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Department of Anthropology

Newsletter Summer 2014

Department of Anthropology Newsletter
Summer 2014


To view past events click here.

Melissa Remis
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 Journal of Contemporary Anthropology

Fall 2014

New Directions for Anthropology!

Anthropology Department 

This spring we are pleased to welcome two new faculty members.  Dr. LaShandra Sullivan is a socio-cultural anthropologist who works on labor and agribusiness in Brazil and Dr. Sherri Briller who studies health and aging and will help us further develop our applied and practicing anthropology program.  We also have three Visiting Assistant Professors this year who are helping us to expand our scholarly community and our special topics course offerings in religion, gender, ethnicity, tourism, health and reproduction and archaeology.

We are very pleased to be able to build on our 4-fields foundation to strengthen our discipline’s role in impacting the world.  One important way to do this is to make sure our graduates—both undergrads and grad students—are prepared with the skills and experiences they will need for the variety of directions their careers take them.  Particularly important is their ability to be productive in the global arena and interdisciplinary teams that are increasingly important.  We encourage our students to take opportunities for experiential education, including summer field schools around the world, study abroad opportunities, or other hands-on research.

We encourage our undergraduate students to take advantage of Purdue’s incentives to attend study abroad programs.  Within our department, we offer one in Brazil with Dr. Laura Zanotti and one in Peru developed by Dr. Kevin Vaughn).  In addition, there are many opportunities to spend a semester or year abroad at a cooperating university whose credits will transfer to your Purdue degree.  Visit the International Programs office in Young Hall to learn more about them! Our website offers links to and information about many summer field projects offered by other universities as well.

As an Anthropology department, we are determined to contribute our ideas and experiences to education and research that explores human diversity across time and space.  We invite you to join us in that endeavor by visiting our website and our Facebook Page and developing your links to anthropology.  If you are a student, explore anthropology by taking our courses or enrolling in our degree programs.  If you are a parent or community member, read our newsletter and learn about our accomplishments.  If you are an alum, please keep in touch and send us your news.

Our department provides bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, and our graduates are pursuing a broad spectrum of careers.

Our research—by faculty, grad students, and undergrads—covers a wide range of topics, including archaeology, bioarchaeology, and ancient societies; ethnography, world cultures, popular culture, and human diversity; human and primate biology, ecology, adaptation, and evolution; social change and project planning in health, development, technology, and the environment; and language, communication, and symbols.  Our faculty members pursue research projects in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America, and they have an excellent record in grants, publications, and applications of their research to address real world problems.

Our department welcomes visitors to our campus, whether you are alumni, prospective students, or interested members of the public.  You are welcome to attend our public departmental events.  If you have questions or want to schedule a visit to the Anthropology Department, contact me or our staff at

Melissa Remis, Interim Department Head and Ellen Gruenbaum, Head



Anthropology Department Happenings

For more information about any of these news items click here.

  • Dr. Abdul Khabeer is co-PI on the “Muslims in the Midwest: An Oral History Project” that was recently awarded a grant as part of the Global Midwest initiative by the Humanities Without Walls consortium. The project will establish and build a digital archive that documents the varied experiences of American Muslims in the Midwest through testimonies across generational, gender, geographical, socio-economic, and ethnic differences. Dr. Abdul Khabeer’s contribution will focus on African American Muslims in the Midwest. The Senior Project Advisor is Mohammed Khalil (Michigan State and other co-PI’s are Junaid Rana (Illinois), Nadine Naber (Illinois-Chicago)and Asma Afsaruddin (Indiana).

  • Anthropology undergraduate student Michael Lockman presented his research in the Society for Visual Anthropology’s poster session at the AAA annual meetings in Washington, DC, in December.  His poster, entitled "Congenital Deformity in Mesoamerican Pre-History: A Model of Accommodation" was selected as an “exemplary undergraduate poster” and will be featured in an upcoming edition of Anthropology News
  • Dr. Bryce Carlson was recently interviewed about his upcoming participation in the Race Across the USA. Dr. Carlson will be participating as well as serve as the research director for the 140 day, 3080 mile event. You can read the interview here.

  • Congratulations to Ian Lindsay for receiving an Enhancing Research in the Humanities and the Arts Grant  from the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships for his research project entitled, “Investigating Territorial Commitments and Long-Term Political Process within Bronze and Iron Age Fortified Landscapes in Armenia.”

  • Congratulations to Sarah Caldwell for receiving a Global Synergy Grant for Students from the Office of the President for her research project entitled, “In the Wake of War: Population Health in Ottoman-Occupied Croatia, 14th-17th Centuries.” Congratulations to Ingrid Ramon Parra who also received this award for her research project entitled “Menire Making Movies: A Participatory Video Project with Kayapó Women in the Brazilian Amazon.” 

  • Dr. Bryce Carlson was recently featured in a Purdue Exponent story questioning the validity and health promoting claims of the Paleo Diet. Among other criticisms, Carlson notes that (1) there is no single human diet consistent with our collective Paleolithic ancestry, (2) our genes are not stuck in the Paleolithic, and have in fact evolved in response to agriculture, and (3) excluding products of agriculture from the diet is arbitrary and silly, considering most Paleo approved foods are themselves highly altered products of agriculture (e.g. fruits, vegetables, lean meat). For more information click here.

  • The research of professors Kory Cooper and Michele Buzon are featured in the Sept/Oct issue of Purdue Alumnus Magazine.  Click here to read more.

  • Dr. Ian Lindsay is using emerging drone and mobile-GIS technologies in support of his archaeological research on Bronze Age societies in Armenia. Read more about his latest fieldwork in this article from Purdue News

  • Dr. Ellen Gruenbaum is spending part of her sabbatical on a fellowship for a 4-week Writing Residency at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center at the Villa Serbelloni, located in Bellagio on Lake Como.  She’ll be working on a project entitled, “Generation of Change:  New leaders and initiatives on female genital modifications in Africa and beyond.”

  • Assistant Professors Kory Cooper and Laura Zanotti are part of an 8 member team of interdisciplinary scholars recently awarded a $57,000 Mellon Grand Challenge Exploratory Award to investigate e-waste. One result of rapid innovation in the electronics industry is that electronic devices now often have very short use-lives. Electronic devices are consumed and discarded in increasing numbers and most of these devices contain metals or plastics that are harmful to human health. This project will investigate public understanding of this phenomenon and engage the local community in finding solutions.
  • We are pleased to announce that we have 2 new Faculty joining the Department of Anthropology and 3 Visiting Assistant Professors this year!

    Dr. Sherylyn Briller, has been appointed Associate Professor of sociocultural anthropology/applied and practicing. She holds degrees from Carleton College (BA), and Case Western Reserve University (MA and PhD). She most recently has been teaching Anthropology at Wayne State University (Detroit) where she also served in the Institute of Gerontology and the Interdisciplinary Center to Advance Palliative Care Excellence. This fall she will be teaching our course Global Health: Anthropological Perspectives (Anth 340). She will be taking a lead role in the development of our Master’s degree track in Applied and Practicing Anthropology. Click here for more information.

    Dr. LaShandra Sullivan will be joining us as assistant professor of sociocultural anthropology a year from now, in fall 2015. She studied Philosophy at Howard (BA), International Relations at Yale (MA), and Anthropology at the University of Chicago (MA, PhD). Her doctoral research was on labor, agribusiness, and land protest camps in Brazil, and she previously did research and also worked as an economic attaché for the State Department in West Africa. She will expand our department’s curriculum on Latin America, rural-urban anthropology, development, diversity and globalization. Click here for more information.

    Audrey Ricke-Visiting Assistant Professor, Fall 2014-Spring 2015
    Dr. Ricke is a cultural anthropologist whose research focuses on transnational German identity in Brazil and the United States. She has done research on German folk dances, festivals, and gardens in southern Brazil and the role that the aesthetics at these tourism activities play in navigating race, class, and transnational identity.

    Elizabeth Rowe—Visiting Assistant Professor, Fall 2014-Spring 2015
    Dr. Rowe is a biological anthropologist whose research focuses on gene-environment interactions in the menstrual cycle and other aspects of women’s reproductive physiology. She is also interested in the consequences of persistent social inequalities on women’s reproductive biology.

    Dr. Ama Boakyewa-Visiting Assistant Professor, Fall 2014
    Dr. Boakyewa is a cultural anthropologist who focuses on alternative religious/cultural practice and identity formations. She also has a background in African studies. She has done research in Ghana on ethnic and religious pluralism and identity at the Akonnedi Shrine.

  • Congratulations to Dr. Michele Buzon who was recently appointed to a five-year term as a University Faculty Scholar.

  • Melissa Remis has studied the effects of integrated conservation and development in the Dzanga-Sangha Dense Forest Reserve, this includes the first look at the impact on people's health. You will find continued reading on her research at this link to the article featured in Purdue News.

  • Congratulations to Associate Professor Michele Buzon on her award from the National Science Foundation for her project entitled, “Collaborative Research: Impact and Accommodation Through Cultural Contact” She will use the funds ($135,272) to support her bioarchaeological research investigating the impact of Egypt’s New Kingdom Empire (c. 1500-1050 BC) on the Kerma culture in Nubia through an examination of identity and health before and after the conquest and colonization of the area (with UCSB collaborator Stuart Tyson Smith).  This research is also being supported by  Purdue Office of the Vice President for Research Bridge Funding Program ($48,045).

  • Assistant Professor Kory Cooper’s collaborative archaeological research and teaching with the School of Materials Engineering was highlighted in the April 8th, 2014 installment of “Purdue Profiles.” In this piece Cooper talks about the course “Archaeology and Materials Science”, which he co-teaches with MSE faculty. Click here for a link to this article.

  • Katelyn Reavis presented her research with Dr. Michele Buzon at the American Association of Physical Anthropology in Calgary, Alberta Canada.

  • Congratulations to our grad student Aiden Powell on winning the Berenice Carroll Social Justice Award this year!  As second-year graduate student in Anthropology, he was recognized for his work in "Advocating for Transgender-Inclusive Health Insurance at Purdue University."  Aiden is currently working on his master's thesis on the provision of health services to transgender students and plans to work in applied anthropology in the coming years.

  • Melissa Remis and Carolyn Jost Robinson just published an article on Ethnoprimatology and Multispecies approaches with coauthors Nick Malone, Alison Wade, Agustin Fuentes, Erin Riley, Melissa Remis and Carolyn Jost Robinson.  2014.   “Ethnoprimatology: Critical interdisciplinary and multi species approaches in anthropology.  Critique of Anthropology 341(1):8-29.

  • Kevin Vaughn was in Japan during February to participate in two international symposia in Osaka and Yamagata.

  • Dr. Ian Lindsay recently won the Departmental Excellence in Teaching Award 2014.

  • In November, Dr. Ian Lindsay was awarded two grants from Purdue's Office of the Vice President for Research in support of his archaeological work in Armenia:
    • Transdisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Research Grant ($8778): "Using Purdue’s MSE Electron Microscopy Facility to Study Pottery Technology and Social Organization among Bronze Age Fortress Settlements in Armenia."
    • Non-laboratory Research Infrastructure and Equipment Program Grant, Tier 2 ($17,861): "Funding Request for Archaeological Survey and Remote Sensing Equipment."
  • On November 23, 2014, our department participated at the Grad Fair at the American Anthropological Association's annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois. Over 50 people
    stopped by our table to ask about our program, and had a chance to chat about the many different aspects of graduate school. Many thanks to everyone who helped, Anjali Bhardwaj, Ryan Plis, Ellen Gruenbaum, and Talin Lindsay!
  • Purdue anthropologist selected for 2015 Race Across USA to combine 3,000-mile run with research. Read details here.

For more information on these news items and past news click here.

Department of Anthropology Strategic Plan 2013-2018