Anthropology student digs into Columbia Mall

Anthropology student digs into Columbia Mall

Victoria Schlieder Victoria Schlieder, a senior anthropology and geography major, recently took a different approach to anthropology by researching the behavior and concerns of shoppers as opposed to researching culture or evolution.

Her work, which consisted of surveying, observing, and interviewing patrons of the Columbia Mall, will be among the featured presentations this fall at the American Anthropological Association’s national conference in New Orleans.

In her field methods study, Schlieder discovered young people, ages 18 to 25, still shop at the mall and most of the nearly 460 people surveyed want more stores, a movie theater and more special events. A native to the area, Schlieder, of Numidia, chose to study the Columbia Mall because she was interested in what residents believed needed to be done to revitalize the mall that she grew up with.

Schlieder’s research is a form of ‘applied anthropology,’ which seeks to solve everyday problems through anthropological means. She hopes to make a career out of this specialization by conducting similar ‘retail anthropology’ research throughout the country.