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This year's Kassen Lecture featured Cheryl Mattingly
Each year the Department of Anthropology presents the Kassen Lecture. Generously supported by Drs. Aileen and Julian Kassen, the lectureship invites a top female scholar in the social sciences to the department to present a lecture to the campus community. This year’s Kassen Lecture Series featured Dr. Cheryl Mattingly, Professor, Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California.
A reception was held after the lecture, encouraging further discussion amongst faculty, students, and guests. As an anthropologist, a major area of Cheryl’s work has been the study of stories in health care. Moral Creativity: Confession as Cultural Critique and Moral Laboratories: Creating Spaces of Hope are among her most recent book publications.
A second area of her work has been the study of how clients, families, and clinicians work together - or run into problems trying to work together - in the practice of rehabilitation. She has been particularly intrigued in how collaboration occurs across large cultural divides, that is when clients and therapists come from very different cultural worlds but must find some kind of common ground in order to work together toward goals.

Congratulations Dr. Katia Almeida

Dr. Katia Almeida has been an integral part of our adjunct faculty for 10 years. She has created and taught undergraduate and graduate level courses within the fields of cultural anthropology, globalization and socio-economic development, cultures of Latin America and Brazil, and community health. She has been nominated on multiple occasions for excellence in undergraduate mentoring and teaching.

Dr. Almeida is originally from Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) where she earned her BA in Social Sciences, MA in History, and PhD in Anthropology. Her doctoral dissertation centered on the Shipibo material culture and ethno-esthetics, in connection to gender, religion, and socio-economic transformations experienced by this indigenous population of the Peruvian Amazon.

Dr. Almeida has also collaborated in a comparative and interdisciplinary study on the impact of new communicational technologies on contemporary youth cultures. Her current research interest is centered on the effects of globalization and electronic technologies on higher education.


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Welcome Dr. Lihong Shi

The department is pleased to welcome new faculty member Dr. Lihong Shi. Her research focuses on gender and family relations, reproduction, and medical anthropology, in particular, reproductive choice under China’s birth-control policy and demographic consequences of the policy. She teaches courses on medical anthropology, fertility and population issues of China and East Asia. Growing up in China in the late 1970's and the early 1980's when the one-child policy was initiated, Dr. Shi witnessed how a massive family-planning program affected the Chinese family. But she never thought that her career would be closely associated with this policy.

She became interested in the transformations the policy had brought to the Chinese family in 2002 when she visited a village in Northeast China to conduct field research for her master’s thesis in Women’s Studies. Like many people from urban China, she believed that girls in rural areas did not receive strong parental support for education due to the long-standing tradition of son preference. As a young feminist, she wanted to study gender inequality in education in rural China. However, Dr. Shi was surprised to find that a large number of families in the village had only one daughter. Without a male sibling to compete with them for limited family resources, the girls enjoyed strong support from their parents. She was more surprised to know that those families willingly chose to have only one daughter although the modified one-child policy allowed them to have a second child. When Dr. Shi started her doctoral study in anthropology, she decided to return to the village to find out the family transformations underlying this drastic reproductive choice.

Dr. Shi was fortunate to have the opportunity to live in a community whose members shared with her their stories, their aspirations and frustrations, and joys and struggles. A father expressed to her his guilt toward his elder daughter who had to give up the opportunity to go to college because the family could not afford to support two daughters through college. A mother shared her struggle with the decision whether to abort a female fetus. Their personal stories revealed significant changes in childrearing, marital relations, and intergenerational exchange in rural China.

In her future research, Dr. Shi will continue to explore the impact of China’s birth-control policy. As the policy has been implemented for over three decades, China is facing emerging demographic, sociocultural, and political consequences, the growing pains of the policy. She is interested in the personal experiences under the most massive family-planning program in modern human history.



The department is now a Member of the National Anthropology Honor Society of Lambda Alpha

The Department of Anthropology is now the Ohio Theta Chapter of Lambda Alpha. Lambda Alpha is the international honors society for students of anthropology. The society provides funding for approved student activities such as travel and professional conferences and seminars. The national chapter also publishes Lambda Alpha Journals, which appear annually and are internationally distributed. The journal is committed to reserving 50% of its content for student work. Dr. Vanessa Hildebrand is the faculty sponsor and adviser for the group. Christie Ellis and Aaron Sepulveda are the co-presidents. For more information about membership requirements and how to become a charter member visit the website.



"I would like to thank Christie Ellis and Aaron Sepulveda for their hard work in organizing and assisting with this new opportunity for the entire department."

-Dr. Hildebrand




Dr. Atwood Gaines
Dr. Gaines has two recent publications in volume 37 of Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry. The first publication is "Honoring the Life and Work of René C. Fox." The second publication, co-authored with Brandy L. Schillace, is "Meaning and Medicine in a New Key." In Dr. Gaines Millennial Medical Anthropology e-book/paperback series, three additional books have been submitted and are in review. He also has two chapters published in volume three, fourth edition, of the Encyclopedia of Bioethics, edited by Bruce Jennings, "Race and Racism (revision of 2004)" and "Mental Illness II: Cultural Perspectives (Revision of 2004)."

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Dr. Melvyn Goldstein

Dr. Goldstein's A History of Modern Tibet, Volume 3, 1955-1957: Storm Clouds Descend has just been published by the University of California Press. In this new volume, Goldstein draws on never-before-seen Chinese government documents, published and unpublished memoirs and diaries, and invaluable in-depth interviews with important Chinese and Tibetan participants - including the Dalai Lama - to offer a new level of insight into the events and principal players of the time. Goldstein corrects factual errors and misleading stereotypes in the history and uncovers information on the period to reveal a nuanced portrait of Sino-Tibetan relations that goes far beyond anything previously imagined. Brantly Womack, the Miller Center's C.K. Yen Chair and Professor of Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia, quoted "This volume continues Goldstein's foundational contribution to understanding the history of modern Tibet. On a topic contested by contradictory memories, interests, and politics, Goldstein provides a unique breadth of documents and interviews as well as his own narrative. With this book in hand, all serious future research will have to begin with a much broader and more complex reality than hitherto has been possible."

Dr. Goldstein has also published several articles and chapters over the past year. In H. Kreutzman's edition of Pastoral Practices in High Asia, Advances in Asian Human-Environmental Research, Dr. Goldstein published a chapter titled "Change and Continuity in a Nomadic Pastoralism Community in the Tibet Autonomous Region, 1959-2009." He also co-authored two chapters and an article with Geoff Childs and Puchung Wangdui. The first chapter, "Balancing People, Policies, and Resources in Rural Tibet," can be found in Eduardo S. Brondizo and Emilio F. Moran's edition of Human-Environment Interactions: Current and Future Directions. The second chapter, "What to do with unmarried daughters? Modern solutions to a traditional dilemma in a polyandrous Tibetan society," can be found in Caroline Brettell and Carolyn Sargent's edition of Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective. The article, "Externally-resident daughters, social capital, and support for the elderly in rural Tibet," can be found in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology.

Dr. Jill Korbin

Emeritus Faculty News


Dr. Charlotte Ikels


Dr. Charlotte Ikels published a review article titled "The Anthropology of Organ Transplantation" in the October 2013 issue of the Annual Review of Anthropology.

Dr. Korbin is co-editor of the recently published Handbook of Child Well-Being: Theories, Methods and Policies in Global Perspective, a five-volume collection that supplies readers with a thorough overview of the complexities and implications regarding the scientific and practical pursuit of children’s well-being. Dr. Anderson-Fye and 2002 alumni, James Spilsbury, are among the chapter authors.



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Dr. Alanna Cooper

Dr. Cooper is a new Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology. She moved to Cleveland with her family from Cambridge, Massachusetts this past summer to direct the Jewish Studies Division of The Laura and Alvin Siegal Lifelong Learning Program at Case Western Reserve University. She is a cultural anthropologist whose work focuses on Jewish experiences in Muslim Lands, on diaspora, identity, and religious authority. Her first book, Bukharan Jews and the Dynamic of Global Judaism was published with Indiana University Press earlier this year. This spring she will be teaching "Memoirs of Jews from Muslim Lands," a mini-course offered at Siegal Lifelong Learning Program.

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Dr. Scott Simpson

"Searching for our earliest ancestors: Continuing paleontological fieldwork at Gona, Ethiopia"

The 2013 Gona Project field season in the Afar region of Ethiopia was successful on many fronts.  Continued survey and excavation in the 4.3-4.6 million-year-old Ardipithecus ramidus-bearing deposits revealed many new fossil specimens.


The primary goal of this past field season was to further clarify the ecological context of our ancient hominin ancestors by carefully collecting animal and plant fossils from a well-defined stratigraphic interval. While the Afar region is currently an arid and hot desert, the areas explored were once a shallow lake that through infilling became a swamp that attracted numerous monkeys, pigs, antelopes, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, as well as a diversity of other mammals, including Ardipithecus ramidus.

Additional days were spent surveying the 5.4 million-year-old deposits in an area known as Kobo’o and the 1.2-1.6 Ma Homo erectus-bearing deposits in the Busidima Formation.  Currently, an international team of specialists is continuing their analyses of the diverse fauna, including the naming of a new species of ancient horse (Eurygnathohippus woldegabrieli), named in honor of CWRU graduate Dr. Giday Woldegabriel (PhD Geology, 1987). 


Ariel Cascio

Ariel just returned from a year of dissertation research on autism spectrum conditions in Italy and is currently teaching Anthropology of Adolescence this fall semester.



Smaranda Ene

In July Smaranda published "Faces of fatigue: Ethical considerations on the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome" in a special issue of the American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB) Neuroscience. The paper was based on a presentation she delivered at The International NeuroEthics "Brain Matters 3: Values at the Crossroads of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Psychology" Conference held in October 2012 at the Cleveland Clinic.


Her publication received commentary by Stefan Matthijs van Geelen in "Redefining Self-Management as "Management of the Self": A New Approach to Person-centered Care in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" in the same issue of AJOB.


Michelle Nebergall

Michelle presented a paper about her research methodology at the 4th Annual Medical Anthropology Young Scholars (MAYS) meeting held in Tarragona, Spain in June. She co-authored "Behavioral risk assessment in HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) clinical trials: A qualitative study exploring HVTN staff perspectives," published in Vaccine. She also co-authored a written comment submitted to the Director General, Department of Basic Education, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa titled "Comment on Regulations Relating to Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure in Order to Control the Potential Spread of Tuberculosis and Other Airborne Diseases in Schools."

Raakhee Patel

With the Eva L. Pancoast Fellowship, Raakhee conducted field-site building in India this past summer for six weeks. As she explored six cities in the northern part of India and three cities in the southern half of India, she received an overwhelmingly positive response from administrators, physicians, and local medical anthropologists regarding her desire to study the doctor-patient relationship. She also observed doctor-patient interactions and recorded interviews of allopathic and Ayurvedic doctors at the government, corporate, and private practice levels, all of which she plans to utilize in refining her research question and in constructing her proposal.

Sarah Rubin

Sarah Rubin was a finalist for the 2013 SAGES Excellence in Writing Instruction Award. This award is given annually to an instructor in the SAGES program who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to and success in teaching academic writing to CWRU undergraduates.

Allison Schlosser

Allison was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant to conduct dissertation fieldwork at a residential addiction treatment program in Akron, Ohio beginning January 2014. Her research will explore how clients engage in biopolitcal citizenship (or not) in relation to clinically hybrid addiction treatment.



Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA) / European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASE) Joint Conference

June 12-14, 2013 in Tarragona, Spain


"Is Asperger's Syndrome a Transient Mental Illness? Encountering the DSM-5"


"Youth Health and Wellbeing in a South African Township"


"Engaging with emotions: the methodological and cultural adaptation of quantitative diagnostic tools for perinatal depression"





Graduate Discourse (GD) continues CWRU’s tradition of being a body of unity and support for anthropology graduate students. This fall, GD events include discussion groups, works-in-progress presentations, and social events. At the beginning of the fall semester, elections were held to bring in new leadership and welcome new incoming graduate students. Positions for 2013 are: Raakhee Patel, Administrative/Advocacy Chair; Eilish Tucker, Professional Development Chair; Rebekah Kramer, Social Chair & Librarian; Ariel Cascio, Journal Chair; Julia Balacko, Senator.


National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates

The National Science Foundation (NSF) provides a wide variety of research and education funding opportunities for students. This past summer two undergraduate anthropology majors, Shannon Groll and Eun Jin Sun, received NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) grants. These grants were supplements of Dr. Anderson-Fye’s NSF Ethnography of Global Fat Stigma grant. Shannon Groll spent two months conducting research on body image, obesity, and the tourism industry in Mazatlan, Mexico while Eun Jin Sun spent two months working in Korea with Korean-American students regarding body image and fat stigma.



Laura Gabster

In August 2012, Laura Gabster began working for Epic, an electronic medical record company located in Madison, Wisconsin. She has been working with a hospital in South Carolina helping customize and implement Epic software to accommodate the needs of both physicians and patients. She is planning to return to graduate school to train as a nurse practitioner.

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Steve Lekson

Stephen Lekson, (CWRU, 1972), is Curator of Archaeology and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  His last book A History of the Ancient Southwest was published by School for Advanced Research (SAR) Press in 2009. In 2010 it was the recipient of both the New Mexico Book of the Year in the Anthropology/Archaeology/Science  category and the Southwest Books of the Year. It was intended to be the first of a trilogy and chapters from the second book, Southwest in the World (University of Utah Press), can be found on his website.


His current field research focuses on the 11th century Mimbres culture of southwestern New Mexico, an area he first visited as a student on a CWRU archaeology field school in 1971.


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Micah Parzen

Micah Parzen, PhD (CWRU, 2001), was recently featured in the Union Tribune, San Diego's daily paper. The article focused on a new project underway at the San Diego Museum of Man (SDMoM), of which Micah is the chief executive officer, entitled "Border Crossing." This exciting new exhibit will be an interactive experience where participants are guided through Balboa Park at night, coming face to face with encounters similar to issues faced by immigrants crossing the borders. "Our goal is to change the conversation about undocumented immigration in our community," Parzen said "...we want to really infuse the conversation with a much more humanistic component."

Jennifer Shaw

Jennifer Shaw, PhD (CWRU, 2013) successfully defended her dissertation "Navigating at a Double Crossroads: The Role of Subsistence in the Subjective Wellbeing of Dena'ina Athabascan Youth in Alaska" this past March. In October, she became a Senior Researcher at Southcentral Foundation (SCF), a tribally-owned and operated healthcare system providing comprehensive care to 60,000 Alaska Native and American Indian people in Anchorage, Alaska and 55 rural villages across 104,000 square miles. At SCF, where she has worked for three years, she co-leads a team of researchers and data analysts who support continual improvement of behavioral health services through grant-funded research and program evaluation. Her current projects include studies on culturally-responsive youth suicide prevention, patient-centered depression care decision -making, trauma-informed screening and intervention for Alaska Native children affected by domestic violence, and ethics of pharmacogenetic testing and biospecimin banking in Alaska Native communities.

James Spilsbury

James Spilsbury, PhD (CWRU, 2002) is principal investigator of a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) funded grant that will investigate how differences in neighborhood ecology influence child maltreatment in the city of Cleveland. Along with co-investigators Jill Korbin, Claudia Coulton, and David Crampton the 4-year, $2.3 million study will utilize a mixed-methods approach, analyzing both (1) in-depth qualitative data collected from neighborhood residents, agency workers, and other neighborhood experts; and (2) over 20 years of a wide range of quantitative administrative data, to assess how changes in child maltreatment rates are affected by changes in neighborhood conditions, availability of social services, and the reporting/substantiation process.

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Nancy White

Nancy White, PhD (CWRU, 1982), anthropology professor at the University of South Florida, is organizing the 70th annual meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference in Tampa, Florida this year. The conference will run from November 6 through 9, with over 500 archaeologists from the region spending three days giving presentations of their work and going on field trips to observe Florida archaeology and history.


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