Department Newsletter, March 2019

Message from the Chair
Department Spotlights
Department Announcements
Alumni Updates/Class Notes
Donor Recognition

Message from the Chair

Anthropology and human paleobiology students carve anthropologically-themed pumpkins for our department’s 12th annual Pumpkinfest.
Anthropology and human paleobiology students carve anthropologically-themed pumpkins for our department’s 12th annual Pumpkinfest.

I am delighted to share another installment of the GW Anthropology newsletter. As you will read in this issue, our community is thriving and growing. I am very pleased to announce that Dr. W. Andrew Barr will be joining our department as an assistant professor of anthropology starting in fall 2019. Dr. Barr is a paleoanthropologist interested in the environmental context of early human evolution. He directs a research program investigating questions concerning the impact of changing terrestrial environments on the origin of genus Homo, on the evolution of material culture and on early human origins. He is conducting field projects in Laikipia and Koobi Fora in Kenya, as well as the Afar Region of Ethiopia. Welcome Andrew!

I’d also like to highlight a few recent student-led initiatives that have significantly contributed to department life. AnthroTalks is an informal gathering of students from across the department who share their experiences of becoming and being anthropologists. It’s an annual event that helps to form connections among students who specialize in disparate areas within the discipline. Anthropocinema invites visual anthropologists from outside GW to screen and discuss their work. And the Anthropology Symposium is a scholarly conference convened by the graduate students of the department, revolving around a different theme each year.

We invite you to stay connected with us by following the department’s various social media feeds for announcements about our events, research activities and projects. GW Anthropology and the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology (CASHP) are on Facebook and Twitter. Also, please let us know about your personal and professional milestones. And visit us when you’re in town. We always enjoy hearing from you. You are part of our GW Anthropology tribe!

Chet C. Sherwood

Professor and Chair of Anthropology

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 Department Spotlights

Edward C. Green Fellows Will Contribute to Social and Political Change


Edward C. Green, BA ’67, dedicated his career as an applied and medical anthropologist to improving health outcomes in under-served populations. (Photo courtesy of Edward Green.)


Edward C. Green, BA ’67



The Department of Anthropology’s newly established Edward C. Green Postdoctoral Fellowship Fund will support postdoctoral fellows who plan to apply their anthropological training outside of academia to shape policy. Edward C. Green, BA ’67, received his undergraduate degree in anthropology from GW. Green and the fellowship were profiled in the CCAS Spotlight newsmagazine.

Edward C. Green, BA ’67, dedicated his career as an applied and medical anthropologist to improving health outcomes in under-served populations. (Photo courtesy of Edward Green.)

A Cultural Leap at the Dawn of Humanity


Acheulean tools on the left, Middle Stone Age tools on the right (Photo credit: Human Origins Program, Smithsonian)


Acheulean tools on the left, Middle Stone Age tools on the right.



Professor Alison Brooks and colleagues from Smithsonian’s Human Origins Program’s report new finds from Kenya suggesting that humans used long-distance trade networks, sophisticated tools, and symbolic pigments right from the dawn of our species. Their findings were featured in The Atlantic magazine.

Great Ape Weaning Study Could Be ‘Transformative’


GW researchers are involved in a new collaborative study that aims to characterize variability in weaning in African great apes. (Photo credit: Martha M. Robbins)


African great apes (Photo credit: Martha M. Robbins)



Associate Professor Shannon McFarlin will lead a new collaborative study that aims to characterize and understand variability in weaning within and between carefully studied wild populations of African great apes. Her work was featured in GWToday.

GW researchers are involved in a new collaborative study that aims to characterize variability in weaning in African great apes. 

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Department Announcements

Faculty Kudos

Over the past year, anthropology faculty received a significant number of grant awards to support their innovative research across the disciplines. Attiya Ahmad was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study Halal tourism in the Middle East. David Braun's new NSF grant will fund examination of hominin footprints, fossils and their context in the early Pleistocene of Koobi Fora, Kenya. And Shannon McFarlin's NSF-funded project will develop a comprehensive framework for deciphering hard tissue evidence of weaning variation in wild great apes.

Attiya Ahmad’s book Everyday Conversions won a MESA Fatima Mernissi award and an AMEWS Association for Middle East Women’s Studies book award.

Chet Sherwood received the 2018 Distinguished Researcher Award from GW’s Office of the Vice President for Research.

Roy Richard Grinker published an op-ed in The New York Times arguing that being transgender should no longer be considered a mental disorder. His book on stigma and mental illness is forthcoming in late 2019 with Basic Books.

Sarah Wagner and colleague Michael Dolski published an article in The Washington Post about the recent repatriation of the remains of Korean War dead.

Joel Kuipers and Joshua Bel co-edited a special issue of Anthropological Quarterly, “Unseen Connections: The Materiality of Cellphones.

Roy Richard Grinker and Stephen Lubkemann published their edited volume, Companion to the Anthropology of Africa (Wiley-Blackwell), with chapters by 20 prominent experts in the anthropology of sub-Saharan Africa.

Current Students

Anthropology Graduate Student Kudos:

Chloe Ahmann is the first graduate of the anthropology PhD program, with a dissertation titled “Cumulative Effects: Reckoning Risk on Baltimore’s Toxic Periphery.” Chloe is currently a collegiate assistant professor and Harper Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago.

Matthew DeMaio won an American Ethnological Society graduate student research grant to support preliminary field research in Lebanon. Matt’s research focuses on Palestinian refugees who have been displaced from Syria to Lebanon as a result of the war.

Scott Ross was awarded grants from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council and the Wenner-Gren Foundation to conduct dissertation fieldwork on a radio early warning network in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Robert Hildebrandt, whose research interests concern the intersection of gender and labor among Palestinian citizens of Israel, is spending the year studying Arabic in Amman, Jordan, with the support of a Center for Arabic Study Abroad fellowship.

Emma Backe published an article titled “A Crisis of Care: The Politics and Therapeutics of a Rape Crisis Hotline” in Medical Anthropological Quarterly.

Human Paleobiology Graduate Student Kudos:

Eve Boyle was recognized for her leadership and dedication to outreach during GW’s fourth annual STEM Symposium in October 2018. Eve led the effort to develop GW’s first STEM Symposium in 2015, which brought together undergraduate women, leading faculty and professionals in STEM fields in a series of skills- and network-building activities. Eve also received the 2019 Philip J. Amsterdam Award Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for her time as a TA.

Leanne Chambers was awarded a Shirley H. and Robert L. Richards Endowment Scholarship to support her graduate studies at GW. Leanne is interested in the behavioral ecology of apes.

Kathryn McGrath earned a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions fellowship to support postdoctoral research at the Université de Bordeaux in France. Kate’s dissertation research used 3D imaging techniques to investigate the etiology of stress-related defects that form in the tooth enamel of great apes during development.

Jonathan Reeves was awarded a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Tubingen University in association with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Jon’s dissertation research focuses on reconstructing the movement ecology of ancient communities from stone artifact distributions in the archaeological record.

Courtney Sexton was awarded a Shirley H. and Robert L. Richards Endowment Scholarship, and a Columbian Women Scholarship, to support her graduate studies at GW. Courtney is interested in human-canine relationships and coevolution, including nonverbal mechanisms of communication and canine cognition.

Department Events

On April 19, 2019, the GW Anthropology Department, in collaboration with its Hart Lecture Series, will host our annual symposium titled “Living Inbetween: Belongings and Exclusions.” The symposium will feature a keynote lecture by João Biehl, the Susan Dod Brown Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University. Dr. Biehl is the author of Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment and The Will to Live: AIDS Therapies and the Politics of Survival and is the co-director of Princeton’s Program in Global Health and Health Policy. We hope to see you there!

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Alumni Updates/Class Notes

Brian Appleton, BA ’72, has authored nine books; two on Iran. The latest one is a children's book for girls on the Greek Goddesses with 67 illustrations by the author.

Blair Bainbridge, BA ’12, is a third-year PhD student at University of Chicago, doing a joint degree in anthropology and conceptual & historical studies of science.

Lynne Barr Gleason, BA ’72, is currently of counsel at Goodwin Procter, based in Boston, Mass. She received her JD degree from the National Law Center in 1975; she practices financial services law. She is a governor of the American Bar Association.

Valorie Beer, BA ’79, followed her heart and entered a Zen Buddhist monastery, living there for a dozen years after working in human resources for two decades and raising a daughter. She now travels around the country teaching at Buddhist and secular organizations.

Marie Frohlich, BA ’86, is teaching and practicing as a certified holistic health coach and herbalist with Coaching Center of Vermont doing workplace wellness. She is married to physical anthropologist Bruno Frohlich, has twin children and one grandchild. Blessed and Blissed.

Joseph Giuliano, MA ’81, never worked as an anthropologist as academia was not his bailiwick. He did however successfully use the skills learned in mapping at an engineering firm at the forefront of GIS. Joseph ended his career as an executive and is retired in South Florida. Happy.

Justin Greco, BS ’12, graduated from medical school at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2014. He is now thriving in his internship as a general surgery resident.

Ian Kerrigan, MA ’05, serves at the senior vice president, exhibitions at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City.

Lauren Law, BA ’17, recently completed her MSC in medical anthropology and sociology from the University of Amsterdam where she completed a thesis discussing  the narratives of identity, bodily actions and emotions in Dutch women who are long term cancer survivors.

John Leupold, BA ’76, leads small groups cultural tours with his business Champaca Journeys. These trips explore culture, history, nature and include many interactions with his local friends and contacts in Bhutan, Laos, Cambodia, Ethiopia and Peru.

Hannah Lipman, BA ’11, works in international development with a focus on developing proposals for projects funded by USAID in East and Southern Africa.

Sarah Mezzino, BA ’04, is the curator of decorative arts & design at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. She is currently working with Dr. John Clark, PhD ’05, to develop an exhibit about his botanical discoveries in South America and the Caribbean.

Timothy Quinn, BA ’12, is currently a PhD student in anthropology at Rice University. His research is on prophylactic HIV drugs in Bangkok, Thailand, focusing on the relationship between pharmaceutical access campaigns and sexual rights activism in the region.

Marie Reely-Holmes, BA ’73, says that anthropology formed the basis for a humanitarian outlook on life leading eventually to her career as director of health care services. She has very fond memories of GW.

Rachel Rhodes, BA ’10, joined the USAID Africa Bureau in 2015 where she works on health programming and policy across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Laura Rouse, BS ’16, went on to complete her master's at GW in higher education administration (’18) after finishing her undergraduate studies. She now works as a success coach at Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus, mentoring college students.

Douglas Smit, BA ’08, received his PhD in anthropology from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 2018. He is currently a senior fellow in anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and a consulting scholar at the Penn Museum.

Alicia Stewart, BA ’04, has been director of financial aid at Weill Cornell Medicine since 2017, and also received her MBA from Syracuse University in 2018.

Andrew Zipkin, PhD ’15, is currently a postdoctoral research associate at Arizona State University. His research focuses on using strontium isotope provenance to reconstruct hunter-gatherer social networks in southern Africa.

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Donor Recognition


The Department of Anthropology would like to gratefully acknowledge the following generous donors who made a gift to the department from January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018. 

+ Faculty/Staff | # Parent | ~ Student | * Friend

The Robert Lemelson Foundation

Brian H. Appleton, BA ’74

Luis Matthew Arango, BA ’10

Dr. Alison Spence Brooks +

Lauren N. Buscato, BS ’17

Margaret E. Clark, BA ’74

Patricia A. Evans, BA ’69

Deirdre V. Fowler, BA ’71

Jardine C. Gallucci, BA ’65

David J. Green, Ph.D., PhD ’10

Stephanie T. Haboush Plunkett #

Laura J. Hellwig, BA ’16

Sarah J. Koclar, BA ’15

Lynne G. Lewis, BA ’68, MA ’78 

Marilyn R. London, BA ’77

Dr. Kathleen E. Maley, BA ’74

Dr. Charles L. McClenon, BA ’72

Sara L. Miran, BS ’09

Sophia D. Morong ~

Diogo M. Oliveira, BA ’17, MA ’18  

Richard A. Plunkett #

Zara Maryam Schiavo-Campo, BA ’02

Carol B. Schwalbe, MA ’76

Dr. Gary Duane Shaffer, BA ’77

Dr. Jai Eileen Swyter, MA ’75

Anna Nielsen Taylor, MA ’98

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