Faculty Activities

(2017-2019)

 

Alanna Rudzik has co-authored an article titled “Residential immersive life skills programs for youth with disabilities: Experiences of parents and shifts in parenting approaches.” The article appears in the December issue of the Journal of Adolescence. Citation:
Duff C, King G, McPherson AC, Kingsnorth S, and AEF Rudzik. 2019. Residential Immersive Life skills programs for youth with disabilities: Experiences of parents and shifts in parenting approaches. Journal of Adolescence. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2019.10.015

Sallie Han has published a chapter titled, “Mothering Tongues: Anthropological Perspectives on Language and the Mother-Infant Nexus,” which appears in The Mother-Infant Nexus in Anthropology: Small Beginnings, Significant Outcomes (Springer 2019), edited by Rebecca Gowland (Durham University, UK) and Sian Halcrow (University of Otago, NZ). In it, Han argues for a cross-cultural and ethnographically grounded examination of the claims made about the parental and especially maternal roles in the language socialization of young children. The chapter as well as the others in the book originated as an invited paper for a conference on the mother-infant nexus held at Durham University (UK) in 2017, which brought together archaeologists, biological anthropologists, cultural anthropologists, and other researchers on mother-infant and child health and development.

Sallie Han gave presentations on junior-senior power asymmetries and on carework in the academy at the joint annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association and the Canadian Anthropology Society / Societe Canadienne de Anthropologie, held November 19-23 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her presentation on “The Challenges of Chairing as an Uncomfortably ‘Senior’ Faculty Member” was featured on a roundtable titled “Acknowledging the Junior-Senior Relation: Power Asymmetries in the Academy.” In it, Han discussed how institutional affiliation, academic discipline, gender, and race/ethnicity can amplify or mitigate status in the academy. In addition, Han gave a presentation that connected insights from the anthropological literature on care with the findings of an on-going study that she and her co-investigators have been conducting since 2016 on the experiences of caregiving while working in academia. The presentation was part of a session titled “How the Personal Becomes Professional: Carework and Caregiving in the Academy.”

Sallie Han presented an invited paper at a conference on “Integrating Reproductive Technologies,” held November 13-15, 2019 at the Brocher Foundation in Geneva, Switzerland. Her paper, titled “Spectacular reproduction revealed: Genetic genealogy testing as a re(tro)productive technology,” suggests an analysis of the uses of reproductive technologies, in particular assisted reproductive technologies like donor insemination, as instances of “extra-ordinary” reproduction. It conceptualizes these instances in terms of social theories of spectacle and disruption. It also examines genetic genealogy tests like 23andme as re(tro)productive technologies that produce children, parents, and kinship in hindsight. Sallie presented her work alongside scholars and researchers in anthropology, sociology, and public health from the UK, Switzerland, and Israel and policy makers from the World Health Organization.

Alanna Rudzik has co-authored an article in BMC Pediatrics titled “Residential immersive life skills programs for youth with disabilities: a case study of youth developmental trajectories of personal growth and caregiver perspectives.” The article is available Open Access at https://bmcpediatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12887-019-1793-z

Renee Walker gave an invited lecture at the Florence Indian Mound Museum, Florence, Alabama. Dr. Walker was invited to speak about her research on dog burials at the Native American site of Dust Cave. The lecture was part of a series on Shoals Archaeology funded by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Tracy Betsinger recently co-authored the article, “Caries as an archaeological problem-solving tool: reconstructing subsistence patterns in late prehistoric west-central Tennessee” in Dental Anthropology (32(2):51-66). The article is part of a special issue of the journal focused on defining oral health in studies of human skeletal remains.

Tracy Betsinger has recently published an article (with M.O. Smith) in the International Journal of Paleopathology (24:245-251). The case study, “A Singular Case of Advanced Caries Sicca in a Pre-Columbian Skull from East Tennessee,” considers the implications of the oldest (900 BCE – 200CE) example of extreme cranial changes associated with treponemal disease (non-venereal syphilis) in the Americas.

Sallie Han is a co-editor of the March 2019 issue of Open Anthropology on the theme of “Walls, Fences, and Barriers: Anthropology on the Border."

John Relethford has published a chapter entitled “Human population structure and history” in the edited volume, A Companion to Anthropological Genetics(2019), D.H. O’Rourke, ed., Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 123–135. This chapter is a summary of how anthropologists and geneticists use genetic data (DNA markers, blood cell markers, quantitative traits) to address questions of population structure (mate choice, isolation by distance, etc.) and population history (both the origin of our species as well as questions of regional origins).

Tracy Betsinger is this year's recipient of the Susan Sutton Smith Faculty Prize for Academic Excellence. She will present this year's Susan Sutton Smith lecture on the topics of "Babies Are Us: What Can We Learn from Fetuses and Infants from History and Prehistory" in the Otsego Grille room, Morris Hall, SUNY Oneonta campus at 7 pm on April 9, 2019.

Alanna Rudzik has published an article titled “Infant sleep and feeding in evolutionary perspective” in the International Journal of Birth and Parent Education, 6(1): 17-20.The first part of this article provides a review of our evolutionary legacy and how this legacy impacts infant biological expectations for proximity to caregivers, feeding and sleep. The second part of the article considers how, despite infants’ biological expectations, cultural assumptions can shape parental beliefs and practices about infant feeding and sleep.

Alanna Rudzik has published a chapter titled “Mothering, identity construction, and visions of the future among low-income adolescent mothers from São Paulo, Brazil” in the peer-reviewed volume Marginalized Mothers, Mothering from the Margins, edited by Tiffany Taylor and Katrina Bloch (Emerald Publishing, 2018). The chapter examines the experience of teen mothers living in marginalized areas of São Paulo and explores how the integration of a maternal identity with previously existing identities might lead to new aspirations and ambitions for the future or to hopelessness and despair, shaped by the embodied experience of motherhood and pre-existing structural forces.

Sallie Han has published a chapter titled "Reproduction and Language" in The Oxford Handbook of Language and Sexuality (online publication November 2018).

John Relethford has published an entry in The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018) entitled “Genetics of modern human origins and diversity.” This article reviews our current knowledge of genetic diversity in the human species and how it is best understood in terms of our species’ origin in sub-Saharan Africa 200,000 years ago and subsequent dispersion out of Africa 60,000 to 100,000 years ago, including interbreeding events with archaic human populations such as the Neandertals and Denisovans.

Sallie Han has published two entries in The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018): "Pregnancy, Anthropological Approaches to" and "Fatherhood, Anthropological Approaches to."

Alanna Rudzik  has published a book review of Progressive Mothers, Better Babies: Race, Public Health, and the State in Brazil, 1850-1945 by Okezi Otovo. Her review appears in the September 2018 issue of Bulletin of Latin American Research, 37(4) p.520-522. The book is a study of maternalist public health policies in Brazil in from the mid-18th to mid-19th century.

Tracy Betsinger recently published a chapter in the edited volume, Bioarchaeology of the American Southeast: Approaches to Bridging Health and Identity in the Past (University of Alabama Press, 2018). The chapter, “Regional Differences in Caries by Sex and Social Status in Late Prehistoric East Tennessee” addresses the homogeneity that is assumed for Mississippian adaptations in the American Southeast by exploring how variations in local environment and physiography contribute to differences within and between communities in terms of diet and access to resources.

Sallie Han and Tracy Betsinger recently published a chapter in the volume, Reproductive Ethics II: New Ideas and Innovations (Springer Press, 2018). The chapter, “Reconceiving the Human Fetus in Reproductive Bioethics: Perspectives from Cultural Anthropology and Bioarchaeology,” explores the human fetus and the ascription of personhood. When and if a fetus is considered a “person” varies across cultures and over time and anthropology is uniquely suited to examine this variability.

Tracy Betsinger presented at the international conference, “Why Frankenstein Matters at 200: Rethinking the Human through the Arts and Sciences,” in Rome, Italy during the summer. Her presentation, “Frankenstein’s Creature and Vampires: Embodiments of Fear” explored the similarities and differences between literary and folkloric monsters and how beliefs and fears can be explored through the bioarchaeological record.

Alanna Rudzik is the lead author of an article in the peer-reviewed journal Sleep Medicine entitled "Discrepancies in maternal reports of infant sleep vs. actigraphy by mode of feeding."

Alanna Rudzik was an invited speaker at the 5th Biennial Parent-Infant Sleep Lab conference held at Durham University in Durham, UK on April 19, 2018. Her presentation was entitled “Sleeping like a Baby? Infant sleep development and maternal perceptions” and focused on evolutionarily normal infant sleep and factors which influence parental perceptions of infant sleep.

Brian Haley has published a new research article, “Craig Carpenter and the neo-Indians of LONAI,” in the American Indian Quarterly (Spring 2018). The article addresses how Carpenter became a foundational neo-Indian in the 1950s by merging metaphysical spirituality, political activism, and building a network of like-minded self-described “traditionalists.”

Tracy Betsinger co-organized a symposium at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Austin, Texas. The session, “Skeletons in His Closet: A Symposium in Honor of Clark Spencer Larsen,” brought together former students of Larsen, who shared the results of their recent research projects. She co-authored two presentations in the session and was co-author on a third presentation at the conference.

John Relethford is a coauthor of the paper “Bone functional adaptation does not erase neutral evolutionary information” in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (Early view online). The other authors are Gina Agostini (senior author, Arizona State University) and Brigitte Holt (University of Massachusetts). This study examines measurements of long bones taken by the senior author in samples from Europe and South Africa to examine the extent to which variation among samples reflects population history (judged using cranial measures) versus adaptive plasticity due to changes in the bones over a lifetime. The results indicate that adaptive plasticity does not erase population history.

John Relethford has published the second edition of his book, Reflections of Our Past: How Human History is Revealed in Our Genes (Routledge 2018). His co-author, new to this edition, is Deborah Bolnick of the University of Texas, an anthropological geneticist specializing in DNA analysis of population history and ancestry estimation. This book examines our genetic relationship with the African apes; genetics and the global history of the human species following our initial African origin; and the use of genetic data in reconstructing population history and ancestry. Case studies include Native American origins, the spread of agriculture in Europe, the origin of Polynesians, the population history of Ireland, and admixture in human groups throughout history. The first edition received the W.W. Howells Book Award from the Biological Anthropology Section of the America Anthropological Association.

Reflections of our past book cover

 

Renee Walker has published a book chapter titled “The Role of Dogs in Everyday Life” in an edited volume, Investigating the Ordinary: Everyday Matters in Southeast Archaeology, edited by Sarah E. Price and Philip J. Carr (University of Florida Press).

Sallie Han has published a review of Katherine Dow’s “Making a Good Life: An Ethnography of Nature, Ethics, and Reproduction” in the journal American Ethnologist. The book examines public perceptions about assisted reproductive technologies.

Tracy Betsinger has recently published a review of the book, “Built on Bones: 15,000 Years of Urban Life and Death” in the American Journal of Human Biology (30:e23088, 2018). This book is an overview of the field of bioarchaeology and illustrates what can be learned from bioarchaeological inquiry.

Brian Haley has published a review of David Wallace Adams’ “Three Roads to Magdalena: Coming of Age in a Southwest Borderland” (Kansas, 2016) in the American Indian Culture and Research Journal. Adams’ award-winning book (the David J. Weber–William P. Clements Prize for best Southwestern nonfiction) offers a rich historical account of gradual adaptive ethnic accommodation and increasing ethnic boundary crossings in a tri-ethnic New Mexican community comprised of Navajos, Hispanics, and Anglos. With a focus on childhood and schools, Adams expertly demonstrates the real potential of children to act as agents of ethnic accommodation despite hegemonic forces.

John Relethford is senior author of a paper entitled “Cranial measures and ancient DNA both show greater similarity of Neandertals to recent modern Eurasians than to recent modern sub‑Saharan Africans,” in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (with Fred Smith, Illinois State University, as coauthor). Neandertals are ancient humans that died out about 40,000 years ago, but form part of the ancestry of modern humans (Homo sapiens). Fossil and genetic evidence show that modern humans first evolved in Africa about 200,000 years ago, and about 100,000 years ago began to disperse throughout the rest of the world, where they encountered earlier humans such as Neandertals. In the past decade, studies of ancient DNA have shown that there is a small amount of Neandertal ancestry in present-day people of Eurasian ancestry but not in present-day people of sub-Saharan African ancestry. This geographic difference is because interbreeding of Neandertals and modern humans took place after the initial dispersion of modern humans out of Africa. Relethford and Smith tested the hypothesis that the same pattern can be found when comparing cranial measures of present-day humans with those of Neandertals. They examined a multivariate assessment of cranial similarity based on 37 craniofacial measures and compared 2,413 crania of present-day humans around the world to an average Neandertal (based on the same measures from fossils). They found that although all recent modern humans are very similar to each other and quite distinct from Neandertals, individuals of Eurasian descent were closer to Neandertals, as expected from the ancient DNA results. They also showed that other factors, such as differences relating to climatic adaptation, did not affect the conclusions.

Anthropology of the Fetus (cover)

Sallie Han and Tracy Betsinger and Amy Scott (University of New Brunswick) are the co-editors of The Anthropology of the Fetus: Culture, Biology, and Society (Berghahn Books, 2017). This collection presents the work of specialists in biological anthropology, archaeology, and cultural anthropology. Contributors draw on research in prehistoric, historic, and contemporary sites in Europe, Asia, North Africa, and North America to explore the biological and cultural phenomenon of the fetus, raising methodological and theoretical concerns with the ultimate goal of developing a holistic anthropology of the fetus. The book features Han's chapter, "Pregnant with ideas: Concepts of the fetus in the twenty-first century United States," and Scott and Betsinger's chapter, "Excavating identityt: Burial context and fetal identity in post-Medieval Poland."

 

Tracy Betsinger was featured Tuesday in the Halloween edition of NPR’s “The Academic Minute,” where she provided a brief history lesson on vampires and ancient burial practices, based in part on her research in 17th-century Poland. Click here to listen to her talk.

Tracy Betsinger is the senior author of an article in the International Journal of Paleopathology (19:24-36, 2017) entitled “Trends in mortality and biological stress in a medieval Polish urban population.” This article explores whether urbanization impacted the health of a community experiencing an increase in population size and density and other changes. The results from the evaluation of pathological skeletal features found no change in stress with increasing urbanization, while statistical analyses of mortality and survivorship indicate that there was an increased risk of death as urbanization intensified.

Tracy Betsinger has published an article in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. The article, “Endemic treponemal disease in late pre-Columbian prehistory: New parameters, new insights,” explores patterns of treponemal disease (non-venereal syphilis) in relation to settlement patterns, temporal shifts in sociopolitical organization, and regional diversity.

Sallie Han gave an invited presentation at an international workshop on “The Mother-Infant Nexus: Small Beginnings, Significant Outcomes,” held July 17-22 at Durham University in Durham, UK. Her paper, “Mothering Tongues: Language and the Mother-Infant Nexus,” is based on her ethnographic fieldwork on pregnancy and parenting in the US and analyzes child language socialization from the perspectives of cultural and linguistic anthropology. The workshop, sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, brought together researchers and scholars from the UK, New Zealand, Canada, and the US. The papers from the workshop will be published in an edited collection forthcoming from Springer.

Tracy Betsinger is a couathor of a paper entitled "Deviant burials and social identity in a postmedieval Polish cemetery: An analysis of stable oxygen and carbon isotopes from the “vampires” of Drawsko" published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (163:741-758, 2017).

Sallie Han has been appointed to a second three-year term as co-editor of Open Anthropology, the digital journal of the American Anthropological Association. Han and co-editor Jason Antrosio (Hartwick College) have served as editors since March 2015 and curated special issues on themes including climate change, cultural heritage, race and racism, and aging. Content in Open Anthropology is curated from the AAA’s peer-reviewed journals and made freely available on the internet for a minimum of six months for users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full text of these articles. Each issue is dedicated to topics that are of interest to the general public, educators, advocates and public policy makers. Open Anthropology

John Relethford has been named for a five-year term to the Editorial Board for the Yearbook of Physical Anthropology, an annual journal consisting of review articles from across the field of biological/physical anthropology, for a five-year term.

William Starna (Emeritus Professor) has published “After the Handbook: A Perspective on 40 years of Scholarship Since the Publication of the Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 15, Northeast,” in New York History 98, 1(2017): 112-146.

William Starna (Emeritus Professor) has the essay “Practicing History and the Social Sciences at the New York State Education Department” accepted for publication in the July issue of the online journal Teaching Social Studies. The essay is a critical analysis of the State Education Department’s approach to and development of curriculum materials in the Social Studies and English Language Arts provided to schools and teachers throughout the state.

John Relethford

John Relethford was awarded the 2017 Gabriel Lasker Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Physical Anthropology (AAPA) during the Association’s annual meeting in New Orleans, April 2017. This award is given “to recognize and honor individuals who have demonstrated a history of excellence in service to the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, its members, and/or the field of physical anthropology.” (AAPA web page). AAPA is the largest professional association of biological/physical anthropologists in the world, with over 1700 members internationally.

Tracy Betsinger presented a poster at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in New Orleans, LA. The poster, “Urbanization’s Impact: Health and Survivorship Patterns in Medieval Poland,” explored the utility of using skeletal markers of stress as well as paleodemographic analysis in assessing whether urbanization negatively affected the health of an historic population.

Tracy Betsinger and Sallie Han were co-presenters at the Albany Medical Center-Alden March Bioethics Institute’s conference, “Reproductive Ethics: New Ideas and Innovations,” held in Albany, NY, April 7-8, 2017. Their presentation, entitled “Reconceiving the Human Fetus: Perspectives from Bioarchaeology and Cultural Anthropology,” discussed the significant empirical evidence and cultural and social insights that holistic anthropological research can contribute to questions in bioethics. Their work will appear in The Anthropology of the Fetus: Biology, Culture, and Society, a book that Han and Betsinger co-edited with Dr. Amy Scott (University of New Brunswick) and is forthcoming from Berghahn Books in October 2017.

Renee Walker was coauthor of a paper presented at the Society for American Archaeology Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. The paper was part of a symposium on collaborative research, funded by the National Science Foundation, which created a digital archive of faunal data from sites in the interior Eastern United States. The digital archive allows the faunal information to be integrated for answering questions about human subsistence choice and environmental change during the Archaic period (10,000-3,000 years ago).

Tracy Betsinger has published a chapter entitled "Status-based differences in health in late prehistoric East Tennessee" in the edited volume Bones of Complexity: Bioarchaeological Case Studies of Social Organization and Skeletal Biology, edited by HD Klaus, AR Harvey and MN Cohen (University Press of Florida, 2017). Her chapter explores how status, determined from burial location, impacts health, physiological stress, and infectious disease.

John Relethford has published a book review of The Real Planet of the Apes: A New Story of Human Origins, by DR Begin, in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (162:830-831, 2017).

Sallie Han is a co-editor of the March 2017 issue of Open Anthropology on the theme of “Advancing Age: Anthropological Perspectives on Being and Growing Older.

Sallie Han has been named to the Editorial Advisory Board for Anthropology News, the member magazine for the American Anthropological Association. AN features a combination of anthropological articles on topic themes and association news.

Alanna Rudzik has co-authored a chapter entitled “Baby-Lag: Methods for Assessing Parental Tiredness and Fatigue” with Helen Ball of Durham University (UK). The chapter appears in the volume Biological Measures of Human Experience across the Lifespan: Making Visible the Invisible, edited by Lynnette Sievert and Dan Brown (Springer Press).

50 Great Myths Book Cover

John Relethford has published a book entitled 50 Great Myths of Human Evolution: Understanding Misconceptions about Our Origins (Wiley-Blackwell). This book is part of the publisher’s “50 Great Myths” series. This book focuses on some common myths and misconceptions about human origins and evolution as well as general evolutionary theory. The 50 essays in the book are organized in four sections: Ideas about Evolution, Human Origins, Evolution of the Genus Homo, and Recent and Future Human Evolution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Renee Walker participated in an NSF workshop for the Eastern Archaic Faunal Working Group (EAFWG) at Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL. The EAFWG is comprised of eight scholars from various institutions working together to integrate faunal data through tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record) from important Archaic period sites. The data will be available for research on a variety of topics, including hunting and gathering in the Archaic, environmental change, population growth and density, and the use of aquatic resources.

Alanna Rudzik has co-authored a study protocol entitled “Optimizing life success through residential immersive life skills programs for youth with disabilities: study protocol of a mixed-methods, prospective, comparative cohort study” for work with Amy C. McPherson, Gillian A. King and colleagues on the Ontario Independence Program Research team. The protocol appeared in BMC Pediatrics 16(1) and is available through Open Access.

John Relethford has published a chapter entitled “Biological anthropology, population genetics, and race” in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Race, edited by Naomi Zack (Oxford University Press, 2017, pp. 160-169). This chapter provides a brief review of patterns of global genetic variation in the human species, how this variation reflects the evolutionary history of the human species, and the problems with using biological race for understanding human genetic variation.

 

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