Solving Grand Challenges
Purdue Anthropology Research Focus Areas:
Applied Anthropology & Public Engagement
Ecological & Environmental Anthropology
Science & Technology
Health & Well-Being
Identity, Politics & Social Justice
Myrdene Anderson, Associate Professor
Dr. Anderson is best known for the research among Saami reindeer-breeders in Norwegian Lapland that commenced in 1971 and continues to date. She also pursues ethnography in a variety of settings, from community gardening to the transdisciplinary artificial life movement in biology. Her publications include edited volumes on human-alloanimal ethology, on ethnicity and identity, on semiotic modeling, on the cultural construction of trash, on mathematics education, on violence, and on the Peircean concept of “habit”.
Melanie Beasley, Assistant Professor
As a biological anthropologist, Dr. Beasley is broadly interested in human-environment interactions of the past and present. She uses stable isotope geochemistry in innovative ways to connect humans and the environments in which they live to understand changing climate, resource availability, and life history. Her research projects in East Africa, California, Jordan, and Italy span the last 4 million years of time. Aside from her paleoanthropological and bioarchaeological scholarship, Beasley also uses stable isotope analysis for forensic applications to aid in identification of unknown human remains and determine time since death.
Sherylyn Briller, Associate Professor
Dr. Sherylyn Briller is a cultural medical anthropologist specializing in aging, disability, end-of-life issues, and global health. She has conducted research in Mongolia and the United States. She is a Faculty Associate in the Center on Aging and the Life Course. Her professional interests also extend to anthropologists’ education, career development, and interdisciplinary collaboration. She has taken a leading role in developing the new Master’s track in Applied and Practicing Anthropology at Purdue.
Dr. Buzon is a bioarchaeologist whose research focuses on the excavation and analysis of burials in the ancient Nile Valley (Egypt and Nubia). Dr. Buzon has an active field site at Tombos, Sudan. Through the examination of human skeletal remains and mortuary practices, she examines the effects of Nubian-Egyptian contact on identity and health during the New Kingdom and Napatan periods.
Dr. Cooper uses a Behavioral Archaeology framework to examine technological innovation and culture change past and present. One of his primary research foci has been the archaeometallurgical investigation of Pre-Contact copper innovation in the North American Arctic, Subarctic and Northwest Coast. Related to this topic, Cooper’s research also examines the Post-Contact adoption of trade metals and metallurgy in these culture areas. He is also currently participating in interdisciplinary research on the consumption and discard of electronics (e-waste). He has conducted fieldwork in Alaska, California, Jordan, and Sudan. Additional research interests include materials analysis, experimental archaeology, hunter-gatherers, the fur trade, historical metallurgy, public archaeology, and education.
Risa Cromer, Assistant Professor
Dr. Cromer is an anthropologist of biomedicine and feminist science and technologies scholar whose research investigates the intersections of reproductive medicine, technologies, and politics in the United States. Her current works brings ethnographic attention to bioethical, legal, and political controversies concerning the fates of frozen human embryos left over from in vitro fertilization procedures. Her field sites span medical clinics, research laboratories, service agencies, and social movement organizations, among others. Intersectional analyses of the inextricable ties between gender, race, disability, sexuality, and class are fundamental to her scholarship, mentorship, and teaching. In her applied work, she contributes to team research projects on mental health services for veterans and grassroots efforts around reproductive justice.
Dr. Docot is a cultural anthropologist whose works center on Filipino overseas migration. Her current book project presents an ethnographic account of everyday life in the so-called “Town of Dollars,” her hometown located in the Southeast part of Luzon Island, Philippines, that has been radically changed by overseas mobilities. She is committed to expanding conversations on the postcolonial condition that is fatigued by multiple histories of colonization, enduring precarity, and growing global inequality. While at New York University Shanghai, Dada began her research on Filipino teachers in China in the context of the changing relationship between China and the Philippines.
Dr. Flachs researches food and agriculture systems, exploring the spread of genetically modified crops, heirloom seeds and local ecologies, alternative agriculture, and small-scale food security including fermentation and seed-saving. His work among farmers in North America, the Balkans, and South India investigates ecological knowledge and technological change in agricultural systems spanning Cleveland urban gardens, Bosnian kitchens, and Indian GM cotton fields. At Purdue, he is a member of the Advanced Methodologies Cluster and teaches graduate courses on qualitative social science and environmental anthropology.
Jennifer Johnson, Assistant Professor
Dr. Johnson's research is historically rooted, ethnographically engaged, and focused at the confluence of gender, vernacular practice, and the politics of contemporary economic and environmental sustainability along African and North American littorals, or shorelines. By foregrounding African women’s work with diverse species and forms of fish – both indigenous and introduced – alongside the development of global markets for African fish products, Dr. Johnson’s current research retheorizes the intersection of gender, history, and sustainability in and around Africa’s largest body of water.
Dr. Lindsay has conducted research in northwestern Armenia since 2000 investigating the origins of political complexity, landscapes as media for political authority, and households and community formation in the Late Bronze Age. Analytical methods of interest include chemical characterization techniques to examine the flow of goods in and out of the Tsaghkahovit Plain, and he has recently initiated a geophysical survey of fortress settlements to gauge the intensity of occupation during the LBA.
Stacy Lindshield, Assistant Professor
Dr. Lindshield’s research investigates how and why foraging behavior reflects the sociopolitical strategies of female chimpanzees in savanna-woodland environments. Professor Lindshield has active research projects in Senegal at Mount Assirik in Niokolo-Koba National Park and Fongoli. Her current work addresses nutritional facets of hunting, meat eating, and meat sharing behaviors. In addition, Lindshield assesses the impact of gold mining on biological corridors and chimpanzee health in Senegal, and evaluates biological corridor networks for the conservation and management of Costa Rican primates.
Zoe Nyssa, Assistant Professor
Dr. Nyssa is a cultural/environmental anthropologist studying the relationships between knowledge practices, governance, and distributive questions of risk and justice. Using mixed method and multi-sited approaches, her current work tracks the emergence and contemporary practices of conservation science in order to evaluate their impact globally on human and non-human life. She has conducted research at leading conservation projects in the U.S., Europe, and Ecuador.
Holly Okonkwo, Assistant Professor
Dr. Okonkwo is an applied anthropologist and critical science and technology scholar. Her research explores the situated knowledge production of women of the African diaspora and the material and cultural practices of scientific knowledge production, learning and innovation, with special interests in computing and engineering. Drawing on Black feminism and postcolonial feminist science and technology studies, her research focuses on the politics of race, gender and the dimensions of place and how they function as interlocking systems, to reconceptualize and preserve racialized, gendered and colonial divisions of labor. Her current project explores the experiences of women scientists and technologists engaged in local and transnational science and innovation communities in Ghana and Nigeria.
Dr. Otárola-Castillo is an archaeologist, human evolutionary biologist, and biometrician. His research revolves around the question: “What do people eat and why?” To answer it, Dr. Otárola-Castillo studies the diversity, ecology, evolution, and co-evolution of behavioral phenotypes in prehistoric and modern foraging populations. Currently, Dr. Otárola-Castillo is interested in evaluating the effects that climatic change, the variation of food-availability and-distribution had on the diet of some of the first forager populations across the North American Great Plains.
As a biometrician and computational anthropologist, he develops quantitative tools to answer questions in the context of the major dimensions of archaeological research: space, time and form. To this end, Dr. Otárola-Castillo develops and implements optimal foraging models, 3D-morphometrics software, and statistical software for human evolutionary biologists and zooarchaeologists, spatio-temporal statistical models, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)."
Dr. Remis’ research in the Central African Republic focuses on integrated biological, cultural and environmental anthropological approaches to human-animal relationships, nutrition, and health among BaAka foragers, and conservation. She is currently studying multispecies entanglements and interdependence in Congo Basin forests. She has also conducted research on the feeding ecology of western gorillas and designed experimental zoo-based research on the evolution of feeding strategies among African apes.
Dr. Veile is a biological anthropologist who studies human reproductive and developmental biology using an evolutionary perspective. Since 2000, she has worked as a scientist on indigenous health projects in Bolivia, Venezuela, and Mexico. Her ongoing research projects include 1) Documentation of birthing practices, breastfeeding patterns, and mother-child interactions; 2) Studies of growth and immuno-nutritional development of indigenous infants and children; and 3) Monitoring community health profiles in geographically isolated populations, to identify novel health challenges associated with globalization and modernization.
Dr. Zanotti is an environmental anthropologist and interdisciplinary social scientist who partners with communities to examine how local, mostly rural, livelihoods and well-being can be sustained and to identify the pathways that shape just futures. Dr. Zanotti joined the Purdue Faculty in 2009 and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology. In all of her work, she stitches together insights from engaged anthropology and visual anthropology to create collaborative and meaningful projects. She has partnered with the Kayapó, an indigenous community in Brazil, for over ten years and is currently working on projects around the United States, in Latin America, and throughout the globe on “media sovereignty” and digital landscapes, environmental justice and valuing nature, and community resilience and healing.