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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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