News

Recent news from the Department of Anthropology at UConn

Statement on recent acts of hatred

We are deeply disturbed that the individual arrested on April 29, 2021 for spray-painting anti-Semitic graffiti on a building at the University of Connecticut was a major in the department of Anthropology. We condemn this individual’s act in the strongest terms. Such acts go against the core values of our department and our anthropological community and cannot be tolerated. We reaffirm our commitment to anti-racist pedagogy, as declared in our solidarity statement with Black Lives Matter (https://anthropology.uconn.edu/2020/07/07/solidarity-with-black-lives-matter/) and our dedication to educating and empowering UConn students to become agents of change in our collective struggle for a just future. 

Richard A. Wilson named Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor

Dr. Richard Ashby Wilson has been selected as one of 5 faculty members to be honored as Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor. In addition to being a professor with the Department of Anthropology, Wilson serves as the Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Intellectual Life in the School of Law, a Professor of Law, and is the Gladstein Distinguished Chair of Human Rights.

Each year, the Office of the Provost seeks nominations from across UConn for the newest cohort of Board of Trustees Distinguished Professors. Candidates must excel in all three areas of research, teaching, and public engagement. Honorees retain the title of Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor throughout their career at UConn and also receive a $2,500 one-year stipend to be used by each recipient to further their professional activities.

You can learn more about Dr. Wilson’s accomplishments and the other nominees here

Interdisciplinary Conference co-organized by Françoise Dussart

The Design and Research for Healthy Communities and Healthcare Facilities conference, organized by UConn Anthropology professor Françoise Dussart and Sohyun Park from the Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture at UConn will be held on May 17, 2021 from 9:00am to 4:15pm. This Interdisciplinary Virtual Conference draws attention to the historical and contemporary contexts within which healthy communities and healthcare facilities-related projects get realized as well as how their performances and outcomes are measured. In a pandemic era, conference presenters explore how issues of class, gender, ethnicity, and age contribute intellectually and literally shaping designs and their execution. Drawing on theoretical frameworks and empirical observations, presenters explore insights and questions which arise through cross-disciplinary dialogues, and examine how social and identity politics shape the architecture of care and are working to build better healing spaces. This conference is supported by the Humanities Institute, the Office of the Vice President for Research, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources Department of Anthropology, Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Connecticut.

 

For more information on this conference and how to register for this free event, click here.

2021 Field School in Contact Period & Battlefield Archaeology

The University of Connecticut will offer a field school in Contact Period & Battlefield Archaeology focused on sites associated with the Pequot War of 1636-1637. The 2021 UConn field school will be based at the UConn Storrs campus with fieldwork taking place at Mystic (Groton), Connecticut from May 24, 2021 to July 2, 2021. The 6-week, 6-credit field school will include training in standard archaeological field survey and excavation, artifact conservation, household shell midden analysis, cataloguing, identification and analysis of 17th Century material culture and analysis of primary sources. Training will also be provided in research and field methods specific to battlefield archaeology including use of military terrain models, metal detecting survey, and GPS/GIS applications.

Click here for more information about the field school, and contact Dr. Kevin McBride for an application.

 

ANTH 3028W student Shanelle Jones wins honorable mention

Undergraduate student Shanelle Jones in ANTH 3028w: Indigenous Rights and Aboriginal Australia received an Honorable Mention for the Aetna Writing in the Disciplines Awards in the social sciences division for her paper “Sexual Violence among First Nations in the USA: Boarding School Rape, Sexual Exploitation, and Child Trafficking”.

The Aetna Writing in the Disciplines Awards recognize exemplary academic writing by undergraduate students across the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and professional schools. You can learn more about this award and view current and past recipients at this link. Congratulations Shanelle! 

Dr. Xygalatas interviewed on the importance of rituals in 2020.

Dr. Dimitris Xygalatas, associate professor for UConn Anthropology, provides important cultural insight from his research on how rituals are even more important during the 2020 holiday season. In a recent interview with The Atlantic, Xygalatas explains how rituals “help us alleviate anxiety and they help to increase social connection”. This is no exception during the 2020 season, as he writes that rituals “help us maintain a sense of structure and control in our lives, and this can allow us to overcome some of the stressors of

Imageby Yann Bastard taken from the NYT
By Yann Bastard NYT

daily life”.  He also writes how “through the use of symbolic markers (e.g. wearing the same clothes), the alignment of movements and behaviors (e.g. collective singing), and appeals to tradition, they create a sense of unity and belonging that all humans crave.”.

As this year comes to a close, it is clear that rituals are more needed then ever. In an interview with The Guardian, Dr. Xygalatas says “Research shows that when we spend money on experiences, rather than material stuff, we feel happier,”. He also states that “The reason behind this is that we enjoy the experience, and afterwards we enjoy the memories of it, but we also enjoy the anticipation. I think this is the part that applies to holiday rituals. Given this situation of increased anxiety, this feeling of anticipation and all the preparations give us something to do which is meaningful.”. In an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Xygalatas talks about how the current situation impacts the necessity of rituals, “This is precisely the time where we need these rituals or traditions more than ever, and it’s exactly the time where we can’t have them. It creates a lot of extra anxiety”.

Check out his interviews with The Atlantic, The Guardian, The Toronto Star, and The New York Times for more information on his research going into the 2020 Holiday season!

 

 

 

Letter from UConn Anthropology Graduate Students

Graduate students in the Department of Anthropology have collaboratively prepared the following letter, which calls for deep and urgent attention to the colonial legacies and ongoing reality of systemic racism in the field of anthropology, at UConn, and “at home” within the department itself. The letter includes a series of action items that the department has begun to engage as individuals, through the newly created Diversity Committee, and in the Department as a whole.

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