Recent Posts

Human Variation
Week 6: Human Variation Activity: Mendelian Genetics Topic: Human Variation The notion of “race” is a social, rather than biological construct. Historically, race has been used as a tool of instituting social inequality and prejudice. Anthropologists do not accept ‘race’ as a valid concept for a number of reasons, but chief among is the fact that ‘race’ is impossible to define in a biological sense. Many of the traits that people would typically use to define racial categories (e.g., skin color, hair, facial features, height, etc.) are so broadly distributed through all human populations that it would be impossible to say, for example, that “Race A is constituted of individuals with ___hair, __skin color, etc, while Race B is characterized by _____ facial characteristic and _____ skin color.” In fact, there is more genetic variation “within” any particular race than would... read more ❯
Primates and Diet
Hello everybody, The next several posts will include the lesson plans we used for the UA partnership with the Tuscaloosa Magnet School. This semester the classes were taught by Taylor Burbach, Meghan Steel, and Erica Schumann, with the direction of graduate student Greg Batchelder. Enjoy! Week 5: Primates and Diet Topic: Primate Diet One of the ways that physical anthropologists learn about people is to study our nearest living relatives – primates. Primates include any member of the group of animals that includes human beings, apes, and monkeys. Learning about how primates navigate their world helps us understand the challenges and survival strategies that humans had to face in the past. Primatologists, or specialists who study primates, are especially interested in learning how primates address one of the biggest issues that we all face: how to feed your family. Each primate species has a different from of social organization, although... read more ❯
Museums and Anthropology
Hello everybody, The next several posts will include the lesson plans we used for the UA partnership with the Tuscaloosa Magnet School. This semester the classes were taught by Taylor Burbach, Meghan Steel, and Erica Schumann, with the direction of graduate student Greg Batchelder. Enjoy! Week 3: Museums and Anthropology Activity: Curating an Artifact Discussion: Museums Museum- a place where important items are preserved, protected, and then put on display. Different kinds of museums. Provide examples of local museums. What museums have the kids visited? Moundville? Museum of Natural History Museum on UA’s campus? Creative Discovery Museum? Etc…   Role of Museums in Anthropology offer a place where we can learn about other cultures preserve important artifacts provide a place where the general public can view exhibits that highlight the cultural significance of artifacts, beliefs, and customs provide a place where archaeologists can go to study ancient cultures How do museums work? Items are donated/loaned by patrons, items are catalogued by curators, investigators research the item... read more ❯
Garbology and Archaeology
Week 3: Introduction to Archaeology Activity: Garbology Discussion: Introduction to Archaeology Review Cultural anthropology- study of modern humans Archaeology Archaeology: the branch of anthropology that studies humans who lived in the past through their material remains. how we learn about the past prehistory/history Artifact: any item that was made by a human What do archaeologists actually study? Daily lives of people in the past Architecture, subsistence, economy, tools, etc. Midden- term for archaeological trash deposit What can trash tell us about the way that people lived? Independent practice: Students will divide into clans. Each clan will sort through an “assemblage” of artifacts and complete the attached worksheet. Students will establish criteria for sorting their assemblage (e.g., by activity area, by material, by area of manufacture, etc.) and will make observations about the household that produced their assemblage of trash. Garbology activity supplies: One assemblage of household trash per group. Assemblage should include a variety of clean, non-dangerous items from household trash from different areas. It would be instructive to... read more ❯
Becoming Ethnographers
Hello everybody, The next several posts will include the lesson plans we used for the UA partnership with the Tuscaloosa Magnet School. This semester the classes were taught by Taylor Burbach, Meghan Steel, and Erica Schumann, with the direction of graduate student Greg Batchelder. Enjoy! Week 2: Cultural Anthropology and Ethnography Activity: Becoming Ethnographers Discussion: How do we study culture? Review What is culture? Why is it important? Why and how do we study other cultures? Cultural Anthropology: the branch of anthropology that studies modern humans Ethnography: the way that anthropologists study and teach others about cultures Do we always understand other people’s cultures? Independent practice: Students will divide into clans. Each clan will select informants and 1 ethnographer per group for each group, and then send that ethnographer out to observe another clan’s culture using the Ethnographer’s Guide. After interviewing other clans, students will tell us what they learned about each clan. Clan defense to discuss errors of interpretation. Review: How do anthropologists learn... read more ❯
Lesson Plans from the UA Partnership
Hello everybody, The next several posts will include the lesson plans we used for the UA partnership with the Tuscaloosa Magnet School. This semester the classes were taught by Taylor Burbach, Meghan Steel, and Erica Schumann, with the direction of graduate student Greg Batchelder. Enjoy! Week 1: Anthropology and Social Organization Activity: Creating a Clan Introductions Prepare to give a brief introduction about yourself Discussion: Anthropology, culture, and our shared culture Access prior knowledge about anthropology What is anthropology? What do anthropologists do? Why is anthropology important? Four fields of anthropology What is culture? Do we share culture? Do we belong to social units that are larger than our immediate families? What aspects of our culture are shared? TMSE culture? Alabama culture? American culture? Etc. Ask students to analyze the culture of their school. Independent practice: Creating a Clan Activity Students will create a clan and define aspects that define the culture of their clan Goals: Create the culture of their clan. Identify what is important to the clan. Determine... read more ❯
Thanks to Our Generous Supporters
Published 1/7/2015 in Bama Anthro Blog Network
Author Christopher Lynn
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,... read more ❯
How I learned to think about race
Hi. My name is Jim Bindon and I’m an old white guy who wants to talk to you about race. I’d like to start by telling about my background on the subject. I grew up in San Francisco from the late 1940s to the late 1960s. While I was aware of segregated residential patterns it felt to me like there was an air of tolerance for difference in the city from Hunter's Point to Playland to Chinatown to Finocchio's drag club. In hindsight, I realize that was just my white privilege ignoring racism. When I was in grade school, the Hunter’s Point public housing project was built almost exclusively for blacks; earlier public housing projects had been almost exclusively reserved for whites. I didn’t know about this. I thought my high school class was diverse with Italian Catholics and Eastern European Jews and WASPs like me tracing back to England... read more ❯
Spring 2014 Alumni News
Published 1/6/2015 in Bama Anthro Blog Network
Author Christopher Lynn
Mr. Daniel Turner (UA Anthropology BA, 2010) is currently Field Director for Panamerican Consultants, Inc. His senior year research at UA resulted in a publication, "Palisade Construction and Labor Costs in the Moundville Chiefdom," Journal of Alabama Archaeology 65(2):66-77. Daniel continued his study of labor costs and ancient architecture with a study of Viking earthworks while enrolled at Cambridge University, where he received his MPhil degree in Archaeological Research in 2012. Ms. LeeAnne Wendt (UA Anthropology BA, 2006) was named the Tribal Archaeologist for the Muskogee Nation of Oklahoma beginning in September. After graduating from UA, she worked for Panamerican Consultants, Inc. in various capacities as an archaeologist. She received her MA degree in Anthropology from the University of Mississippi this year. read more ❯
DeJarnette BBQ 2014
Published 1/5/2015 in Bama Anthro Blog Network
Author Christopher Lynn
[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="4" gal_title="DeJarnette BBQ 2014"] Photos by Erin Phillips (CC BY-NC-ND). read more ❯

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