Thursday, November 10, 2011

Anthropology Major Wins Gold in Chinese Language Competition

Congratulations to Tim Quinn (B.A. Anth and B.A. Int'l Affairs, 2012), who was one of three gold award winners in the Jiangsu Cup Chinese Speech Contest held at The George Washington University. In the contest’s final round on Sunday, November 6, 2011 Mr. Quinn answered personal questions and gave an improvised speech in Chinese

As a gold award winner, Mr. Quinn received a full scholarship to complete a master’s degree at Nanjing University. The scholarship will cover full tuition, housing, health insurance and a monthly living stipend.

The contest was sponsored by the Jiangsu International Cultural Exchange Center, the Nanjing University in China and The George Washington University Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Professor Frances Norwood Receives 2011 Margaret Mead Award

Congratulations to Dr. Frances Norwood, Assistant Research Professor in the GWU Department of Anthropology, who was recently selected to receive the 2011 Margaret Mead Award for her book, The Maintenance of Life: Preventing Social Death through Euthanasia Talk and End-of-Life Care – Lessons from The Netherlands (2009). The Margaret Mead Award is presented to a younger scholar for a particular accomplishment such as a book, film, monograph, or service, which interprets anthropological data and principles in ways that make them meaningful and accessible to a broadly concerned public – skills for which Margaret Mead was admired widely. Past recipients of the Margaret Mead Award have included Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Alex Stepick, Paul Farmer, Susan Scrimshaw, Philippe Bourgois, and Leo Chavez.

The Maintenance of Life is about what has developed in one present-day society to address social death and modern dying. It is based on a 15-month ethnographic study of home death in The Netherlands with general practitioners, end-of-life patients and their family members. The book develops from two important study findings: (1) that euthanasia in practice is predominantly a discussion, which only rarely culminates in a euthanasia death; and (2) that euthanasia talk in many ways serves a palliative function, staving off social death by providing participants with a venue for processing meaning, giving voice to suffering, and reaffirming social bonds and self-identity at the end of Dutch life. Ironically, those who engage in euthanasia talk often choose not to die by euthanasia and instead live longer lives as active participants engaged in Dutch social networks even at the end of life.

Dr. Norwood weaves her story beautifully, with ethnographic excerpts opening each chapter telling the stories that make up end-of-life from the perspective of patients, families, and their physicians. Using theory from Michel Foucault and Clive Seale, Dr. Norwood illuminates concepts of discourse and social death through ethnography yet weaves an ethnographic story that is accessible to scholars, policy makers, and families alike. Her book takes a critical look at Dutch euthanasia policy and broader end-of-life practices from a cultural perspective in comparison with U.S. end-of-life practices and policies. It is a book that offers those on any side of the end-of-life debate and those from around the world valuable lessons for maintaining life at the end of life.

The book was recently translated into French and is now also available as Mourir un Acte de Vie (2010).

Click here to learn more about Professor Norwood's research.

For more information on the Margaret Mead Award and past winners visit

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dr. Eric Cline Wins 2011 Biblical Archaeology Society Publication Award - Best Popular Book on Archaeology

Congratulations to Dr. Eric Cline, who was chosen to receive the Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS) 2011 Publication Award - Best Popular Book on Archaeology for Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction. This is the 3rd time that Dr. Cline, Associate Professor of Classics, Anthropology, and History and Chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, has been honored with the BAS Publication Award for Best Popular Book on Archaeology. He previously received awards in 2001 and 2009 for, respectively, The Battles of Armageddon: Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley from the Bronze Age to the Nuclear Age and From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible.

Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction is published by Oxford University Press. For more information visit

For more information on Dr. Cline's research and publications, visit

Monday, August 1, 2011

Research by 2010 Lewis N. Cotlow Fund Awardees Featured in Huffington Post

Research conducted by recent GW alumni and 2010 Lewis N. Cotlow Award recipients Elizabeth Nistico (BA Int'l Affairs, 2011) and Samuel Schall (BA Int'l Affairs, 2011) was highlighted in an article detailing "Sugar Daddy" relationships in the August 1, 2011 Huffington Post.

The article states:

"As two enterprising anthropology undergraduates at George Washington University, Elizabeth Nistico and Samuel Schall tackled the phenomenon of sugar daddy culture for a recent school project. Schall studied young, gay sugar babies, and Nistico explored the straight scene. Of their study's 100 participants, more than half said the money they received financed their education. On average, the relationships lasted between three and four months.

Nistico found that some of the sugar babies used the excuse of the economic downturn for behavior she thinks they would still have otherwise condoned. 'We concluded that people who say they have a sugar daddy to pay off their loans are people who would already contemplate being in that relationship if the economy was doing just fine,' says Nistico, whose subjects frequently mentioned the recession, a bad economy or debt as motivating factors in their decisions."

In 2010, Nistico and Schall received a Lewis N. Cotlow Award to support their project: "Sugar Daddies: The Reality of Affluent Cross-Generational Relationships in New York City"

The project examined how members of the Sugar Daddy culture in New York City view their relationships in a wider cultural context and how they conceptualize love, sex, survival and personal identity in the realm of the relationships.

The full article can be accessed online at

More information on the Lewis N. Cotlow Fund for Student Research, including past projects, can be found at

Faculty research: Chimp brains don't shrink as they age, unlike humans

Unlike humans, chimpanzees’ brains don’t shrink as they get older. That means that, so far, people seem to be the only lucky species whose brains wither with age, according a report by Prof. Chet Sherwood and his colleagues in the July 25, 2011 online Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the new study, Sherwood and his colleagues focused on chimpanzees, which have some of the most developed brains and longest life spans among primates. The researchers wondered if chimps experience brain decline in old age similar to that seen in humans.

The researchers scanned the brains of 99 chimpanzees with ages representing the entire adult life span, from 10 to 51 years. For comparison, the team imaged the brains of 87 humans from 22 to 88 years old. The human scans confirmed what other studies had found: All brain regions measured showed shrinkage with age. But chimp brains didn’t get smaller with age.

Sherwood points out that the results don’t answer a fundamental question for human evolution: “Why would we be built in such a faulty way that leads to this degeneration in our brains?” he asks. Perhaps a long life span is worth the drawback. Big brains and long life spans may free up older members of the population to look after the youngsters, he speculates.

The research by Professor Sherwood and colleagues was highlighted by numerous national and international news organizations, including BBC News, the Wall Street Journal, and CBS News, and featured in Discover magazine and Science blogs.

For more information and the original article, go to

Thursday, April 21, 2011

2011 Rogers Excavation Scholarship Recipients

The Anthropology Department is pleased to announce the 2011 Rogers Excavation Scholarship recipients, who will participate in archaeological fieldwork at sites in the U.S., Israel, Mexico, Belize, Kenya, and Greece during Summer 2011.

Joaille Araujo (B.A. Anth / Intl Affairs)
Alexandria, VA. Director: Pamela Cressey

Rebecca Biermann (B.A. Anth)
Oaxaca, Mexico. Director: Jeffrey Blomster

Sarah Cahlan (B.A. Archaeology)
Tel Kabri, Israel. Director: Eric Cline

Charlotte Doney (B.A. Anth)

Say Kah, Belize. Director: Linda Brown

Gabriela Farias (B.A. Arch / Geology)

Tel Kabri, Israel. Director: Eric Cline

Cheyenne Lewis (B.A. Arch / B.S. Bio Anth)
Astypalaia, Greece. Director: Simon Hillson

Lisa Mangiarelli (B.A. Arch)

Say Kah, Belize. Director: Linda Brown

Katie Paul (M.A. Anth)

Tel Kabri, Israel. Director: Eric Cline

Laurel Poolman (B.A. Arch / Anth)
Tel Kabri, Israel. Director: Eric Cline

Madeline Shaffer (B.A. Arch)
Say Kay, Belize. Director: Linda Brown

Harrison Ward (B.S. Bio Anth)
Koobi Fora (Director: Brian Richmond) and Olorgesailie (Director: Alison Brooks), Kenya.

The Rogers Excavation Scholarship provides funding for undergraduate or graduate students to do fieldwork in archaeology. Preference is given to those participating in an excavation for the first time and to those working with GW faculty. This scholarship, administered through the Capitol Archaeological Institute, was established in 2011 through the generosity of alumni Deborah Lehr and John Rogers.

2011 Lewis N. Cotlow Recipients

The Anthropology Department is pleased to announce the 2011 recipients of Lewis N. Cotlow Awards for anthropological research. The following students will conduct research during the coming months and will present highlights of their findings at the annual conference on student research, which is held on the Friday of Colonials Weekend in October 2011:

Tanvi Avasthi (B.A./M.A. Anth): Identity Politics among Progressive Indian Clinicians
Advisor: Barbara Miller

Carrie Benjamin (M.A. Anth): Talib├ęs and Marabouts: Children's Rights, Development, and Local Perspectives in Saint-Louis, Senegal
Advisors: David Gow and Ilana Feldman

Heather Dingwall (B.S. Bio Anth and B.A. Arch):
Analysis of Homo erectus Fossil Footprints from Ileret, Kenya, in the Context of Unshod Daasanach Experimental Prints
Advisor: Brian Richmond

Justin Greco (B.S. Bio Sci and B.A. Arch): Determining Site-Status via Analysis of Maya Ceramics from Say Kah, Belize
Advisors: Jeffrey Blomster and Linda Brown

Cheyenne Lewis (B.S. Bio Anth and B.A. Arch):
Use of Dorsal Parturition Pits as a Female Characteristic on the Human Pelvis
Advisor: Douglas Ubelaker

Kate Markham (B.S. Bio Anth): Monitoring Nitrogen and Energy Balance in Wild Bornean Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) in a Peat Swamp
Advisor: Erin Vogel

Alicia O'Brien (B.A. Int Aff): Describing the Gap: The Impact of Identity and Culture for Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities after Transitioning from School
Advisors: Frances Norwood and Barbara Miller

Danielle Pelaez (B.A. Int Aff): 21st Century Pilgrims: Exploring the Transmutation from the Religious Pilgrim to the Secular Adventurer
Advisor: Catherine Allen

Claire Ragozzino (B.A. Intl Aff): West Meets East: The Effects of Western Commodification of Yoga on Indian Yogic Identity and Practice
Advisors: Barbara Miller and Frances Norwood

Rebecca Remis (B.A. Intl Aff):
The Chinese Experience in the Organic Movement: A Case Study of Little Donkey Farm
Advisors: Barbara Miller and Robert Shepherd

Tatiana Reyes (B.A. Intl Aff):
Working Women: An Ethnography of Tourism and Its Impact on the Women of San Juan del Sur
Advisors: Catherine Timura, Robert Shepherd, Barbara Miller

Kristina Short (M.A. Anth): Materializing Social identity: Ceramic Figurines at Middle and Late Formative Etlatongo
Advisor: Jeffrey Blomster

Since 1990, the Lewis N. Cotlow Field Research Fund has supported over 150 anthropological research projects by GW students in nearly 50 countries. The Fund was created by a $150,000 bequest from the estate of Lewis Cotlow (1898-1987), an explorer, author, and filmmaker who attended GW.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Professor Eric Cline Receives 2011 Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Faculty Scholarship

Dr. Eric Cline, Chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Language and Civilization and Associate Professor of Classics, Anthropology, and History, who was selected to receive the prestigious 2011 Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Faculty Scholarship.

In discussing Dr. Cline's selection, George Washington University Vice President for Research Leo Chalupa referenced Dr. Cline's contributions to the field of archaeology of the Middle East, including his co-direction of excavations at Megiddo and Tel Kabri, as contributing to his outstanding international reputation. This reputation is bolstered by Dr. Cline's outstanding publication record as author or co-author of nine books and more than 80 articles in scholarly and general audience publications.

The Anthropology Department offers a hearty congratulations to Dr. Cline for this well-deserved recognition of scholarly contributions.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Alumna Amanda Leonard to Give Interview on "Big Black Dog Syndrome"

Recent graduate Amanda Leonard (MA Anthropology-Museum Training, 2011) is scheduled to give an radio interview on "Big Black Dog Syndrome" in conjunction with the "Thinking about Animals Conference" held Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1 2011 at Brock University.

Leonard, who was invited to present at the conference, will be discussing why big black dogs remain un-adopted while their smaller and more colorful counterparts more easily find loving families. Her study, which will also be published in the Kroeber Anthropological Society Papers, suggests the issue stems in part from humans' inability to distinguish facial expressions on black dogs. This, in combination with shelters typically being dark places and bad photography accompanying adoption ads, contributes to a negative perception of large black dogs.

Leonard will be interviewed on Friday, April 1st at 1:00PM till 1:30PM on Brock Radio CFBU 103.7 FM for a show called "Dog Talk". The interview, conducted by Dave McMahon, Professor of Animal Studies, Niagara College, Canada, will serve as a way to educate the public about the Syndrome.

Additionally, Leonard was featured on the Brock University news page:

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Heather Dingwall Receives Luther Rice Collaborative Fellowship

The Anthropology Department would like to offer its congratulations to Heather Dingwall, undergraduate double major in Biological Anthropology and Archaeology, who received a Luther Rice Collaborative Fellowship for the 2011-2012 academic year.

Her project, to be completed under the direction of Dr. Brian Richmond, will involve conducting running and walking experiments using unshod Daasanach subadults in Ileret, Kenya in order to determine how gait, speed, and foot morphology influence the formation and morphology of footprints. Ultimately, the resulting data will provide a comparative context for the analysis of fossil hominin footprints (namely, the footprints from Ileret that have been attributed to H. erectus). In addition, she will assist with the further excavation of the fossil footprint surfaces at Ileret during Summer 2011.

The Rice Fellowships offer support for student-initiated research carried out in collaboration with, and under the guidance of, at least one faculty mentor.

Dr. Catherine Allen Awarded a Specialist Fulbright Grant

Dr. Catherine Allen, Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs, has been awarded a Specialist Fulbright Grant to spend a month at Catholic University in Lima. She will offer a five-week seminar on the subject of Thought, Action, and Landscape in the Andes, for students enrolled in the master and doctoral Program in Andean Studies. Additionally, she will offer one or more presentations on her current research as part of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Seminar to be held for one week in Pisac (Cuzco ) in 2011. Finally, she will meet with faculty and graduate students at PUCP (Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru) who specialize in Andean visual and performing arts.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Recent Graduate to Present at Two Professional Conferences

Amanda Leonard (M.A. Anthropology-Museum Training 2011) will be presenting "Shadows in the Shelter: The Plight of ‘Big Black Dogs’ in American Animal Shelters" at the Thinking About Animals Conference, co-hosted by the Institute of Critical Animal Studies (ICAS) at its Tenth Annual North American ICAS conference (Brock University, St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada, March 21 and April 1, 2011).

The paper she is presenting in Canada is the same as described in "The Plight of ‘Big Black Dogs’ in American Animal Shelters: Color-Based Canine Discrimination," a paper that has been accepted for publication by The Kroeber Anthropological Society Papers, a journal of the University of California, Berkeley.

Ms. Leonard, who has worked as an animal behavior specialist and enrichment coordinator for the Washington Humane Society, used her anthropological training to analyze how people's feelings about color influence what shelter animals they adopt.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hom Pal Students Awarded Cosmos Scholar Grants

Congratulations to Hominid Paleobiology students Andrew Zipkin, Amy Bauernfeind, and Katherine Schroer. Each recently received a Cosmos Scholar grant to support research in the upcoming year. Their projects are as follows:

Andrew M. Zipkin: Identification and Characterization of Archaeologically Relevant Malawian Ochre Deposits

Amy L. Bauernfeind: Energetics and Maturation of the Brain in Humans and Macaque Monkeys

Katherine E. Schroer: Geometric morphometric analysis of crown and root integration in molarized primate premolars

The Cosmos Scholar grant program program provides grants to meet specific research needs not covered by other supporting funds, including but not limited to special supplies, travel, and unanticipated expenses that would enhance the research being undertaken. More information can be found here

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jan. 26 Talk on Swartkrans by Dr. TravisPickering

Dr. Travis R. Pickering of The University of Wisconsin - Madison will present a talk entitled "Life and Death in the Stone Age: Continued Paleoanthropological Investigations at Swartkrans Cave (and beyond)" as part of the Department of Anthropology Seminar Series on Hominin Ecology.

The talk will be held on Wednesday, January 26 2011 at 11:00 AM at 2114 G St. NW, Room 308.

Dr. Pickering, after providing an overview of the paleoanthropological importance of the Swartkrans Cave (South Africa) early hominin site, will discuss the paleobiological focus on his current research program there. The major emphasis of that program is to establish a paleoecological context for the large assemblage of early hominin fossils from the site's Hanging Remnant geological unit. Dr. Pickering will also briefly summarize several other early hominin paleobiological projects in which he is involved, including other fieldwork in South Africa (Goldsmith's Cave), and actualistic work and paleoanthropological survey and excavation in Namibia (Namib-Naukluft) and Tanzania (Olduvai Gorge).

Dr. Eric Cline & Anthony Sutter (B.A.2009) publish military history article

Prof. Eric Cline of the Classics, Anthropology, and History Departments, and recent alumnus Anthony Sutter published an article in the current issue of the Journal of Military History:

"Battlefield Archaeology at Armageddon: Cartridge Cases and the 1948 Battle for Megiddo, Israel"

During 2008 and 2010 at Megiddo (biblical Armageddon) in Israel, archaeologists excavating a stratigraphical layer that should have been filled solely with artifacts almost 3,000 years old unexpectedly recovered more than 213 spent cartridge cases, most likely dating from the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. Finding themselves unintentionally involved in the relatively new field of "battlefield archaeology" more usually conducted in the United States and Europe, the archaeologists analyzed the cartridge cases, attempted to reconstruct what had happened, and contributed additional information to historical accounts of the modern battle and of the Czechoslovakian arms deals with the Israelis in early 1948.

Sutter wrote his 2009 undergraduate thesis, "The Shots Heard 'Round the Tel," on the same excavation. He graduated with special honors in Archaeology and a B.S. in Chemistry. For more, see

Eric Cline is Chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Director of the GWU Capitol Archaeological Institute. For more, see

Upcoming Lecture by Dr. Robert Shepherd: Tourism, Heritage, and Sacred Space in China

Dr. Robert Shepherd, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Honors, will give a lecture entitled "Tourism, Heritage, and Sacred Space in China" as part of the Sigur Center Faculty Lecture Series.

Monday, February 7, 2011
12:30 - 1:45 PM
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Room 505

Although the Chinese government has become one of the most prominent supporters of the UNESCO-led World Heritage movement, the economic, political and bureaucratic reasons for this are often at cross-purposes with the preservationist goals of UNESCO. This presentation will examine the relationship between heritage projects, tourism, and economic development in China by focusing on the Buddhist pilgrimage destination of Mount Wutai, Shanxi Province, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2009.

Dr. Shepherd's work on tourism, cultural heritage issues, and the side effects of market changes in China has appeared in Southeast Asia Research, Consumption, Markets, and Culture, the International Journal of Cultural Studies, and the Journal of Contemporary Asia, among other publications. His book, When Culture Goes to the Market: The Politics of Space, Place and Identity in an Urban Marketplace (Peter Lang) was published in 2008.

Please RSVP at by Friday, February 4, 2011.

Habibia Chirchir Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Defense

The Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology and The George Washington University Department of Anthropology present:

"Why do humans have unusually low trabecular density? A comparative and experimental study on the factors influencing trabecular bone density"

Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Defense by:

Habiba Chirchir
Hominid Paleobiology Doctoral Program
January 28, 2011 1:00 PM
2114 G St NW
Room 308

J. Tyler Faith Doctoral Dissertation Defense

The Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology and The George Washington University Department of Anthropology present:

"Late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions in southern Africa's Cape Floral Region"

A Doctoral Dissertation Defense by J. Tyler Faith

Friday, January 21, 2:30 PM
2114 G. St. NW
Room 308

Research Summary:

The fossil record of southern Africa's Cape Floral Region documents the extinction of numerous grassland ungulates since the end of the Last Glacial Maximum. There is reason to believe that both human impacts and environmental processes contributed to the losses. This dissertation examines faunal remains from late Quaternary archaeological and paleontological sites to test environmental and anthropogenic extinction mechanisms. Temporal changes in herbivore dietary habits, ungulate community structure, and human predation pressure on terrestrial herbivore populations are explored using zooarchaeological and paleoecological methodologies.

Upcoming Talk by Dr. Carson M. Murray

Dr. Carson M. Murray of The Lincoln Park Zoo, University of Chicago will give a talk entitled "The Nuances of Female Chimpanzee Social Status" as part of the Department of Anthropology Seminar Series on Hominin Ecology.

Dr. Murray will present evidence that low-ranking females suffer in terms of foraging and ranging patterns, and suggests behavioral adaptations during reproductive efforts that may help mitigate these negative rank effects. Dr. Murray will pair her behavioral studies with physiological data to yield a more holistic story of female behavior. These results are considered in light of other chimpanzee populations, other primates, and human evolution.

The talk will be held on Monday, January 24, 2011 at 11:00 A.M. in 2114 G. Street Room 308.

Dr. Brian Richmond Speaks at Upcoming Paleoanthropology Seminar

National Museum of Natural History Paleoanthropology Seminar

Prof. Brian Richmond speaks on:

"The Evolution of Human Adaptations in the Pleistocene:
New Discoveries from Kenya and Tanzania"

January 26, 2011
4 p.m.
Rose Seminar Room
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution

Those interested in attending are asked to please meet by the Constitution Ave. entrance security office at 3:45 p.m. for escort to the seminar room. Contact Robin Teague, (202) 633-1922, for further information.

Prof. Richmond is chair of the GW Anthropology Department and a research fellow in the Human Origins Program at the Natural History Museum.