News

Recent news from the Department of Anthropology at UConn

Prof. Alexia Smith Honored for her Work With Students

Alexia receiving her award
Alexia Smith (right) receives the award from Honors Program Director Jennifer Lease Butts (left)

We are very proud to announce that Prof Alexia Smith has been awarded the Honors Faculty Member of the Year Award by UConn’s Honors Program. She  is pictured receiving her award from Honors Program Director Jennifer Lease Butts at the Honors Medal Ceremony. The award is given to a faculty member who “has made outstanding contributions to the Honors Program and has provided exceptional educational experiences to Honors students”.

Rebecca Kraus Finishes BA Thesis

Rebecca and her advisor
Rebecca Kraus (right) and advisor Christian Tryon (left)

Congratulations to graduating senior Rebecca Kraus who recently completed her Anthropology honors thesis (advisor: Christian Tryon, left) “Obsidian and Ostrich Eggshell: An Archaeological Study of Social Technologies from Mumba Rockshelter, Tanzania during the Upper Pleistocene and Holocene” and will begin her research towards a Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in the Fall.

Urvi Kaul Receives NSF Fellowship

Picture of four fellowship recipients
Urvi Kaul on the far left. Photo Credit: UConn Photo

We are delighted to announce that graduate student Uriv Kaul (far left) has been awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship! Urvi, a student of Deborah Bolnick’s, will focus on ” contemporary human population genetics and exploring the impact of politics on human population structures” in her dissertation research. Congratulations to Urvi!

Sarah Willen and Colleagues awarded NSF Grant

Congratulations to Sarah Willen and her colleagues at Brown University on being awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to address the impact of COVID-19 on first-generation college students and their families in the U.S. as part of their impactful Pandemic Journaling Project.

The new study is led by Dr. Katherine A. Mason (Brown University) with Dr. Andrea Flores (Brown University), and Dr. Sarah Willen (UConn) as Co-Principal Investigators. The study abstract, which is posted on the NSF website, reads as follows:

The Impact of Covid-19 on the Educational and Career Outcomes of First-Generation College Students and their Families

The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly disrupted the education of first-generation college students—those whose parents did not complete a college degree. These students and their parents are often low-income, racial/ethnic minorities, and/or of an immigrant background. Compared to other families, they have fewer resources to absorb the impact of the educational and social crises stemming from the pandemic, but also have more at stake in completing a college degree. In families of first-generation college students, parents and children strive together for individual and collective success based on the belief that higher education will advance the family’s economic mobility, improve their social status, and help them fulfill their obligations to each other. This research examines how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the educational and life goals of first-generation college student families and the actions taken in support of these goals. The project findings, to be shared in public-facing documents and web-based formats including a public archive, informs university supports and social services for vulnerable learners and families. This project is jointly funded by Cultural Anthropology and the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).

The project hypothesizes that the Covid-19 pandemic has led first-generation college students and their families to prioritize caretaking actions aimed at immediate practical needs over the longer- term goals of better lives enabled by education. This hypothesis will be investigated through three years of data collection and analysis. Sixty parent-student pairs will each participate in: 1) two years of monthly journaling on the Pandemic Journaling Project (PJP) platform, created by two of the PIs in May 2020; 2) two one-on-one interviews with researchers; and 3) two interviews conducted between parent and student. These varied methods will capture families’ shifting thinking, goals, and actions in relation to education and well-being. Understanding these perspectives and choices will advance theories of how families seek to create meaningful lives through both education and caregiving in the wake of crisis.

 

New Book

Hot off the presses, a new book co-edited by Françoise Dussart.

Contemporary Indigenous Cosmologies and Pragmatics. University of Alberta Press, 2022

Edited by Françoise Dussart and Sylvie Poirier

In this timely collection, the authors examine Indigenous peoples’ negotiations with different cosmologies in a globalized world. Dussart and Poirier outline a sophisticated theory of change that accounts for the complexity of Indigenous peoples’ engagement with Christianity and other cosmologies, their own colonial experiences, as well as their ongoing relationships to place and kin. The contributors offer fine-grained ethnographic studies that highlight the complex and pragmatic ways in which Indigenous peoples enact their cosmologies and articulate their identity as forms of affirmation. This collection is a major contribution to the anthropology of religion, religious studies, and Indigenous studies worldwide.

Contributors: Anne-Marie Colpron, Robert R. Crépeau, Françoise Dussart, Ingrid Hall, Laurent Jérôme, Frédéric Laugrand, C. James MacKenzie, Caroline Nepton Hotte, Ksenia Pimenova, Sylvie Poirier, Kathryn Rountree, Antonella Tassinari, Petronella Vaarzon-Morel

For more information click here.

Exciting Courses On Offer

We have a host of exciting courses on offer for 2022, including some new ones;

ANTH 3098 – The Archaeology of Resistance – explores how radical challenges to power structures are made through the perspectives, experiences, and material practices of activists, revolutionaries, and subaltern insurgent movements. Click here for more information.

ANTH 3095 – Technology and Society: Archaeological Perspectives – examines the concept of technology and in archaeological and more recent contexts, looking at relationships between ‘technology’ and ‘nature, and some of the ways that technologies are incorporated into our daily rituals, practice, and identity. Click here for more information.

ANTH 3720 – Archaeological and Forensic Science Lab Methods – Four different modules taking place over four different weekends. Each module is worth one credit, and you can take up to three. Module 1 is on R-statistics, module 2 is on Botany and Microscopy, module 3 is on Stable Isotopes, and module 4 is on Arch GIS. Click here for more information.

 

Virtual Talk on the John Hollister Site

The Archaeological Society of Connecticut and the Friends of the Office of State Archaeology are pleased to invite you to the third and final of our free virtual talks in the Fall 2021 series, this Wednesday, November 17, 2021, at 7:00 PM, when Dr. Sarah P. Sportman, Connecticut State Archaeologist, will present Archaeological Research at the 17th-Century John Hollister Site, South Glastonbury, 2016-2021.

The John Hollister Site (54-85) is a large 17th-century farm complex located on the fringe of early English settlement on the Connecticut River in present-day South Glastonbury, Connecticut.  The farm was occupied from about 1650 to 1711, first by members of the Gilbert family, who were tenant farmers, and later by the Hollisters.  The site was identified through oral history and remote sensing work that was carried out in 2015 and 2016.  Excavations at the site were conducted in the summers of 2016-2021 under the direction Connecticut State Archaeologists Brian Jones (2016-2018), Nicholas Bellantoni (2019) and Sarah Sportman (2021), with members of the Friends of the Office of State Archaeology, volunteers, and field school students. The Hollister Site includes at least six buried cellars, two wells, and numerous other subsurface features as well as large, well-preserved assemblages of artifacts and food remains.  This presentation will summarize the research conducted at the site to date, including new information from the 2021 field season.

Use this Zoom link to register:

https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_w26mLWMRSMSLSqu9xoKNmA

The link will also be posted on the Events page on the ASC website at www.ctarchaeology.org/upcoming-events