Anthropology Department News 2006

Anthropology Department News 2006

All four current news items from The BU Today Page

Anthropology students win honors in international writing competition

Two BU students taking the lecture course "Principles of Cultural Anthropology" taught by Faith Warner were winners in an international competition sponsored by the Center for a Public Anthropology's Yanomami Community Action Website Project. Maria Johns (right) won the international competition by majority vote of the student participants, ranking first out of 1727 students from ten universities in the U.S. and Canada. Georgia Palmeter won the third place position based on the final vote. Johns is a biology major from Mechanicsburg and Palmeter is a Medical Imaging student from Williamsport. The competition involved students writing a letter to the director of a major research funding agency on anthropological ethics and fieldwork responsibility. The essays were competitively selected through a peer-reviewed process.

Conrad Quintyn, assistant professor of anthropology wrote an article titled: Forensic Anthropology. Dr. Quintyn was invited by the editor of the Pennsylvania Homicide Investigators Association Newsletter (PHIA) to write this article. This article can be found in 2006 PHIA Newsletter. Pp. 6-7 (December).

David Minderhout, professor of anthropology, and former BU student, Andrea T. Frantz, presented a paper at the 105th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association on November 15, in San Jose, Calif. The paper was titled “Invisible Indians: Native Americans in Pennsylvania” and was based on two years of research among Native Americans in the state. Frantz is currently in the Ph.D. program in anthropology at Arizona State University.

Conrad Quintyn, assistant professor of anthropology, presented a paper titled “One Step Away from Angels: The Uphill Battle in Reversing Twenty Generations of American Creationist Thinking” at the 105th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association on Nov. 18. In the paper, he discusses the fact that humans enjoy their position closer to angels in Aristotle’s scalae naturae or “Great Chain of Being” implying that humans are very distant from the animal world. Consequently, suggestions that humans have prehistoric ancestors are strongly rejected. The abstract can be found in the American Anthropological Association 105th Annual Meeting, San Jose, California, November 15 to November 19, p. 430 (Abstract).

Fairest Of Them All

Story by: Deirdregalvin

What keeps ’em coming back to the Bloomsburg Fair year in and year out? BU anthropology students find out through class project.


Sue Dauria, chair of BU’s anthropology department, teaches students about data collection with an assignment at the Bloomsburg Fair.

When most people think about the Bloomsburg Fair, they envision funnel cakes, games, rides and agricultural displays. But for anthropology faculty member Sue Dauria, the annual event is a perfect place for data collection and studies in cultural anthropology. “The fair is such a cultural experience,” says Dauria, 43, chair of the anthropology department. “It’s like an exotic culture comes to Bloomsburg every year. Our students can learn about a different culture right here – without having to fl y to Thailand.” The project was introduced in 1999 by Jerry Mitchell, a member of the geography faculty. When he left BU in 2003, Dauria took over, continuing a collaboration with John Hintz, assistant professor of Envionmental, Geographical and Geological Sciences, who maps fair demographics using a GIS (Geological Information System) program.

Dauria gears the assignment to students in her introductory anthropology course and sees the project as a good way to introduce the challenges and rewards of data collection. Each student brings 20 surveys to the fair; historically, they have found most fair-goers willing to participate.

The surveys have revealed some surprising results, Dauria says. One of the most interesting, for example, came from the 1,400 surveys distributed in 2005 and showed that visitors are drawn to the fair not by advertising or marketing as expected but by previous experiences and tradition. The value of advertising and the fair’s Web site can be measured, however, in attendance at Grandstand events, she adds.

Another “surprising” result requires a discerning eye, Dauria says. Findings from the 800 surveys completed in 2004 concluded flooding from Hurricane Ivan was not a major deterrence to attendance. Interesting, yet not completely accurate, she notes, since the people who were interviewed were already attending the fair. Dauria added new questions last year, including an open-ended query targeted to BU students who are attending the fair. Results showed African American students and those who hail from cities varied in their comfort levels, sometimes feeling self-conscious amid the crowds.

Other findings from surveys completed last year at the 151st Bloomsburg Fair included:

  • Attendance was down overall (441,077 in 2005 compared with 509,380 in 2004), a fact that fair president Fred Trump attributes to the fair’s crackdown on free admission.
  • Fair attendees were 51 percent female and 49 percent male.
  • The average person spent $77 at the fair, with women spending a little more ($82) and men spending slightly less ($72).
  • And, the biggest spender was a woman who parted with a total of $1,200, which was $200 more than her male counterpart.

Deirdre Galvin is a freelance writer from Bloomsburg.

Two Anthropology Faculty Members among those recognized with Dean's Excellence Award

Liberal Arts Dean's Salute to Excellence

George Agbango, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts, presented the college's annual Salute to Excellence Awards. Faculty were selected for the awards based on their scholarship, teaching evaluations and service to the university. Pictured above are, from left: president Jessica Kozloff; provost James Mackin; recipient Lisa Stallbaumer-Beishline, history; James Brown, assistant dean of Liberal Arts; Julie Kontos, psychology; Agbango; recipient Christine Sperling, art and art history; recipient Thomas Aleto, anthropology; recipient Saleem Khan, economics; recipient Gary Clark, art and art history; recipient Conrad Quintyn, anthropology; and recipient Neil Strine, political science.

From the Sept. 26, 2006, Today page of the Bloomsburg University website:

Dr. David Minderhout, professor on anthropology, has published and article, "Serious Play: Word Play in Performance," in Reviews in Anthropology, Vol. 35 (3):253-266, September 2006. Publication in Reviews in Anthropology is by the invitation of the editorial board only.

More news about Dr. David Minderhout's research:

Dr. Minderhout and Spring 2006 BU Anthropology Graduate Andrea Frantz will be giving a presentation at the American Anthropological Association in San Jose on Nov. 15. The paper is entitled "Invisible Indians: Native Americans in Pennsylvania Today."

From the June 16, 2006 Today page of the Bloomsburg University website:

Anthropology students take part in Ohio excavations

Two BU anthropology majors, senior Kitawna Hoover of Middleburg and sophomore Judith Steinhilper of Bloomsburg, spent three and a half weeks participating in excavations at a Hopewell moundbuilder settlement site in southern Ohio. The Brown's Bottom 1 site excavations were co-directed by BU anthropology professor DeeAnne Wymer and Paul Pacheco of SUNY - Geneseo.

Kitawana Hoover excavating at Brown's Bottom 1.

Judy Steinhilper keeps detailed notes on her earthoven excavation.

Very large earthoven with intact logs still present at bottom of pit. Some of the logs are white oak.

Hopewell spearpoint.

The excavation site in midday.

Artifacts have been recovered with radiocarbon dates between A.D. 260 and A.D. 430. For a second year the Bloom students have partnered with SUNY Geneseo and this year the excavation uncovered earthovens, pottery, animal bones, mica, a copper awl, and numerous stone tools. The site will be featured in the Archaeological Conservancy's flagship magazine "American Archaeologist" in the fall.

Hoover has also recently been awarded a scholarship from the Center for American Archeology to attend a three week Adult Field School Program. Located in Kampsville, Ill., the field school will focus on the continued excavation of The Buried Gardens of Kampsville archaeological site. The site is a Middle Woodland Hopewell moundbuilder habitation village. Kitawna has already completed two summer field schools at a second Hopewell archaeological site in Ohio under the direction of Wymer. Opportunities and scholarships through the Center for American Archaeology are made possible by the Monticello College Foundation. The Kampsville field school will be held from July 24 to August 11.

More information about the 2006 Ohio excavations:

Thanks to Dr. Wymer for the following news. You will also find it in the most recent Liberal Arts News from Bloomsburg University's College of Liberal Arts (Fall 2006 No.6)

  • Dr. DeeAnne Wymer, Department of Anthropology, has returned from co-directing fieldwork earlier this summer at the Brown’s Bottom 1 site, Ross County, Ohio. Excavations continued from the previous summer and included 30 students from SUNY- Geneseo and Bloomsburg University. This site is the first completely documented Hopewell Moundbuilder habitation site for the region and this summer’s discoveries included more ritual mica artifacts as well as a copper tool and numerous ceramics, animal bones, plant material, and other items. The 2006 excavations are being featured in the Fall 2006 issue of American Archaeology magazine and several Bloomsburg University students are now working on various projects with the site’s materials. In addition, the paper “Investigating Ohio Hopewell Settlement Patterns in Central Ohio: Archaeology at Brown's Bottom #1 (33Ro21)”, by Paul Pacheco, Jarrod Burks, and DeeAnne Wymer, at the Midwestern Archaeological Conference, October 20-22, 2005, Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Wymer presented the paper “Is the Household Concept a Useful Analytical Tool in Hopewell Studies?” at the Society for American Archaeology conference, San Juan, this past April 28. Dr. Wymer also gave an invited presentation at the Pennsylvania State University Department of Middle Eastern and Classical Studies for the International Mendes Research Project symposium “Human – Plant Interaction at Mendes: At the Crossroads of the Sacred and the Secular” which summarized the results of the analysis of plant remains from the Akhenaton Temple Project – Mendes Site, Egypt Field Seasons 2004 and 2005. She completed a report for the National Park Service, Midwestern Archaeological Center, on the analysis and assessment of plant materials recovered from excavations conducted at the Hopewell Culture National Park in Chillicothe, Ohio (Hopeton Site) by the Park Service. Dr. Wymer’s spent March 2006 at the Field Museum of Chicago as a Visiting Researcher for her spring sabbatical. She analyzed their Hopewell copper collection for traces of organic material on the artifacts’ surfaces and identified fur and plant textiles, feathers, leather, and other interesting materials. This research was funded by the Bloomsburg University Grants for Research and Disciplinary Projects. She also wrote several book reviews (pre-publication as well as journal reviews) and served as a National Science Foundation grant reviewer as well. Finally, Dr. Wymer just completed a co-edited (with Martin Byers) theoretical book draft “Hopewell Settlement Patterns and Symbolic Landscapes: Cosmology, Subsistence, and Social Systems” that will be reviewed by the University of Florida Press.

  • Thank you to Dr. Minderhout for the following news item:

    "Dr. Minderhout and former anthropology student, Andrea Frantz, have spent the last two years working with Native Americans in Pennsylvania on issues such as improvements in the K-12 curriculum, recruitment of Native Americans into SSHE universities, and gaining state recognition for Native Americans. According to the U.S. Census, over 12,000 Native Americans live in PA, but the state refuses to recognize their existence. Pennsylvania is one of only five states that does not offer any recognition to Native Americans living in it; it is also one of only a handful of states that does not contain a reservation. Minderhout and Frantz have been attending powwows and tribal council meetings across the state to learn more about the Native Americans resident here and their needs and concerns. Last April, they co-hosted a luncheon on the BU campus which brought Native American leaders and interested SSHE faculty together for the first time; they are hoping this will become an annual event. They presented a joint paper on their research at the Society for Applied Anthropology meetings in Vancouver, British Columbia, last April, and they have been recently notified that another paper has been accepted for the American Anthropological Association's annual meetings, held this year in November in San Jose, California. They are also co-authors of a grant with faculty from other SSHE universities to provide more and better information about Native Americans in the PA K-12 curriculum.

    In the initial phase of their research, Minderhout and Frantz circulated surveys in the Native American community; to date, they have received around 300 surveys in return. They have spent the summer conducting extended ethnographic interviews with a select group of Native American informants. At the same time, they have continued attending tribal events. They plan to combine the surveys, the interviews, their ethnohistorical research, and their participant observation experiences into a book about Native Americans in Pennsylvania today. Ms. Frantz is currently a graduate student in anthropology at Arizona State University."