This year has been one of continued self-reflection in the department, with a formal self-study in the fall, and an External Review early in the spring semester. What was amazing about the self-study was the realization of how much the department had changed since the prior review in 2013. Over half of the faculty had left, while many new faculty had arrived. The External Review provided us with a very positive assessment and some ideas for improvements, which we will continue to work on with the College.
Letter from the Chair
Among the current changes are four (!) retirements of our most senior and eminent faculty (Professors Royce, Seivert, Seizer, and Shahrani). They are all featured here in this newsletter, and while we wish them well in their future endeavors, the department is impoverished by the loss of such distinguished faculty. We also were deeply saddened by the deaths of former longtime Anthropology faculty members Geoff Conrad, Ray DeMallie, and Doug Parks in 2021, and former undergraduate student Ronald Richards.
Balancing these losses are new hires and the celebration of Michael Wasserman, who was awarded promotion and tenure this year. A new zooarchaeologist, Ryan Kennedy (and IU alum!) will join our faculty. Ryan will also serve as the Director of the William R Adams Zooarchaeology Laboratory, which houses an impressive comparative collection for faunal analyses. We will also welcome Carlton Shield Chief Gover as a new tenure track faculty member in archaeology, who will also be a Curator of Public Archaeology at the IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (IUMAA). Both will add expertise to the department’s archaeology faculty and strengthen the relationship with the newly re-imagined IUMAA. We will feature our new faculty in the next newsletter.
This spring brought a semblance of normalcy as the COVID rates abated (after a strong surge at the beginning of the semester) and the County and University mask mandate was lifted. Classes had returned to full capacity in the fall and most were in person. In the department we have transitioned back to mostly in person events, and we held our first graduation and awards ceremony in person since 2019! We are looking forward to a full slate of in person talks and activities next year. Faculty and student research projects are restarting, with campus restrictions on international travel lifted. We were able to offer student research awards for domestic and international work.
We also welcomed our first cohort of six Food Studies M.A. students! We were thrilled to welcome them to campus and Brian Gilley served as the first Food Studies Coordinator. Originally designed as a joint degree with Geography, the degree is now fully housed and administered by the Anthropology department, and builds on the broad expertise among the faculty.
As you may know, the department publishes the quarterly journal Anthropological Linguistics, and we are delighted to announce the new editor, Tony Webster, here in this newsletter.
Our important DEI work continued this past year with numerous lectures, including those by alumni Profs. Gillian Richards-Greaves and Carlina de la Cova), and de-colonizing syllabi workshops. Professor Marvin Sterling adeptly led the DEI committee this year, and we continue to work to infuse all of our departmental work with our DEI goals.
Until next time, all best wishes,
Professor and Chair, Anthropology