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I decided to be a part of the Center for Civic Engagement’s Alternative Break because I felt a need to be more involved with the College and the greater community. Also, it just seemed fun to go somewhere I have never been before and do something productive over my fall break. This specific trip to Beaufort, SC intrigued me because we would be learning about the migrant farm workers, which honestly I did not know that much about. Our trip was not only about the migrant workers but also their children who are greatly affected by the work their parents do. For me, working with children is such a rewarding experience so that aspect of the trip really sold me, and I knew I had to become involved.Padilla, Ashley

Upon arriving in Beaufort we went bowling with some of the children. It was so fun because these kids do not always get the chance to just be kids, and it was great to see them all enjoying themselves so much. The next day we visited one of the camps (that is what the housing areas for the migrant workers are called) where many of the children live and we spent the day and evening hanging out and playing. We were also able to sit down with someone from the South Carolina Department of Education who works to create change for the children of migrant workers that are in the U.S. education system. These children are often unable to finish high school as they are continuously moving. The rest of our trip entailed going on tours of the different camps and learning firsthand about the many difficult issues migrants and their families endure while living there. But we also learned that it was not all bad. The workers often develop a deep sense of community by living and working together on the farms. And there are people in the community who work hard to provide services for them.

My favorite part of the trip, though, was on our last evening when we sat down with Angel, Violeta and their two daughters. Over dinner they shared their stories about coming to the U.S. for work but also about their hopes for the future. Violeta’s story really exemplified how resilient people who immigrate to this country are when they do not even know the language or anyone living here. Violeta came to the U.S. from Guatemala at a young age with no knowledge of either English or Spanish, having only spoken an indigenous Mayan language in her town. It is so remarkable to hear that someone who could not even communicate with those she worked with was capable of eventually learning two languages while working so hard to provide for her children. Even though she had to single-handedly support her four children on the little amount of money she made, she regarded living in the U.S. as a great freedom because she could do this for her children and for herself. Violeta has so many dreams for the future to help other women who are in need and she knows that her situation, although not horrible, will not last forever and her desire to help is so inspirational.

AB Fall Trip_2015The trip was all around a wonderful experience but some aspects were challenging because it can seem like our time there was in vain. My biggest challenge was the language barrier because I wish I were more capable of speaking Spanish with those so willing to speak with us. Their stories were so eye-opening, and I aspire to have the language to communicate my gratitude to them. There is also the added challenge of leaving Beaufort with so much information and feeling a sense of helplessness, which can be really overwhelming. To help with this I find myself just re-telling all the information I learned and the stories I heard. To me, it is a cathartic experience, and it is indirectly beneficial to the migrant workers in its own way.

As a Sociology major I believe we have an obligation to look at society with a fine eye but also to go beyond the society we are faced with every day. That is why the Alternative Break program can be so valuable to majors because it forces you to look outside the bubble that college often creates. The trips focus on a community in need and work to be as helpful as possible and to do little harm to those we are working with. Sociology entails looking at society and the systems that shape the way it works and participating in Alternative Break allows us to go beyond the theoretical of a classroom and requires us to put into practice what we have learned.

If you are interested in participating in an Alternative Break trip, check out the Center for Civic Engagement. Applications for the MLK Jr. Weekend trip, spring break and Maymester are due Monday, November 16th.

under: Student Spotlight

Meet Dr. Dee Dee Joyce, Anthropology Professor

Posted by: tillilied | November 9, 2015 | No Comment |

How long have you been teaching at CofC?Joyce_2

I have been teaching here for 27 years!

What were you doing before coming to CofC?

I taught for three years at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina.

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

I received my B.A. in History from Catawba College. I then went on to get my M.A. in Anthropology from University of Arkansas and my PhD from SUNY-Binghamton.  I was inspired by my first introductory course in Anthropology and my first field school. I didn’t plan to become a professor—I thought I would be a field archaeologist and have my own archaeological contract firm. My first teaching job thirty years ago was meant to be a one year contract to fill in for a professor who was ill. But from that first experience I knew teaching was the right fit and have been doing it ever since!

Are you involved in any research at the moment?

Yes, I am interested in the how people maintain social space along race, class and ethnic lines when that social space is confined or limited. My approach is to investigate how social space was shared and/or divided in Charleston’s 19th century boarding house.

What is your favorite class to teach?

I love teaching Introduction to Anthropology.

What was your favorite class when you were in school?

Intro to Anthropology- because I got a taste of everything anthropology had to offer.

Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?

I would say that is it important to not only perform well in your classes but also take advantage of all the extras like internships, study abroad, clubs, etc.

What do you like most about teaching and/or CofC?

The students! They are bright, inquisitive, well-mannered and a joy to be around.

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

I love outdoor activities– cycling, snorkeling, tennis, walking the streets of our beautiful historic city.

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

I usually have several books going at once–most are anthropology-related but if I want to relax and put my brain on the shelf I read murder mysteries.

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

Barack Obama

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

Anyplace with white sand, tropical waters and a barrier reef.

under: Faculty Spotlight

Mini Irish Film Series

Posted by: tillilied | November 5, 2015 | No Comment |

Thursday, November 5, 2015into the west this is my father

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For generations, The Irish Travelers have been the subject of poetry, song and story. Often depicted as the carefree people of the road who move from place to place in colorful caravans, they have also been misrepresented by those moving between the twin vices of prejudice and discrimination. This mini-film series explores these contradictions by screening two feature films, Mike Newell’s Into the West (2004) and Paul Quinn’s This is My Father (1998). Into the West (2004) juxtaposes the magic and dreams of childhood against the sinister world of adult greed and prevarication. This is My Father subtly examines the role of Travelers’ stories and predictions in shaping people’s understanding of why events unfold the way they do. Faculty discussion follows both films. All welcome!


under: Department Events

Meet Kelsey Fervier, Anthropology Major

Posted by: tillilied | November 2, 2015 | No Comment |

Why did you choose to attend the College of Charleston?Fervier, Kelsey

I chose to attend the College of Charleston for a variety of reasons. First of all, the city is absolutely gorgeous. You simply can’t beat the combination of natural beauty and the beauty and history of the city itself. I also chose to attend CofC because of the strong emphasis on liberal arts education. I knew going into college that I wanted a school that would push me out of my comfort zone and help me become a well-rounded student, which I believe a liberal arts education does well. In addition, both the excellent Honors College and Anthropology Department attracted me.

What made you decide to be an anthropology major?

I decided to be an anthropology major my sophomore year of high school after taking AP World History. I absolutely loved the class and approached my teacher that year about how I could possibly study all of these different cultures in college. He then pointed me towards the anthropology major, and I’ve been smitten ever since.

How does anthropology fit into your life plan?

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve wanted to be a medical doctor. And while anthropology may seem a bit out of the ordinary for someone hoping to go to medical school, it actually fits perfectly with the idea of patient-centered care. I truly believe that in order to treat patients, one must understand them first. Anthropology has taught me how to be culturally competent and understand differing perspectives from cultures all across the globe. I believe that this will greatly influence and improve my ability to communicate with patients and understand medicine and healthcare from their perspective.

What have you learned from your professors?

I think the greatest lesson I have learned is the importance of patience and perseverance. Dr. Brad Huber and I have been working on the same research project for the past three years, and while to some that may seem tedious, it has taught me how to see things through to the end and the value in working towards long-term goals.

What was your favorite anthropology class?

That has to be Anthropological Theory with Dr. Hector Qirko. While sometimes the material was a little dry (He’ll be the first to tell you this!) he made the class an absolute blast. He is so funny and really stimulates interesting discussions in his classes. In addition, the class really helps you understand the history of anthropology and the reasoning behind why it was established.

Who is your favorite professor and why?

My favorite anthropology professor is Dr. Huber, though he has recently retired. He has been my mentor these past 3 years and has been such an incredible resource for me. I had the privilege of having him for Anthropology 101 and Cultural Anthropology as well as doing my independent study and Bachelor’s Essay with him. He has definitely given me amazing advice over the years and has been a constant source of support and encouragement to me. My college experience would have been totally different, and less enjoyable, without him in it!

What are you writing your Bachelor’s Essay on?

Dr. Huber and I are studying cross-cultural controls of male and female sexuality by analyzing five categories of sanctions used to control both premarital and extramarital sexual relations. We hypothesize that the severity of sanctions will increase with cultural complexity.

What are you plans for after graduation?

After graduation I will be joining the Teach for America South Carolina Corps teaching secondary science. I’m very excited about the experience, as educational inequity is something I’m very passionate about.

Do you have advice for students deciding on a major?

My advice is to choose something where you actually enjoy doing the homework. Anthropology homework has never seemed like “homework” because I have always enjoyed the readings so much. See if there is a type of article you typically gravitate towards when looking at a newspaper or an online magazine because that is probably what you should be majoring in. Find out what you love, or at least like, and go for it!

What is the most challenging event you faced at the College of Charleston?

I think the most challenging event I have faced has been running the student-run College of Charleston Fire and EMS Program. It has been a very intense leadership role that has taught me a lot about effective communication and how to manage emergency situations.

What is one surprising fact about you?

A surprising fact about me is that I run half marathons!


under: Student Spotlight

Incarceration Nation: U.S. Sentencing Policy and the “War on Drugs”

On November 4th, Jamie Fellner, Senior Advisor to the U.S. Program of Human Rights Watch, will speak at the College of Charleston about the necessity of reforming America’s sentencing policies for non-violent drug offenders.

Fellner has spent more than two decades using research and advocacy to press for criminal justice reform in the United States and is widely recognized as a national expert on U.S. criminal justice. Using a human rights framework, she has exposed many human rights abuses in US jails and prisons, including prolonged solitary confinement, the inadequate treatment of prisoners with mental illness, prison rape, the abusive use of force, inappropriate conditions of confinement for aging prisoners and the lack of compassionate release. She has also documented human rights abuses in pretrial practices and sentencing, including racial disparities in arrests and sentences for drug offenses, disproportionately severe sentences, unfair bail practices and coercive plea bargaining tactics by federal prosecutors.

Why You Should Care and Attend:

With 5% of the world’s population, the United States incarcerates 25% of the world’s prison population. This was not always the case. In 1980, the U.S. held a half million people behind bars (in state and federal prisons and local jails)—today, that number is 2.3 million. And, incarceration is not cheap, costing taxpayers between $60 and $65 billion each year to lock up millions of Americans.

The expanded prison population is due to numerous factors: mandatory minimum sentencing laws, an increased number of offenses that qualify for prison sentences (as opposed to community supervision), longer sentences coupled with fewer paroles and the “War on Drugs.”

Nearly 25% of those who are incarcerated in America are there for drug offenses, not violent offenses. And the burden of incarceration for drug offenses is not equally shared across the American population. Despite similar reported rates of drug use, African Americans and Hispanics are overrepresented among those who are incarcerated. These are typically the street-level dealers or repeat offenders caught in possession of drugs, not the drug kingpins and Cartel leaders.

American crime rates have declined over the last 20 years and many people assume that the expanded prison population is why we have seen what some call, “The Great American Crime Decline.” However, research suggests that incarcerating more people has only had a small impact (15-25%) on the falling crime rates such that mass incarceration is not an effective primary policy for dealing with crime.

Over the past 10 years, a movement has grown to challenge America’s policy of “mass incarceration.” Leading this effort are non-profit organizations like PEW, the VERA Institute, the Sentencing Project, the Drug Policy Alliance, the NAACP, ACLU and Human Rights Watch.

Fellner has been at the forefront of this movement and her visit to the College of Charleston comes at an important time as community groups and state leaders continue to work toward implementing criminal justice reform efforts. In her presentation, Fellner will speak about the evidence supporting sentencing reform and the political challenges of realizing criminal justice reform.

When and Where: Wednesday, November 4th at 6:00 p.m.

The College of Charleston, Stern Center Ballroom

This event is free and open to the public. If you have questions, please contact hoffmannh@cofc.edu.

under: Department Events

Meet Joe Powell, Class of 1991 (Anthropology)

Posted by: tillilied | October 22, 2015 | No Comment |

What have you been doing since you graduated?Powell, Joseph_2

Since graduating from the CofC in December of 1991, I have mainly pursued an academic career in anthropology and, more recently, geography. After graduation I worked at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington D.C., for various archaeology CRM firms, as a teaching assistant in anthropology, sociology, and environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and as an instructor of anthropology at several other universities. I earned an M.A. in anthropology, and a Ph.D. in anthropology and geography (a joint Ph.D. program) at Louisiana State University. For a short time I worked as a book acquisitions editor at two university presses acquiring in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, geography, and environmental studies. After returning to research and teaching, I have been busy teaching anthropology and geography, writing grants, scholarly articles, conference papers, and book reviews. Thus, in many ways I owe my entire academic career to my studies at the CofC sociology and anthropology department!

What is your current position?

I am an instructor of anthropology at Louisiana State University where I teach 200 undergraduate students in an intro to sociocultural anthropology. I am also in the academic job market looking for full-time tenure track positions.

What advice would you offer to new students at the College of Charleston who are thinking of declaring a major in Anthropology?

I believe that anthropology is an excellent major for the student who is curious about the diversity of the world’s cultures, our deep human past, and the human future. Anthropology bridges both the humanities and sciences so it is a broad-based platform for both understanding and explaining many concerns facing people today. These can range from religious and ideological conflict, warfare, peace-keeping, human uses of natural resources and impacts on the biophysical environment, religion and politics, family structure, and what has been called human-nature relationships. New topics of anthropological interest continually emerge in the news: new discoveries in human evolution, religious extremism, conflict over marriage and family, and so on. Anthropology is the study of “us”, after all, and since we have a natural curiosity to know more about ourselves, this makes for interesting and lively classes. There is no other discipline that puts humans front and center as the primary subject of study in the deep historical and broadly analytical way that anthropology does. The four traditional subfields of linguistics, physical anthropology, archaeology, and cultural anthropology allow a student to pursue specialized topics of their own interest while being informed of research in the other subfields. Thus, the anthropology student is well-equipped intellectually to think broadly and comparatively about the world and to understand and appreciate the logic of other ways of living and thinking. This intellectual preparation is a valuable asset for entering a range of career options, as well as being an informed and critically-thinking citizen.

What advice would you offer to students graduating from the College of Charleston with a degree in Anthropology?

I would say to be prepared to adapt your studies to the job market in creative ways. For example, a technology firm may want to hire a person who knows how humans use technology and how they might better design technologies to suit human living in today’s world. Likewise, in the medical profession, a knowledge of human evolution, anatomy, diseases and how people across the world have dealt with disease and medicine on their own terms might be valuable to a career in social work, nursing, and being a physician. There are careers for which an anthropology student has a distinct advantage in news reporting, science writing, and public relations. In general, I would say that anthropology offers a solid foundation for entering the job market or for pursuing higher education in a range of fields from law, medicine, to university teaching and research. It is not the degree of anthropology that is important, so much as what the student has absorbed from the learning process, and his/her own creativity in applying anthropological knowledge to the many important issues of our time.

What was your most memorable learning experience in Anthropology?

At the CofC, my most memorable academic experience in anthropology was most certainly learning about ethnobotany and the coevolution of plants and people through many of Dr. Rashford’s classes. I had never thought about plants in this way before, or since, obviously! In fact, this sparked what has become a lifelong pursuit of mine leading eventually to my Ph.D. Outside the classroom, I would say my most memorable anthropological learning experience was working as a student archives assistant at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture on campus. I was among the first student staff members at the Avery, and through this job I learned about the African diaspora in South Carolina and worked extensively with Dr. Colin M. Turnbull who donated a large personal archival collection to the Center just as I started working there.

What unexpected benefits have you derived from a degree in Anthropology?

I would say the unexpected benefit I have derived is the many friendships I have made with people all over the world that I would not otherwise have made. Through fieldwork I have made life-long friends in Costa Rica, Portugal, Brazil, and parts of Africa. This includes colleagues, fellow students, families that have hosted me, and people I have interviewed and collaborated with in the field. I never imagined meeting such a diverse, interesting, and inspirational group of people. I’ve lived with small-scale farmers in Portugal, learned about plant breeding science, and got to share in the botanical knowledge and traditions of Afro-Costa Rican people. I have graduate student colleague friends who work in all parts of the world from Mozambique to the mountains of Peru, and who have become among the world’s experts in their chosen field. Every day I am amazed and humbled by the people I have met through anthropology. When I was an acquisitions editor I had the honor of meeting even more exceptional people writing books on topics about which I knew very little. So, I would say the many inspirational people I have met, and continue to meet, after many years is the most gratifying and important unexpected benefit of studying and working in anthropology. The degree opened the door to this fascinating world of people.

What class did you most enjoy while earning your degree at the College of Charleston?

Dr. Rashford’s anthropology of religion course, without a doubt!

What made you choose the College of Charleston over other schools?

I liked everything about the College from its stunning campus in one of America’s most beautiful and historic cities, to the exceptional quality of instruction and the very low student-to-faculty ratio. The College of Charleston truly offered an intense “private school” feel at a public university price. The classes were small, they were taught by tenure-track professors who are the top among their peers, and there was plenty of opportunity to work on campus in museums, archives, historical societies, and for the College itself in various departments. I found the highest levels of teaching I have ever experienced at the College of Charleston, and memories (and notes!) from those classes still inspire me as a teacher today. I never had a boring class, or heard an uninspired lecture at The College of Charleston. In sum, the College was a clear choice for me owing to a combination of exceptional teaching at a reasonable price situated in a beautiful historic city with many opportunities to gain hands-on experience.

under: Alumni Spotlight

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

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