Anthropology & Sociology

West Chester University





News & Notes

Check out what faculty, students, and alumni have been up to recently:

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Congrtaulations to Sarah Sutton and Zack Kline, recipients of the department's Outstanding Graduating Anthropology and Sociology Student Awards! Both were honored at the College of Arts and Sciences Student Recognition Ceremony on April 27 and and in a department celebration on May 6.

5 people standing together one holding an award     group sitting at tables and standing

From left are: Dr. Paul Stoller, Outstanding Graduating      The department honored our two outstanding graduating
Anthropology Student Sarah Sutton, Department Chair       students at the College of Arts and Sciences Student
Dr. Susan Johnston, Outstanding Graduating Sociology     Recognition Ceremony on April 27.
Student Zack Kline, and Dr. Jackie Zalewski.

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Anthropology faculty and students participated in the annual PASSHE Undergraduate Anthropology Research Conference, which was held April 25-26 at Bloomsburg University. Dr. Paul Stoller gave the keynote address.

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Students in Dr. Jackie Zalewski's SOC 200 class this semester wrote letters to the editor on topics related to social problems. Three of their letters have been published in the Philadelphia Inquirer! Two were published on April 16: Read "Right-Sizing Ads," by Sarah Babb, and "Fit Minds and Bodies Not Mutually Exclusive," by Kayla Snyder and Ralph Salamone, here. Another was published on April 30: Read "Tougher sanctions for drivers who text," by Alyssa Fallon, here.

 

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Department faculty and students enjoyed an afternoon break March 24 at the "Meet the Faculty Pizza Party," sponsored by Anthropology Club and Sociology Club. The event helped students get to know department faculty and learn about department course offerings and faculty research projects.

Photo of students     Photo of studentsPhoto of students     Photo of students

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The first reviews are in for Dr. Paul Stoller's latest book, Yaya's Story! Click here to read a review in the London School of Economics and Political Science's Review of Books. Click here to read a review in the journal Cultural Anthropology.

In addition, Dr. Stoller has been busy giving invited talks at a variety of venues:

  • He gave the keynote address, "Storytelling, Religion, and the Contours of Well-Being," at the annual PASSHE Undergraduate Anthropology Research Conference, which was held April 25-26 at Bloomsburg University.
  • He was interviewed for a video that was produced in response to an invitation from the Centre for Imaginative Ethnography at York University in Toronto, Canada. Part of the center's Imaginings Project, his talk focuses on how anthropologists might respond anthropologically to current events. Watch it here.
  • He spoke in October as part of the 2014 Ideas Matter Lecture series, sponsored by the Hundere Endowment in Religion and Culture, in affiliation with the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion at Oregon State University. Watch his talk, "Storytelling, Religion and the Contours of Well-Being," here.
  • He discussed writing, research, and the academy in a recent ENVISION interview. Read "Dialogue with Paul Stoller" here.

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Anthropology student Sarah Alderman has been selected as the Mian A. Jan Fellow at the Chester County Historical Society. The internship involves collecting the stories, history, and artifacts of the south Asian experience (mainly Indian and Pakistani) in Chester County and will aid the historical society in including the history of the Indian and Pakistani communities in the county into the museum's permanent collections and exhibits. Congratulations, Sarah!

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Department students and faculty attended the annual meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, held Feb. 26-March 1 in New York City. Dr. Jackie Zalewski (left) and Dr. Julie Wiest (on left in bottom right photo) presented papers, and students Zena Eleazer (top right), Zack Kline, and Heather Welsh (on right in bottom right photo) presented posters.


Female speaker standing in front of podium     Female student in front of poster         Two female students next to poster

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Department alumnus Nick Arnhold (2010) completed his M.A. in Anthropology at the University of Kansas and has been promoted to the role of archaeological field supervisor with the consulting firm URS in its Pittsburgh-area office. Congratulations, Nick!

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Dr. Susan Johnston's research project, "Changing Students' Misconception About Evolution Through An Innovative Laboratory Curriculum in Biology Anthropology," is featured in the inaugural WCU Research Report. Read it here.

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Photo of meeting attendees       Photo of meeting attendees

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Luigi Alexander Zeccardo, 25, a 2010 anthropology graduate, was sworn in on November 6 to serve in Fiji as a Community Health Empowerment Volunteer for the United States Peace Corp. In his formal application to the Peace Corps for consideration Luigi wrote:
"During the time I spent at West Chester University earning Anthropology graduate standing with two small children inside a house
an Anthropology degree, the facets and complexities of human cultures around the world consistently intrigued me. I gained
a cultural understanding people though my studies of human behaviors, social patterns and practices, languages and other areas that encouraged me to analyze and solve real world problems. My desire to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer
would give me the opportunity to live amongst people in a foreign community while aiding them in any way that I can to improve their quality of life. I think that not only will I be serving someone else in need, but that I, too, will be inspired to become a better person, and to gain a perspective that only they can help provide for me." Luigi spent his first two months of service in a Nakaile, living with a host family in a small village in central Fiji while completing technical, language, health and safety training that will prepare him for the next two years. The Fijian Ministry of Health requested support from Peace Corps Volunteers with its Community Health Empowerment Project (CHEP), with a focus on health education and activities to promote wellness and

illness prevention. Volunteers will help educate the community

about the dangers of smoking, poor nutrition, alcohol consumption,

and lack of physical activity, along with the importance of maternal and child health. Luigi has been assigned to serve at the Nasau Health Center and School located on Koro Island, which is a volcanic island that forms part of the Lomaiviti Archipelago.


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Department students and faculty traveled with others from WCU to New York City in September for the Social Innovation in a Digital Context event.

SDIC Event

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Joe Woodbridge, a senior majoring in sociology who interned at Adolescent Advocates last spring, wrote a reflective essay about the experience that is featured on the WCU Career Development Center website.

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Several students spent their summer learning and having fun in Archaeology Field School.

   Summer Image       

    Participants in Archaeology Field School during summer 2014

Summer Image    Summer Image

                             A soapstone feature excavation                                  Emily Masters and Arden Dahl

      

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Our faculty members have been very busy recently. Here is a selection of their accomplishments:

  

Dr. Rebecca Chancellor presented three posters with WCU students at the Animal Behavior Society conference in Princeton, N.J. (August):

  • “The Influence of Human Activity on the Nesting Behavior of Chimpanzees in Gishwati Forest Rwanda” (Nyandwi, S., Chancellor, R., and Rundus, A.)
  • “Crowd Size and its Effect on the Behavior of Western Lowland Gorillas at the Philadelphia Zoo” (Pavia, C., Strandberg, A., Fitzgerald, T., Bramley, S., Saxena, S., Chancellor, R.)
  • “Seed Dispersal by Chimpanzees in Gishwati Forest, a Montane Forest Fragment in Rwanda” Chancellor, R., Rundus, A., Nyandwi, S.

 

In addition, Dr. Chancellor’s research and teaching were featured in a university news article in May. Check it out here.

 

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Dr. Michael A. Di Giovine has much to report:

  • He recently published a volume, co-edited with Ronda Brulotte, entitled Edible Identities: Food as Cultural Heritage (Ashgate, 2014). He also contributed two chapters in the volume: “Introduction: Food and Foodways as Cultural Heritage,” with co-author Brulotte, and “The Everyday as Extraordinary: Revitalization, Religion, and the Elevation of Cucina Casareccia to Heritage Cuisine in Pietrelcina, Italy.” 
  • He published a chapter entitled “The Imaginaire Dialectic and the Refashioning of Pietrelcina” in the book Tourism Imaginaries: Anthropological Approaches, edited by Noel Salazar and Nelson Graburn (Berghahn, 2014).
  • He published two encyclopedia entries in Springer’s Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology: “World Heritage Objectives and Outcomes” and “The World Heritage List.”
  • He published a co-edited volume (with David Picard) entitled Tourism and the Power of Otherness: Seductions of Difference (Channel View Press, 2014). He also contributed a chapter in this volume called “Introduction. Through Other Worlds.”

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Dr. Lisa Ruchti has been very busy:

  • She served as an expert on Al Jazeera America News Hour for the segment “Racism in Hospitals” (July 4). Watch it here.
  • She was interviewed for and quoted in the story “The Doctor Won’t See You Now” by Elijah Wolfson on Al Jazeera America Website (July 3)
  • She participated in the National Women’s Studies Association Curriculum Institute (competitive application) in Cincinnati, Ohio (June)
  • She was elected to a three-year term as director of the WCUPA Women’s and Gender Studies Program (spring)
  • She presented the paper Professional Intimacy: How to Teach New Nurses the Praxis of Care” at the annual meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society in Baltimore, MD (February)
  • Her book, Catheters, Slurs, and Pickup Lines: Professional Intimacy in Hospital Nursing, was nominated for a Mirra Komarovsky Book Award, Eastern Sociological Society

In addition, Dr. Ruchti received three grants recently:

  • CAS Student Engagement Grant ($4,400) to implement WE2: Women’s Education and Empowerment to recruit and retain women of color students at WCU, Fall 2014
  • CAS Diversity Grant ($8,000) to conduct research on WE2: Women’s Education and Empowerment to recruit and retain women of color students at WCU, Fall 2014
  • CAS Diversity Grant ($6,000) to plan WE2: Women’s Education and Empowerment to recruit and retain women of color students at WCU, Spring 2014

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Dr. Paul Stoller presented a plenary lecture titled "Storytelling and the Evocation of the Social” at the biannual meetings of the European Association of Social Anthropologists in Tallinn, Estonia (July 31-August 3).

 

In addition, Dr. Stoller’s new book, Yaya's Story: The Quest for Well-Being in the World, will be published in October by The University of Chicago Press.

 

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Dr. Julie Wiest presented four papers recently:

  • “Hyped Help: Public Perceptions of Criminal Profiling,” presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems in San Francisco, CA (August)
  • Representations of Smart People on Television and in Movies,” presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction in San Francisco, CA (August)
  •  “Casting Cultural Monsters: Media Representations of Serial Murderers,” presented at the 12th Global Conference on Monsters and the Monstrous at Oxford University, UK (July)
  • “Theorizing the Impact of (Mis)Representations of Serial Murder in American Media,” presented at the annual meeting of the Southern Sociological Society in Charlotte, NC (April)

 

In addition, Dr. Wiest:

  • Was appointed to the Editorial Board for the Emerald Studies in Media and Communication book series (August)
  • Was elected to the Publications Committee of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction (June)
  • Served as a panelist for a session called “Strategizing Regional Chapter Development: Experiences of SWS-S” at the Winter Meeting of Sociologists for Women in Society in Nashville, TN (February)

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Dr. Jackie Zalewski presented the following conference papers in spring 2014:

  • "The Invisible Social Consequences and Costs of Reorganizing Work with IN-HOUSE Outsourcing" at the Eastern Sociological Society's annual meeting in Baltimore (February 23)
  • "Working, the Job, and Postindustrial Careers with Outsourcing:  Theorizing About Job Quality and Loss" at the Labor and Employment Relationships Association meeting in Philadelphia (January 4)

In addition, Dr. Zalewski was awarded an institutional grant and financial support for ongoing scholarly and pedagogical activities in the 2014-15 academic year:

  • A College of Arts and Sciences Student Engagement Grant, Project:  Increasing Student Engagement with Sociology and Sociological Research, Spring 2015
  • Sabbatical Leave, Project:  Rebadge, Reorganize, and Remake:  Restructuring             Organizations, Work, and Professional Lives with IN-House Outsourcing (book manuscript), Fall 2014

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Be sure to check back for more announcements about department students and faculty. See you around Old Library this fall!

Anthropology Sociology Professor group

Drs. McConatha, Becker, Stoller, and DeSousa outside Old Library