News and Announcements

  • Genetics at the Continental Crossroads

    A research team from Penn's Anthropology Department has released a study of genetic markers among populations in the Altai region at the intersection of Russia, Mongolia, China, and Kazakhstan. Led by Associate Professor Theodore Schurr, they compared these markers to those found in Native American populations, searching for the kind of genetic links that indicate common ancestry. The team has published their findings in the most recent issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics. To read more, click here.

  • Anthropology Prof Jackson Named Senior Advisor for Diversity

    This past week, Provost Vincent Price announced the appointment of Dr. John L. Jackson Jr. as Senior Advisor for Diversity. Dr. Jackson will work with a variety of University leaders to "make recommendations for diversity goals and programs, develop appropriate means of assessment, and help implement Penn’s Action Plan for Faculty Diversity and Excellence." Here in the Department, Dr. Jackson is the Richard Perry University Professor of Communication and Anthropology. This semester he is teaching two courses- Urban Ethnography: Documenting City Life and Documentary, Ethnography, and Research. You can learn more about his research interests and publications here.

  • Anthropology of Africa and the African Diaspora

    Penn Anthropology welcomes our first Visiting Professor and Post-Doctoral fellow in the program in the anthropology of Africa and the African Diaspora.  Visiting Professor Dominique Somda joins us from the London School of Economics. She is teaching the graduate proseminar for Africana Studies, and in the spring will teach a course examining Africa and post-colonial development. Lyndon Gill, most recently from Princeton University, is teaching on Black Queer Studies. He will teach "Erotic Subjectivity" in the spring 2012 semester.

    Click on the pictures to read more.

  • Visiting Prof John Sanchez teaches on American Indians & the Media

    Dr. John Sanchez is formerly with The American University, in Washington, DC, where he served as the Academic Director of the American Indian Leadership program and taught American Indian Leadership and Politics. He is visiting this fall and teaching a course on how media frames American Indian cultures and the relationship between  media and public schools—the two major ways of knowing in the United  States, and how all this impacts American Indian policy, identity and  education.  Under Dr. Sanchez’ leadership President Clinton’s panel on race initiatives recognized this program as one of the five top programs in the country.

    Read more on Dr. Sanchez here.

  • Gregory Louis Possehl: 1941-2011

    Dr. Gregory L. Possehl, professor emeritus of anthropology in the School of Arts and Sciences and curator emeritus of the Asian collections at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, passed away on October 8 at age 70. Dr. Possehl was a leading expert on rise of the Indus civilization in India and Pakistan. His research projects include the exploration of the Ghelo and Kalubhar Valleys in the state of Gujarat and the excavations of the Sorath Harappan sites of Oriyo Timbo, Babar Kot and Rojdi. In 2003 he received the Outstanding Academic Book Award from Choice magazine for Indus Civilization; A Contemporary Perspective.

    Read more on Dr. Possehl's life and career here.

  • Associate Professor Claudia Valeggia at the White House

    On Friday, October 14, Dr. Claudia Valeggia, Associate Professor in our department attended the PECASE Award Ceremony at the White House. President Barack Obama named Dr. Valeggia, as one of 94 recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. You can read more about Dr. Valeggia's research here: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~valeggia/.

    Read more about Dr. Valeggia's honor here, or see pictures from the event here.

    Read more about Dr. Valeggia's research in Penn Current, linked here.

  • Professor Greg Urban honored for his teaching

    Greg Urban, Arthur Hobson Quinn Professor of Anthropology in the School of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded both the Ira H. Abrams Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Teaching at Penn since 1994, Urban is “one of the most captivating lecturers at Penn.” He is celebrated for his “ability to solidify even the most abstract notions of.. cultural anthropology in fascinating and informative examples which are readily understood by undergraduates.” He is “particularly interested,” notes a colleague, “in making arcane anthropological concepts relevant to students’ daily lives. … he seeks to help students think interrogatively—to pose interesting questions about the world.” 

    Read Prof Urban’s reflections on teaching here

  • Utpal Sandesara, MD-PhD student, co-authors new book

    No One Had a Tongue to Speak tells, for the first time, the epic and heartrending story of the Machhu dam disaster. The seeds of the tragedy are planted as Indian politicians, swept up in the heady optimism of their country’s newfound independence, mandate a slew of dam-construction projects. Massive earthworks rise and vast reservoirs accumulate, but the rapid clip of development outpaces the skill of the engineers behind it. When the Machhu Dam-II gives way after days of incessant rains, residents of the downstream river valley are plunged into a watery hell. Their lives are torn to pieces in an instant. 

    Read more about Utpal's book here

  • Professor Deborah Thomas Publishes New Book

    Exceptional Violence is a sophisticated examination of postcolonial state formation in the Caribbean, considered across time and space, from the period of imperial New World expansion to the contemporary neoliberal era, and from neighborhood dynamics in Kingston to transnational socioeconomic and political fields. Deborah A. Thomas takes as her immediate focus violence in Jamaica and representations of that violence as they circulate within the country and abroad. Suggesting that anthropologists in the United States should engage more deeply with history and political economy, Thomas mobilizes a concept of reparations as a framework for thinking, a rubric useful in its emphasis on structural and historical lineages. Read more about Professor Thomas's book here.

  • See Philippe Bourgois's short film, "Next Door But Invisible"