Fall 2015 Faculty Research Updates

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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

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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.

Fall 2015 Department Publications

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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.

Five Master’s Students Present Theses in Spring Colloquia

Johnna Dominguez presenting her research.
Luke Donohue and Kelsey Herndon with advisors John Blitz and Keith Jacobi.
Luke Donohue and Kelsey Herndon with advisors John Blitz and Keith Jacobi.

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.

Lessye DeMoss and advisor Bill Dressler.
Lessye DeMoss and advisor Bill Dressler.
Johnna Dominguez and advisor Chris Lynn.
Johnna Dominguez and advisor Chris Lynn.
Kareen Hawsey and advisor Ian Brown.
Kareen Hawsey and advisor Ian Brown.

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.

Undergraduate Honors and First Annual Department Poster Competition

 

Lisa LeCount, Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Anthropology, honoring Katelyn Moss, recipient of the Hughes Prize, and Meghan Steel (on right), co-winner of the C. Earle Smith Jr. Award (Photo by I. Brown).
Lisa LeCount, Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Anthropology, honoring Katelyn Moss, recipient of the Hughes Prize, and Meghan Steel (on right), co-winner of the C. Earle Smith Jr. Award (Photo by I. Brown).

At the Spring Undergraduate Honors Day, Katelyn Moss and Meghan Steel were presented awards for their standings as the top Anthropology majors in the 2014 graduating class. Dr. Lisa LeCount presented Steel with the C. Earle Smith Jr. Award and Moss with the Hughes Prize.

Francois Dengah judging 2014 Anthropology Undergraduate Research Poster Competition entries (Photo by I. Brown).
Francois Dengah judging 2014 Anthropology Undergraduate Research Poster Competition entries (Photo by I. Brown).

Trever Chidester placed 3rd for Oral Presentations in the Social Sciences at the 2014 Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (URCA) conference. URCA presenters from the Department of Anthropology also competed in the first annual Anthropology Undergraduate  Research Poster Competition. Emerging Scholar Hannah Smith (Kathy Oths, faculty mentor) won first prize for “A Decade of Change: The Effects of Cultural and Environmental Change on Child Growth in Peru” (award $200). There was a tie for second prize between Trever Chidester (Keith Jacobi, faculty mentor) for “Denisovans: From a Pinky to a People” ($100) and Lauren Nolan and Nathaniel Graham (Chris Lynn, faculty mentor) for “Religious Signaling and Commitment in the Central Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa” ($100 split between the co-authors). All three winning posters have been mounted and displayed in the hollowed halls of the ten Hoor ground floor.