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Prof. Smith-Oka Launches New Book "Shaping the Motherhood of Indigenous Mexico"

Author: Anthropology Dept.

Vania Smith-Oka


Mainstream Mexican views of indigenous women center on them as problematic mothers, and development programs have included the goal of helping these women become "good mothers." Economic incentives and conditional cash transfers are the vehicles for achieving this goal. With ethnographic immediacy, Shaping the Motherhood of Indigenous Mexico examines the dynamics among the various players--indigenous mothers, clinicians, and representatives of development programs. The women's voices lead the reader to understand the structures of dependency that paradoxically bind indigenous women within a program that calls for their empowerment.…

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Student Intern Explores Human History

Author: Anthropology Dept.

Rebecca Mayus, Summer 2013 Internship at the Smithsonian Institution’s Arctic Studies Center

This summer I had the opportunity to work as an intern with Dr. William Fitzhugh, an archaeologist and director of the Smithsonian


Institution’s Arctic Studies Center. I accompanied Dr. Fitzhugh on his field season to the Lower North Shore of Quebec, where we joined a group of divers from the University of Montreal and conducted land and underwater excavations at Hare Harbor, a late 16th

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Smithsonian Intern Researches 11,000 Yr. Old Site

Author: Anthropology Dept.

Debra Smetana, Summer 2013 Internship


Smithsonian Museum of Natural History               

This summer, I worked at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum’s Archaeobiology Laboratory, focusing on the faunal analysis of a collection of bones excavated from the Epipaleolithic roundhouse settlement of Hallan Çemi, an 11,000-year-old site in the Zagros Mountains of southeastern Turkey.  Our goal in studying this collection of animal bones was to determine whether or not goats, sheep, pigs, and bovines had been domesticated yet in this region of the Fertile Crescent.  The markers of domestication- from smaller stature to specific gender and age profiles of butchered animals- can all be seen through careful study of bones.  Having barely any background in faunal analysis, this internship was an intensive hands-on learning experience for me.  The first day I came into the lab, my boss, Melinda Zeder, stationed me in front of a table covered with fragmented sheep and goat bones and told me to separate them into element.  After much trial and error, I went from this first day of faunal analysis to, ten weeks later, opening up a never-before touched bag of bones from the site and identifying and recording the scraps of bone it contained, with everything from bear and elk to fox and turtle represented. …

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Meet Mary, B.A. '07

Author: Renée LaReau


Mary Boyer is a policy officer for African Risk Capacity, an insurance program led by the African Union that provides financial relief to African countries following drought.

The program, which allows African countries to pool their financial risk, uses satellite technology to monitor weather conditions across the continent. If data points to high risk of impending drought conditions, software triggers financial compensation of up to $30 million that can be used by governments for food vouchers, food-for-work programs, and monitoring of water sources.…

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Classics Professor David Hernández Awarded Three Fellowships

Author: Mark Shuman

University of Notre Dame Assistant Professor David Hernández recently received a trio of research awards: a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), a Career Enhancement Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and a fellowship from Harvard’s Loeb Classical Library Foundation. “I am honored and thrilled to receive this tremendous help for my research,” says Hernández, who is a faculty member in both the Department of Classics and the Department of Anthropology.

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Catherine Reidy named a Clarendon Scholar



Catherine Reidy, a University of Notre Dame senior majoring in psychology with a minor in anthropology, has been awarded a Clarendon Scholarship for graduate study at the University of Oxford.

Reidy, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, will use the scholarship to study for her master’s degree in African Studies starting in October.

Since her freshman year at Notre Dame, Reidy has focused her academic work on international research. In the spring of her first year, she was awarded a Kellogg Institute for International Studies internship in India. She was accepted into the Kellogg International Scholars Program, which allowed her to begin undergraduate research as a sophomore.

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Alumni Reflections: Questioning Assumptions and Finding Relevance

Author: Ryan Lash ’10

I remember reading the description for the anthropology major at Notre Dame kind of like you remember meeting a good friend for the first time.

It was the summer before my freshman year, and in retrospect, I cannot recall the moment without a musical cue in the background heralding the significance of the moment. I can claim little credit for the great experiences I have had since, for it has without doubt been the support and encouragement of faculty members of Notre Dame’s Department of Anthropology that has made it possible.

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Recent Books From Our Faculty

Author: Department of Anthropology

I Did It to Save My Life: Love and Survival in Sierra Leone

I Did It to Save My Life: Love and Survival in Sierra Leone



Catherine E. Bolten

Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Peace Studies


I Did it To Save My Life provides fresh insight into how ordinary Sierra Leoneans survived the war that devastated their country for a decade. Individuals in the town of Makeni narrate survival, illuminating a social world based on love that transcends romance and binds people together across space and through time. In situating their wartime lives firmly in this world, they call into question the government’s narrative that Makeni residents collaborated with rebel forces. Instead, they argue that it was the government’s disloyalty to its people, rather than rebel invasion and occupation, which destroyed the town and forced uneasy co-existence between civilians and militants.…

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Video: Meet Anthropology Major Sarah McGough

Author: Arts and Letters

“I wanted to learn how to think and to challenge my beliefs and to learn about the world, and then learn how to engage that world when I got out of college—that’s what anthropology does,”" says Sarah McGough, a junior anthropology major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters and a student in the Glynn Family Honors Program.

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