News

10/25/2018 - On October 26, 2018, Ellen Gruenbaum presents the keynote lecture on “Tensions and Movements: Female Genital Cutting in the Global North and South, Then and Now” for the 9th FOKO Conference in Åkerberg, Höör, Sweden. FOKO is a regular conference of Nordic researchers who work on the topic of FGC, and this year it is sponsored by the Centre for Sexology and Sexuality Studies at Malmö University and the Forum for Africa Studies at Uppsala University. Following the conference, Gruenbaum presents a lecture at Uppsala University on “What Can Medical Anthropology Contribute to the Field of Global Reproductive Health?” for the International Maternal and Child Health program at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, in collaboration with the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life, and Welfare.

10/25/2018- Stacy Lindshield and her collaborators received a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Ape Conservation Fund to investigate novel pathways for mercury bioaccumulation in Senegalese chimpanzees. This transdisciplinary and applied research project aims to understand how the mercury released from gold mining moves through savanna ecosystems and potentially impacts critically-endangered chimpanzees living near mining communities. Dr. Lindshield works with colleagues from Ball State University, North Dakota State University, USDA Forest Service, Université Chiekh Anta Diop, and the University of Minnesota.

10/18/2018 - Congratulations to Dr. Laura Zanotti for receiving the Purdue University Faculty Scholar Award! This award recognizes faculty members “who are on an accelerated path for academic distinction." Dr. Zanotti was selected for her high profile work as an environmental anthropologist and interdisciplinary social scientist.

10/16/2018 - PhD student, Melissa Torquato (Otarola-Castillo) won the 2018 College of Liberal Arts Master's Thesis Award (non-thesis). Her Master’s project, titled “Why do we farm?: A comparative assessment of the foraging-farming transition”, examined the effects of climate on food security & risk management during the prehistoric foraging-farming transition in the North American Midwest.

10/9/2018 - Andrew Flachs recently published an article that explores how we measure the impact of Genetically Modified crops in India in the journal Science & Technology Studies. 

9/27/2018 Graduate student Sara Huang recently presented her research titled "Amidst Rice Production: Conversations in Farmers' Food Security in An Giang Province, Vietnam" at An Giang University's The International Workshop on Water Governance, Climate Change and Food Security in Minority Communities, Vietnam.

9/27/2018 Dr. Stacy Lindshield recently chaired the special symposium “Understanding Savanna Chimpanzees” at the International Primatological Society Biannual Congress on August 20, 2018 held at the United Nations Office of Nairobi, Kenya.

9/25/2018- Congratulations to Dr. Laura Zanotti on being recently named a University Faculty Scholar. The University Faculty Scholars Program recognizes outstanding faculty members at the West Lafayette campus who are on an accelerated path for academic distinction. Eligible faculty must hold the rank of tenured associate or full professor and have been in that rank for no more than five years.

9/20/2018 Isabelle Ortt has been awarded the Office of Undergraduate Research Scholarship for 2018-19.  She will work with Dr. Michele Buzon on the demographic and paleopathological analysis of people buried in a tomb at Tombos.

7/18/2018 Dr. Laura Zanotti recently shared what tools she carries in the field in a recent issue of Anthropology News titled "What's in Your Bag, Anthropologists?"

7/12/2018 Dr. Melissa Remis' research on the variation in gorilla foraging ecology and its implications for understanding the evolution of primate diets was recently highlighted in the July issue of Scientific American titled "The Real Paleo Diet".

4/26/18  Watch this video of Dr. Jennifer Johnson’s presentation at the Rachel Carson Center for the Environment and Society in München, Germany.  Dr. Johnson received a Carson Writing Fellowship and was invited to present at the Rachel Carsen Center on April 19, 2018.

4/24/2018  Amanda Veile and collaborator Karen Rosenberg organized a symposium "The Evolutionary Causes and Consequences of Rising Cesarean Birth Rates," at the 2018 American Association of Physical Anthropologists Meeting (April 14 in Austin). The symposium drew together anthropologists, biologists, and practitioners who study cesarean birth using evolutionary and biocultural theoretical approaches. The symposium will now be converted to a special issue of the American Journal of Human Biology, with Drs Veile and Rosenberg as guest editors.

3/21/2018 - Melissa Remis and Amanda Veile received grants totaling $17,000 from the Purdue University Laboratory and University Core Facility Research Equipment Program! The funds will be used to purchase equipment that will expand the research and training capacities of our Bioanthropology laboratories.

3/19/2018 - Dr. Ian Lindsay has been awarded two internal equipment grants from Purdue’s Office of the Executive Vice-President for Research and Partnerships to update and expand his use of magnetometry and drone-based aerial thermal imaging of Bronze Age sites as part of his archaeological research in Armenia.

3/19/2018 - Research led by Dr. Erik Otárola-Castillo hopes to further understand early hominids' life with the use of statistics. Read more about his research in this article from The Exponent.

3/7/2018 - Dr. Ian Lindsay is featured in the annual report publication from the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships. The article discusses his research using drone technology in order to capture data from Bronze Age sites in Armenia, archaeological evidence that Nubians and Egyptians integrated into a community, and even married, in ancient Sudan. Read about his research here.

1/16/2018 - Dr. Erik Otárola-Castillo was invited to the Department of Anthropology at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire to present his work on “The Effects of Climate Change on the Diet of Great Plains Paleoindians” in their lecture series on Environmental Archaeology on January 18th at 12:30 PM.

O. Michael Watson Award for Outstanding Graduating Senior

Congratulations to the following students who received the Department of Anthropology's top honors for academic achievement and service, the O. Michael Watson Award for Outstanding Graduating Senior. The Award is named in honor of our legendary professor, Dr. O. Michael Watson (1936-2012), whose dynamic undergraduate courses excited decades of anthropology students. Each year, the student selected goes on to be nominated for consideration for the college of Liberal Arts Outstanding Student Award.

2018 Bridget Curry 
2017  Kate Yeater
2016  Jonathan Micon
2015 Michael Lockman
2014 Katelyn Revis
2013 Alisha Yadav
2012 Donald Pattee
2010 Monya Anderson
2009 Marcus Glassman
2008 Sarah Kinder
2007 David Fitzsimmons

Walter Hirsch Award

Walter Hirsch was a Purdue faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology from 1947 until his retirement in 1989, who specialized in social movements and the sociology of science. His family and friends established this award in his memory in recognition of his long-time interest in and support of graduate students. Each year, the award provides approximately $1,000 to help with the costs of dissertation research for one doctoral candidate in Anthropology and one in Sociology.

2015 Ingrid Ramon Parra
2014 Jonas Ecke
2013 Elizabeth Wirtz
2012 Sarah Schrader
2011 Franco Lai
2010 Katie Smith
2009 Lesley Daspit


Remembering Those That Went Before

O.M Watson  

O. Michael Watson (1936-2012)

Dr. Watson was born in 1936 in Knoxville, Tennessee, and grew up in Colorado.  After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, he studied anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and earned a BA and Ph.D.   In 1967 joined the Purdue University faculty as one of the founders of the Anthropology Department.  Professor Watson’s early research focused on proxemic analysis, which he published in Proxemic Behavior: A Cross-Cultural Study (Mouton, 1970). He subsequently turned to visual anthropology, which led to a number of publications and graduate seminars, as well as his production of the classic film Spirit of Ethnography. Professor Watson was one of the founders of anthropology at Purdue, and he devoted his career to the growth of the discipline and to the department.  A renowned teacher and beloved professor, he won numerous teaching awards during his 40 years at Purdue.  Generations of students took his love of anthropology and enthusiasm for human cultural diversity along with them as they pursued their many directions.  Known for his energy and amazing ability to find humor everywhere, he is remembered for the joy and laughter he brought to so many lives.  When Professor Watson retired in 2007, the Department of Anthropology honored him by naming our annual student award after him. 

Jay O'Brien 

Jay O’Brien (1947-2013)
Jay O’Brien was born in New Jersey, in 1947 and grew up in California.  He came of age influenced by the music, activism, natural beauty, and the social concerns of 1960s California.  After being an exchange student in Sweden when he was 17 and doing a study abroad in Germany, he was inspired to become an anthropologist.  He studied anthropology at Stanford University and the University of Connecticut (Ph.D. 1980).
Professor O’Brien studied the long-term effects of colonial regimes in Africa, and wrote his master’s thesis on Portuguese empire in Africa, 1415-1961. Subsequently, he spent 5 years in Sudan, researching agricultural labor and development, using political economy and ethnography to understand family dynamics, ethnic identification shifts, and development dilemmas in Sudan.  Among his publications were three books—on political economy and development in Sudan, and on the intersection of history and anthropology. 
His career was about social justice and the process of change, analyzing the conditions of poverty, the dilemmas of development, and their impacts on human cultural life.  He became deeply engaged in teaching, achieving tenure at Lawrence University and teaching at a dozen other universities in Sudan, Sweden, Botswana, and the U.S.  He came to Purdue in 2008 with his life partner, Ellen Gruenbaum, to be part of the newly launched independent Department of Anthropology. 

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