Friday, October 22, 2010

Alumna Joanna Brucker Sends Greetings from Kosovo

Alumna Joanna Brucker (BA Anth with Special Honors, 2007) writes:

"Many warm greetings from Kosovo. I have been here now for six months and some of the most transformational of my life. I currently work for a local non-profit as their educational coordinator. The non-profit, Balkan Sunflowers ( or provides educational extension and support for the minority populations here in Kosovo, namely the Roma and Ashkali. I work as advisor to four educational centers, providing daily training to the local tutoring staff of high school students, writing curriculum to be used in the centers and doing all sorts of outreach and cooperative training with local INGOs. The work is absolutely fascinating - and I am learning Albanian!"

The Anthropology Department is delighted to learn of Joanna's work and wish her all the best in the future.

13th Annual Lewis N. Cotlow Conference

The Anthropology Department held its 13th annual Lewis N. Cotlow Student Research Conference on October 15, 2010. The annual conference provides students with an opportunity to present findings to an audience of fellow students and faculty members.

Presentations given this year by undergraduate and graduate students spanned a diverse range of topics:

  • The militarization of Guam and Chamoru social movements
  • The genetics of a Siberian population
  • Gender ideology among Asians in Vancouver
  • Punk Islam
  • Spiritual healing in Brazil
  • Educational and employment opportunities for woman in India
  • Derussification in the Ukraine
  • Asexuality
  • Sugar daddy relationships in New York City
  • Catholic and Muslim immigrants in Sweden
  • Brain connectivity and myelin-associated proteins in human evolution
  • West Coast Swing vs. Lindy Hop
  • Bone structure and human locomotion
  • Obstetric fistula surgery
  • Fossil footprints
  • Trabecular bone architecture in mammals adapted to speed and endurance
  • Tracking age-related changes in endocrine function in primates

Abstracts for many past Cotlow Projects and information about the Lewis N. Cotlow Field Research Fund are available on the Anthropology Department website.

Since its establishment in 1990 by a bequest of $150,000 from the estate of Lewis Cotlow, an explorer, author, and filmmaker who attended GW. The Lewis Cotlow Fund has aided more than 150 students in conducting anthropological research throughout the world.

The faculty and staff of the Anthropology Department would like to congratulate all presenters on a job well done!

Dr. Michael D. Coe Lecture: "Collecting the Americas"

The Anthropology Department and the Museum Studies Program were pleased to host Dr. Michael D. Coe on October 14, 2010 as the first lecturer in the 2010-2011 George Washington University Seminar program Museums and Antiquities: A New World.

Dr. Coe, Professor of Anthropology and Curator Emeritus of the Anthropology Collection at Yale University and the Peabody Museum of Natural History, gave a lecture entitled “Collecting the Americas”. Dr. Coe explored the issue of whether scholars should study and publish research findings of objects that have ambiguous archaeological provenances.

The next lecture in the series “Looting and the Art Market in Antiquities” will be given on November 30, 2010 by Dr. Fabio Esteban Amador. Dr. Amador is an Associate Research Professor of Anthropology at The George Washington University and Program Officer at National Geographic Society.

The schedule for Spring 2011 lectures is as follows:

“Taking the Long View: Twenty Years of Repatriation at the National Museum of Natural History.”
William Billeck, Jan. 27

“A New Vision of a Past: Pueblo Origins and the Development and Depopulation of the Mesa Verde Region.”
Mark Varien, Feb. 17

“Branding the Maya: the Implication of Cultural Heritage Production in the Mayan Riviera.”
Traci Ardren, March 3

“Lower End Artifact Collections: is a practical accommodation possible among archaeologists, collectors, and museums?”
David K. Thulman, April 7

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Upcoming Event: Boe Titla, Apache Country Singer and Songwriter

Boe Titla, an Apache country singer and songwriter, will be presenting "Songs of Apache Places and Histories" on October 11, 2010 from 5:00-6:30PM. The event will be held in Phillips B-120, with a reception following.

Lambert (Boe) Titla is a talented singer, songwriter, and artist from the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona. Born in Bylas, Arizona, Boe is a member of the Black Water clan. His solo performances and recordings have provided entertainment and insight for audiences in Arizona, New Mexico, and throughout the southwest. His songs and stories about Apache places and histories have made him a featured performer at numerous Native American events and Cowboy Poetry gatherings. Boe's album, Native American Balladeer is available on

The event is jointly sponsored by the Departments of Anthropology and Music, the Institute for Ethnographic Research, and the GW Anthropology Society.

2006 Cotlow Award Recipient Releases Report on HIV/AIDS in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area

Dana Thomson (BA Int'l Affairs, 2008), a 2006 Lewis B. Cotlow Award recipient whose research involved a comparative study of HIV/AIDS care organizations in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, recently released a report entitled "HIV/AIDS in the Washington, DC metropolitan area: Whitman-Walker Clinics, 2007". This report, building upon Ms. Thomson's previous research, summarizes demographic, medical, social, economic, and geographic characteristics of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS at Whitman-Walker's three clinics in 2007. The report is unique for its social determinants framework and use of maps to summarize HIV/AIDS data.

Ms. Thomson is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Global Health and Population from the Harvard School of Public Health. She is hopeful that the data and methods from this report can be utilized by the DC HIV/AIDS community and beyond.

Key findings, the full report, and a list of upcoming presentations can be found at:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Anthropology Society announces study hours, general meeting

The GW Anthropology Society hosted study hours on September 12 in the Anthropology Department seminar room and plans to hold these regularly throughout the year. The Society will have their first General Interest/Body Meeting September 13 at 8 p.m. in the same room. These events follow a well-attended potluck on September 10.

The Society's e-mail address is All anthropology students, faculty, staff, and alumni are invited to join.

Brian Richmond becomes Anthropology Department chair

Associate Professor Brian G. Richmond is the new chair of the Anthropology Department, replacing Catherine {"Kitty") Allen, who will serve as deputy chair through the fall. Brian, who came here from the University of Illinois in 2002, teaches courses in human evolution, functional anatomy, and analytical methods. He stepped into the chairship after another busy field season hunting fossils in Kenya.

For more on Dr. Richmond, visit

Friday, September 3, 2010

Alumnus Enters 2010 Teach for America Corps

Recent graduate Nicholas Profeta (BA Anth and Econ 2010) was accepted into the 2010 Teach for America corps, the largest and highest-caliber corps in the organization's 20-year history.

Starting this fall, Nicholas will teach in Dade County, FL, bringing new energy and leadership to the challenge of closing the academic achievement gap for students in low-income communities. In a year where admission was more competitive than ever before, with an acceptance rate of 12 percent, Nicholas was selected from a record 46,000 individuals who applied to Teach For America and will join nearly 4,500 new corps members teaching in 39 regions across the country.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Alumna Susan Joy Bishai Graduates GW Law School

Congratulations to alumna Susan Joy Bishai (MA Anthropology-ID, 2007) on her graduation from The George Washington University Law School. After completing her Master's in Anthropology, Ms. Bishai went on to complete her J.D. with a focus in human rights and immigration law.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Prof. Grinker awarded AAA's Anthropology in Media award

Prof. Roy Richard Grinker has been awarded the American Anthropological Association’s 2010 Anthropology in Media award. This award was established in 1987 to recognize the successful communication of anthropology to the general public through the media. It seeks to honor those who have raised public awareness of anthropology and have had a broad and sustained public impact at local, national, and international levels.

Since the publication of his book Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism in 2007, media attention has mostly focused on Grinker’s work on the epidemiology of autism spectrum disorders. However, earlier books on anthropologist Colin Turnbull and relations between North and South Korea also attracted wide notice.

The AAA is recognizing Grinker both for his books and for his publications in major media venues. These include the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and New Scientist, and numerous broadcast appearances, including ABC’s 20/20 with Diane Sawyer, ABC’s World News Tonight with Charles Gibson, National Public Radio programs, and documentaries aired on PBS and distributed in movie theaters throughout North America.

Previous winners of the Anthropology in Media award are:

2009 John Noble Wilford
2008 James McKenna
2006 Eugenie Scott
2005 Meredith F. Small
2004 Melvin J. Konner
2002 John R. Rickford
1999 Donald C. Johanson
1997 Edward T. Hall
1996 Micaela di Leonardo
1995 Alan Lomax
1994 Katherine S. Newman
1993 Jonathan Benthall
1992 Jean Rouch, Jack Weatherford
1991 Ursula Le Guin
1990 Tony Hillerman
1989 Jane Goodall
1987 Stephen Jay Gould

Monday, June 14, 2010

Felicia Gomez (Hom Pal) Wins 2010 AAA Minority Dissertation Fellowship

Congratulations to Hominid Paleobiology doctoral student Felicia Gomez who recently was awarded the 2010-2011 American Anthropological Association Minority Dissertation Fellowship. Gomez, who is currently conducting research at the University of Pennsylvania, will use the fellowship to complete her dissertation on the evolutionary history of malaria-related genes. Her research includes examining genes that may have been affected by natural selection and identifying gene mutations that may be beneficial by making people less vulnerable to Malaria.

The Minority Dissertation Fellowship is awarded to one doctoral student annually and is intended to encourage members of ethnic minorities to complete doctoral degrees in anthropology, thereby increasing diversity in the discipline and/or promoting research on issues of concern among minority populations.

Click for more information

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hedwig Waters (BA 2009) receives Fulbright award

Alumna Hedwig Waters, who received a B.A. in Anthropology with Special Honors in January 2009, recently was awarded a Fulbright award to support eight months of research in Mongolia. She will travel to Mongolia in January 2011 to study women's health and the changing images of female beauty and body ideals. This summer, prior to starting her research, she will be studying intensive Russian and Mongolian.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New jobs for three recent M.A. graduates

Matt LeDuc (M.A.-Int. Dev. 2010) recently started working as a short-term consultant for the World Bank. Matt will assist in the preparation of a "Concept Note" on social sustainability in Bank-funded development projects. This study will lead to the development of a core training and certification program for social development specialists at the World Bank.

Maureen Moodie (M.A.-Int. Dev. 2010) is employed by the Neighborhood Farm Initiative (Washington, DC) and its sister organization, DC's Field to Fork Network. She is involved in promoting community gardens, home composting, and similar activities, and helps manage the Field to Fork Network's blog (

Isaac Morrison (M.A. -Int. Dev. 2009) has joined the nonprofit group Innovation Networks (Washington, DC) as a full-time researcher. The group does research for other nonprofits on their performance, helps quantify their goals, etc. Isaac hopes to also keep teaching anthropology at Montgomery College.

Please send your news bulletins to Thanks.

Education and job bulletins, recent B.A. graduates

Mary Brown (B.A. Archaeology 2010) will attend the University of Liverpool for an M.A. in Egyptology.

Melissa Cradic (B.A. Archaeology-honors and Classical Humanities 2010) will attend Cambridge University for M.Phil., after which she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Anthropology at UC-Berkeley.

Robin Clay Lange (B.A. Archaeology-honors and Classical Humanities 2007) has completed her master’s degree in archaeology at the University of Durham and returned to New York.

Ashley Randall (B.A. Anthropology 2009) is back in Michigan after a tour as a Peace Corps community health development volunteer in Burkina Faso.

Jessica Ring (B.A. Archaeology 2010) has entered the Anthropology M.A. program at GW.

Please send your news bulletins to Thanks.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Matt LeDuc (MA 2010) is consultant at World Bank

Matt LeDuc (M.A.-Int Dev 2010) recently started working as a short-term consultant for the World Bank. Matt will assist in the preparation of a “Concept Note” on social sustainability in Bank-funded development projects. This study will lead to the development of a core training and certification program for social development specialists at the World Bank. The Note will include a set of recommendations regarding the main objectives of the training program, as well as its content, scope, and target audience. It will also identify gaps between existing training programs and the training needs of social development specialists at the Bank. Matt is involved in compiling the results of a questionnaire and assisting with a series of focus groups with Bank staff.

Dana Rosenstein (BA 2002) shares SAA poster award

Dana Drake Rosenstein (B.A. Anthropology 2002) and Prof. James Feathers shared one of the R. E. Taylor Poster Awards at the Society for American Archaeology 75th Anniversary Meeting in St. Louis for their poster "Luminescence Dating of Samples from Recent Contexts in South Africa."

As Sandra Lopez Varela, president of the Society for Archaeological Sciences, writes: "This prestigious award is named in honor of Professor Emeritus R. Ervin Taylor of the University of California at Riverside for his outstanding contributions in the development and application of radiocarbon dating in archaeological research and dedication to the founding of the Society for Archaeological Sciences. For more than a decade, receiving the Taylor R. E. award has enhanced the career of those who are now prominent young scholars and professionals." In more material terms, the winners receive a free subscription to the SAS Bulletin and a $100 bonus.

After graduating from GW, Dana went to South Africa, where she got a MSc in Archaeology from the University of Cape Town with a thesis on the technology and dating of BaTswana ceramics in northwestern South Africa. She is now a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Arizona. Her dissertation will include the construction of a master archaeomagnetic curve for the last 500 years in northeastern South Africa using optically stimulated luminescence.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Grad Student Matt LeDuc Receives Fulbright Award to Work in India

Matt LeDuc (MA 2010) was recently awarded a Fulbright scholarship to conduct research in India. He will explore the politics of cultural heritage and the effects of tourism in the town of Hampi, India. Once the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hampi provides an important case study of the overlapping and sometimes competing interests of cultural heritage preservation, economic development, and “archaeological tourism.”

Matt, an International Development concentrator and teaching assistant, got his B.A. degree in Anthropology from the University of Michigan.

Heather Dingwall Wins Gamow Fellowship to Research Evolution of Human Gait

Heather Dingwall, a double major in Biological Anthropology and Archaeology, has received a George Gamow Fellowship to study what ancient footprints tell about the origins of human gait. Prof. Brian Richmond is her advisor. Heather is looking forward to going to Kenya, where a team that included Dr. Richmond discovered 1.5-million-year-old hominin footprints at Ileret.

More on Gamow Fellowships:

More on Ileret footprints:;323/5918/1197

Warren Awards Announced; Eight Students Funded for Summer 2010

The Departments of Anthropology and of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations are pleased to announce the 2010 winners of fellowships for archaeological research. This year, all the students will be working in Israel or Jordan. The winners are:
Joseph DiVirgilio (B.A. candidate, undeclared): Megiddo, Israel
Amanda Kemble (B.A. candidate, Anthropology): Megiddo
Samantha Malone (B.A. candidate, undeclared): Megiddo
Joseph Mazzariello (B.A. candidate, Archaeology): Megiddo
Clara Merchant (B.A. candidate, Anthropology): Megiddo
Katie Paul (M.A. candidate, Anthropology): Megiddo
Kyle Tomanio (B.A. candidate, Anthropology): Megiddo
Jonathan Warner (B.A., undeclared): Bir Madhkur, Jordan

This is the third year Warren awards have been made. The endowment was created by a generous gift from William Warren, a retired Foreign Service Officer, who received a B.A. in 1967 from what is now the Elliott School of International Affairs. He was American Consul in Adana, Turkey, served as Charge d'Affaires of the American Embassy in the Solomon Islands and in Samoa, and held other overseas posts. Warren established two awards, the Thomas and Ola Herbert Reidling Undergraduate Award for B.A. or B.S. candidates and the Zelma Reidling Warren Bannister and William Warren Graduate Fellowship Award for M.A. and Ph.D. candidates.

For more information, visit the Warren Fellowship page of the Anthropology Department website:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Profs. Grinker, Lubkemann are co-editors of new book on Africa

The second edition of Perspectives on Africa: A Reader in Culture, History, and Representation has just been published by Wiley-Blackwell. Editors are R. Richard Grinker, Stephen C. Lubkemann, and Christopher B. Steiner. It contains 46 articles illustrating the way scholars have described and understood African history and culture over the past several decades.


New M.A. concentration in Medical Anthropology approved

The Anthropology Department is pleased to announce that Columbian College has approved a new concentration in Medical Anthropology for our M.A. Program, joining our successful concentrations in Museum Training and International Development. To support this program, we have also created a new graduate course, Anth 255: Topics in Medical Anthropology, to complement the existing medical anthropology seminar (Anth 254). Several courses in Public Health are options within the concentration.

Medical Anthropology will be a 15-credit hour concentration within the 36-hour MA in Anthropology. It will be a very distinct entity within the world of anthropology graduate study, since very few schools have medical anthropology programs and those few seldom offer an M.A. degree. The program is expected to appeal to people who have earned or are working toward graduate degrees in complementary fields, such as Public Health, Public Administration, or Medicine, and who seek to add training in medical anthropology.

The concentration officially becomes available in fall 2011. Interested students should contact Prof. Barbara Miller,

Friday, March 19, 2010

Derek Wildman of Wayne States speaks March 31 on evolutionary genomic perspectives on human evolution

Derek E. Wildman of the Wayne State University School of Medicine speaks on "Evolutionary Genomic Perspectives on Human Evolution" in an event sponsored by the Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology and the GW Anthropology Society. Dr. Wildman's laboratory has two main areas of research focus: the evolutionary history of birth and labor and the evolution of primates in general. Regarding humans, it investigates "the evolution of phenotypic features such as the emergence of the greatly expanded anthropoid primate neocortex, the evolution of labor and birth, and the evolution of aerobic energy metabolism."

Dr. Wildman has appointments in the Wayne State Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. For more on him and his research, click here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Talk, March 24: Why there is no 'European Islam'

Prof. John R. Bowen speaks on "Why there is no 'European Islam': Contrasting contours of Islam in England and France." Bowen, who is the Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor of Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, discusses contrasting histories of migration, church-state relations, and political philosophy to account for the sharp divergences in Muslim experiences in England and France (with a passing nod to the United States). A focus of the talk will be the possibilities afforded in England for Muslims to construct 'shari'a councils, paralegal mediation or arbitration bodies dealing with family law and commercial disputes.

Location: 1957 E St., room 214
3 p.m.

Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and the Institute for Middle East Studies.

Three courses added to undergraduate curriculum

Three archaeology and biological anthropology courses that have been successfully offered as special topics courses have now been added to the list of regular classes:

ANTH 104: Archaeology in Film & Television

This course examines archaeology as depicted in fictional and documentary films and television. The seminar setting encourages the development critical thinking skills and examination of various contemporary archaeological issues portrayed in popular culture. Prerequisite: ANTH 3

ANTH 144: Evolution of the Human Brain

Examination of how the human brain is unique in comparison to other animals, with an emphasis on understanding our species’ distinctive neurobiology in relation to the evolution of cognitive abilities such as language, social comprehension, tool making, and abstract thinking. Prerequisite: ANTH 1
This course will be taught by Prof. Chet Sherwood in the fall of 2010.

ANTH 194: Archaeology of Ritual & Religion

This course uses cross-cultural case studies to explore religious ritual practiced in the past. Special attention is given to contemporary methods and theories used to interpret religion and ritual from the archaeological record. Prerequisite: ANTH 3

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Prof. Vlach to deliver Schroedl lecture at Goucher

2010 Irwin C. Schroedl Jr. Lecture Series Presents:

Dr. John Michael Vlach
Professor of American Studies and Anthropology, GWU

“‘Then I Went Into It Forcibly’: African-American Creativity in Arts and
Crafts Across Four Centuries”

Thursday, March 25, at 7 p.m.
Goucher College’s Kelley Lecture Hall (Baltimore)

This event is free and open to the public.
For more information, contact Professor Gail Husch at 410-337-6257 or

Prof. Cline Is Student Athlete Professor of the Year

Eric H. Cline, Chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and a member of the Anthropology Department, received the 2009-10 Student Athlete Professor of the Year Award. Eric was chosen by a vote of GW student athletes and was presented with his award at a basketball game February 25 -- you can see him here on the Jumbotron.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

CCAS profiles Alison Brooks's work with PBS, Natural History Museum

Prof. Alison Brooks was recently profiled by the Columbian College because of her scientific research and her involvement with the new human origins hall at the Smithsonian and the PBS series The Human Spark.

"Brooks’ high profile in the anthropology arena stems in part from her energy and relentless curiosity—and not a tiny bit from her daring," wrote the Arts and Sciences News Center reporter.

To read the whole feature story, click here.

Department researchers show how some ape teeth are made for the toughest times

The teeth of some apes are formed primarily to handle the most stressful times when food is scarce, according to new research performed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The findings, published in December's American Journal of Physical Anthropology, imply that if humanity is serious about protecting its close evolutionary cousins, the food apes eat during these tough periods – and where they find it – must be included in conservation efforts.

The interdisciplinary team, which brought together anthropologists from George Washington University (GW) and fracture mechanics experts from NIST, has provided the first evidence that natural selection in three ape species has favored individuals whose teeth can most easily handle the “fallback foods” they choose when their preferred fare is less available.

Lead authors of the article were research scientist Paul Constantino (PhD Hominid Paleobiology 2007) and Prof. Peter Lucas.

For the GW News article, click here.

For the AJPA article, click here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Excavations by GW students and Prof. Eric Cline show Aegean influences in Bronze Age Canaan

The Canaanite city of Tel Kabri, occupied around 3500 years ago, has yielded novel evidence of contact with the Bronze Age Aegean. The most exciting finds were hundreds of fresco fragments and a floor painted in a Greek style.

Twenty-eight GW students worked at the site last summer with Prof. Eric H Cline.

For a detailed report in GW Today, go to

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Alice McKeown (MA 2002) directs Vital Signs Online for Worldwatch Institute

Alice L. McKeown (MA Anth-ID 2002, BA Anth with Special Honors 2000) continues to research and publish for Vital Signs Online and other publications as part of her work at the Worldwatch Institute. She reports on such topics as the growth of organic agriculture, the mixed prospects for jobs related to biofuels, and the drastic decline in the size of coral reefs. Before going to the Worldwatch Institute in 2008, Alice worked for more than five years with the Sierra Club, where she became an expert on coal, energy policy, and air pollution.

For more, visit her Worldwatch profile.

Suzanne Leclerc-Madlala presents for the Global HIV/AIDS Program of the World Bank

Suzanne Leclerc-Madlala (MA Anthropology 1985, PhD University of Natal 2000) presented on “AIDS in Southern Africa: A socio-cultural interpretation from USAID's first AIDS anthropologist” at the World Bank on February 2.The presentation discussed some of the potential reasons why HIV prevention programs have not been successful in Southern Africa. Applying an anthropological lens, the presentation examined the common pattern of sexual practices in Southern Africa that makes people especially vulnerable to HIV and suggest ways to improve HIV prevention.

Suzanne is Senior Anthropology Advisor in the Office of HIV/AIDS in the Global Health Bureau of USAID.

Erin Marie Williams (Hom Pal) receives inaugural Bouchet Society Fellowship

Erin Marie Williams, a Ph.D. candidate in Hominid Paleobiology who has a 2005 Anthropology M.A. from GW, has received the inaugural fellowship for the GW chapter of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society. The society is named after the first African American to receive a doctoral degree. Erin Marie, who is completing a dissertation on stone technology and the evolution of modern humans, applied for the Bouchet Fellowship because she wanted to have the opportunity to interact with other African American Ph.D. students and find African American academic mentors.

For more: Click here

Monday, February 1, 2010

Isaac Morrison (MA 2009) teaches class in ceramics and archaeology

Isaac Morrison (MA Anthropology-International Development 2009) is teaching a course at Baltimore Clayworks. Material in Context: Ceramics and Archaeology is a 6-week course that is directed towards professionals and students in the field of archaeology who wish to better understand the methods and cultural processes that go into the creation of pottery. The class aims to teach basic ceramic crafting within a scientific, historical, and theoretical context. The class will be held on Saturdays 11 am - 2 p.m., April 17- May 22. The fee is $165 for members and $185 for non-members.