Trifecta: Drs. Pritzker, Tokovinine, Lynn Awarded National Science Foundation Grants

This has been a very good month for University of Alabama Anthropology researchers!

We are ecstatic to report that Dr. Sonya Pritzker just found out she is the recipient of a prestigious CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation in excess of $500,000. This grant is a huge vote of confidence in the work she is doing that integrates biocultural anthropology and linguistic anthropology. The grant is entitled: “A Longitudinal Study of Communication and Biology in Committed Relationships.” CAREER grants have both research and mentorship/training components, and through this award, Dr. Pritzker will be helping to make the University of Alabama a major center for innovation in both regards.

Meanwhile, Dr. Alexandre Tokovinine was awarded a $143,000 grant from NSF for his project, “The Maintenance of Cultural Continuity in the Context of Social Change.” He and colleagues from the United States and Guatemala will be looking at the relationship between political power and cultural change in the context of the Ancient Maya. The study will determine the extent to which Maya leaders could introduce new beliefs and values without compromising the resilience of the political system, assist in the preservation of cultural heritage in Guatemala, and through large-scale three-dimensional digitization will result in a large body of data available online, and promote teaching and learning.

Finally, Dr. Christopher Lynn has been awarded a $204,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study tattooing, health, and identity in collaboration with Dr. Michael Muehlenbein of Baylor University. Their 3-year study will examine the cultural construction of identity and health impacts of tattooing in the Samoan Islands, where tattooing has been continually practiced for generations. Noting that tattooing has become an important aspect of identity throughout the world, they take a biocultural approach toward the question: is tattooing an embodied determinant of endocrine and immune function?

Congratulations to Dr. Pritzker, Dr. Tokovinine, and Dr. Lynn! What an extraordinary July! We all look forward to the exciting and innovative research that will come out of these projects.