2014-15 Faculty News

Carol Worthman elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences, class of 2015

An elite honor society established in 1780, the Academy serves as an independent policy research center, convening "leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing the nation and the world...The Academy membership encompasses over 4,600 Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members and reflects the full range of disciplines and professions: mathematics, the physical and biological sciences, medicine, the social sciences and humanities, business, government, public affairs, and the arts." (from the AAAS website, www.amacad.org)

"Carol Worthman, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology, explores the cultural, behavioral and biological bases of the human condition.  Her specialties include human developmental, reproductive and behavioral ecology; sleep; sex differences; life history; comparative medical anthropology; biocultural theory; developmental epidemiology; and mental health.  Worthman joined Emory in 1986, the same year she launched the Laboratory for Comparative Human Biology, helping build Emory’s reputation as a leader in biocultural anthropology. As director of the laboratory, Worthman collaborates with students and colleagues from across the United States and abroad to explore what makes us human." (from the 4/23/15 Emory Report - read the full story here)

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on Oct. 10, 2015, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Dr. Worthman, along with three other Emory colleagues named this year, is in highly select company: only 16 members of the Emory University community have been named to the Academy since 1992.

Bobby Paul's new book released April 24th, 2015

The most recent book by the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Studies is Mixed Messages: Cultural and Genetic Inheritance in the Constitution of Human Society.  As described by the publisher, University of Chicago Press, "Scholars have tended to study our genetic and symbolic lineages separately, but in recent years some have begun to explore them together, offering a 'dual inheritance theory.' In this book, Robert A. Paul offers an entirely new and original consideration of our dual inheritance to date, going deep inside an extensive ethnographic record to outline a fascinating relationship between our genetic codes and symbolic systems."

Study led by Dietrich Stout published by PLOS ONE

Higher order brain functions than previously believed played a role in the creation of Stone Age tools, as described in a 4/21/15 article in Emory's eScience Commons article about Stout's study. "Cognitive Demands of Lower Paleolithic Tool Making" reveals the results of an 18-month study incorporating functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) brain scans.   Click here to read the full study, which lays some of the groundwork for Stout's Language of Technology project, a three-year archeology experiment also involving Stone Age hand axe production and MRI scans. 

Dr. Daniel Gross is appointed as a new Adjunct to the Anthropology Department

DRG farmersDaniel Gross was born in Brooklyn and raised in Atlanta.  He earned his PhD in anthropology at Columbia University.  Gross taught at Hunter College and CUNY Graduate School for nearly 20 years, researching human ecological issues.  He is best known for work on household energy budgets in Northeastern Brazil.   Gross was Visiting Professor at the University of Brasília for two years and Program Officer at the National Science Foundation for two years.   He joined the World Bank in 1989 focusing on such issues as involuntary resettlement, community development, indigenous peoples, communication and livelihoods.  Since 2004, Gross has consulted on development in South America, Africa and Europe. He resides in Decatur with his wife, Lynn Sibley.

Mel Konner's new book released, essay featured in the Wall Street Journal

On March 9, 2015, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor Mel Konner's new book Women After All: Sex, Evolution, and the End of Male Supremacy was released.  As reviewed by Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, Women After All describes what future historians will surely recognize as one of the momentous transformations in the human saga: the decline of men’s political dominance, and with it many deplorable practices and belief systems. Engagingly written and persuasively argued, it shows how an acknowledgment of human nature combined with a long view of history can advance the human condition.”  A short essay adapted from the book, "A Better World, Run by Women", ran in the 3/6/15 Life & Culture section of the Wall Street Journal.  

The Anthropology Department welcomes Kait Tracy Kait Tracy

Kait Tracy is thrilled to be joining the Anthropology Department as the Undergraduate Program Coordinator! Originally from Birmingham, AL, Kait graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Minor in Political Science. While at BSC, Kait served as the Hall Director for the campus apartments where she oversaw 300 students and promoted their success in almost every aspect of college life, from community building to academic advising. For the past few years, Kait worked primarily in the non-profit sector with organizations dedicated to advocating for an end to domestic and sexual violence. While these positions were very rewarding, Kait craved to be back on a college campus and is so excited to focus her energy on fostering a healthy and fulfilling undergraduate experience for Emory’s Anthropology majors.   In her spare time, Kait enjoys cooking, volunteering, and traveling with friends and family. She is in the Anthropology office every week day from 8:30-5 and very much looks forward to meeting all of the Anthropology students and faculty—please feel welcome to come by and say hello!

Michael Peletz has cover photo, article in issue of American Ethnologist

Malay youth ensembleVolume 42 of American Ethnologist, the journal of the American Ethnological Society, features not one but two samples of Michael Peletz's work.  His 2013 photograph of a Malay youth ensemble was selected for the cover image, and his article A tale of two courts: Judicial transformation and the rise of a corporate Islamic governmentality in Malaysia is included in the same issue.  

American Ethnologist is 'a flagship journal for social and cultural anthropology', published four times a year since 1972 and available to members of the American Ethnological Society (AES). Professor Peletz's work appears in the February 2015 issue.

Kristin Phillips awarded Excellence in Graduate Education/Instruction for 2015

Kristin Phillips, Lecturer in Anthropology, has been named one of the eight recipients of the Crystal Apple Award for 2015 from a pool of over 400 nominees.  Kristin received the Excellence in Graduate Education/Instruction Award.  The Crystal Apple awards program started in 1999, and is the only teaching award at Emory that is managed entirely by students.  In a process orchestrated by Emory University's Residence Hall Association, instructors are nominated by students and award recipients selected by student panels.  Nominations are based on criteria including accessibility to students, positive relationships with students, mastery of subject matter, engaging presence in the classroom, unique and innovative style of teaching, and service to the Emory community.

New paper on the Tsimane people of Bolivia by Paul Hooper

Tsimane people of Bolivia prepare foodAnyone who has ever loved a grandmother or grandfather knows the nurturing role that grandparents can play. Dr. Paul Hooper led a study of indigenous people in Amazonia, who survive on food they hunt, forage or cultivate, quantifies the evolutionary benefit of that role. The results, which have just been published in the Proceedings of Royal Society B, show that grandparents contribute a biologically significant amount of food calories to their extended families.

Please see the full feature story in Emory eScienceCommons.

Read Inclusive fitness and differential productivity across the life course determine intergenerational transfers in a small-scale human society by , , , here.

Peggy Barlett continues to help Emory set and meet conservation goals

In 2005, a visioning committee co-chaired by Goodrich C. White professor of Anthropology Peggy Barlett established concrete conservation goals for Emory University's 10 year strategic plan.  This week, it was announced that Emory's pledge to reduce energy usage per square foot by 25 percent in 10 years has already been achieved, beating the 2015 anticipated date.  Barlett is now co-chair of a new visioning committee tasked with setting sustainability goals for Emory beyond 2015. Click here to read the full story in the Emory News Center.

Anthropology Department sponsors a family through the Women's Resource Center to End Domestic Violence

This holiday season, Anthropology participated in the "Trade the Malls for Walls" program through the Women's Resource Center to End Domestic Violence (WRC), an organization that Emory has partnered with for eight years.  Faculty, staff, and grad students contributed both cash and gently used goods for a mother and her two children transitioning out of a safe house and into their own apartment.  The generous participation of the Anthropology community made it possible to fulfill almost all of the family's wish list for home supplies, clothing, and Christmas presents for the family.  The estimate of the total value donated, including previously owned items, is over $1000.00.  Many thanks to the entire department for giving this family the gift of a supported beginning in their new home.

Curated Gallery Show Features Ethnographic Installation by Debra Spitulnik Vidali and Kwame Phillips 

Kabusha Radio RemixCoinciding with the 113th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Washington, DC, Professors Vidali and Phillips present “Kabusha Radio Remix: Your Questions Answered by Pioneering Zambian Talk Show Host David Yumba (1923-1990)” an ethnographic installation at Ethnographic Terminalia’s curated show, ‘The Bureau of Memories: Archives & Ephemera.’   Visit the exhibition page here to read more about the installation, which "throws issues of subject agency, immortality, translation, wisdom, and ownership into bold relief" by layering remixed archives of one of Zambia's most famous Bemba language radio personalities with current questions.  

Debra Vidali is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Re-Generation Initiative at Emory, and Kwame Phillips received his PhD from Emory University in 2014 in Anthropology & Film and Media Studies.  

The Hierarchy Gallery is located at 1847 Columbia Road NW, Washington, DC. ‘The Bureau of Memories: Archives & Ephemera’ runs Dec 3-7, 2014.

Research by Carol Worthman, Jim Rilling cited in recent articles

Two Emory Anthropology professors' research was recently featured in articles by NPR and The Age.

Dr. Worthman's findings that "culture drives sleep" are discussed in "Can't Sleep? Maybe Thinking About Evolution Will Help", in the 'Cosmos and Culture' section of NPR's website.  The article also references a 1/20/12 piece in Emory University's eScienceCommons: "Some eye-opening thoughts on sleep" details some of the range of Dr. Worthman's groundbreaking research on human sleep behavior.

The Executive Style section of Australia's 'The Age' cites a recent study by Dr. Rilling and Dr. Burns regarding the neurosicence of helping behaviors, in the article "Being nice: Does it get you what you want?"

Mirian Willis recognized for 30 years with Emory

November 12th, 2014 is Mirian's 30th anniversary of employment with Emory University. Mirian has been with Emory since 1984, and has served as the facilities staff with the Anthropology Department since 1997.

We thank Mirian for her careful work, dedication, and attention to detail, as well as the good cheer and genuine interest she directs towards all students, faculty, and staff connected to Anthropology. This truly would not be the same building without her! Congratulations, Mirian.

"China: Tradition and Transformation" Conference at Emory and Agnes Scott, October 30-November 1, 2014

Ph.D. Candidate Shunyuan Zhang and Assistant Professor Jenny Chio will present papers at a conference titled "China: Tradition and Transformation," which is jointly organized by Emory University and Agnes Scott College from October 30-November 1, 2014. This conference brings together China scholars from across Georgia, the US, and Nanjing University to discuss current issues in historical, social, and cultural research on contemporary China.

Shunyuan Zhang's paper is titled "Debris and Desire: Negotiating Erotic Spaces in Kunming, China" and is based off her recently completed fieldwork. Professor Chio's paper addresses the consequences of rural tourism development in an ethnic Miao village in Guizhou, titled "'Using Tourism to Help Peasants' (以游助农) in the New Socialist Countryside: The Case of Upper Jidao, Guizhou."

A full conference program is available here:

Top 10 reasons to learn to make Stone Age tools features study by Drs. Stout and Khreisheh in the Paleolithic Technology Lab

Professor Dietrich Stout, director of the Paleolithic Technology Lab, and post-doctoral researcher Nada Khreisheh will be conducting a study called The Language of Technology to investigate the relationship between language and tool-making in human evolution using a novel integration of archaeology and neuroscience methods. Dr. Khreisheh will train the participants to break and shape flint, a skill known as knapping, as part of a major, three-year archeology experiment to investigate the role of stone tools in human brain evolution, especially key areas of the brain related to language. In addition to attending tool-making training sessions, participants will undergo three magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and eye-tracking experiments.

According to Dr. Stout, “This is the first controlled, neuro-scientific study of real-world craft skill acquisition over time. Our hypothesis is that the brain systems involved in putting together a sequence of words to make a meaningful sentence in spoken language overlap with systems involved in putting together a series of physical actions to reach a meaningful goal.” (Read the full story here.)

The project is funded by the National Science Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation, through a program designed to integrate science across disciplines.

The study is also featured in articles in The Atlanta Journal & Constitution and Wired Magazine.

Anthropology Faculty and Students Presenting at Imagining America National Conference

"Organizing. Culture. Change." is the focus of the 2014 Imagining America National Conference, hosted by Emory University on Oct. 9-11. The conference explored the roles of the arts, humanities, design, and higher education in community development and the future of our society.

Professors Debra Vidali and Peggy Barlett as well as PhD student Josh Robinson presented at this conference.

RegenerationDr. Vidali created and directed an ethnographic performance about our relations to higher education, performed downtown at the closing plenary on Saturday at 3:30 pm. Dr. Vidali said of the event, "Our Re-Generation Initiative ethnographic and generative theater workshop at the Imagining America conference last week was a huge success (25 participants on Friday Oct 10), as was our 8 person performance at the closing plenary on Saturday, titled Higher Education, Democracy, and Well-Being." In the photo here, workshop participants are deep in thought with an ethnographic writing exercise—writing prompt: Documentation of a scene where a shift really happened."

Dr. Barlett and Mr. Robinson were on the conference program with sustainability projects. (Full Emory News story here.)

New Anthropology Staff - Colin Kirkman

Colin KirkmanThe Department of Anthropology welcomes it’s newest staff member, Colin Kirkman, as receptionist and academic coordinator for the Sustainability and Global Development minors. Colin is a native Atlantan who has worked with nonprofits and underserved populations for over 20 years, most recently doing training and education for staff, clients and families in the field of psychiatric rehabilitation.  Towards the end of 2011 she took a break from social services to help her husband with his personal chef business and worked part-time at The Cook’s Warehouse.  She and her husband spend much of their free time volunteering, food gardening, and entertaining friends.

Colin has a BA in American Studies from Grinnell College in Iowa,. She is excited to get better acquainted with Emory, the Anthropology community, and the broad network supporting the Sustainability and Global Development minors. 

Re-Generation Initiative "Slices of Time" by Professor Debra Vidali's Ethnography, Theater, and Performance Class Now Available on YouTube

A new video of Slices of Time, a dynamic ethnographic theater performance project by the students in Prof. Debra Vidali's Fall 2013 "Ethnography, Theater, and Performance" class at Emory University, is now available on YouTube. All dialogue and scenes come directly from ethnographic field notes and interviews. Lines are verbatim from research transcripts and field note books. Each student in the class designed an original research project to investigate how time matters and is experienced in everyday life.


Professor Jim Rilling Named Winship Distinguished Research Professor

Congratulations to Dr. Jim Rilling, who was recently named a Winship Distinguished Research Professor in the Social Sciences. He was selected by a committee of Emory University named chairs and the award, which recognizes faculty who have demonstrated singular accomplishments in research, was announced to the College faculty on September 3rd by Dr. Robin Forman, Dean of the Emory College of Arts and Sciences. 

NSF/Templeton Awards for Professor Dietrich Stout

Professor Dietrich Stout has been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation's Interdisciplinary Behavioral and Social Science Research program and the John Templeton Foundation in support of the research project “Homo faber: The language of technology

According to Dr. Stout, “This project will investigate the relationship between language and tool-making in human evolution using a novel integration of archaeology and neuroscience methods.”  Research will take place at Emory (Paleolithic Technology Laboratory, Biomedical Imaging and Technology Center), Georgia Tech (Cognitive Motor Control Laboratory), and the Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone (Marseille, France).

Professor Jim Rilling Publishes Research on Parenting in Science

A recent Emory news feature, Understanding parallels of human and animal parenting can benefit generations to come, highlights research by Anthropology professor Jim Rilling and his colleague Dr. Larry Young of the Department of Psychiatry.  Young and Rilling review evidence regarding how when it comes to parenting, humans and animals share many of the same neurobiological mechanisms. Their article, The biology of mammalian parenting and its effect on offspring social development, appears in the August 15th issue of Science as part of a special section on parenting.

Professor Peter Little Plenary Speaker at 2020 Conference on Building Resilience for Food and Nutrition Security

As reported in Emory's eScience Commons in the article Resilience: The new development buzzword in the era of climate change, Peter Little was the plenary speaker at the 2020 Conference on Building Resilience for Food and Nutrition Security, held in Addis Ababa last May

Little, who has been researching pastoralist communities in the Horn of Africa for three decades, gave a talk about the resilience of these nomadic herders over millennia, and how they face unique challenges today due to climate change, conflict, and loss of land.

Emory Anthropology Seeks Tenure-Track Assistant Professor

Emory University Department of Anthropology invites applications for a tenure-track assistant professor position in Biological Anthropology. We seek a scientifically-oriented anthropologist pursuing theoretically rigorous study of behavior and ecology of free-ranging non-human primates. The ideal candidate will have an established field research program that will provide research opportunities for both the candidate and future graduate students. Candidates must hold a doctoral degree, have a strong research record, and be committed to quality teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Candidates also must be able and willing to regularly teach an introductory course in primatology. Ability to interact effectively with faculty in a broadly inclusive department is important.

The Department of Anthropology and Emory University embrace diversity and seek candidates who will participate in a climate that attracts students of all ethnicities, races, nationalities, and genders. We strongly encourage qualified women and underrepresented minorities to apply.

Please send a curriculum vita, a research statement, a teaching statement, and complete contact information for three references to: AnthroFacultySrch@emory.edu.

Applications accepted through November 8, 2014.

Emory University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer.

Memorial for George J. Armelagos


Friday, August 29, 2014
4:00 - 7:00 PM
Cox Hall Ballroom
Reception to Follow

New York Times obituary

In honor of the memory of George Armelagos’ life and work, please consider contributing to one of the funds he established at Emory:

Armelagos-Brown Bio-Cultural Lecture, Emory

Armelagos Graduate Teaching Award, Emory