News & Events

News & Events

Professionalization Workshop 10/24/18

October 24th, 2018

Graduate Student Professionalization:

“Advisor Wrangling”

Wednesday, November 7th, 3-5pm

Brought to you by popular demand! Several graduate students have raised questions and expressed interest regarding the sometimes complicated dynamics involving graduate student-advisor professional relationships.  This session will offer an opportunity to discuss general protocols for choosing and working with an advisor, constituting a committee, and maintaining productive and ethical relationships with faculty involved in your graduate training.  We will also address any specific questions you have on these topics. To this end, there will be a small box in the graduate student lounge where you can deposit any particular questions or concerns you may have (these can be anonymous if you prefer).  We’ll collect these questions shortly before the session and address as many as we can.

As always, food and booze will be on hand.  Please let Veronica know if you plan to attend so she can plan accordingly–

Lunch Seminar Series 10/18/18

October 9th, 2018

“Sex Differences in the Human Skeleton have Earned Better Explanations than Male Competition and Childbirth”

Lecture presented by Holly Dunsworth

Greater estrogen produced by ovaries causes bones in female bodies to fuse before males’ resulting in sex differences in adult height. Female pelves expand more than males’ due to estrogen and relaxin produced and employed by the tissues of the pelvic region and also due to the greater internal space occupied by female gonads and genitals. Evolutionary explanations for skeletal sex differences (sexual dimorphism) that focus too narrowly on big competitive men and broad birthing women must evolve.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Boston University Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program

THURSDAY, October 18th 11:45am – 1:30pm
African Studies Seminar Room
232 Bay State Road

Those wanting lunch should contact Corky White at by Monday October 15 at 5 pm.

Holly Dunsworth is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Rhode Island. She’s interested in how the anatomical, physiological, and behavioral traits related to making, growing, and raising offspring evolved, how we narrate that evolutionary history, and how our narratives (some of which are flawed, like the “obstetrical dilemma”) impact culture and society.

Graduate Professionalization Session – 10/17/18

October 9th, 2018

Graduate Professionalization & Wine Sessions:

“Proactive Professionalization”

African Studies Seminar Room
October 17th, 4-6pm

Our “Graduate Professionalization & Wine” sessions start with year on October 17, 4-6pm (**please note future sessions will start at 3pm**). This first session will be led by Prof. Chris Schmitt and the topic is… “Proactive Professionalization

What says ‘graduate school’ more than wine and cheese in a conference room?  How about wine and cheese and professionalizing in a conference room! Come join us for our first “Graduate Professionalization & Wine” session of the academic year to discuss ways in which to proactively polish your professional skills while you work through your graduate program. Why wait for your advisor to return that email (we know…) when you can access resources at your own pace on campus and professionalize with peers?!  Potential topics include starting and managing peer-professionalizing activities (e.g., journal clubs, writing workshops, student-led seminar series), free professionalization resources on campus (e.g, programming, aid for grant-writing and conference preparation), and more. Please feel free to bring questions and your ideas for what you’d like to discuss.

Fall Lunch Seminar Series 10/04/18

September 28th, 2018

The Department of Anthropology Presents:
Lunch Seminar Series Fall 2018

“The Impact of Human Land-Use Change on Chronic Health Outcomes in Apes and
Monkeys: A One Health Perspective”

Lecture by Alicia Rich. Alicia Rich is a Postdoctoral Research Associate working with
Professor Christopher Schmitt in the Sensory Morphology and Genomic Anthropology
Lab in the Anthropology Department at Boston University

THURSDAY, October 4th, 2018 at 11:45 – 1:30
African Studies Seminar Room, PLS 505
232 Bay State Road

Lunch provided if you send a message to Corky White ( before 5 pm on Monday October 1st

My research seeks to understand the nonpathogenic factors affecting health and disease where humans, animals, and their shared local environments interact. In my dissertation research, I measured the population size, gene flow, and health of savanna chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve in Uganda. or dispersed between the two reserves. After my dissertation I conducted a pilot study of primate diversity in Itwara. The reserve and its surrounding unprotected areas present an appealing site for studying the effect of close human-wildlife proximity on health across primate taxa (including humans). My current postdoctoral research has refocused these ideas on the effects of a severe, long-term drought and resulting stressors on the health and physiology of two wild vervet monkey populations in South Africa.

First Graduate Lunch Seminar 09/20/18

September 7th, 2018

The Department of Anthropology Presents

First Graduate Lunch Seminar Fall 2018


Italian American Corner Boys: Moral Interactions during the Great Depression 1929–1941 in Boston’s North End: A Reinterpretation of William Foote Whyte’s Field notes from Street Corner Society 1943”


Lecture by Oscar Andersson, Associate Professor, Social Anthropology Kristianstad University, Sweden.

THURSDAY, September 20th, 2018 at 11:45 – 1:15
African Studies Seminar Room

Lunch provided if you send a message to Corky White ( before 5 pm on Monday

A reinterpretation of William F. Whyte’s classic ethnographic study of Boston’s North End, using Whyte’s original field notes, this presentation will focus on Italian-American “Corner Boys” and their moral interactions examining how these were intertwined with larger economic, political and social processes during the Great Depression.

Oscar Andersson received the PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Lund, Sweden, in 2003 with a thesis on the Chicago School of Sociology between 1892 and 1935.

Anthropology Speakers’ Series: Gender as Memory: Men and Women Making Relations after Wartime

April 15th, 2017

  Martha LagaceGender as Memory: Men and Women Making Relations after Wartime


Friday, April 21 at 1:15

African Studies Seminar Room


Anthropological accounts of African women’s travel away from home have noted how their men often interpret these activities disapprovingly as abandonment (e.g., Riesman 1998:219-220; Shaw 2002:163). Meanwhile, these societies tend to expect—and encourage—men to go about, for reasons including livelihood and independence. But what happens when men on the move can only make a living by having many female customers? Drawing from 1950s ethnography as well as my ethnographic research with northern Uganda’s motorcycle-taxi drivers, this talk considers how men and women recovering from a 1986–2006 civil war use differing notions about movement to strategically reformulate “appropriate” gender roles, find one another, and create a future.

Martha Lagace is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at Boston University. Her dissertation is titled Farming the Tarmac: An ethnography of journeys, technology, and the perseverance of tradition.

Lunch is provided if you send an email message to Corky White, by Monday, April 17 at 5 pm, to


Posted in Department News

Translated Brain: Constructing a Science of Social Work in Vietnam

March 29th, 2017

Translated Brain: Constructing a Science of Social Work in Vietnam


Lecture by Ann Marie Leshkowich

Ann Marie Leshkowich is Professor of Anthropology at College of the Holy Cross. She is author of Essential Trade: Vietnamese Women in a Changing Marketplace (University of Hawai’i Press, 2014; winner, Harry J. Benda Prize, Association of Asian Studies, 2016) and co-editor of Neoliberalism in Vietnam (special issue of positions: asia critique, 2012) and Re-Orienting Fashion: The Globalization of Asian Dress (Berg, 2003).

The expansion of a market economy in Vietnam over the past three decades has sparked concern about social problems. To promote individual, family, and child welfare, officials have called for the training of 60,000 social workers by 2020. Vietnamese universities, eager to develop this “scientific,” “modern,” and “international” academic discipline, have scrambled to design social work curricula in collaboration with foreign universities. Even as they might fetishize global scientific knowledge, academic and practicing social workers are keen to develop a version of social work appropriate for Vietnam’s social, cultural, and economic conditions in order to empower clients to identify and address their own problems. This work of translation and adaptation often focuses on perceived differences in individuality: a more collectivist and relational Vietnamese personhood, versus the individualistic orientation of the Western contexts in which social work first emerged. Drawing on fieldwork in university social work classes, practicum placements, and workshops in Ho Chi Minh City, this paper analyzes the contested politics of knowledge production and expertise shaping Vietnamese social work. In particular, models to explain and treat addiction, trauma, and autism center on supposedly universal scientific facts of brain chemistry. Efforts to construct a culturally appropriate Vietnamese social work therefore conflict with the equally pressing desire to assert the field’s authority by associating it with objective knowledge about individual behavior. This balancing act risks turning the culturally-specific individual that social workers are mandated to empower into a more passive object of neurochemistry less amenable to behavioral interventions.

Friday March 31th 2017

1:15 pm in the African Studies Seminar Room (232 Bay State Rd. Room 505).

*Lunch is provided only to those who sign up by March 27th, 2017(before 5pm) by writing to Corky White at *





Posted in Department News

Graduate Lunch Series Presents: Dr. Johnson from CUNY

February 17th, 2017

Nutritional ecology of forest-living olive baboons & implications for human evolution

Caley Johnson, Ph.D. Candidate and Adjunct Lecturer in Anthropology at the City University of New York (CUNY).

As early hominins left forests and began forging life on the savanna, they fed in increasingly open habitats and their diets diversified, especially in the Pleistocene. Pressures from foraging in these new environments are linked with a suite of changes since our last common ancestor with apes. However, it is unclear how changes in nutrition may relate to these significant ecological, physiological, and behavioral innovations. By examining the environmental conditions that shape nutrient management in a wild omnivorous primate, this discussion will contextualize the evolution of nutrient management in humans, and the propensity of modern humans to overconsume energy, thereby increasing rates of cardiometabolic disease. This discussion will also address paleoecological reconstructions of African fossil hominins through presentation of paired nutritional and stable isotope data; and will address extant primate management, as baboons converge on human food resources and come into conflict with communities across Africa, by examining the interactive effects of baboon diet and movement ecology and conservation.

Friday February 24th 2017

1:15 pm in the African Studies Seminar Room (232 Bay State Rd. Room 505).

Lunch is provided only to those who sign up by February 20th, 2017 by writing to Corky White at *



Posted in Department News

What do Widows Really Want?

February 9th, 2017

“What do Widows Really Want?”

Lecture by Professor Joanna Davidson

Assistant Professor, author of Sacred Rice: An Ethnography of Identity, Environment, and Development in Rural West Africa.

When: Friday February 17th 2017 at 1:15 pm

Where: African Studies Seminar Room (232 Bay State Rd. Room 505)
*Lunch is provided only to those who sign up by February 14th, 2017 by writing to Corky White at *

Anthropological attention to widows has often provided a corrective to male biases in kinship studies by focusing on the widows “themselves and the quality of their lives” (Potash, ed. 1986. Widows in African Societies). But what if these widows do not consider themselves to be members of this category? This presentation explores “the problem of widows” in a place – rural Guinea-Bissau – where they are many (up to 35% of the households) but they are neither named nor recognized as a social category. I consider how an engagement with widows as women who refuse to be problematized as a category might challenge conventional anthropological approaches to gender and to the ethnographic enterprise more broadly.


Posted in Department News

Reframing Hospitality: A Leap from Law to Ethics

February 6th, 2017

Reframing Hospitality: A Leap from Law to Ethics

 Mona Siddiqui, OBE, University of Edinburgh Divinity School

Thursday, February 16

4:00 PM

121 Bay State Rd.

Islamic ethics exists within the framework of ‘commanding right and forbidding wrong’. This lecture will explore the limits of the law when expanding the virtues of hospitality as a theological and sociological paradigm.

This event is co-sponsored with the School of Theology

Posted in Department News