2013-14 Student News

Congratulations to our 2014 PhDs

Amy Cobden — Dissertation: Party Animals: Food, Sociality and Stress in Wild Bonobos (Pan Paniscus) of Iyema, Lomako Forest, Democratic Republic of Congo

Tyralynn Frazier — Dissertation: The Social Production of Reproductive Health Disparities

Jennifer Kuzara — Dissertation: Shifting Roles in Gender, Kinship and the Household: Women's Empowerment in Matrilineal Malawi

Aun Lor — Dissertation: What is Research in Public Health Practice? Social Construction and Cultural Interpretation of Research and Practice at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Lesley Jo Weaver — Dissertation: When Family Comes First: Diabetes, Social Roles and Coping Among Women in North India

Anthropology Undergraduates Complete Honors Theses for 2014

This year three of our majors completed an honors thesis. We are all very proud of them, and before they graduate we asked them to briefly share their work and experiences.

Hampton-Honors ThesisSarah Hampton

Major: BA in Anthropology

Title of Honors Thesis: The Past in the Present: The Role of the Holocaust in Modern Jewish American Identity

Advisor: Dr Liv Nilsson Stutz 

Tell me a little about your honors project?
My honors project looked through the lens of ritual practice theory to examine how the Holocaust is incorporated into a Reform Jewish Congregation’s identity. I wanted to see how the Holocaust was integrated into a case study of Jewish culture and how it affected their identity today.

What was your most exciting result/the most exciting thing you found out?

The most exciting result of the project was when the theoretical pieces came together. Applying practice theory to my own research and seeing first-hand how practiced remembrance of the Holocaust affected this congregation’s worldview was extremely academically satisfying. I was able to apply theories I had learned to research that I did while also giving other people a voice.

What did you learn personally or professionally from this experience?

I learned so much personally and professionally from this experience that I would not trade it for the world. As an individual who tends to be on the shy and timid side, I was forced to push against those insecurities throughout this project. One of the biggest lessons I learned personally was to keep trying even when I felt like I would fail. It cemented the notion of “it’s better to fail trying than not to try” into my worldview. Facing some of the setbacks I encountered shaped my personal determination while also giving me needed experience maneuvering in the professional world.  I learned a lot about myself while working on this thesis, and it’s definitely something I would recommend to any student who is focused and ready for a challenge.

What are you doing next year? ​

Next year I plan to stay in the Atlanta area and work while I study for the LSAT. In the coming years I hope to attend law school.


Jiang-Honors ThesisSandy Jiang

Major: BS in Anthropology and Human Biology

Title of Honors Thesis: An Ethnobotanical Study of Three Generations of Taiwanese and Chinese Immigrants' Health Perspectives.

Advisor: Dr Michelle Lampl

Tell me a little about your honors project

I did an urban ethnobotanical study of three generations of Chinese and Taiwanese immigrants' health perspectives. I studied how political and social problems during the time when an immigrant left affected their health behaviors and perspectives in the United States, how medicinal food usage changed over time, and investigated how a possible imbalance of chi is causing not only short term health problems but also manifest in chronic disorders. 

What was your most exciting result/the most exciting thing you found out? 

That there were significant differences between generations that tied directly to political or social unrest back in their home country and the idea that chronic disease is explained by Chinese immigrants in the form of an imbalance of the chi system!

What did you learn personally or professionally from this experience?

It is important not only to integrate ethnic differences, but also generational differences into cultural competency studies to better serve immigrant populations in biomedicine.

What are you doing next year? ​

I will be starting the MD MPH program at University Of Miami this June!


Lerner-Honors ThesisHillary “Aviela” Lerner

Major: BS in Anthropology and Human Biology

Title of Honors Thesis: Burmese Refugees in the United States: Resettlement Barriers, Access to Healtcare, and Adjusting to Life in Atlanta

Advisor: Dr Peter Brown

Tell me a little about your honors project?

I wrote about Burmese refugees in Atlanta and the barriers they face to resettlement and gaining access to healthcare.  I explored the entire journey of Burmese refugees, from fleeing from Burma, to living in Thai refugee camps, to final resettlement in the United States.  I interviewed Burmese refugees living in Clarkston, GA as well as resettlement caseworkers to better understand how Burmese refugees adapt to life in Atlanta and the obstacles they face upon resettlement.  

What was your most exciting result/the most exciting thing you found out?

The most exciting thing I discovered was the closeness of the Burmese community in Clarkston.  The community members support one another and work hard to maintain their traditional customs.  

What did you learn personally or professionally from this experience?

I learned the importance of hands-on ethnography.  Really jumping into the situation and meeting people is very rewarding.  I attended a Karen church service and while it was scary and challenging, I met great people and was able to make contacts with refugees to interview. 

What are you doing next year? ​

Next year I will be attending nursing school at Yale University to become a family nurse practitioner.  I plan to pursue a nursing career in global health. 

Anthropology Honors Outstanding Undergraduate Research

The Anthropology Department presented the following awards at our annual honors luncheon on April 16:

The Emory University Department of Anthropology, Trevor E. Stokol Award Recognizing Outstanding Undergraduate Research
Sandy Jiang

Outstanding Senior Award (Anthropology)
Emily Lin

Outstanding Junior Award (Anthropology)
Samantha Grayman

Graduate Student Aubrey Graham Wins SSRC-IDRF Photography Awards


The International Dissertation Research Fellowship program, supporting the next generation of scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences pursuing research that advances knowledge about non-US cultures and societies, presents the winners of the 2014 IDRF Photo Competition. IDRF fellows from the most recent cohort were invited to submit a single photo, a self-portrait, or a short photo essay conveying a sense of their IDRF-funded research and experience abroad. Two winners in each category were selected—one by IDRF fellows from cohorts spanning 2008 to the present, and the other by the SSRC Fellowships Office.

Aubrey Graham swept the fellow selections this year with photographs from her IDRF project “Implicated Images: Photography, Aid, and Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Her photo essay reveals two distinct photographic spectrums, the vernacular and the humanitarian, with her winning single photo, “Celebrating an Acquittal” (above), shot through barbed wire, presented in contradiction of "the way in which humanitarian images are visually constructed through policy and practice that rarely reflects documentary ‘reality.’” Graham’s self-portrait, with an elderly market woman, evokes those “who choose to self-represent in a way that highlights the negative aspects of their situations in relation to the possibility of aid.”

Anthropology Major Megan Light to receive Emory's Brittain Award

Nominated by Professor George Armelagos, Megan Light, an Anthropology and Human Biology major with a minor in Global Health, Culture and Society, will be awarded the 2014 Marion Luther Brittain award, the highest honor bestowed upon an Emory student, at this year’s Commencement. Full story here.

Dr. Debra Vidali's ANT 372 class presents Ethnographic Windows into the Emory College Experience

Ethnographic Windows into the Emory College Experience: Time Management, Happiness, Stress, Diversity Matters, Academic Engagement, and the Value of Higher Education is a research showcase by the students in Prof. Debra Vidali's ANT 372W class to be held Wed 4/23 1:00-2:15. The event is open to the public and will feature a dynamic ethnographic presentation, based on original participant-observation and interview research. Through vivid ethnographic portraits and dramatic readings of original work, students will highlight the many ways in which higher education is experienced by undergraduates at Emory University. The presentation will be followed by an open discussion. Location: Emory University Department of Anthropology, room 206.

Dredge Kang receives AAS/SEAC Graduate Student Paper Prize

Graduate student Dredge Byung'chu Kang was awarded the 2013 Association for Asian Studies (AAS) San Diego Conference Southeast Asia Council (SEAC) Graduate Student Paper Prize for "Eastward Orientations: Thai Middle Class Desire for White Asians." Dredge was honored at the 2014 AAS Philadelphia Conference Presidential Address/Awards Ceremony, held on Friday, March 28, 2014.

Anthropology Senior Nick Goodwin Founds RING (Resource and Insurance Navigator Group)

Read about the efforts of Anthropology senior Nick Goodwin to bring about positive social change with RING (Resource and Insurance Navigator Group), a new organization founded by Goodwin and a team of Emory students to train college-aged volunteers in health care outreach that will include educating the public about new insurance options under the Affordable Care Act, in the latest Emory Report. Professor Peter Brown is a faculty advisor to the organization.

Center for Community Partnerships and Office of Sustainability Initiatives Internship Course Taught by Josh Robinson

One of Emory's best kept secrets is the Internship Course, currently listed as REL 380, but also cross listed as ANT 386 and SOC 389. Offered by Josh Robinson, the Center for Community Partnerships and Office of Sustainability Initiatives Graduate Teaching Fellow, this course is open to all Emory College students. Each enrolled student negotiates and obtains an off-campus internship with a non-profit organization related to sustainability, social work, or healthcare (broadly defined) for Spring 2014. Internships must be secured prior to the beginning of the semester and must run through at least the end of April. Students will attend a weekly class session to reflect on their experiences and discuss selected texts on race, politics, identity, and place. This is an excellent opportunity for students to combine work and academic experiences. For further information and guidance on internship placement contact Josh Robinson and check out the Off-Campus Internship section of the Office of Sustainability Initiatives webpage

Recent Graduate Student News

Read doctoral student Moyukh Chatterjee's blog "Modes of Encountering the Survivor of Violence: Reflections from AAA 2013" in Cultural Anthropology regarding his experience presenting at the recent AAA meeting in Chicago.

PhD student Tyralynn Frazier has recently contributed a chapter to the forthcoming book, Black Motherhood(s): Contexts, Contours and Considerations, edited by Karen Craddock. Titled "Birthing Black Mothers: How Race Shapes Childbirth as a Rite of Passage," the chapter seeks to examine how black woman’s reliance on technocratic rituals of birth are grounded in the social and political contexts that limit the sphere of choices many black women have. Those spheres of choice are framed by acts of deference to and rebellion against these technocratic spaces because histories of racism within institution-based remedies (obstetricians, hospitals, etc.) have fostered a reliance on the formal sector but personal experiences have not defined these institutions as “safe places.” Furthermore, it explores how, when applied to black mothers, the intractable race-as-risk factor paradigm, compounds the technocratic procedural response when encountering black women. This occurs despite the fact that ecological factors influencing race and risk are ambiguously understood at best. Black Motherhood(s): Contexts, Contours and Considerations is scheduled for release in Fall 2014.

Also in student news, Jo Weaver is organizing a session at the upcoming AAA meeting called "The Blame Game: Accounting for the Global Pandemic of Chronic and Noncommunicable Diseases." She and fellow PhD student Bonnie (Fullard) Kaiser are also organizing a session at the SFAA meeting in March 2014 called "Measuring Mental Health Across Cultures: Insights from Anthropology."

Earlier this month, Adeem Suhail was invited to an international conference on urban studies in Karachi, Pakistan, where he delivered a talk on Legality and Violence in Urban Spaces: The Case of Lyari Town, Karachi. The talk received national coverage in multiple newspapers because of the dangerous nature of the fieldwork and its clear and present relevance to issues of security and legality in Pakistan. Read more here.

Jimmy Carter visits Anthro class"Anthropological Perspectives: Africa" Class Welcomes Special Guest

Former President Jimmy Carter visited Dr. Peter Little's ANT 280 class on Thursday, October 17th, to discuss the Carter Center's ongoing work in Africa. He spoke briefly about his own engagement with issues related to Africa both personally and politically and then went into greater detail regarding the role that the Carter Center plays in three key areas: agriculture, health and negotiating peace and fair elections. The class wrapped up with President Carter answering questions from the students on issues ranging from the Carter Center's impact on sustainability within African countries to his views on the success of the current administration. 

Student-led Sustainable Food Fair Headed by graduate student Hilary King

The event is organized entirely by undergraduate students in Hilary's ANT 386 class. Read more here and plan to join in the festivities Friday, October 4th, at 10:30 a.m.