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Anthropology Graduate Student Association

The Anthropology Graduate Student Association meets monthly to discuss ongoing developments in the Department, to plan events, and to share questions, concerns, and current work. We also get together for social events, to attend talks and exhibits, to discuss our research and other work, and to organize visitors to the department. We are open to suggestions and ideas, so if you are a graduate student in the Department, please stop by our next meeting! Meeting information is disseminated through the Department's graduate-student listserv. The association was established "to assist its members in all endeavors related to their success in the graduate division of Temple University's Anthropology Department; this includes educational, peer, and faculty support." For further information, contact our president, Dana Muñíz Pacheco, d.munizpacheco@temple.edu.

Brief profiles of some of our current graduate students

Kristen Allen

I graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in biology and took some time off before entering graduate school. During the period between my undergraduate and graduate education, I worked for a biotechnology company as a quality control technician and then as a research associate in the research and development department. My duties included blood processing and electrochemistry. I entered graduate school in the fall of 2007 and am currently working on a project that focuses on medical anthropology, public policy, and Latin American studies. I am researching the effects of the medical tourism industry on (inter)national borders, visa laws, and other forms of public policy. My areas of focus include Costa Rica, Colombia, and (possibly) Brazil.

Susan Bachor

I received my B.A. in anthropology from West Chester University with a focus on archaeology and a minor in geology. My research involves the chemical "fingerprinting" of soapstone vessels and quarries in southeastern Pennsylvania. My interests are geoarchaeology, lithic technologies, and prehistoric peoples of North America—specifically, the Middle Atlantic. My full-time job is working as a laboratory coordinator for Delaware County Community College.

Sonay Ban

I earned my bachelor's degree in sociology at Boğaziçi University and my master's degree in cultural studies at Sabancı University, in Turkey. My master's thesis examined the politics of representation in documentary films about the processes of urban gentrification that were carried out in Istanbul in the 2000s under the Justice and Development Party government. Through textual analysis of the films and interviews with five directors, I examined how differing modes of oppositional politics that critique neoliberal urban policies were articulated in "urban activism documentaries." For my doctoral research, I plan to use Walter Benjamin's concepts of the "irretrievable past" and "history as a wreck" to consider how urban-activism documentaries can be conceptualized and examined from a visual anthropology perspective.

Grace Cooper

I earned my B.A. in anthropology and Spanish at Eastern Washington University in 2014. My interest in graduate studies began in my junior year at EWU when I was accepted into the TRIO Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. As a McNair Scholar, I completed an independent summer-research project exploring the social motivations and perceptions of Spanish–English code-switching among bilingual speakers in the Inland Northwest. Some of the questions considered in this research were: How do speakers rationalize a language shift within a conversation or utterance? How do speakers understand and perceive this way of using language? My current research continues to expand upon this project through work with members of bilingual Spanish–English speech communities in Philadelphia. My research interests include linguistic anthropology, code-switching, bilingualism, and Latino communities in the United States.

Kevin M. Donaghy

My research takes a multidisciplinary approach to eighteenth-century conflict archaeology, emphasizing the relationships among the historical and material culture records, historical ethnography, preservation, the archaeological record, and public outreach service programs. It also involves developing my technical skills in archaeological and ethnographic fieldwork, GIS applications, remote sensing, and photogrammetric analysis in order to better understand site formation processes and community development. I received my B.A. in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005.

Julien Ehrenkönig

I earned my B.A. in anthropology from the University of South Florida–St. Petersburg and an M.A. in anthropology from Northern Illinois University with a concentration in Southeast Asian studies. My research focuses on the changing identities and practices of religious and cultural expression in Indonesia, and how social constructs are remodeled or sustained through usage of language and visual elements in mass media and popular culture. Specifically, I examine how the use of specialized graphic novel and comic book narratives can potentially assist in the mitigation of religious conflict within Indonesia, and deter youth from becoming involved in religious extremist ideologies.

Blair Fink

I graduated from Monmouth University in 2010 with a B.A. in anthropology and minors in forensics, sociology, and public policy. My areas of interest include pre-contact and contact period archaeology of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, mortuary practices, and lithic technologies. I am also interested in archaeological research as a political resource for politically underrepresented groups, particularly Native American populations.

Nikky Greer

I earned my B.A. in anthropology at the University of Texas, San Antonio, summa cum laude, Tier II Honors with thesis. My research interests focus on the political, economic, and social dimensions of American kinship and urban anthropology through the lens of the U.S. foster care system. I am particularly interested in exploring (and deconstructing) the hegemony of American kinship and its (re)production in the context of the foster care and orphanage systems. What is the process of meaning-making used by orphaned and/or foster children within the structural inequalities that they face, especially as it relates to race and ethnicity, issues of agency, and the stigma that they endure as orphaned children? Material forces at the local, national, and global levels shape the environments that these children confront. Yet each child makes meaning in her or his own way. I want to give voice to the shared and individual experiences of the children in order to critique and improve the system.

Nathan Jessee

Before Temple, I earned my M.S. in urban studies with a focus in applied anthropology at the University of New Orleans. During this time, I worked at the Center for Hazards Assessment, Response, and Technology (CHART). At CHART, I investigated best continuity planning practices and helped organize workshops where participants from local businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies were able to share their experiences of the recent hurricanes and their aftermath. After completing my M.S., I worked on a project examining social impacts of the 2010 BP oil disaster on behalf of state and federal agencies. Currently, I am focused on participatory research, human rights, media, and community-driven adaptation to coastal hazards in Louisiana.

Matthew A. Kalos

I graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in 2008 with honors in anthropology. I am now working with Dr. Orr in historical archaeology. My interests include the Middle Atlantic region, warfare, and battlefield archaeology. My research will focus on the American Revolutionary War site of the Battle of Paoli, Pennsylvania.

Chelsea Kaufman

I earned my B.A. (2015) in studio art and art history from Moravian College with a self-designed minor in anthropological archaeology through collaboration with Lehigh University before earning my M.A. (2016) in archaeological studies from Yale University. My M.A. dissertation involved the cultural identification, through petrographic and stylistic analysis, of the unpublished ceramic material from a prehistoric rock-shelter site in Egyptian Nubia, which was excavated as part of the Yale University Prehistoric Salvage Expedition in the 1960s. While at Yale, I worked as the assistant curator of the Babylonian Collection, where I was responsible for identifying structures and artifacts from early 20th-century slides of Palmyra, developing maps of Hellenistic bulle, and illustrating cylinder seal impressions. My current research focuses on the supernatural belief systems of Ancient Egypt over time, as reflected in cosmologies, rituals, mortuary practices, and rock art, and how these reflect social, political, and environmental change.

Scott Kirkland

Before coming to Temple, I received an M.A. in anthropology from North Carolina State University, where I studied dental pathology, cranial morphology, and human decomposition. My research interests include geometric morphometrics, skeletal biology, and digital anthropology. My research at Temple is focused on 3D human craniometric variation. I am also interested in the digitization of archaeological and biological artifacts for research and education.

Heidi Knappenberger

I graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in cinema–television production and a minor in psychology. I am interested in the formation and expansion of digital communities. My current focus of research is the culture, language, and traditions of the furry fandom.

Jeremy Koch

I graduated from Ursinus College with a B.A. in anthropology and sociology in 2006. My research interests include prehistoric archaeology, experimental archaeology, geoarchaeology, lithic technology, and human origins. My dissertation research focuses on how ancient peoples adapted to shifting climates and environments in the Middle Atlantic region at the waning of the last ice age.

Melissa Krug

I studied anthropology and Spanish at Kutztown University (2009) and later earned my master's in teaching at the University of Pittsburgh (2010). Before coming to Temple, I had worked as a middle-school Spanish teacher and a customer-service representative at a large fair-trade retailer. As a linguistic anthropologist, I plan to study the commodification of language, indigeneity, and authenticity within a fair-trade handicraft cooperative in Costa Rica. This research will examine the commodity fetishism of fair trade through a semiotic approach.

Nicolás Loaiza-Díaz

I received a B.A. in anthropology at the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín, Colombia, near my home. I've been in the Ph.D. program at Temple since the fall of 2006, studying with Dr. Ranere. My interests include the archaeology of Tropical America, the origins of agriculture, human ecology, microbotanical analysis, and evolutionary theory, among others. My current research is focused on phytolith analysis at sites from an inter-Andean valley in the coffee region of Colombia that date from the late Pleistocene through the middle Holocene. Because of its geographical position, we can track down the movement of important domesticates through the tropics such as maize and manioc, and also identify some plants that may have been brought under domestication including two kinds of squashes and leren, among others.

Dana Muñíz Pacheco

I earned my B.A. in anthropology with a minor in Latin American history at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. Before coming to Temple, I worked in the museum division of the Fundación Luis Muñoz Marín with the Teodoro Vidal Collection. My work included collection management, the registration process, and preventive conservation. I was also an assistant in the "Transitioning Traditions" exhibition from the same collection. During my B.A. studies, I worked with the Latin American Popular Education Council (CEAAL) and created workshops on oral history and community empowerment. My research focuses on collective memory and oral history. I am also interested in ethnohistory and elder people's memories of the means of production in the 20th century, specifically sugar production in the Caribbean and textile production across cultures.

Nicole Nathan

I earned my B.A. at Hanover College in cultural anthropology and Spanish, with a
minor in philosophy. Primarily a cultural/visual anthropologist, I also examine the power of language socialization and the historical role of institutions, as well as epistemology within anthropology itself. After doing research for my Spanish senior thesis at a bilingual school for immigrant and first-generation Hispanic students, I began to study the role of language in the education of immigrants and its effects on perception of cultural identity. This led me to study the role of gender in the Chinese education system as affected by the one-child policy. I am also interested in studying religion in the context of globalization and transnationalism, particularly the so-called "Islamization" of the West. Other interests include political anthropology, new media, and marginalized minority groups. As a (very) amateur pursuer of the arts, I also have a personal fascination with the study of indigenous literature, aesthetics, ethnomusicology, and performance rituals.

Kristina Nazimova

In my doctoral research, I explore how language ideologies, policies, and everyday talk may work to legitimate social inequalities across race, gender, and social class. I am especially interested in colonial/postcolonial contexts, with a primary focus on Angola, where languages play key roles in struggles over political and socioeconomic power. Prior to joining the department at Temple, I earned my B.A. in anthropology at New York University and then worked on various research projects on anthropological and historical topics.

David Paulson

In my current research, I investigate the developmental experiences of Cham ethnic-minority children as they acquire their endangered language amid Vietnam's post-socialist transformation. This work contributes to an understanding of how children cultivate fluency in multiple languages across time and space, as well as how rapid development policies inform the experiences of childhood and affect the vitality of minority languages in the 21st century. Before coming to Temple, I did my undergraduate studies at Southern Connecticut State University in anthropology, with minors in Asian studies and psychology, as well as master's studies in Bilingual, Multicultural Education & TESOL. These experiences led me to research opportunities around the globe and provided the necessary training for my current professional work in anthropology. My previous research has included ethnographic fieldwork in the Dominican Republic, investigations of drifters in San Francisco, and examinations of English-language education in Shaoxing, China and the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education in Vietnam.

Elysia Petras

I earned my B.A. in Spanish literature with a concentration in Latin American and Iberian studies from Bard College in 2010. Before coming to Temple, I took classes in archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania and participated in Bard College's historical archaeology field school. My research interests include historical archaeology, civic engagement, race and gender, and the archaeology of colonialism.

Jen Rankin

I graduated from Mercyhurst College with a B.A. in anthropology/archaeology and world languages/cultures (Spanish). Attending school part-time, I work full-time as an archaeologist in CRM (cultural resource management) for the URS Corporation in Burlington, New Jersey. My research interests lie primarily in prehistoric archaeology. Particular interests include early hunter-gathers and the peopling of the Americas, lithic and perishable technology, geoarchaeology, and cultural resource management. My prior field and laboratory experience includes the Mid-Atlantic, the Great Lakes/Midwest, the Northeast, Texas, and Peru.

Eryn Snyder

I graduated from Southwestern University in 2009 with a B.A. in anthropology and a minor in communication studies. I conducted research for my undergraduate thesis in southeastern Senegal among the Bedik, an indigenous minority ethnic group. My research investigated the complexity of marketing "authentic" culture in a modern tourism market. Between undergraduate and graduate studies, I wrote and photographed for a wine and travel magazine in Mendoza, Argentina and then worked for Habitat for Humanity in Fort Worth, Texas. My current research interests include anthropology of visual communication, indigenous media, tourism, museums, authenticity, identity, and digital anthropology. I am particularly interested in research methods that allow for collaborative authorship between anthropologists and the people whose lives they study.

Sam Spies

I joined the department after about six years in print and multimedia journalism.
I've worked for several media outlets, but my most interesting assignment was as the night police reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina. There I started to appreciate how the introduction of cameras and media workers to a crime scene or crowd affected the behavior of the victim's family, police officers and bystanders. My general research interest is in the relationships between journalists, state and society, and how journalists imagine their audiences. More specifically, I study responses to censorship at online media outlets in Jordan. While a Cornell undergraduate I studied Arabic in Jordan and Morocco. I'm also a photographer, and am interested in changes in photographic practice related to the transition from film to digital technology.

Hilary Symes

My research interests include new media, museums and cultural representation, cognition, virtuality, space and landscape, cybercultures, and visual and material culture. Prior to coming to Temple, I earned a B.A. from the University of Virginia in archaeology and Middle Eastern studies and an M.A. from Columbia University in museum anthropology.

Gina Tibbott

I completed my B.A. in archaeology and fine art at the George Washington University. During that time, I started working on excavations in Pompeii, first as a student and later as an excavation supervisor. After completing my undergraduate degree, I started running the ceramics studios at the university, so I spent a lot of time firing kilns of all varieties and running clay and glaze tests. I completed my M.F.A. in ceramics in 2008 and now have more pottery than I know what to do with. In addition to being a doctoral student at Temple, I work for the Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia, as well as Philly's own Clay Studio. My research focuses on all aspects of ceramics, from fabrication and technological development (particularly in firing technique) to archaeological analysis. I look forward to continuing to set things on fire and getting embarrassingly dirty.

Andrew Van Horn

I am a biological anthropologist broadly interested in computational genomics/genetics and primate reproductive biology and behavior. My research focuses on the evolution of male–male competition and the genomics of sexual selection in primates. I graduated from UMass–Amherst with a degree in philosophy (minor in biological anthropology). Before coming to Temple, I was a research assistant in the U.S. Navy Biological Defense Research Directorate mass spectrometry and proteomics laboratory, which remains (unofficially) named in my honor.

Chelsea Voytek

My research interests include medical anthropology, urban anthropology, the anthropology of social policy, the anthropology of development and globalization, and the anthropology of public health. My dissertation research examines multi-site clinical HIV vaccine trials, primarily in North America and the Caribbean. I received my bachelor's degree in applied anthropology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1995 and my Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 2002.

K. Eva Weiss

My research explores modes of expression and censorship in the Cuban artist communities of Miami and Spain in order to address the extent to which an artist's voice can be liberated in exile. I earned a B.A. in English, with a focus in screenwriting, from the University of Michigan, where I served as research and post-production assistant to anthropologist Ruth Behar on her documentary Adio Kerida. This ethnographic film experience, coupled with my own grassroots documentary production about a Sri Lankan girl's battle with Wilson's disease and immigration restrictions, informed my interest in visual anthropology and advocacy-driven media. Before entering graduate school, I worked as a director in cable television, as an executive producer and correspondent in news radio, and as a screenwriter in corporate video production. I currently serve on the board of directors of Atrévete a Soñar ¡Edúcate!, a nonprofit organization that provides Latina students with resources to understand and pursue higher education.

Jesse West-Rosenthal

I received my B.A. in anthropology and journalism (with a photography emphasis) from Temple University in 2008. I returned to Temple by way of Williamsburg, Virginia, where I worked for two years for the William and Mary Center for Archaeological Research, a cultural resources management firm. My research interests focus on battlefield archaeology and how we can make these sites more accessible to the public. Before returning to Temple, I spent four years working on various projects throughout Valley Forge National Historic Park. I plan to continue working there to help further our understanding, through the use of modern research techniques and public archaeology, of the 1777-1778 Continental Army winter encampment. When not digging, I enjoy cycling, photography, and psychoanalyzing my dog to determine why he no longer enjoys my company.

Keisha Wiel

I earned my B.A. in anthropology at the University of North Florida in 2007 and my M.A. at the University of Central Florida in 2010. I took some time off in between to teach at York College, CUNY before coming to Temple. My research interests include creole languages of the Caribbean and their place in education. I am particularly interested in Papiamentu and the dichotomy between its use in cultural settings and formal educational settings. My research interests stem from the islands of my parents' birth, Aruba and Curaçao. Through being immersed in the cultures, including the Papiamentu language, I initially became interested in notions of language and identity on the islands. This was propelled further by my experience at York College, teaching Caribbean studies to a mostly Caribbean populace. What struck me was their reaction to their own creole languages being treated as actual languages, rather than as "bad" versions of other languages. Their reactions made me want to do further research into how and why languages are perceived as they are in the Caribbean, and the ensuing discourses surrounding their place in education. Aside from the academic life, I enjoy capoeira, running, and pretending to be a gardener.

Autumn Zellers

For my doctoral research, I examine the impact of the drug trade and drug policy on indigenous communities in Colombia. Through ethnographic and archival methods, I show how the production of drug crops (coca, marijuana, and poppy) has limited indigenous people's entitlement to multicultural rights. I also show how a growing concern over drug use in indigenous territories reflects changing configurations of youth in these communities. This work builds on a long-term interest in the effect of U.S.–Colombian relations on the everyday lives of marginalized people in Colombia. As the country's social and political landscape continues to change dramatically, I look forward to using the insights from this research to contribute to shaping national drug policies.

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