UCONN anthropology graduate student, Olivia Marcus, is a 2017 recipient of the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad grant. This grant allows her to conduct her doctoral dissertation research entitled Ayahuasca -Assisted Therapies for Mental Health in the Peruvian Amazon. This grant will support research in several locations of Peru’s Amazon to investigate uses of Ayahuasca shamanism and western psychotherapy for mental well-being. This investigation addresses the professionalization and medicalization of practitioners of traditional Amazonian plant medicine, with attention to how the rising presence of western-trained therapists in Peru affects local regimes of care. Insights into these relationships will shed light on how culturally-specific mental health treatments become globalized and will provide critical commentary on emergent alternative treatments to problems in global mental health.
Sarah S. Willen, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Connecticut, has been awarded a $699,960 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study how Americans of diverse socioeconomic, professional, and racial/ethnic backgrounds think about equity and deservingness in the health domain.
Willen, together with co-investigators Colleen Walsh, an assistant professor of health sciences at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio, and Abigail Fisher Williamson, an assistant professor of political science and public policy & law at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, received the grant to support a two-phase study they will launch this October.
The researchers plan to investigate how Americans think about a question that plays a “pivotal but largely implicit role in American public discourse about society’s obligations to its members” – the question of “who deserves what in the health domain, and why.”
“Often we hear health researchers and folks in public health say things like, ‘everyone deserves to live the healthiest possible life,’” Willen said. “That’s a bold statement, and we don’t know whether it’s supported by all Americans. In fact, it’s possible some see things quite differently. Our goal is to develop a better understanding of how people’s moral values and personal experiences influence their views, and their actions.”
In the first study phase, the research team will engage residents of Ohio’s Greater Cleveland area using interviews and ethnographic methods. In the second phase, they will test their qualitative findings in a national survey.
The study will also draw on the expertise of researchers at Brown University, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland State University, Syracuse University, the University of South Florida, and the Sisters of Charity Foundation. A key partner in the study’s first phase is HIP-Cuyahoga (Health Improvement Partnership-Cuyahoga), a county-wide initiative in Greater Cleveland.
The project will run from October 2017 until October 2019.
About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.
Dr. Richard Sosis is the author of an essay on rituals that was published online by the Center for Humans and Nature. Richard Sosis is the James Barnett Professor of Humanistic Anthropology at the University of Connecticut.
Kitty O’Riordan’s blog post was published on the homepage of UCONN’s Digital Humanities and Media Studies program. Her post, which focuses on the intersections between digital humanities and the social sciences is entitled “Digital Humanities Is for Humans, Not Just Humanists: Social Science and DH.” Click here to access the full text of her blog post. Kitty is currently a Ph.D. student at UCONN’s Department of Anthropology.
Anne Kohler, a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at UCONN, has been awarded a prestigious dissertation research grant from the National Science Foundation’s Cultural Anthropology Program. Kohler’s doctoral research, which is anchored in the Down Syndrome Program of a major hospital in the Northeastern U.S., investigates the moral lives of people with intellectual disability including, in particular, their experiences of health, clinical encounters, and care. In addition to her own NSF-funded ethnographic research, Kohler will also collaborate with researchers at Harvard Medical School and Simpson College to design and implement a national survey of Down Syndrome, health inequities, and healthcare access. Many congratulations, Anne!
Roy D’Andrade, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at UCONN passed away on October 20, 2016 at the age of 85. Dr. D’Andrade was a cultural anthropologist and a founder of cognitive anthropology. According to his obituary published on the website of the American Anthropological Association, Dr. D’Andrade was a prolific scholar and “a leading contributor to formal analysis of terminological systems but later recognized that these analyses were inadequate to represent cultural understandings, paving the way for the richer studies of meanings in cultural models analysis.” Our thoughts are with his friends and family.
For the last 18 months, Samuel Martínez, an Associate Professor with a joint appointment between the Department and El Instituto (UCONN’s Institute of LatinX, Caribbean and Latin American Studies), has led up the planning of the academic program of the American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) Annual Meeting, as Executive Program Committee (EPC) chair. The major tasks of being the EPC chair include defining the conference theme, convening a panel of anthropologists, from all four fields, to select the conference’s “marquee” Executive Sessions, and scheduling the several hundred volunteered panel submissions to generate the five-day meeting program. Martínez also headed up a series of columns for Anthropology News, anticipating highlights of the meeting. A notable feature new to this year’s meeting has been a “Teaching AAA 2016” blog series designed to suggest relevant teaching resources on the conference theme (Evidence, Accident, Discovery) for undergraduate and graduate courses on methods, ethics and theory.
The Religious Cultures Speakers Series presents a lecture by Don Seeman of Emory University, entitled “Coffee and the Moral Order: Ethiopian Jews and Pentecostals against Culture.”
Please join us on Tuesday, November 1, 11:00-12:20, in Laurel Hall 305.
The Religious Cultures Speakers Series is sponsored by the UConn Humanities Institute, African Studies Institute, Center for Judaic Studies, Department of Anthropology, and the James Barnett Endowment for Humanistic Anthropology.
The Religious Cultures Speakers Series presents a lecture by Stephen Glazier from University of Nebraska, Lincoln, entitled ” Demanding Deities and Reluctant Devotees: Belief, Unbelief, and Affect among Followers of the Orisa, Rastafari, and Spiritual Baptists Movements in Trinidad.”
Please join us on Thursday, September 22, 11:00-12:20, in Laurel Hall 305.
The Religious Cultures Speakers Series is sponsored by the UConn Humanities Institute, Department of Anthropology, and the James Barnett Endowment for Humanistic Anthropology.
Big congratulations to our three faculty members that were awarded in this year’s Research Excellence Program at UConn! The awarded projects are listed below:
Richard Christenson, PI, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Eleanor Shoreman-Ouimet, Co-PI, Anthropology
William Ouimet, Co-PI, Geography & Center for Integrative
Creating New Opportunities for International Research in
Gideon Hartman, PI, Anthropology
Margaret Rubega, Co-PI, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Where Have All the Birds Gone? Using Stable Isotopes to Solve
the Mysterious Decline in Migratory Insectivorous Bird
Alexia Smith, PI, Anthropology
Examining the Modern and Ancient Morphological and Genetic
Diversity of Grape in Armenia