Wednesday, November 19, 2008

GW Researchers Defend Species Status of "Hobbit"

The current issue of Research & Discovery, the magazine about research at GW, features the work of three University paleoanthropologists who analyzed the skull of the three-foot-tall hominid from the island of Flores and concluded that it merited status as a new species.

GW postdoctoral scientist Adam Gordon, Hominid Paleobiology doctoral candidate Lisa Nevell, and University Professor of Human Origins Bernard Wood published their analysis in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in March. They used six cranial measurements to analyze the Flores skull and compare it to other hominids.

For the GW feature story, visit:

A PDF version of the PNAS article, "The Homo floresiensis cranium (LB1): Size, scaling, and early Homo affinities," is on Dr. Wood's home page:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Undergraduate Spotlight: Lauren Deal '09 Wins National Paper Prize

Lauren E. Deal (BA Anth 2009) has been awarded the Annual Student Essay Prize from the Society for Linguistic Anthropology for her paper "Fat Birds and Intercostals: Ideologies of Science and Poetry in Bel Canto Singing."

Lauren's paper is partly based on her 2007 research, funded by the GW Anthropology Department's Lewis N. Cotlow Fund, on vocal pedagogy in Buenos Aires and Washington, DC. She compared the use of figurative language in voice training within the cultural contexts of Argentina and the U.S.

Lauren will officially receive the award at the Society's business meeting in San Francisco next week. The SLA is meeting concurrently with the 107th annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in which she is also a participant. Lauren is part of an invited poster session on "First Rites: Innovative Undergraduate Research."

The SLA awards two Student Essay Prizes a year, one to an undergraduate and one to a graduate student. Winning papers must be original and based on research conducted by the author. They are evaluated on the basis of clarity, significance to the field, and substantive contribution and must be judged suitable for submission to the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Faculty Spotlight: Ilana Feldman

Ilana Feldman, professor of Anthropology and International Affairs, has received the seventh annual Cultural Horizons Prize from the Society for Cultural Anthropology for her article “Difficult Distinctions: Refugee Law, Humanitarian Practice, and Political Identification in Gaza.” The article appeared in Cultural Anthropology in February 2007.

To read more, visit the Columbian College website:

Friday, October 31, 2008

Alumni Update: Suzanne Leclerc-Madlala

Prof. Suzanne Leclerc-Madlala (MA Anthropology 1985) recently stopped by the Department for our Halloween Bash (pictured below). She has lived in South Africa for over two decades, receiving her PhD from the University of Natal in 2000 and becoming a well-known medical anthropologist. Suzanne is a professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban and chief research specialist in the social aspects of HIV/AIDS and health program at the Human Sciences Research Council. Her contributions to HIV/AIDS research in South Africa have been numerous and have brought her notoriety as an active voice in public debate. She has a book in preparation for the University of North Carolina Press: The Gendering of HIV/AIDS in KwaZulu-Natal.

For more information on Suzanne and her work, visit

Department Halloween Bash

The Department had a Halloween party yesterday. Approximately 30 students were in attendance to partake in the festivities, socialize with faculty and take a swing at the piñata.

Prof. Robin Bernstein, Biological Anthropology, blindfolds Prof. Jeff Blomster, Archaeology

Undergraduate Shanyn Ronis '10 takes a mighty swing

After conquering the piñata, undergraduate Lauren Deal '09 celebrates her victory

PhD student David Green and Prof. Robin Bernstein

MA student Isaac Morrison chats with alumna Suzanne Leclerc-Madlala

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Faculty Spotlight: What We're Doing

Robin Bernstein organized and chaired a symposium in August on ‘Primate Body Size: A Multiple-Level Perspective’ at the 22nd Congress of the International Primatological Society, in Edinburgh.

Alexander Dent recently completed an exploratory period of fieldwork in Brazil for a new project, funded by GWU’s University Facilitating Fund

2008-2009: "Camelô Campinas: The Politics of the Informal Economy is São Paulo, Brazil"

Mark Edberg collaborated with UNICEF (Latin America-Caribbean Region) to develop a theoretical rationale, framework, and data indicators for data that UNICEF should collect to monitor the health/well-being of youth and adolescents (approximately ages 10-24) as part of its role monitoring progress related to the Convention on Rights of the Child, Millenium Development Goals, and other conventions. He presented the work to a region-wide meeting at UNICEF headquarters in Panama City, Panama in early October.

Mark Edberg is co-PI of a new CDC-funded project to work with a national panel and develop a research agenda that connects macroeconomic factors to youth violence. He is also co-PI on a new NIH-RO1 grant related to gender-based violence in the Latino community.

Richard Grinker served on the Review Board for the Autism Speaks Foundation, and acted as recommender for Macarthur Foundation Fellowships.

Richard Grinker (and Peter Hotez) were mentioned in the dedication to Paul Offit’s ‘Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure’ (Columbia University Press), as “real heroes—and true prophets.”

Chet Sherwood and collaborators at Wayne State University have recently been awarded a 5-year National Science Foundation-HOMINID grant to study the evolutionary origins of the brain energetics and adaptive plasticity of humans:

2008-2013: PI (collaborative with Morris Goodman, Wayne State University); “Evolutionary origins of the brain energetics and adaptive plasticity of humans”; National Science Foundation: HOMINID Program (total: $2,480,919; Sherwood subproject: $709,802)

Chet Sherwood, Francys Subiaul (Speech and Hearing Science), and Tad Zawidzki (Philosophy) were awarded a GWU Research Enhancement Fund grant to establish the Mind-Brain-Evolution Center, a new interdisciplinary research group that investigates the evolutionary origins of the human mind.

2008-2011: “Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Evolutionary Origins of the Human Mind”; collaborative with T.W. Zawidzki (Philosophy) and F. Subiaul (Speech and Hearing Science); Research Enhancement Fund ($104,250)

Joel Kuipers was the Principal Investigator on an award from SRI International.

2008 “Developing a semiotic framework for how people learn across settings
over time: An interdisciplinary collaboration of researchers.” ($92,000)

Steven Lubkemann
was awarded funding from the Ford Foundation for work on a project that will locate and initiate the scientific documentation of several shipwrecks that foundered along the southern African coast during the second half of the nineteenth century while involved in the international slave trade, providing an invaluable contribution to the study of one of the most consequential social processes in global history. The project will also assist its local partners in the development of a cultural resource management program that will preserve and protect this irreplaceable heritage while also rendering it accessible to a worldwide public. Finally the project will help regional partners develop a collaborative regional plan for further developing their heritage tourism sector with these unique resources. Through the scientific documentation, preservation, and protection of these resources for public benefit this project will result in substantial benefits to local, national and regional economies.
2008-2010: “The Southern African Slave Wrecks Route Project”; collaborative with
IZIKO-South Africa, The US Park Service, Institute for International
Tourism Studies, and partner institutions in Mozambique and Angola

Steven Lubkemann was awarded funding from the United States Institute for Peace, on the second phase of a collaborative research project which is examining customary legal institutions and practices and their interactions with the formal legal system in post-conflict Liberia.

2008-2009: “Current Practices of Justice and the Quest for Rule of Law: Policy
Options for Liberia's First Post-Conflict Decade.”

Peter Lucas was awarded a grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

2008-2010 “The fracture modes of human teeth”; collaborative with James Lee.

Robert Shepherd ran a field school in China this past summer. Fourteen undergraduates from Columbian College, the Elliot School, and the School of Business spent one month at the Beijing International Studies University, studying Chinese and the anthropology of development. As part of this course, they then spent one week in Inner Mongolia and Shanxi Province, visiting several World Heritage sites being promoted by Chinese authorities as tourist destinations as part of development efforts. These included the Yunggang Buddhist caves and Xuán Kong Sì Monastary, which date from the fifth century Northern Wei Dynasty, and Wutai Mountain, whose temple complexes date to the ninth century Tang Dynasty.

Faculty Spotlight: What We're Writing

Bernstein R. (in press) Glucocorticoids in red-shanked douc langurs (Pygathrix nemeaus). Viet J Primatol (with Tilo Nadler, Janine Brown, and Nicolaas Fourie)

Alexander Dent’s book, "Country Critics: Rural Music in Central-Southern Brazil", is in production at Duke University press; to be released in the next 8-10 months.

Alexander Dent (in preparation) "Singing the State: The Anthemics of Brazilian Authoritarianism (1930-45), to be submitted to Current Anthropology.

Mark Edberg finished a reader to accompany the textbook he recently wrote, Essentials of Health Behavior: Social and Behavioral Theory in Public Health (Jones & Bartlett 2007). The reader is called “Essential Readings in Health Behavior”, and will come out in 2009.

Ilana Feldman (2008) Waiting for Palestine: Refracted Citizenship and Latent Sovereignty in Gaza. Citizenship Studies 12(5): 447-63.

Richard Grinker (October 2008) A Better Time to Be Autistic. Counseling Young Children and Adults.

Richard Grinker (October 2008) What in the World is Autism? Autism Spectrum News.

Patty Kelly:
Kelly P (2008) Lydia's Open Door: Inside Mexico's Most Modern Brothel. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Kelly P (2008) Book Review: Violence and Hope in a US-Mexico Border Town, by Jody Glittenberg. Anthropology Quarterly 81(3).

Kelly P (2008) Legalize it? A Look Inside Mexico's Legal Brothels. $pread Magazine 4.2.

Joel Kuipers:

Gail Viechnicki and Joel Kuipers, eds. (2008) Objectification and the Inscription of Knowledge in Science Classrooms. Special issue of Linguistics and Education 19.3:201-318.

Peter Lucas:

Agrawal KR, Ang KY, Sui Z, Tan HTW & Lucas PW (2008) Methods of ingestion and incisal designs. In: Technique and Application in Dental Anthropology (eds. JD Irish & GC Nelson), pp. 349-363. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ang KY, Lucas PW & Tan HTW (2008) A novel way of measuring the fracture toughness of leaves and other thin films using a single inclined razor blade. New Phytol 177: 830-837.

Lucas PW, Constantino P, Wood BA & Lawn BR (2008) Dental enamel as a dietary indicator in mammals. BioEssays 30: 374-285.

Cheng ACO, Yuen HKL, Lucas PW, Lam DSC & So KF (2008) Surgical anatomy of the Chinese orbit – an anatomic study. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg 24: 136-41.

Lucas PW, Constantino PJ & Wood BA (2008) Structural and functional trends in tooth morphology within the hominid clade. J Anat 212: 486-500.

Vogel ER, van Woerden JT, Lucas PW, Utami Atmoko SS & van Schaik CP (2008) Functional ecology and evolution of hominoid enamel thickness: Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii and Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii. J Hum Evol 55: 60-74.

Dominy NJ, Grubb PJ, Jackson RV, Lucas PW, Metcalfe DJ, Svenning J-C & Turner IM (2008) In tropical lowland rain forests monocots have tougher leaves than dicots, and include a new kind of tough leaf. Ann Bot 101: 1363-1377.

Grubb PJ, Jackson RV, Barberis IM, Bee JN, Coomes DA, Dominy NJ, De La Fuente MAS, Lucas PW, Metcalfe DJ, Svenning J-C, Turner IM & Vargas O (2008) Monocot leaves are eaten less than dicot leaves in tropical lowland rain forests: roles for toughness and leaf presentation. Ann Bot 101: 1379-1389.

Dominy NJ, Vogel ER, Yeakel JD, Constantino P & Lucas PW (2008) For the hungry hominid a tuber was not hard: mechanical characteristics of plant foods in the diets of australopithecines and early Homo. Evol Biol 35:159-175.

Robert Shepherd has a recent chapter entitled "Cultural Preservation, Tourism, and ‘Donkey Travel’ on China’s Frontier" in a Routledge volume edited by Tim Winter entitled “Asia on Tour: Exploring the Rise of Asia Tourism”. Click link for more information:

Chet Sherwood:
K.A. Phillips and C.C. Sherwood (2008) Cortical development in brown capuchin monkeys: a structural MRI study. NeuroImage. doi10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.08.031

W.D. Hopkins, J.P. Taglialatela, A. Meguerditchian, T. Nir, N.M. Schenker, and C.C. Sherwood (2008) Gray matter asymmetries in chimpanzees as revealed by voxel-based morphometry. NeuroImage 42: 491-497.

M.A. Raghanti, C.D. Stimpson, J.L. Marcinkiewicz, J.M. Erwin, P.R. Hof, and C.C. Sherwood (2008) Cortical dopaminergic innervation among humans, chimpanzees, and macaque monkeys: a comparative study. Neuroscience 155: 203-220.

Bernard Wood:
In press:

Wood, B. ‘The changing boundary of the genus Homo.’In: The First Humans: Origins of the Genus Homo. Eds. F.E. Grine, J.G. Fleagle and R.E. Leakey. New York: Springer.

Diogo, R., Abdala, V. and Wood, B. Comparative anatomy, homologies and evolution of the pectoral and forelimb musculature. J Morph.

Skinner, M., Wood, B.A. and Hublin, J- J. Enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) morphology distinguishes the lower molars of Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus. J Hum Evol.

Silverman, N., Lague, M., Richmond, B. and Wood, B. ‘Taxonomic utility of the hominid mandibular corpus. J Anat.

Strait, D.S., Weber, G.W., Neubauer, S., Chalk, J., Richmond, B.G., Lucas, P.W., Spencer, M.A., Schrein, C., Dechow, P C., Ross, C.F., Grosse, I.R., Wright, B.W., Constantino, P., Wood, B.A., Lawn, B., Wang, Q., Slice, D., Byron, C., Smith, A.L. The feeding biomechanics and dietary ecology of Australopithecus africanus. Science.

Skinner, M., Wood, B.A. and Hublin, J- J. Protostylid expression at the outer enamel surface and at the enamel-dentine junction of mandibular molars of Paranthropus robustus andAustralopithecus africanus.’ J. Hum. Evol.

Faculty Spotlight: What We're Saying

Alexander Dent won a Bender Award for Teaching Excellence that was presented at the Faculty Meeting on October 3rd.

Richard Grinker delivered the following public lectures:
Oct. 3 Atlanta. Keynote Address: Cobb County Annual Book Fair.

Oct. 10 Washington, D.C. Autism Spectrum Symposium, George Washington University Office of Disability.

Oct. 10 Washington, D.C. Lecture. American Enterprise Institute.

Oct. 15 Washington, D.D. Lecture. HSC Foundation and Pediatric Center.

Oct. 17. Atlanta. Lecture. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta.

Oct. 20 Chicago. Lecture. Children’s Brain Research Foundation dinner lecture.

Oct. 24 Arlington, VA. Keynote. Organization for Autism Research. Arlington, VA

Patty Kelly
"Gendered Labor in the Global Economy." Guest speaker, Hotspots: Key Issues in Contemporary Globalization. George Mason University, Washington, D.C., April 16.

"Taming the City: Legalized Prostitution and the Modernization of Urban Mexico." Paper presented at "The Changing City" Urban Studies Seminar, George Washington University, April 30.

Chet Sherwood and collaborators presented their recent research on the evolution of neuromodulator innervation in the frontal cortex of humans and other primates at the American Society of Primatologists meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida:

M.A. Raghanti, C.C. Sherwood, P.R. Hof, and J.M. Erwin (2008) Evolutionary changes in cortical neuromodulator innervation within the frontal cortex of humans, chimpanzees, and macaque monkeys. Am. J. Primatol. 70 (Suppl. 1): 32.

Peter Lucas’ research was cited in:
1) The New Scientist May 19th. Five things humans no longer need.
2) Ungar P. 2008. Strong teeth, strong seeds. Nature 452: 703-704.

Bernard Wood was interviewed by Giulia e Piero Pruneti in‘Incontro con Bernard Wood,’ Archeologia Viva. 27(131): 78-79.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Annual Anthropology Student Research Conference

On Friday, October 17th the department will host the Annual Anthropology Student Research Conference. It will be from 2- 5pm in 1957 E St NW, room 215 and will be followed by a reception.

12 students who received awards from the Lewis N. Cotlow Fund will present their research findings.

The topics that will be presented on are:
  • Metro Area Midwives: A Study of Midwifery in the Washington DC Area - Kimberly Cotterman
  • The Historical Present: Identity's role in the Shifting Development of U-Street - Adam Steven Chamy
  • The Aesthetic of Urbanism: Pottery Chronologies of the Mixteca Alta - Kiernan McGowan
  • Metaphors of the Vocal Instrument: Embodied Language of Opera - Lauren E. Deal
  • Landscaping the Mind: The Exploration of Fictional Landscape in Shaoxing, China. - Chenkai Zhu
  • Hair Traditions Among Female Young Adult Samoans in Maraetai, New Zealand - Laura Myford
  • The Maya Women of Kaqla. Negotiation of gender and ethnic identity in Guatemala. - Alejandra Hurtado de Mendoza
  • "Just because you don't have papers, doesn't mean you won't get sick": Health Experiences of Latino Immigrants in Mount Pleasant, Washington, DC - Claire Selsky
  • "Eat Sweets and Talk Sweet:Hospitality and Commensality in Urban Middle-Class Turkey" - Heather Y. Hwalek
  • HOLISTIC HEALING: A Glance at the Perceptions of Illness and Health in
    Urban Peru - Carla Blauvelt
  • Baboons behaviour, hair and hormones - Nicholas Fourie
  • Are capuchins good models for the "grandmother" hypothesis?: What socio-spatial behavior of females with dependent infants can tell us." - Ashley Stinespring

For more on the conference please visit

For more on the Cotlow Fund please

Paula Hirschoff (MA 1996) completes second tour with Peace Corps

Paula Hirschoff (MA-Development 1996) and her neighborhood recently made headlines in the Washington post. The department tracked her down and inquired about her life. She writes:

"Africa is the continent that keeps calling me back. I recently completed a second tour of service with the Peace Corps, this time in Senegal with my husband Chuck Ludlam. (In the 1960s I served in Kenya.) Working mostly with women in the town of Guinguineo, Senegal, we helped to develop small businesses. After completing our service there, we spent a month each in Madagascar, Kenya and Ethiopia. During vacations, we traveled to Mauritania and to the heartland of vodou—Benin and Togo. One of our projects during service in Senegal was to propose and advocate for reforms in Peace Corps management, where standards have declined in the four decades since we last served. We flew home at our own expense to testify before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee (Peace Corps Subcommittee) on reform of the agency, and we continue to push a reform agenda. In addition, I'm working on a couple books: a history of my family's immigration from Europe and a perspective on our PC service with the cross cultural currents of the marriage set in the larger cross cultural milieu of Americans in Africa."

Thanks for the update Paula. It is great to hear from you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Barbara Miller cited in New York Times

Dr. Barbara Miller was recently quoted by The New York Times in an article entitled "In a Different Land, a Tradition Falls Apart". This article relates to Miller's research on hair and its symbolic significance in for Indian women. The author of the article, Sushma Subramanian, quotes from Hair: Its Power and Meaning in Asian Cultures, a book that Miller co-edited.

Check out the article here.

And check out the book here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Trin Tran (BA 2006) is back from the Peace Corps

Trinh Tran (BA Anth 2006), has just completed two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali.

She reports that:
"I have been home in California for a couple of weeks now and it has been nice to be with my family again. Memories of Mali still present themselves esp when I am awakened each morning by a rooster from my neighbor's house, surrounded by small children running around the house (my mom does in-house daycare) and eating rice as often as I did in Mali. Its like Mali with a Vietnamese twist. Perfect!
"Being in Mali was an experience I will never forget. I am thankful to have found friends and a community that I have learned so much from. It is not to say the two years did not come without frustrations and mistakes but if I have left with anything it is the belief that there is a way to make things better in this world through patience and a belief in the humanity and potential of others. And of course one cannot forget the laughter and the dancing."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Undergraduate Blogs Abroad

John Spangler (BA Anth 2010) is studying in Madurai, South India, with GW's SITA program this semester. He has started a blog with pictures of his adventures. The address

If you have interesting abroad stories, please share them with us in the comments section, and make sure to check out John's blog.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cotlow Researcher Update: Abigail Greenleaf

Abigal Greenleaf (BS Public Health 2007) writes:

"Hope all is well in DC! I am really enjoying my time here in Cameroon. It is an anthropological heaven! I am living in a compound with a Muslim family. There are three wives and over thirty kids so someone is always explaining something to me. The wives are great and are always inviting me to go to naming ceremonies, funerals, etc. I am learning Fulfulde, the local language and hopefully will be able to speak really well by the end of my two years."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Alumni Updates: Geoffrey Cain and Sophia Lungu

Geoffrey Cain (BA Intl Aff and Anth 2008), now living in Phnom Penh, has a new job with the United Nations as a correspondent for their humanitarian emergency service, IRIN ( His post is under the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. He is excited about the job because it allows him to write about issues he cares about -- organ trafficking, land grabbing, etc. -- and have an audience that includes major decision makers in the UN and NGOs.

Also, he recently published an article on the front page of the Far Eastern Economic Review:

Sophia Lungu (BA Anth and Intl Affairs 2007) has a new position as of August as BDC Executive Agent in the Pentagon's ODP (Office of Defense Policy), Office of European, NATO and Eurasian Policy. She works to make sure that Bilateral Defense Consultation meetings between the US and European and Eurasian allies run smoothly.

Hom Pal student Felicia Gomez honored by Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society

Fourth-year Hominid Paleobiology student Felicia Gomez was recently honored by the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society, taking first place for a presentation of her genetics research at the Yale Bouchet Conference on Diversity in Graduate Education.

For her Ph.D. dissertation, Gomez and her advisor, Dr. Sarah Tishkoff of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, are investigating the variability in African populations of two malaria susceptibility candidate genes and the role those genes may have played in recent human evolution.

The Bouchet Society is named for the first African-American doctoral recipient in the United States (Physics, Yale University, 1876). Its aim is to "promote diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate."

Gomez received her B.A. magna cum laude in biology and anthropology from Skidmore College and entered GW's Hominid Paleobiology Program in 2004.

Prof. Feldman wins Cultural Anthropology Prize

Ilana Feldman, Assistant Professor of International Affairs and Anthropology, has been awarded this year's Horizons Prize from the Society for Cultural Anthropology (SCA) for her article "Difficult Distinctions: Refugee Law, Humanitarian Practice, and Political Identification in Gaza."

Bruce Grant, president of the SCA, writes that "the Prize was designed to represent not only the best work in a given annual volume of the society's journal, Cultural Anthropology, but to more broadly identify the kinds of work seen by our doctoral student jury as emblematic of what is most needed in anthropologies ahead. The Prize comes with an honorarium of $500." The award will be formally presented at the SCA's annual business meeting in November.

More on the prize can be found at

More on Prof. Feldman can be found at

Monday, August 18, 2008

Nick Bluhm (BA 2008) employed at law firm

Nick Bluhm (5 year BA/MA-ID 2008) has just received a position at Cooley Godward Kronish as a Litigation Case Assistant.

Vincenzo Pasquantonio (BA 2004) produces videos on post-Katrina reconstruction

Vincenzo Pasquantonio (BA 2004) 's group, Levees.Org, recently produced two videos concerning post-Katrina reconstruction. They can be found on is an organization that advocates for additional investigation into the flood protection breakdowns that occurred during Hurricane Katrina. The organization looks to ensure a more effective response to future disasters and to the successful rebuilding of New Orleans.

For more information about Vincenzo's work, visit

Friday, August 1, 2008

Tom Kavanagh (MA 1980) is consulting anthropologist for Comanches

Tom Kavanagh (MA Anth 1980) has been appointed Consulting Anthropologist for the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma. This summer he conducted the first part of a consultancy between the CN and the National Park Service/Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) on traditional uses of resources in the GYE by Comanches.

He also has a new book, Comanche Ethnography, which is due out in August (U Nebraska Press). It is a compilation of the original field notes of the "Santa Fe Field Party" of 1933. That party included E. Adamson Hoebel and Waldo Wedel. These notes were the foundations of the classic Comanche ethnography The Comanches (Wallace and Hoebel 1952) but provide ethnographic detail beyond that which was published in 1952. Comanche Ethnography also reproduces Robert Lowie's notes from his brief visit to Lawton in 1912, the source for his 1916 Shoshone Dances.

Tom is also editing a volume of "histories" written by a Comanche man back in the 1950s-60s based on oral traditions from his grandmother.

Tom teaches at Seton Hall University and administers its anthropological collection.

Kate Spilde Contreras (MA 1993) Appointed to Endowed Chair

Kate Spilde Contreras (MA Anth 1993) has been named to the endowed chairship of the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming at San Diego State University, with a concurrent appointment as an associate professor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. She goes to San Diego State from UC-Riverside, where she was managing director of The Center for California Native Nations.

Spilde Contreras was born and raised on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota. Her mother is a teacher there. Her husband, Michael Contreras, is vice president of construction development and facilities for the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, owner of Valley View Casino in Valley Center, CA.

"We will be dedicating some of the institute's money to research on Indian gaming,” Spilde Contreras told the San Diego Metropolitan in June. “The institute already has funded small research projects over the past two years. One of the current grantees is doing a historical study of gambling among the Kumeyaay."

At GW, Kate Spilde did her thesis research on drug dealers, and did not focus on Indian gaming until her doctoral work at UC-Santa Cruz. Besides a PhD from there, she holds an MBA from San Diego State.

Spilde Contreras was project director of a study of the impacts of Indian gaming in California that was released in 2006 by The Center for California Native Nations. One of the study's findings was that census tracts in close proximity to gaming reservations experienced significantly greater income growth than tracts not in close proximity. These positive income effects were progressive, the study said, with poorer areas receiving larger economic benefits -- in the form of increased family income -- than better-off areas. The study said the establishment of gaming had beneficial effects on poverty, employment, educational expansion and the receipt of public assistance.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Will Moreau Goins (BA 1984) receives Lifetime Achievement Award

William Goins (BA 1984) has received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts from State of South Carolina. In April, 2008, he also received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, an annual award presented by the South Carolina General Assembly.

An author, activist, educator, recording artist, community leader, crafts artist, Will Moreau Goins is an active member of the state's arts community. In the tradition of Iroquois and Cherokee orators, Goins is a well-known and requested presenter. "As our most requested speaker, Dr. Goins reached thousands of South Carolinians, from students to senior citizens, presenting on a variety of folk heritage and humanities topics...Dr. Goins is an excellent historian, a strong speaker, and a passionate advocate of the arts," added Randy Ankers, executive director of the SC Humanities Council.

"Goins's knowledge is deep and his professionalism in unmatched..I can think of no more worthy recipient for this award than Dr. Will Moreau Goins," stated Ed Bolt, site manager, Pickens County Museum Hagood Historic Site.

Goins has dedicated his life honoring all his ancestors and preserving, presenting and performing Native American music traditions, beadwork and storytelling. "He is an accomplished artist a tireless community activist and certainly a constant promoter of art. He is, in my view, a valuable asset to the state of South Carolina, his Native people, and the arts," said Rep. Joseph H. Neal of South Carolina's general assembly.

Alumni Publications and Presentations

  • Peggy Fleming (MA Anth 1969) has published two books featuring her photographs: In Her Place and Small Town in the Big City. They can be viewed on her website,

  • Michelle H. Raxter (MA Anth 2004) is lead author of an article ("Stature estimation in ancient Egyptians: A new technique based on anatomical reconstruction of stature") published online in February, 2008, by the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

  • Presenting at this year's AAA meetings were Akiko Sawamoto (MA Anth-Development 2001) and Jessica Falcone (MA International Development Studies with a concentration in Anthropology 2002). Both have received doctorates, Akiko from Columbia University in Education and Anthropology, Jessica from Cornell in Anthropology.

  • Hope Williams (MA Anth 2005) was a coauthor of an October, 2007, article in Nature on "Early human use of marine resources and pigment in South Africa during the Middle Pleistocene." She is a student in Arizona State University's School of Human Evolution and Social Change.
  • Friday, July 18, 2008

    Alumni Go On for Advanced Degrees

    Graduate Study by Alumni

    • Doris (Grage) Duangboudda, (MA-ID 2005) will be attending UC Davis' PhD program in anthropology

    • Bonnie (Richard) Dixson (MA-MT 2007) will be attending UCLA's Anthropology PhD program

    • Chris Bloechl (MA 2007) will be attending the University of Chicago's PhD program in Anthropology

    • Robyn Le Blanc (BA Arch/Classics/History 2008) will be attending the UNC's PhD program in Classical Archaeology

    • Jessica Calvanico (BA 2008) will be attending the University of Chicago's Master of Arts Program in Social Sciences

    • Savannah Fetterolf (BA 2008) will be attending Columbia University's Master of Arts in Museum Anthropology

    • Nadia Rahman (MA-ID 2008) will be attending Oxford University's PhD Program in Anthropology

    • Harris Greenberg (BA Arch 2005) received his MA from University College London's Program in Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology

    Jane B. Hart Awards Honor Undergraduates

    At its annual May commencement celebration, the Department announced the 2008 winners of the Jane B. Hart Awards for Academic Achievement and Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis.

    Congratulations to Lucy Jickling (Anthropology), Sneh Patel (Archaeology), and Lance Levenson (Biological Anthropology) for having the highest GPAs within their majors.

    Congratulations to Jessica Calvanico (Anthropology), Robyn Le Blanc (Archaeology), Lance Levenson (Biological Anthropology), and Lia Schwartz (Biological Anthropology) for writing honors theses of exceptional merit.

    Jane B. Hart, an anthropology alumna and former astronaut, generously created an endowment to support anthropology at GW. Starting in 2004, part of the money has been used for student awards. Names of all winners to date are at

    Prof. Miller Wins Teaching Prize and Gives Charge

    Prof. Barbara Miller, professor of anthropology and international affairs and director of the Elliott School’s Culture in Global Affairs Research and Policy Program, was awarded this year’s Harry Harding Teaching Prize by the Elliott School. She was also asked to give the charge to graduates at the Elliott School graduation in May, 2008.

    The prize, named for Harry Harding, University professor of international affairs and dean of the Elliott School from 1995 to 2005, is awarded to a member of the faculty who has demonstrated sustained excellence in teaching and who has made extraordinary contributions to the education of Elliott School students.

    "The best part of my day is when I am in the classroom," said Miller. "Interacting with our students is energizing and uplifting, because they have traveled to so many places, are interested in so many issues, and aspire to achieve so much."

    In her charge, Miller offered the graduates five pieces of advice: "Don’t ever stop asking questions, do not fear failure, keep improving your basic skills, have fun and take care of yourself, and be great."

    Congratulations Profs. Feldman, Merritt and Vlach!

    Prof. Ilana Feldman's book, Governing Gaza: Bureaucracy, Authority, and the Work of Rule, 1917-1967, has been issued by Duke University Press. It is a study of Gaza under British and Egyptian rule, illuminating how government administration carried on in an atmosphere of continual crisis. The work is based on two years of ethnographic research with retired civil servants in Gaza and on archival research in Gaza, Cairo, Jerusalem, and London.

    Prof. Marilyn Merritt was awarded the first-place prize in the 2008 Ethnographic Poetry Competition, sponsored by the Society for Humanistic Anthropology, for her poems “Waiting for a Young Poet in Niamey" and "Dakar Rhythms of Ramadan." All winning poems will be published in the Society's journal, Anthropology and Humanism.

    On April 4, 2008, Prof. John Michael Vlach delivered the keynote address to the 40th meeting of the Louisiana Folklore Society, which was held at the University of New Orleans. In his speech "Shotgun Houses: Their Future 35 Years Later," he reviewed his path breaking research on the history of Louisiana's distinctive vernacular housing. Given that thousands of shotgun houses were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, the future of this 200 year old form is at risk as new modern (and alien) replacements are beginning to take their place. If not studied carefully, the shotgun house tradition may be lost within a few decades.


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