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.