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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/).

A total of $32,134 was donated to the Department of Anthropology from 19 different organizations or private individuals in 2013-14. We received one donation since the last newsletter from Roberta S. Largin. We are grateful for the support. These gifts helped support faculty research ($21,000), graduate student research ($8900), or student scholarship ($2234) during this past year. In-kind donations were also made to provide books for the Anthropology Reading Room Library and benches for the ground floor in ten Hoor.

The Department distributed $12,200 in student awards and scholarships during the academic year. The majority of these funds went to two graduate student recipients of the DeJarnette Scholarship (Clay Nelson and Rachel Briggs, $5,000 each), but a number of undergraduates also benefited from scholarship aid as well (Maryanne Mobley and Meghan Steel, and Katie Moss—$500 each). The Alan Maxwell Scholarship is now an endowed fund, awarded this year to Max Stein, and will be reported upon in next year’s annual report.

We welcome contributions and have several funds to which donations can be made, including the DeJarnette, Maxwell, Smith, and Krause awards, the Anthropology Club, and the Archaeology Field School at Moundville. Please contact Teri Kirkendoll (tkirkendoll@ua.edu) for more information or to make a contribution.

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.

 

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.

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.