious Cultural Consonance Shapes Well-being among Brazilian Pentecostals. Paper presented at the 112th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Chicago, IL, Nov. 20-24.

Dengah II, H.J.F. Blessings of the Holy Spirit: How Religious Cultural Consonance Shapes Psychological Well-being among Brazilian Pentecostals. Invited lecture given for the Colorado State University Alumni Lecture Series, Fort Collins, CO.

DeCaro, Jason, and Warren Wilson. Maternal Mental Health as a Mediator of the Impact Food Insecurity on Child Health in a Peri-Urban Region of Tanzania. Oral presentation at the Canadian Association of Physical Anthropologists, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, Oct. 17-20, 2013.

DeCaro, Jason, and Warren Wilson. Untangling the Knot of Correlated Adversities: Food Insecurity, Maternal Depression, and Maternal & Child Health in Mwanza, Tanzania. Oral presentation at the 112th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Chicago, IL, Nov. 20-24, 2013.

Dressler, William W. Stability and Change in the Cognitive Structure of Four Cultural Domains after Ten Years.  Abstracts of the 112th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Chicago, IL, Nov. 20-24, 2013.

Eubanks, Paul N. The Timing and Distribution of Caddo Salt Production in Northwestern Louisiana. Paper presented at the 70th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Tampa, Florida, Nov. 6-9, 2013.

Funkhouser, Lynn. An Analysis of Near-Mound Cemeteries at Moundville. Paper presentation at the Southeastern Archaeology Conference annual meeting, Tampa, FL, Nov. 6-9, 2013.

Galbraith, Marysia. Engagements with Past, Present, and Future through Cultural Heritage. Poster session organized for the 112th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Chicago, IL, Nov. 20-24, 2013.

Galbraith, Marysia. Selective Memories and Contested Futures: Temporality and Collective Representations. Poster presentation at the 112th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Chicago, IL, Nov. 20-24, 2013.

Herndon, KE, BA Houk, M Willis, CP Walker, and A Booher. Structure from Motion Mapping and Remote Sensing at the Maya Site of Chan Chich, Belize. Presented at the South-Central Conference on Mesoamerica; Houston, Texas. November 2, 2013.

Knight, Vernon James. Discussant: Remembering Charlie: A Roundtable Discussion on the Life and Work of Charles Hudson. Southeastern Archaeology Conference annual meeting, Tampa, FL, Nov. 6-9, 2013.

Kosiba, Steve. “Construyendo un paisaje inka: La constitución de la autoridad durante la formación del Estado inkaiko (Cuzco, Perú).” Invited lecture, Paper presented at the Programa de Estudios Andinos, Facultad de Letras y Ciencias Humanas, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Lima, Peru, 2013.

Kowalski, Jessica. Mississippian-Period Settlement Size and Soil Productivity in the Southern Yazoo Basin, Mississippi. Paper presentation at the Southeastern Archaeology Conference annual meeting, Tampa, FL, Nov. 6-9, 2013.

LaDu, Daniel. The 2013 Excavations at the Mazique Mounds. Paper presentation at the Southeastern Archaeology Conference annual meeting, Tampa, FL, Nov. 6-9, 2013.

Lazo, Rodrigo, Kathy Oths, and Max Stein Assessing Change and Continuity in an Andean Medical System American Anthropological Association, 112th Annual Meetings, Chicago, IL. Nov.20-24, 2013.

LeCount, Lisa J., David W. Mixter, and Borislava Simova.  All the King’s Men: Investigating the Nature of Preclassic Maya Elite Households and Kingship at Actuncan, Belize. A paper presented at the 11th annual Belize Archaeology symposium, San Ignacio, Belize, July 4, 2013.

LeCount, Lisa J.  At the Intersections of Powers: Markets and Commodities in Classic Maya Society.  A paper presented at the 78th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in the symposium Households, Markets, World-Systems, and Political Economy: Alternative Pathways to Complexity, organized by Lane Fargher and Verenice Y. Heredia Espinoza.  Honolulu, Hawaii, April 5, 2013.

Lynn, Christopher D. Defraying the Costs of “Analysis Paralysis”: A Neuroanthropological Model of Dissociation, Deafferentation, and Trance. Invited talk for the 113th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Chicago, IL, November 20—24, 2013.

Lynn, Christopher D. The Ecological Diversity of Transcendence. Invited talk for the Tuscaloosa Secular Humanists. Tuscaloosa, AL, September 25, 2013.

Mixter, David W., and Lisa J. LeCount.  Building History through Households: Contextualizing Social and Political Transitions at Actuncan.  A paper presented at the 11th annual Belize Archaeology symposium, San Ignacio, Belize, July 4, 2013.

Oths, Kathy. Discussant: When the Doctor Is Not In: Emergent Practices of Care in Patient/Nonphysician Provider Interactions. American Anthropological Association, 111th Annual Meetings, San Francisco, CA. Nov.20-24, 2013.   

Oths, Kathy. Roundtable Presenter: The Inextricability of Environment and Culture in the Emergence of 21st Century Maladies: Potential Contributions of Anthropology. American Anthropological Association, 111th Annual Meetings, San Francisco, CA. Nov.20-24, 2013.

Read-Wahidi, Mary Rebecca.  Poor and Living in a Foreign Land: Mexican Immigrants Coping with Life in Mississippi.  112th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Chicago IL. Nov. 20-24, 2013.

Smith, Karen Y., and Vernon James KnightThe Role of Primitive Geometric Elements in Swift Creek Art. Poster presentation at Southeastern Archaeological Conference annual meeting, Tampa, Florida, Nov. 6-9, 2013.

Steel, Meghan, and Christopher D. Lynn. Fireside Meditations: The Induction of a Relaxation Response by Focused Attention on a Flickering Light and Novel Sound Phenomenon. Oral presentation at the 112th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Chicago, IL, Nov. 20-24, 2013.

Stein, Max J. and  Christopher D. LynnReligion as Resilience: Evaluating the Intersections of Religious Collectivity and Disease in Limón Province, Costa Rica.  Paper presented at the 112th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Chicago, IL, Nov. 20-24, 2013.