Recent news from the Department of Anthropology at UConn

New Study Shows Archery Appeared in Europe Thousands of Years Earlier than Previously Thought

A new study published in Science Advances contextualizes the traditions and technological knowledge of early, pioneering Homo sapiens. The study demonstrates the mastery of archery by modern populations and extends the evidence of archery in Europe back by about 40,000 years. Continue reading

Tanner Kovach and Jayson Gill Publish Scholarly Article

Congratulations go out to graduate students Tanner Kovach and Jayson Gill for completing and publishing a new scholarly article in the prestigious Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory!

The article, entitled School of Rocks: a Transmission Time Investment Model for Pleistocene Lithic Technology, proposes a “transmission time investment model for integrating the tenets of human behavioral ecology and cultural evolutionary theory to investigate agency and optimality in the social transmission of lithic technologies.” More information about the article and a PDF file containing it in full can be accessed here.

We are very excited to see what they will publish next!

Tenure Track position on African Diaspora within the Americas

The Department of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut seeks to hire an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) with a research focus on the African Diaspora within the Americas whose research and teaching centers in areas such as social, historical, or cultural dimensions of inequality or strategies for effective interventions against settler colonialism; racism; globalization of white spaces and institutions; or xenophobia. Topics might relate, for example, to inequalities of race/ethnicity, class, gender, health, migration, citizenship, and/or sexuality among African-descended peoples in North America. We strongly encourage applications from emerging scholars with broad training and an active research agenda who demonstrate theoretical innovation and a commitment to ethnographic engagement. The ideal candidate’s area(s) of specialty will contribute to an interdisciplinary and intersectional understanding of cultural structures or institutions that enable and sustain anti-Black racialization and relate broadly to one or more of the academic themes championed by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, especially Inequalities, Social Justice, Truth, and Belief and Health, Disease, and Well-Being. Candidates should be able to offer courses that expand current offerings on anti-racism, state-sponsored anti-Black violence, and decolonial thought and practice, with the expectation that these courses would be included in General Education requirements. Qualified candidates should also be able to teach large survey courses, such as ANTH 1000(W) (Peoples and Cultures of the World), ANTH 1006 (Introduction to Anthropology); ANTH 2000(W) (Social Anthropology), as well as courses on methods and field research applicable to a wide range of majors from across the University. The candidate will support UConn’s long tradition of research and training in Cultural Anthropology by offering undergraduate and graduate courses, advising, and mentoring students, and engaging actively in Departmental and interdisciplinary initiatives. This hire demonstrates UConn’s and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and builds on the College’s existing strengths in Decolonial and Anti-Racism scholarship.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is also home to a vibrant collective of Institutes and Programs engaged in anti-racism scholarship, area studies, and intersectional struggles against oppression, including Africana Studies, American Studies, Asian and Asian American Studies, El Instituto, Native American and Indigenous Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Founded in 1881, UConn is a Land Grant and Sea Grant institution and member of the Space Grant Consortium. It is the state’s flagship institution of higher education and includes a main campus in Storrs, CT, four regional campuses throughout the state, and 13 Schools and Colleges, including a Law School in Hartford, and Medical and Dental Schools at the UConn Health campus in Farmington. The University has approximately 10,000 faculty and staff and 32,000 students, including nearly 24,000 undergraduates and over 8,000 graduate and professional students. UConn is a Carnegie Foundation R1 (highest research activity) institution, among the top 25 public universities in the nation. Through research, teaching, service, and outreach, UConn embraces diversity and cultivates leadership, integrity, and engaged citizenship in its students, faculty, staff, and alumni. UConn promotes the health and well-being of citizens by enhancing the social, economic, cultural, and natural environments of the state and beyond. The University serves as a beacon of academic and research excellence as well as a center for innovation and social service to communities. UConn is a leader in many scholarly, research, and innovation areas. Today, the path forward includes exciting opportunities and notable challenges. Record numbers of undergraduate applications and support for student success have enabled the University to become extraordinarily selective.

The successful candidates will exhibit a genuine, demonstrated interest in using anthropological theory and methods to ground teaching and engaged research on anti-racism. Qualified candidates would also be able to teach large survey courses, such as Peoples and Cultures of the World, Introduction to Anthropology and Social Anthropology, as well as courses on methods and field research. Candidates will be expected to contribute to research and scholarship through high-quality publications in top-tier venues, externally funded research, and mentoring of graduate students. In the area of teaching, the successful candidate will share a deep commitment to effective instruction at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Successful candidates will highlight a commitment to equity and be expected to: broaden participation among members of underrepresented groups; demonstrate through their research, teaching, and/or public engagement multiple perspectives as the foundation of a rich learning experience; integrate diverse experiences into instructional methods and research tools; and/or provide leadership in developing pedagogical techniques designed to meet the needs of diverse populations and intellectual interests.


Doctoral degree (or equivalent foreign degree) completed in anthropology by position start date.
Teaching experience or demonstrated capacity to teach courses with documentation of a commitment to teaching.
A solid record of scholarly productivity in the areas of inequalities of race/ethnicity, class, gender, health, migration, citizenship, and/or sexuality among African-descended peoples in North America.
The ability to contribute through research, teaching, and/or public engagement to the diversity and excellence of the Department and College.
Effective communication skills (both written and oral).


Demonstrated history of or potential for external research funding.
Experience teaching courses relevant to inequalities of race/ethnicity, class, gender, health, migration, citizenship, and/or sexuality among African-descended peoples in North America.
Demonstrated experience and commitment to teaching and/or mentoring a diverse student population.
Ability to engage productively with faculty across disciplines.


This is a full-time, 9-month, tenure-track position with an anticipated start date of August 23, 2023. The successful candidate’s academic appointment will be at the Storrs campus. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.


Employment of the successful candidate is contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-employment criminal background check.


Please apply online to Academic Jobs Online and submit the following application materials:

A cover letter,
Curriculum vitae,
Research and scholarship statement (e.g., prior research findings and impact; future research plans);
Teaching statement (e.g., teaching experience, mentoring experience, teaching philosophy, courses prepared to teach);
Commitment to diversity statement (e.g., values around social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion; diversity-related experience in teaching, research, and service; plans to continue to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion);
Writing sample and any supporting materials,
Contact information for three (3) letters of reference. References will not be contacted without notification of the candidate.
Review of applications will begin on October 10, 2022, and continue until the position is filled. For questions about this position, please contact Professor Françoise Dussart (

At the University of Connecticut, our commitment to excellence is complemented by our commitment to building a culturally diverse community.

This position will be filled subject to budgetary approval.

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics, which may be found at

The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty and staff. The diversity of students, faculty and staff continues to increase, as does the number of honors students, valedictorians and salutatorians who consistently make UConn their top choice. More than 100 research centers and institutes serve the University’s teaching, research, diversity, and outreach missions, leading to UConn’s ranking as one of the nation’s top research universities. UConn’s faculty and staff are the critical link to fostering and expanding our vibrant, multicultural and diverse University community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.

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.