Alumni Connections

Letter from the Chair, Summer 2017

Bragging about the Anthropology Department at Washington University in St., Louis is easy. Most anthropology departments struggle to attract majors and to have a strong presence on their campuses. We, however, have over 300 majors and have graduated more than 100 students a year for the last five years. We’re successful because we do not take our selves or our discipline for granted. No serious American university could exist without biology, economics, or English, yet no university must have a department of anthropology. We must provide value-added services to the university. My colleagues are among the best teachers at WashU. They inspire, delight, surprise, and push their students. And, as one graduating senior put it, they are “nice,” too. They are passionate and devoted teachers because they are also inspired researchers. 

In the end, though, we do so well because we are an engaged and engaging community. Our hallways buzz with conversations; our social events are alive with cheer; and we celebrate the accomplishments of students, staff, and faculty alike in ways large and small. It is hard to put a finger on exactly what makes a community—but enjoying one another’s company surely must be one element. We are fortunate to have these bonds because they make us more than the sum of the individuals who work in McMillan Hall. As you can see from the articles in this newsletter, honoring our craft, celebrating our accomplishments, and recognizing community are central to what we are. Thank you for being a part of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis.

-TR Kidder
Chair, Department of Anthropology

Frachetti Uncovers Lost City

An amazing discovery in the high altitude plateaus of the Uzbekistan-Tajikistan border has led to large scale project including WashU Anthropology faculty and graduate students, both past and present.

Undergraduate alumna continues work in zooarchaeology

Undergraduate alumna continues work in zooarchaeology

WUSTL Anthropology News

2018 Undergraduate Awards

The John W. Bennett Prize to the Outstanding Graduating Senior in Anthropology is given to the graduating Anthropology senior with the highest combination of GPA and excellent honors thesis. This year's John W. Bennett Prize went to Dongyeon Joanna Kim, for Analysis of Ready-To-Use-Therapeutic-Food (RUTF) for the Treatment of Acute Malnutrition in Children Ages 6-59 Months in Brong-Ahafo Region, Ghana

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Fiona Marshall elected into the US National Academy of Sciences

On May 2, 2017 distinguished scientists stood on the steps of the National Academy of Sciences building in Washington DC and made 84 phone calls. The scientists, NAS members, were calling the newly elected members of the prestigious institution to notify them of the momentous news. One such call was made to Washington University's very own Fiona Marshall. Dr. Fiona Marshall is the James W. and Jean L. Davis Professor in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. She joined the faculty of Anthropology at Washington University in 1987. Her research focuses on animal domestication and the beginnings of food production in Africa.

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Jamie Thomas, AB 2006: Zombies Speak Swahili

Jamie Thomas started thinking about zombies while researching second language acquisition in Mexico City. Her doctoral dissertation work followed students learning Swahili in both Mexico City, Mexico and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It was a student in Mexico City who first noticed that the zombies in the popular horror survival video game Resident Evil were speaking Swahili. This lead to a lively conversation among the students in Mexico City, and sparked a new set of questions in Thomas. Since zombies are an agent of fear, how would their speaking Swahili affect native speakers of the language?

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The Washington University in St. Louis Anthropology Department wants to know what opportunities you pursue beyond graduation. Help us provide updates, encouragement, data, and information to the WUSTL Anthropology community by keeping in touch. Did you find a job? Continue your education? Contribute to research? Discover a new passion? We want to know!

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