Doctoral dissertations are an excellent indicator of the health of a discipline. They are a weather vane pointing toward where the discipline is heading. They represent a huge chunk of work by the researcher and his/her mentors as well as generous contributions from people in the field site(s). With luck, they are a crucial basis for a newly minted PhD to getting a job to which all the years of training and research will contribute. Dissertations are very important documents, and they deserve more visibility.
Anthropology graduate student Chelsea Strayer finds that drumming encourages relaxation response. Her story was featured in the spring of 2010 on the Boston University College of Arts and Sciences website.
“People often look at alternative medicine as quackery,” says Chelsea Strayer (GRS’12), a doctoral candidate in anthropology. “They think it’s all in the patient’s head and that nothing is actually happening that will benefit the patient.”
Strayer disagrees. She has worked with the Asante people of Ghana for the past seven years and has found evidence that their healing rituals lower stress levels, allowing the body to become more relaxed.