SMU Adventures: Katherine, Maguire Fellow and Medical Anthropology grad student in San Francisco

Originally posted: June 25, 2015

Katherine is a graduate student in the medical anthropology program. She was awarded a Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Fellowship for summer 2015 from the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU for her research on struggles for LGBTQ immigrants in the San Francisco Bay area. READ MORE

David Meltzer, Anthropology, 8,500 year-old Kennewick Man is a Native American

Live Science

Originally Posted: June 18, 2015

Research-KennewickMan

The relatives of a much-debated 8,500-year-old skeleton found in Kennewick, Washington, have been pinned down: The middle-age man was most closely related to modern-day Native Americans, DNA from his hand reveals.

The new analysis lays to rest wilder theories about the ancestry of the ancient American, dubbed Kennewick Man, said study co-author Eske Willerslev, an evolutionary biologist at the Natural History Museum of Denmark at the University of Copenhagen.

“There have been different theories, different mythology, everything from him being related to Polynesians, to Europeans, to [indigenous people] from Japan,” Willerslev told Live Science. “He is most closely related to contemporary Native Americans.”

A couple first discovered the skeleton in 1996 on the banks of the Columbia River in Kennewick. The coroner analyzing the remains noticed an arrow tip lodged in the man’s pelvis, and surmised he was a European felled by a Native American, said co-author David Meltzer, an anthropologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

But the man’s bones revealed he was at least 8,000 years old.

At a news conference then, researchers studying the skeleton said the ancient man was “Caucasoid,” an archaic, 19th-century term that includes a wide swath of people with origins in Africa, Western Asia and Europe. Reporters heard the word “Caucasian,” and all of a sudden people were wondering how a European showed up in North America and was shot thousands of years before Europeans set foot on the continent, Meltzer said. READ MORE

Follow Christopher Kiahtipes, Ph.D. candidate in anthropology, on SMU Adventures blog

SMU Adventures

Originally Posted: June 16, 2015

Christopher Kiahtipes is a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. His work includes reconstructing past environments in tropical Central Africa to better understand the links between culture, ecology and climate. He is spending part of the summer in Europe to present his research at the 8th International Workshop on African Archaeobotany (IWAA) in Italy and to visit libraries and botanical collections at the University of Montpellier in France. READ MORE

 

Dedman College students receive prestigious national fellowships and awards

Congratulations to the Dedman College students awarded prestigious national fellowships and awards during the 2014-15 academic year, including Fulbright Grants and a fellowship to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. These students include:

Fulbright Scholar:

Whitney Goodwin
Michaela Wallerstedt
Kandi Doming

Institute for Responsible Citizenship Scholar:

Garrett Fisher

Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress Presidential Fellow:

Tracy Nelson

National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Nicole Hartman

READ MORE

 

Professors receive tenure, promotions effective in 2015-16

DedmanCollegeRB

 

Congratulations to the Dedman College faculty members who are newly tenured as associate professors or have been promoted to full professorships to begin the 2015-16 academic year.

The following individuals received tenure or promotion effective Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015.

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

Angela Ards, English
Greg Brownderville, English
Justin Fisher, Philosophy
Matthew Keller, Sociology
Matthew Lockard, Philosophy
Daniel Moss, English
Nia Parson, Anthropology
Christopher Roos, Anthropology
Stephen Sekula, Physics
Alicia Zuese, World Languages and Literatures (Spanish)

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

Thomas Coan, Physics
Darryl Dickson-Carr, English
Robert Kehoe, Physics
Francisco Morán, World Languages and Literatures (Spanish)
Tony Ng, Statistical Science
Sherry Wang, Statistical Science

Seven Dedman College professors receive emeritus status in 2014-15

Congratulations to the following professors who received emeritus status in 2014-2015. The professors, and their dates of service:

buchanan

 

Christine Buchanan, Professor Emerita of Biological Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1977-2015

 

CARTER

 

Bradley Kent Carter, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1970-2015

 

Cortese

 

Anthony Cortese, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1989-2015

 

habermanRichard Haberman, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1978-2015

 

 

Hopkins D11

 

James K. Hopkins, Professor Emeritus of History, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1974-2015

 

ubelaker

 

John Ubelaker, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1968-2015

 

ben_wallace

 

Ben Wallace, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1969-2015

 

SMU Students Mark History Milestone With Trip To Selma

CBS DFW

Originally Published: March 6, 2015

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – They are marching back in history to mark a major milestone. Students from Southern Methodist University loaded into buses Friday and set off — bound for Selma, Alabama.

They know it will be an emotional trip and it’s one they’ve planned for more than a year.
There are 36 students and four adults on their way to Selma. The group is largely made up of young people with majors in Human Rights and Anthropology – majors that are a part of part SMU’s political science department.

But the pilgrimage wasn’t by exclusive invitation; it was also offered to all students at SMU.

LaQuencia Dorsey’s grandmother was among the thousands who participated in the march from Selma to Montgomery 50 years ago.

“It’s going to be an emotional roller coaster for me,” she said. “Especially [since], my grandmother was part of it as well. It’s really unique for me to be able to touch the bridge, to actually feel where things happened.”

Facilitator Ray Jordan explained that the American civil rights movement and the experience of events in Selma aren’t mutually exclusive to African Americans. “It’s incredibly important that this becomes American history,” he explained. “Sometimes it’s segregated or sectioned into Black History, but this is the history of our country.”
Unlike those who made the trip from SMU in 1965, those who left on Friday are not afraid for their safety.

It was 50 years ago, on the eve of his bus ride to Montgomery that retired SMU Professor Kenneth Shields says a group of African American janitors came to his door. He recalled, “They said, ‘you don’t realize the dangers you are going into.’”

Shields explained that he and the others who left from SMU 50 years ago were motivated by what happened on Bloody Sunday. “I have always felt an identification and empathy for people who are marginalized.”

Friday Shields was there to help send off the next generation of activists. “I wish very much that I could be going along with you,” he told the group.

On March 25, 1965, Professor Shields says he marched next to a girl who could’ve been more than 14-years-old.

“She was still bandaged from being beaten on Bloody Sunday. And I said, ‘what do you think of the sheriff and the people who beat up on you?’ And she said, ‘I love them.’”
The group traveling then found that advice from janitors proved to have merit. In 1965, the bus company provided box lunches for the marching students’ ride home. When they opened them they found them full of garbage.

The 2015 group will reach Jackson, Mississippi Friday night and will be in Selma by Saturday morning. READ MORE

Four student projects win recognition (and $5,000) in SMU’s 2015 Big iDeas Business Plan Competition

Congratulations to Hunter Rice, Edward Allegra and Rax Friman on their winning projects. These Dedman College students were part of four student teams that competed in SMU’s Big iDeas Business Plan Competition.

More on the competition and the projects below:

Four student teams combined winning pitches with solid business plans to earn $5,000 startup grants for their projects through SMU’s Big iDeas program on Jan. 30, 2015.

The four winning teams were chosen from a business plan competition featuring the winners of the Big iDeas Pitch Competition, which took place in October.

The projects were judged by a panel of volunteers from Executives in Action, a Dallas-area organization that helps strengthen North Texas nonprofits by matching them with senior-level executives for pro bono consulting services. The winners:

The projects were judged by a panel of volunteers from Executives in Action, a Dallas-area organization that helps strengthen North Texas nonprofits by matching them with senior-level executives for pro bono consulting services. The winners:

Beyond US Clothing (Hunter Rice and J.P. Buxbaum) – a for-profit clothing company that partners with charities to help underprivileged children in the United States by offering unique T-shirt designs for each partnership and donating a portion of the sales to charities with a focus on children and education.

Biolum Sciences (Edward Allegra, Miguel Quimbar and Jack Reynolds) – A smartphone-based imaging system that can detect the presence of asthma and reduce the current 40% misdiagnosis of asthma in the United States.

Helpple (Austin Wells and Irisa Ona) – an app that connects people who need help with people who are offering to help, ranging from tutoring to moving furniture to getting volunteers.

Out & About (Renita Thapa, Sam Hubbard and Raz Friman) – an app that promotes local businesses and organizations by showing its users what is going on in the community for easy planning, exploring and getting to know the area.

“The world needs big thinkers to address global challenges. It needs innovators to create solutions. It needs risk-takers to turn solutions into sustainable businesses. And at SMU, Big iDeas makes this happen,” said Engaged Learning Director Susan Kress, whose office also oversees Big iDeas.

The students will spend the next nine months developing their projects. They will present results in October 2015 at Big iDeas Demo Day for a chance to win another $5,000 to continue their work.

READ MORE

• Visit SMU’s Big iDeas website at smu.edu/bigideas

Dallas’ Ebola outbreak fed ‘epidemic of misunderstanding,’ SMU panel says

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: Feb. 6, 2015

Dallas’ Ebola outbreak may have ended last fall, but the scientific exploration of what happened here has only begun, especially among medical anthropologists.

In a two-hour discussion Friday at Southern Methodist University, three such experts sorted through how the crisis evolved, how people responded and the language they used to describe what happened.

It was an “an epidemic of misunderstanding,” the three speakers agreed, and the problems started in West Africa, where the Ebola epidemic began in 2013.

Adia Benton, an assistant professor of anthropology at Brown University, cited key words that made the disease more frightening than it should have been. For example, the World Health Organization decided to call it “Ebola hemorrhagic disease,” which focused on its explosive symptoms rather than its cause.

It allowed people to fixate on “projectile vomiting, diarrhea and blood coming out of eyeballs,” she said. “The first time WHO referred to it as ‘Ebola virus disease,’ it affected how we think about it, and it wasn’t as scary.”

Doug Henry, associate professor of anthropology at the University of North Texas, recalled the “emotional epidemic” that struck Dallas when Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola in September. Tensions abated only after the national election in November, he said.

“I was troubled by how the media and politicians exploited the situation,” Henry said, describing endless news coverage and constant political pressure to ban flights from West Africa. He also cited attempts to detain health care volunteers as they returned from fighting the disease.

“The forced quarantine of health care workers makes the epidemic worse and more likely to spread to us,” he said.

Carolyn Smith-Morris, associate professor and director of SMU’s health and society program, said she jumped into the fray when Ebola showed up in Dallas. She sent her students door to door to talk to Dallas residents about how they felt as the outbreak unfolded.

“It’s very rare that we get to see what the beginning of an epidemic looks like,” she said. “There were lessons to be learned about stigma, prejudice and fear.”

Dallas’ outbreak never reached epidemic proportions, “although the media coverage tried to convince us it did,” Smith-Morris said. Epidemics require a higher rate of disease followed by a massive effort to stop it, she said.

Although more than 100 people were quarantined in Dallas, only three Ebola cases were diagnosed: in Duncan and two of his hospital caretakers.

Still, the local outbreak remained stuck in a “crisis phase,” Smith-Morris said, because public confusion and anxiety continued for weeks. “There were pieces of information we did not have,” she said of the government’s educational response.

The three experts pondered whether Duncan might have been a victim of racism, considering that his Ebola diagnosis and treatment were delayed for several days.

Benton, who is black, said many things could have influenced Duncan’s treatment, including his immigrant status, lack of health insurance and heavy foreign accent. Doctors also didn’t expect Ebola to show up in their emergency room.

Duncan died, while the two Ebola-infected nurses survived.

Benton said it’s hard for many African-Americans to reconcile how Duncan was treated. “Everyone knows a delayed response is more likely to kill someone,” she said.

Smith-Morris said she couldn’t conclude that prejudice alone was responsible.

“Racism may have a place,” she said, “but I don’t think it explains Duncan’s death.”

READ MORE