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Meet Ashlee Powers, Sociology Major

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

Why did you choose to attend the College of Charleston?

After visiting several other college campuses in South Carolina I decided the College of Charleston (CofC) suited me best. I loved the history of the school, the quaintness, the old city charm, the small class sizes, and the close proximity to the Medical University of South Carolina where I hope to volunteer, get clinical experience, create network opportunities, and pursue my studies in the medical field.

What made you decide to be a sociology major?

I chose sociology because I loved the idea of learning how society works and why the structures of society are the way they are. Prior to college I researched sociology and was amazed out how interdisciplinary it really is.  Previously I never thought of sociology as an option for someone who wanted to study medicine, but I soon realized how beneficial it can be.

How does sociology fit into your life plan?Powers, Ashlee

Sociology relates to medicine in many ways that can help me become a more well- rounded surgeon. Medical sociology is an example of the relation of medicine and sociology (which coincidently is a great class we have available on campus that is taught by the amazing Dr. Dickinson!). Learning about the social aspects of medicine would never be taught in a science class, which gives me better insight and a higher likelihood of positive bedside manners.

What have you learned from your professors?

I have learned so much throughout my years in college. My sociology professors have emphasized how important social networks are in all aspects of life- the social connections you make in college can literally make or break your career opportunities in the future. I’ve learned from a number of them how important it is to be passionate about your career in life. Also, the importance of a liberal arts education for students’ future careers. I’m honestly amazed at the intellectual capabilities of the professors here; they are truly amazing and inspiring.

What is your favorite Sociology class?

Collective Behavior taught by Dr. Rigney!

Who is your favorite professor and why?

Dr. David Morris is my favorite professor because he goes above and beyond for his students; he also makes it a point to learn everyone’s name. He has an infectious attitude and passion for teaching that I find really inspiring. Dr. Morris’ specialties are Sociology of Education and Political Sociology, which I have taken with him and they’re both amazing!

What are you doing your Bachelor’s Essay on?

My Bachelor’s Essay is on the social networks of female plastic surgeons and female pediatricians in the Charleston area. I will be focusing on the close connections the female doctors share to see how dense or segregated their social networks are. I also plan to compare their social networks to a small sample of male doctors to compare and contrast the differences.

What are your plans for after graduation?

After graduation I plan to go to medical school to ultimately become a pediatric facial reconstructive plastic surgeon. I chose this career path because as a child my mom was sick on a consistent basis, and I wanted to do what I could to make her better. So at the young age of five I decided to become a doctor and haven’t changed my mind since. I’ve always known what my calling was in life, and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I ultimately chose pediatric facial reconstruction because I adore children, and I know what a huge impact I can make by helping them.

Do you have advice for other students deciding on a major?

The best advice I can give is to choose a major you love. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve known that have dropped out or had to do an extra year because they thought they could do well in it a particular major but ended up hating it so much they just couldn’t do it anymore. It’s hard to do well in a subject you hate, and it’s really hard to be happy in life with a job that you dislike tremendously. It is so important to have a job that you love because it makes life so much more rewarding and fulfilling. Choose wisely!

What is your most challenging event or greatest accomplishment at the College of Charleston?

The hardest thing for me to learn throughout college was time management. It’s really difficult to make enough time to get everything done you need to- finding that balance is something that takes a lot of time and practice. School always has to take priority over everything. I feel this way because achieving your dreams is worth all the hard work and dedication you put into it. Even though things seem tough now, it will be worth it when you achieve it.

What is one surprising fact about you?

I’m a black belt in karate. Also, I watch medical documentaries for fun, I and love to learn about anything medical.

under: Student Spotlight

Meet Dr. Christine Finnan

Posted by: tillilied | October 1, 2015 | No Comment |

Dr. Finnan teaches for the Sociology/Anthropology and Teacher Education Departments.Finnan Christine

How long have you been teaching at CofC?

I came to CofC in 1993 but was originally not on a faculty line. I was director of the South Carolina satellite center for a national school reform model that was developed at Stanford University – the Accelerated Schools Project. I moved to a faculty line in Teacher Education in 1997 and assumed a joint appointment with Anthropology in 2008.

What were you doing before coming to CofC?

I worked as a researcher for the Accelerated Schools Project at Stanford University.

Where did you study and what inspired you to study anthropology and become a professor?

My studies have been varied. I studied folklore and anthropology as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley and a master’s student at University of Texas, Austin. I became interested in studying children’s play. When I started a PhD program in Education and Anthropology at Stanford, my initial interest was seeing how children use play to accommodate to a new culture. At the time refugees from Vietnam were coming in large numbers to the San Francisco Bay Area so I did a small study on Vietnamese children’s playground behavior. My work with the refugees made me increasingly interested in the issues adults face, and I changed my focus to studying adults in job training. After finishing my degree I worked in several non-faculty positions, but it was always my dream to become a college faculty member. I jumped at the chance at CoC.

Are you involved in any research at the moment? If so, what is it about?

I just returned from the most amazing research opportunity of my long career. With funding from the College and from the Fulbright/Nehru Commission, I spent six months in Bhubaneswar India at the Kalinga Institute for Social Sciences (KISS), a residential school providing free education, room, board, and medical care to 25,000 very poor tribal children. I wanted to find out how they organize a school for so many children, how to best describe the school’s culture, what effect attending the school has on the children and their families, and if we can draw policy lessons from this school. I have analyzed over 140 interviews and reviewed my field notes and am now trying to write up the findings.  *Dr. Finnan will be giving her sabbatical talk on October 16 at 12pm in Alumni Hall, 86 Wentworth Street.*

What is your favorite class to teach?

I love to teach ANTH 205: Language and Culture! It allows us to talk about so many different interesting things and to see connections between culture, cognition, and language. I also love to teach Anthropology and Education and Anthropology of Childhood. I’m looking forward to teaching ANTH 201: Cultural Anthropology in the spring.

What was your favorite class when you were in school?

I really loved my folklore courses.

Do you have any advice for current or prospective anthropology students?

I think that anthropology is a perfect undergraduate major. It teaches you to think broadly and to synthesize material from many different fields. Most importantly, it helps us see the effect of culture on how everyone, ourselves included, view and experience the world.

What do you like to do outside of teaching?

I love to practice yoga, take my dog to the beach every Sunday morning, enjoy conversations with my husband over dinner, spend time with my daughters and my new granddaughter, I also like to play around with fabric art – my latest is taking children’s drawings and making quilts based on them.

Are you reading anything interesting at the moment?

I’m between books now – I really enjoyed Euphoria by Lily King. It’s a fictional account of when Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson met in New Guinea.

under: Faculty Spotlight

Meet New Sociology Faculty, Sarah Hatteberg

Posted by: tillilied | September 17, 2015 | No Comment |
  1. How long have you been teaching at CofC?Hatteberg, Sarah

This is my first semester.

  1. What were you doing before coming to CofC?

I did my PhD in Sociology at Indiana University in Bloomington, so I was living in Bloomington, Indiana before coming to CofC. However, Louisville, KY is what I call home.

  1. Where did you study and what inspired you to study sociology and become a professor?

During my freshman year at Lake Forest College, I enrolled in a Sociology and Anthropology class. The class was taught by Heather Levi, and anthropologist who did her doctoral research on Lucha Libre, professional wrestling in Mexico. I remember reading an article she had written and thinking, “Wow, people really get to study things like this?” I found her research fascinating and was thrilled to learn that I could study similar social phenomenon. I pursued my PhD in sociology and became a professor because I wanted to provide others with the same eye-opening experiences I had in college.

  1. Are you involved in any research at the moment?

Much of my current research is focused on the sociology of sport. Given recent controversies related to the exploitation of student-athletes and the subsequent push for unionization, I have been particularly interested in understanding how participation in collegiate athletic programs influences student-athlete health and well-being. Having studied Division I athletics, I am interested in expanding this line of research to include Divisions II and III to explore how the mental health effects of college sports might vary across competitive levels. As a medical sociologist, I am also interested in beginning new projects related to the lived experiences of persons with chronic and acute mental illness.

  1. What is your favorite class to teach?

Sociology of Sport – Hands Down! And it’s not because I’m a sports nut. I love teaching this class because I think special topics courses like this one are the perfect way to introduce students from a variety of backgrounds and interests to sociology. But, this is not limited to sports. Movies? Music? Video Games? Language? No matter what an individual is interested in, there is a way to study it from a sociological perspective. I love teaching courses that help students make that connection because it allows them to see their world from a different vantage point and to become more socially competent and empathetic toward others.

  1. Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?

Yes, take classes in every possible discipline while you’re in college! I wouldn’t have discovered sociology had I not been open to a variety of classes and fields. I would also suggest that students consider traveling abroad while they are in school, or immediately after. It provides a type of real world learning that is not necessarily available in the classroom. There are a number of programs and scholarships available to students interested in study abroad that can help facilitate that experience!

  1. What are you looking forward to in your new role teaching at CofC?

As a new faculty member, I am looking forward to teaching, mentoring, and collaborating on research projects with students. The most fulfilling aspect of my role is inspiring curiosity in my students. I enjoy challenging students to step outside of their comfort zones, while also learning about what interests them most about the world around them.

  1. What is your favorite book or are you reading anything interesting?

Eats, Shoots & Leaves. It’s a witty book about how minor changes in punctuation can completely alter the meaning of a sentence. I keep a couple copies in my office for anyone interested in checking it out!

  1. What is your favorite food?

All of it! Olives are the only type of food I’ve ever discovered that I actually dislike.

  1. If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be?

I’m cheating by including more than one person here, but I would have to say my family. They are the quirkiest bunch of individuals I know and there is never a dull moment when they are all around.

under: Faculty Spotlight

Meet New Anthropology Faculty, Allison Foley

Posted by: tillilied | September 4, 2015 | No Comment |

Allison Foley starting teaching with the Sociology/Anthropology department fall 2015.

  1. What were you doing before coming to CofC?

Over the last five years I taught Anthropology at Indiana University South Bend and Skidmore College in upstate New York.

  1. Where did you study and what inspired you to study Anthropology and become a professor?

I’m wrapping up my PhD at IndianaFoley, Allison University Bloomington but my path to anthropology was a winding one. I have a BA in Psychology but have always been interested in human history and prehistory. After getting a MSc in Archaeology from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, I decided to come back to the USA and shifted my interest back to people. Bioarchaeology allows me to focus on individuals—their health, who they were, how they lived—so in a way it’s an exciting blend of Psychology, Archaeology, and Biomedical science.

  1. Are you involved in any research at the moment?

Right now I’m researching trauma patterns in a prehistoric population from central Illinois. I’m curious to see if there are different patterns of injury between time periods and between demographic groups (age, sex, etc). Rather than a lot of interpersonal violence which is often ascribed to this region, I’m finding that, just like today, most people suffer the same mundane accidental injuries that we do. Even more interesting is how well the community was able care for all of its bruised and broken members. This population has a high frequency of disease, disability, and trauma and yet many survived serious health crises (for a while) indicating that there was a complex system of care in the community.

  1. What is your favorite class to teach?

I’ve really enjoyed teaching “Disease, Disability, and Social Identity” as well as “The Anthropology of Death” and “Evolutionary Medicine.”

  1. Do you have any advice for current or prospective anthropology students?

Visit with your professors and use the resources available to you!! I regret not taking advantage of all that was on offer as an undergrad and I hate to see students struggle when help is available. A second piece of advice: your education is what you put into it. Showing up is just Step 1 out of many on the path to success.

  1. What are you looking forward to in your new role teaching at CofC?

I’m really excited to work with a new set of students and colleagues. Education is multi-directional and I learn as much for my students and colleagues as I share in the classroom. I’m excited to learn more about the community and culture at CofC and in Charleston.

  1. What is your favorite book or are you reading anything interesting?

I love “Assassination Vacation” by Sarah Vowell. She combines history, politics, anecdotes, and all sorts of information nuggets as she travels around exploring the sites and people associated with the Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley assassinations. For such a dark topic, the book is wonderfully funny and engrossing.

I’m just now starting the “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot which chronicles the complicated ethical issues surrounding the acquisition and use of HeLa cells, constantly regenerating cells used in biomedical research to develop dozens of disease treatments. These cells are from Henrietta Lacks, a African American women who died of cancer in the mid-20th century and who had not authorized the use of her cells. The book addresses the intersection of race, socioeconomic status, ethical (mis)conduct, and medical advancement.

  1. If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be?

This is an impossible question! Especially for someone who loves nothing better than food and good conversation. I suppose on a very personal level my grandmother or grandfather who passed before I had a chance to know them but who were really exciting characters.

  1. Where is your favorite place on earth- vacation spot, writing/reading corner, etc.?

Set me in a shady hammock somewhere where I can read a good book and hear the ocean and I’ll be the happiest person in the world.

  1. What do you like to do outside of teaching? Any hobbies/interests?

I love to travel and explore and will find a way to see/experience something new even on the most boring of road trips. I am also an avid amateur cook and I’m always trying new recipes (with varying degrees of success). Now that I’m away from the long frozen winters of the Midwest, I look forward to spending more time outdoors. Maybe I’ll take up kayaking.

under: Faculty Spotlight

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: Faculty Spotlight

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

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