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OneDuring the summer of 2015, I was given the opportunity to participate in the Ohio State University/Universitá de Pisa in Medieval Archaeology and Bioarchaeology at Badia Pozzeveri, Italy. Under the direction of Dr. Clark Larsen and Dr. Giuseppe Vercellotti from OSU and Dr. Gino Fornaciari from the Universitá de Pisa, we were able to continue and expand previous excavations conducted at the site. This included exposing human burials dated to the middle ages, the renaissance and modern times.

Since this was my first time participating in an archaeological field school, I was nervous that I would be at a disadvantage due to my lack of experience; however, I was put at ease when I learned that this was the first experience for good number of undergradute students as well. Not only did we work on the four areas in our site, but everyone in the field school participated in three different types of labs; osteology lab, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) lab, and material cultures lab.

Additionally, throughout the field school we also had numerous lectures by guest presenters. The first was given by Dr. Antonio Fornaciari and encapsulated the basic concepts of stratigraphy and the stratigraphy composition of an archaeological site during the medieval age. Later that week we heard from Dr. Sharon DeWitte on the Bioarchaeology of the Black Plague. She began the lecture by explaining her current research in East Smithfield, London and how cemeteries in East Smithfield provide an excellent example of a purposeful cemetery built just for Black Death victims. Then she continued by exploring the ongoing research on Pre and Post Black Death trends. This included going into the developing reasons as to why the Black Death was able to be so deadly in such a small amount of time and how contrary to popular thought, the Black Death killed discriminately by targeting older adults and frail people of all ages. Another interesting lecture was from a group of Italian anthropologists who run a 3D printing company. They explained the functionality of using 3D scanning and printers and the more in depth details that they are able to produce compared to a normal photo. The final couple lectures were by the directors, Dr. Larsen and Dr. Fornaciari, and expanded on the discovery and current research surrounding Çatalhöyük, the agricultural impact on human evolution, and the recent paleopathology work involved with the ‘Medici Project.’ The ‘Medici Project’ is a paleopathological project carried out by a team of experts, to study 49 tombs of some of the Medici family members (16th-18th centuries). This project uses a wide range of disciplines such as funerary archeology, paleonutrition, parasitology, immuno-histochemistry, molecular biology, and identification of ancient pathogens.

Overall, this has made my love for learning about the past to grow and I now have a greater respect for professional archaeologists, as well as a better understanding of their methodologies. I plan on applying for graduate school this fall and will be graduating from CofC in the spring of 2016. I will always be grateful for this opportunity, especially since I am unsure if I will ever get another experience similar to this one again. Lastly, I want to thank the Jon Morter Memorial Scholarship for supporting my work this summer and its continuing support that allows future archaeologists to be enriched by these types of experiences.Two

under: Student Spotlight

Dr. Christine Finnan’s Sabbatical in India

Posted by: tillilied | August 25, 2015 | No Comment |

TwoDuring the 2014-15 year, Dr. Christine Finnan (Departments of Sociology/Anthropology and Teacher Education) spent six months studying the Kalinga Institute for Social Sciences (KISS) in Bhubaneswar India. KISS is a residential school providing free education, room, board, medical care and vocational, artistic and athletic programs to 25,000 indigenous tribal children. This school served as a fascinating research site in which to study school organization and culture and the effects of attending a residential on the students and their families.  Dr. Finnan’s research was supported by the Fulbright Commission and the College of Charleston. She will be presenting her research at a departmental brown bag lunch on Wednesday March 16, 2016 at 12:00.

under: Miscellaneous

Alumni Spotlight: Kristina Poston (ANTH ’10)

Posted by: tillilied | August 6, 2015 | No Comment |

What have you been doing since you graduated?
Since graduating in 2010 I have worked with University of South Carolina at the Topper site, Texas A&M at the Debrah L. Friedkin Site and the Coates-Hines site as well as contract archaeology with Amec Foster Wheeler Environment and Engineering.

What is your current position?
I am now working as an Archaeologist at James Madison’s Montpelier home in Orange, Virginia.

What advice would you offer to new students at the College of Charleston who are thinking of declaring a major in Anthropology?                                        Poston, Kristina
Be open minded and be adaptable. It will open your world to many different ideas and opportunities if you give it a chance.

What advice would you offer to students graduating from the College of Charleston with a degree in Anthropology?
Again be open minded and be adaptable. CofC has given you the ground work but it is up to you to go out and make it useful.

What was your most memorable learning experience in Anthropology?
My internship with Colonial Dorchester. I really enjoyed getting involved with the public and teaching them about Archaeology.

What unexpected benefits have you derived from a degree in Anthropology?
To really appreciate the unique and different in all forms of life.

What class did you most enjoy while earning your degree at the College of Charleston?
It would be hard to pick just one. I would have to say that field school was my favorite. Getting to work on the Walled City project with the Charleston Museum was a phenomenal experience!

What class was the most applicable to your everyday life now that you’ve graduated? 
Historic preservation and Field school are really fundamentals that I return to on a daily basis.

What made you choose the College of Charleston over other schools?
I was really attracted to the way the Anthropology/Archaeology programs are set up. I thought it would give me a more well-rounded experience in Archaeology and I believe it really has.



under: Alumni Spotlight

Dr. Ade Ofunniyin is an Ifa practitioner, Cultural Anthropologist, and consultant. He was born in Charleston, South Carolina and lived in Harlem and the South Bronx, New York throughout his adolescent, teenage, and young adult life. He shares his story in hopes that it will inspire and encourage others to never give up on themselves and to be willing to travel the less traveled path. Dr. Ofunniyin was born with the gift of clairvoyance. His gift empowered him to see his life as it was unfolding. His visions were his guideposts. Sometimes the things that he saw for himself and others were not good or productive. He was forced to learn some of life’s very hard lessons at a young age. Drug addiction, alcoholism, juvenile detention, and finally prison at sixteen years old. Read DNA/Die Not Another and discover for yourself how Dr. Ofunniyin (Dr. O) advanced from a GED diploma to a PhD degree. His advice to anyone who might ask that question is, “If I could do it, you can do it also. But the successful transformation comes with a willingness to change your lifestyle. A willingness to let your experiences be stepping stones, leading to a life that is not without challenges; a life where you can see and know the wondrous workings and grace and mercy of Almighty God.”

To purchase Dr. Ofunniyin’s new book, check out amazon.com.



under: Faculty Spotlight

The first two weeks of the archaeology field school were spent working at the site of the Rose Plantation, which is a part of a 600 acre property called the Dill Property on James Island owned by the Charleston Museum.  We were working in an area where old maps showed structures that were probably part of this plantation.  We found remains of some structures and many artifacts that seem to suggest that we found some of it.

Weeks 3-6 were spent mostly at Hampton Plantation State Historic Site north of Charleston near McClellanville, SC.  The field school has worked on this site before but not in this location which was in a large field south of the main plantation house.  Our most productive excavation units were located at the southern end of this field, and a considerable distance from the plantation house. These excavations were overseen by David Jones, who coordinates the archaeological program for the State Park Service to include research archaeology and protection of archaeological resources.  He was assisted by Stacy Young, who is an archaeologist contracted in the past to excavate part of the old slave residential area at this plantation.

During this period students also rotated through two sites in downtown Charleston to get a feel for urban archaeology, which produces a very different set of challenges.  One site was at 86 Church Street, owned by the parents of archaeologist, Martha Middleton.  It ended up being a 4 1/2 foot deep single excavation unit with a lot going on in it.   The second site was the historic Manigault House, owned by and located across from the Charleston Museum.  Excavations were done both in the basement and under the porch.

Historic artifacts were found in all these locations, but lab analysis will be required to determine what it all means.  At Hampton Plantation not enough colonoware (pottery commonly made by African slaves, and possibly also Native Americans) was found to suggest that the structure(s) we think we uncovered were those of Africans.  There was also no window glass that is usually found in European-style structures.  The Seewee Indians were also residents in the area during the colonial period, and our Hampton site  may have something to do with them.  Lab analysis and, hopefully, more field school research there in two years will be necessary to sort this out.

Students read 21 professional articles on various phases of archaeology, learned to identify about 80 kinds of historic ceramics used for dating purposes, and did additional written work in addition to learning fieldwork skills.

For photos of the 2015 Archaeology Field School, please check out the CofC Sociology and Anthropology Facebook page.



under: Department Events

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Urban Studies Program held their annual Honors Reception on Tuesday, April 21 at the Alumni Hall, Randolph Hall.  Congratulations to the following students who were recognized at the event! Please see our Facebook post for photos.

School of Humanities and Social Sciences Scholars


Rebecca Daniels
Laura Mullett


Olivia Adams
Caitlin Bennett

Urban Studies:

Olivia Carmody
Deidre Carr

Departmental Honors


Olivia Adams
Caitlin Bennett

Outstanding Students


Shayna Bannister
Tessa Di Gennaro
Elizabeth Tuten


Zak Bartholomew
Grace Musser

Urban Studies:

Deidre Carr

Catherine Wood Parker Memorial Award
Polina Aleshina
Kathleen Holden

Jon Morter Memorial Award
Michael Chapman

Anthropology Fieldwork Award
Carolyn Howle

Alpha Kappa Delta Sociology Honor Society
Sarah Bald
Stephanie Brumit
Alarie Latham
Zachary Lipe
Shannon Morrison
Laura Mullett
Nina Rosenberg
Hannah Shoemaker
Amie Smith
Shannon Wischusen

Lambda Alpha Anthropology Honor Society
Alana Acuff
Holly Adington
Polina Aleshina
Caitlyn Bedenbaugh
Mariah Johnson
Emily Chicojay Moore
Mariel Dronson
Kelsey Fervier
Jordan Latham
Annika Liger
Mallory McGoff
Grace Musser
Catherine Rodda
Mary Stamato

under: Department Events

When Students Go to Prison

Posted by: Melissa Page | March 27, 2015 | No Comment |


It’s 7:30 a.m. on a Friday morning and students are mingling awkwardly outside the Education Center on St. Phillip Street. Dressed in baggy sweats and oversized shirts, the students engage in nervous chatter, waiting anxiously for the 7:45 departure time.

One student, rushing to class, is surprised to see her friend, in sweats, standing on the sidewalk with this group. “What are you doing here so early?” she asks.

The response: “I’m going to prison!”

In Professor Heath Hoffmann’s sociology classes, students have the opportunity each semester to tour Lieber Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison in Ridgeville, SC. The three hour tour is led by up to 8 incarcerated men who the South Carolina Department of Corrections calls the Operation Behind Bars (OBB) team. The OBB program is a modified version of the “scared straight” programs that gained prominence in the 1970s by exposing juvenile offenders to the harsh realities of prison. After being confronted by those who are incarcerated and seeing firsthand the drudgery of everyday life behind bars, the hope was that juveniles would be deterred from future antisocial behavior (subsequent research found these programs did not have the deterrent effect that was anticipated).

“What I didn’t expect was the interaction with the people that we met. They were very nice and it was very, very hard to believe that they committed a crime. They seemed like normal people that you would talk to every day. So, it was kind of hard for me to know that they have changed but most of them are never going to get out [of prison] and that they are or they do seem like good people now but they did such bad things before that they’re kind of screwed in that they can never get out of prison. But It really changed my perspective a lot because I just totally see them as normal people and, you know, they’re not really—they’re criminals—but it definitely was not what I was expecting at all.” ~ Emma Ayers, Senior Public Health Student  

Having done nothing wrong besides enrolling in Professor Hoffmann’s class, students embark on a scaled down version of the “scared straight” experience. After being processed through security, the OBB team takes on the authority normally enjoyed by correctional officers. Hoffmann’s students are required to form two parallel lines; students are required to hold hands; and, before the tour commences, students are required to conduct a “count” to insure that all students are accounted for (just as those who are incarcerated do, 3-4 times each day).

Once the count has “cleared,” the OBB team leads students through the “yard” to tour a dorm. Here, about 140 men stand (or sit in wheelchairs) and mingle outside their cells as students get a glimpse of the 6’ x 10’ room that 2-3 men share. Students then walk to the “restricted housing unit” (RHU) (also known as “segregation” or “the hole”), as OBB team members yell at them to “walk faster” and “close up the lines.”

Inside the RHU, students are confronted by the stale, putrid air as men pound on their cell doors and scream out at them and the accompanying officers. Students pass through the mildewed showers used three times a week by those in the RHU, before moving into the recreation yard—8’ x 20’ enclosed cages that resemble oversized dog runs at an animal shelter.

The tour ends in the prison’s visitation room where each member of the OBB team shares his life story—his family life, the role of alcohol and other drugs in his life, the crime(s) each committed, the sentence he received and a warning to students to make good decisions and stay on their current path.

When asked why he takes his students to prison, Professor Hoffmann says, “So many of our society’s institutional shortcomings—be it within the economy, schools, politics and/or the family—pave a road to prison for many of our citizens. This is hopefully the only opportunity that my students will have to see the inside of a prison—an experience that sheds light on the almost default solution (prison) to dealing with those who break the law. This experience also challenges students’ assumptions about what people are like who are incarcerated.”

In fact, one student reported, “I definitely thought those 7 guys [the OBB team] were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. It was very hard to believe that they had killed someone or multiple people,” challenging her notion of what a “murderer” would be like. Katie Joiner, a first year student in the Honors College, also commented on how the incarcerated men she met were not consistent with her preconceived notions; “when you hear about murderers in the media…the media talks about the crime that was committed and only gives biographical information that is pertinent to the crime which is usually basic and negative. This makes sense in some ways and may be because most high profile murder cases are extreme examples of murder…I had always thought of murderers as though they were the most important thing about them; as though that was who they were essentially; as though their soul was a murderer. I was startled to realize that the murder was an event that came to define the person; not that the person was always and will always be a murderer. I’m not sure if that’s clear exactly, and ethically it may be that murder is the single most important part of a person because it’s so totally and fundamentally evil; but I had a hard time reconciling the fact that I was talking to murderers with some of the men standing before me. They were not first murderers—they had murdered. Regardless of the crime, I respected all of them. I would be interested however to meet some of the prisoners with less character to see if that shifted my perception. For example, some of the ones who were not in the character dorm or were on death row.”

So, why do students want to go to prison?

Rachel Park, a first year student in the Honors College, commented that the prison tour “was truly an eye-opening trip. Experiences like these teach you more than any college class could…For the most part, they [the OBB team members] are just like us and they kept bringing this up:  that you’re just one bad decision away from being behind these bars.  You could see in their eyes and hear when they shared their testimonies that they would trade their place with us any day. It seemed they all regretted their decisions and it was eye-opening—truly eye-opening—to see and to hear from the men.”

Professor Hoffmann also hopes that the prison tours will give students the opportunity to examine the efficacy of prison for responding to crime and deterring future criminal behavior among those who are incarcerated. Hoffmann is confident that this level of reflection is occurring among his students, referencing the response of Katie, the Honors College student quoted above, who notes, “Upon leaving Lieber, I was struck by how much potential the prison system has; which may not be the best reaction upon leaving. I think it would really be a good thing for society to reprimand deviance and rehabilitate people back into society who have made really bad mistakes and for whatever reason have gotten caught up in this cycle of deviance. I was also struck by how broken it is right now. Well, first I had sort of forgotten weirdly that the prison is a state entity and what all that entails. I think I assumed that the problems I see in SC public schools, in SC libraries and DSS and so would not be present in South Carolina prisons. But I mean, of course they are. The prisons are, it seems, underfunded and certainly understaffed just like many other state departments; there seems to be a tangle of bureaucracy and a lot of good ideas were being executed poorly or slowly. For example, the idea of the character dorm was a really good one but it was being rolled out so slowly and so narrowly that I’m not sure that it’s really effective and it’s definitely not going to be a broad solution within the next year.”

under: Department Events, Faculty Spotlight, Student Spotlight

Reba Parker Defines Peace (V.)

Posted by: Melissa Page | December 18, 2014 | No Comment |


Around the holidays, the idea of peace on Earth repeated throughout Christmas carols, holiday cards and season’s greetings is just that – an idea. To many, it’s abstract feeling that’s nice to wish for and easy to write off among more pressing priorities.

peace on Earth

But College of Charleston Professor of Sociology Reba Parker argues that peace is something else entirely. “The first question I ask students in my Sociology of Peace class is, ‘Is peace possible?’ Most of them see peace as a noun, they think about world peace as this lofty, impossible goal. So they say no.

EXPLORE: Learn more about the College’s sociology and anthropology department

“Over the course of the class, though,” Parker continued, “They begin to see peace as a verb, a process that begins in a single relationship and ripples outward.”

Parker, who received her master’s in theology before becoming interested in peace studies and social justice, is an applied sociologist. This means, “I’m trying to find solutions for questions and social problems,” she explained. “When it comes to peace studies, I’m looking at strategic ways a culture can begin the process of peace. At the micro level, this happens with individuals and families. It transcends to the local level and then ultimately to a global level.”

Her Sociology of Peace classes touch on all three levels, beginning with interpersonal communication tactics that can reduce violence in one-on-one or family relationships at the micro level. Her students snowball into the global level by looking at public policies, environmental concerns and organizations, violent crime rates and other factors measured on the Global Peace Index – a scale that quantifies peace in 162 countries by analyzing 22 components.

But it’s at the local level that Parker’s students can shine. In the time she’s taught 35-or-so courses at the College, Parker and her students have engaged with local schools to teach and celebrate peace, and they have planted more than 20 peace poles in Charleston’s public spaces.

Peace on Earth

“A peace pole is an eight-foot-tall, four-sided pole that’s planted three feet in the ground. It says, “May peace prevail on earth” in four languages (one on each side),” Parker said. “We planted the first peace pole, with permission from Mayor Joe Riley, at Brittlebank Park, and we’ve planted them at Sanders Clyde and James Simons elementary schools.”

The poles are more than a small-scale art installation. Parker contends they serve two purposes – to remind passersby that peace is possible, and to incorporate a global awareness into their lives.

“For example, at James Simons Elementary we put the pole in a parking circle that parents drive

around as the pick up and drop off their kids for school,” Parker said. “So, parents might be arguing in the car or something, and when they see the peace pole they’re reminded to think about how they communicate, to be more peaceful. For the children, it’s a sign that they’re entering a peaceful place.”

In Sociology of Peace, Parker’s students are reminded that many primary students across the U.S. and the world don’t have the luxury of feeling safe in their schools. In the face of the many violent attacks, conflicts and atrocities 2014 witnessed, Parker notes that many people feel skeptical about peace.

Peace on Earth

“It’s hard to look at the world and think an end to the violence is possible,” Parker said. “But you see change, and the demand for change, at a grassroots level in the form of protests and movements like the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street. That’s a good sign. Change is a catalyst for peace.”

Parker believes that the fact that peace itself is changeable and moveable helps people to better grasp that it can be realized. She references the Global Peace Index, saying, “You can actually see if a country is moving up or down the scale. For instance, if you look at Germany, which was once one of the most war-prone countries in the world, it’s now ranked the 17th-most peaceful country. Watching these rankings change and understanding how peace is measured makes it a more accessible process”

Parker credits strategic planning for the positive movements among once-violent countries like Germany and Japan. “There are strategies for peace just like there are strategies for war,” she said.

Those strategies, many of which are implemented by Canada (ranked 10th on the Index to the U.S.’ 101), include minimizing the gap between the wealthy and the poor, working toward environmental protection and sustainable energy, providing benefits like healthcare and paid maternity leave across the board, and healthy relationships with neighboring countries.

As Sociology of Peace oscillates between macro ideals and micro tactics for peace, Parker observes her students’ perspectives warming to new possibilities.

“At the end of the year I ask my students that same question – ‘Is peace possible?’ – and they all say, ‘Yes. Absolutely.’”

under: Faculty Spotlight

Professor Reba Parker recently organized a Skype lecture from London with Jeremy Gilley, the Founder of Peace One Day.  The event was sponsored by the First Year Experience program and attended by students from the College of Charleston and The Citadel.  A brief bio on Jeremy Gilley is below.
Skype2  IMG_3533

In 1998, Gilley began to make the Peace One Day documentary, eventually deciding to aim for a UN resolution formalising the idea. This goal was reached in 2001 when UN GA resolution (A/Res/55/282), put forward by the UK and Costa Rican Governments, was unanimously adopted to establish the first ever day of global ceasefire and non-violence fixed in the calendar as 21 September annually. This resolution drew on a 1981 UN resolution that had declared the third Tuesday of September the international day of peace.[3]

Gilley organised two concerts at Brixton Academy, London, on 21 September 2002 and 2003. In 2004, the Peace One Day documentary premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival, then the BBC aired the documentary in September of the same year. On the other side of the Atlantic in 2005, Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller hosted the North American Film Premiere to highlight Peace Day.

In May 2006, the Peace One Day Citizenship Resource Pack was launched after conversations with over 30,000 young people and teachers. In 2007, a second edition of the Citizenship Resource Pack was made available to every secondary school in the UK.

Gilley produced and filmed The Day After Peace, in association with the BBC. The film documents the first ever life-saving activity on the day – polio vaccinations on 21 September 2007 in insecure regions of south and east Afghanistan. In May 2008 Jeremy Gilley received the award Campaigner of the Year.[4][5]

In early September 2008 Gilley and Jude Law travelled to Afghanistan to screen The Day After Peace there, Hamid Karzai, and document preparations for the polio vaccination on 21 September 2008 of 1.85 million children under 5 years old, in seven Afghan provinces where conflict has previously prevented access.[6]

On 21 September 2010, the Board of the Carnegie Foundation announced that Peace One Day and Jeremy Gilley would be the recipient of the Wateler Peace Prize.[7]

On 6 December 2011, Gilley was a founding signatory of the Pledge to Peace at the Peace and Well Being Conference at the European Parliament in Brussels.[8]


under: CofC Events, Department Events, Faculty Spotlight


Grad School Fair

under: CofC Events

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