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Fall 2012

Alumni Newsletter

Lake Michigan Hall

In this issue

Letter from the Chair . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Retiring Faculty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Anthropologists in the Field . . . . . . . 3

New Faculty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Scholarship Recipients . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Faculty Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Where are They Now? . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

Alumni Updates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Distinguished Alumni . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Updates from the Lab . . . . . . . . . . 8

This First Print Edition is made possible with the support of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Alumni Relations, and the Grand Valley State University Club. Due to the cost of printing, subsequent editions will only be deliverable by email. Please send your updated email to

Letter from the Chair Deana Weibel

2012-2013 is bringing all kinds of changes.

The first I’ll mention is that I’m newly installed as the chair of the anthropology department. Not all of you have met me, so let me offer a brief introduction. I’m Deana Weibel, I started teaching in the GVSU anthropology department during the 2003-2004 school year, and my area of research is the anthropology of religion, especially pilgrimage, mostly in France. Some of you may have taken ANT 315, Comparative Religions, with me. Also this year we have a brand new faculty member in linguistic anthropologist Michael Wroblewski, and you see before you our very first electronic Alumni Newsletter! I’m very excited to tell you about some of the other happenings occurring in the department this year.

We have arriving faculty (Michael Wroblewski), retiring faculty (Cindy Hull), and faces from the past who are joining us again. GVSU anthropology alumni Christina Mello and Jordan Karsten are both teaching as adjunct professors for the department this year, and both finishing their Ph.D.s. The rest of our faculty have been keeping very busy as usual – Liz Arnold participated in an amazing dig at Tell es-Safi in Israel, Jan Brashler ran the archaeology field school with the help of Dale Borders, Azizur Molla conducted medical anthropology research in Haiti, Gwyn Madden took students to investigate interaction between culture and the environment in Ukraine, Heather Van Wormer took students to Wilderland, an intentional commu-

nity in New Zealand, Mark Schwartz continued his exploration of Lake Michigan shipwreck archaeology…and some of us (like me) had quieter summers, writing up research and preparing for the new school year.

The Anthropology Club (which has a Facebook presence at is going strong with lots of activities this year. They just had a very successful Paleo-Olympics event that you may have seen covered in the GVSU Lanthorn ( article/2012/09/paleo-olympic-games). And since I’m giving you lots of links (I figure if we’re doing an online newsletter it’s appropriate), I’ll direct you now to the official Facebook page for GVSU Anthropology Alumni: groups/57877596033/?ref=ts . I’d encourage you to join the group – it’s a great way to stay in touch and to keep abreast of what’s happening in the lives of your fellow anthropology majors. Plus we’ll keep updating the page with alumni events – we’ve got a special alumni party planned for winter semester 2013, and we’ll have all the details on Facebook as soon as we have them worked out. And by the way, thanks to everyone who participated in the Alumni Survey last spring! We’re thrilled to have this new electronic newsletter to stay connected to you all. Please give us feedback and make suggestions for future issues! And don’t hesitate to contact any of us to say hi. We’d love to hear from you. Cheers, Deana Weibel Associate Professor and Chair Anthropology Department, GVSU Email:

Tell Us Your Story! Keep in touch with the GVSU Anthropology department and alumni by sharing your story. Tell us of your adventures, challenges, and successes in life as an anthropologist after graduation. Contact Kristina Wieghmink, Anthropology Lab Supervisor at to submit your story to share. 2

Anthropologists in the Field During the summer of 2012, almost 50 students participated in three anthropology field projects sponsored by the University. Local field school students featured in the banner of the newsletter worked on four different sites in Ottawa and Muskegon Counties (led by Drs. Brashler and Borders). Nine students from this field school are presenting papers at the upcoming Midwest Archaeological Conference in Lansing Michigan in October 2012. Twelve students traveled to New Zealand with Dr. Heather Van Wormer and worked in an eco-village (featured in the next newsletter). Dr. Gwyn Madden took 18 students to work on a Neolithic Trypillian mortuary site in the Ukraine. Also, (featured in this newsletter) Dr. Liz Arnold’s new research in Israel is highlighted. Other faculty are engaged in local and distant research involving water quality in Haiti (Dr. Molla), underwater archaeology in the Great Lakes (Dr. Schwartz), and language research in South America (Dr. Wroblewski) just to name a few.

Look for updates in the next e-newsletter.

Congratulations Scholarship Recipients! Richard E. Flanders University Club Scholarship: Shelby Woodby, Nick Freeman, Stephanie Price, Aaron Santa Maria, Mara Deckinga, & Kylen Pattermann

Walton Boston Koch Scholarship: Kelsey Hanson, Addison Herreman, & Patrick Schaefer

Quimby Scholarship: Emily Teall


Where are they now? Anthropology Alumni

by Andrew Reid

I was born and raised in Durban, South Africa, and first travelled to Michigan in 2006 as a Rotary Long-Term Exchange student. Having fallen in love with the people and places I encountered during my short stay, I returned again to pursue further education and completed a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from Grand Valley University in Summer 2011. After returning to South Africa from the United States in August 2011, I lived in Durban at my family home while preparing Masters applications and updating myself on plant-related research in South Africa. I was successful with my applications and moved to Cape Town in February 2012 to take up a position in the Social Anthropology department at the University of Cape Town where I was awarded a Masters Research Scholarship.

currently considering PhD positions in social anthropology and ethnobotany at a number of universities in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom. Potential areas of research for my doctoral project include plant-human relations, pharmacognosy, Internet-based research collectives, and consciousness. Alternatively, I am interested in working for an organization committed to the advancement of cognitive liberty and the decriminalization of drugs. However, my immediate plan is to visit South America next year to learn more about plants and organic farming practices.

The program consists of four required courses, two of which I have already completed and the last of which I will finish at the end of October 2012, as well as a minor dissertation. My ethnographic research is focused on the the relations and agents composing the daily lives of Rastafari bush doctors (herbalists) in Cape Town, South Africa, and is – more generally – an examination of plant-human interactions in and around the city. In addition to taking courses and conducting fieldwork, I am tutoring a class of 16 students as part of their 3rd-year course in ethnographic research methods. If all goes according to plan, I will be finished with my dissertation and degree requirements by July 2013. Although I am not yet certain whether or not I will remain in academia after completing my Masters degree, I am

Distinguished Alumni

Troy M. Schindlbeck

2011 CLAS Distinguished Alumni-in-Residence

Troy M. Schindlbeck graduated in 1995 with a B.S. in Anthropology and a Minor in History. After serving as a field assistant with the GVSU Archaeology field school, Troy worked as an archaeological survey technician in Michigan preserving cultural resources on National Forest lands. Troy took employment in numerous consulting positions over the years, including working as field archaeologist for a WMU project, the Great Lakes Research Associates, and the Commonwealth Cultural Resource Group. In 2001, he founded his business, Cultural Resource Technologies (located in Spring Lake, Michigan), specializing in the manufacturing of products and tools - used in over 20 countries by professional archaeologists and cultural resource management firms. Troy’s career demonstrates the application of his anthropology training and enterprising skills to innovation and service in the field of archaeology.


Cindy Hull Retires

Professor Cindy Hull’s second ethnography is now available. It is entitled, “Chippewa Lake: A Community in Search of an Identity”. Her ethnography is the result of thirty years of residence in the small community of Chippewa Lake that has evolved from a small farming community and seasonal lake resort to a popular location for retirees and commuters. Cindy employed various anthropological techniques including longitudinal research, oral histories, historical research, and interviews with members of the community to understand the clash of values and culture between these groups of people. In the summer of 2004, six GVSU anthropology majors worked in the community with Cindy as part of a summer field school. Students conducted survey interviews and compiled the data in Atlas TI. The data collected from the interviews enhanced and fleshed out the complex issues of identity, stereotype, and cultural tensions in an otherwise homogeneous community. The publication of “Chippewa Lake” comes at a bitter-sweet time for Cindy as she plans to retire at the end of fall semester. As a graduate of Grand Valley State College (Sociology, 1972), she had no idea that she would return to her alma mater as an anthropology professor. Cindy was introduced to anthropology as a sociology major. She studied took courses from Dr. Walt Koch and Doc Flanders and participated in one of the summer archaeological field schools. She joined the full-time faculty at GVSU in 1991, and served as the first department chair of the autonomous Anthropology Department. Professor Hull lived and conducted research in Yucatan, Mexico and on the Micronesian island of Pohnpei. In 2004, she published her ethnography, “Katun” based on her more than twenty years of intermittent research trips to Yucatan.

Thank you Dr. Cindy Hull, Professor of Anthropology, for over 20 years of service and teaching at Grand Valley State University!

Welcome Michael Wroblewski

Michael Wroblewski received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Arizona in 2010. His research in Amazonian Ecuador combines cultural and linguistic anthropological approaches to the study of indigeneity, ethnolinguistic identity, and power and inequality. He examines the local articulation of national multiculturalist policies by members of Amazonian Kichwa communities, who are currently working to revitalize their native culture and language. His research contributes to a broader study of indigenous experiences within the contemporary Latin American sociopolitical order, focusing on the politics of language shift, planning, and ideology, interculturality, and selfrepresentation in indigenous media. In addition to his research in Latin America, Dr. Wroblewski has contributed to the ongoing study of regional variation in African American English (AAE) in the United States. His research in this area combines discourse and sociophonetic analyses of recorded speech from bilingual southern Louisiana, focusing on the connections between vowel phonology and racial identity. Hometown Santa Barbara, CA Education 2010 Ph.D. University of Arizona (Tucson AZ), Anthropology 2006 M.A. University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), Anthropology 2001 B.A. Middlebury College (Middlebury, VT), Major: Anthropology, Minor: Spanish Dissertation Title: “Voices of Contact: Politics of Language in Urban Amazonian Ecuador” Primary Funding: Wenner-Gren Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant; University of Arizona Excellence Graduate Fellowship

Description: My dissertation examines local indigenous ethnolinguistic identity politics within a changing Latin American sociopolitical context. This study is based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork among indigenous Kichwas in Amazonian Tena, a self-proclaimed “intercultural” city. Policy reforms and developing discourses of ethnicity and nationalism in Ecuador have opened up new possibilities for defining indigenous culture and citizenship. A Kichwa revitalization movement has been gaining ground in Tena, where native Amazonian culture is spotlighted in urban folklore exhibitions and cultivated in rural bilingual schools. Heated debates over the future of indigenous cultural reproduction have begun to center on language planning strategies, following the rise of pan-Indian activism and the introduction of a new national standard, “Unified Kichwa,” in bilingual schools. New culture planning policies have led to an increasingly polarized population of Tena Kichwas and a politicizing of everyday language use and cultural expression. Focusing on conversational interactions, expressive culture, native language planning policy, and local indigenous media projects, my dissertation explores the ways Tena Kichwas produce political ideologies, enact cultural change, and assert rights to self-representation and self-determination in everyday discourse.


Faculty Projects Tell es-Safi/Gath

by Dr. Elizabeth Arnold

This summer I began an exciting new archaeological field project in Israel. The site is Tell es-Safi/Gath, identified as the home of biblical Goliath as well as Medieval “Blanche Garde”. The site is one of the largest pre-classical sites in the Levant and has been settled continuously from late prehistoric through modern times. I am part of a large international and multi-disciplinary team that is investigating the Early Bronze Age (3 000 - 2500 BCE) neighborhood (Area E) at the site. The project is funded by a large-scale grant from the Canadian government’s Social Science and Humanities Research Council (awarded to PIs Dr. Haskel Greenfield – University of Manitoba, Canada and Dr. Aren Maeir – Bar Ilan University, Israel). The CAN$2.7 million grant will focus on a non-elite neighborhood, looking at how the regular folks lived. Our team includes researchers from Canada, Israel and other countries and we will be utilizing a variety of perspectives to study facets of daily life in one of the larger cities of the first stage of urban culture in the Southern Levant.

The large scale funding will enable a broad range of cuttingedge technological and analytical techniques to be used in this research, as well as comprehensive training of the next generation of students. My contribution to the project is the stable isotope analyses of domestic animals remains (primarily teeth) to examine how animals were brought to the site, distributed and consumed by its inhabitants. This kind of economic specialization is considered to be a key element in the development of cities. I have recently applied for additional funding to increase the number of samples for analysis as well as bring GVSU students to the field with me. This research is conducted as part of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project, directed by Prof. Aren Maeir, which is a long-term project (commenced in 1996) aimed at studying the cultural and environmental history of the site of Tell es-Safi/Gath and its environs. Our site director, Dr. Aren Maier keeps a fantastic blog for the site . . . check it out.

Stay Connected

Keep in touch! Go to Alumni Relations at

to enter your current mailing address and email to receive our next paperless e-newsletter. Also, find us on facebookGrand Valley State University Anthropology Alumni

Power of Giving Your gift to Grand Valley State University is an investment in the future of our students, West Michigan and our state. Go to or call 616-331-6000 or e-mail, to find out how your gift can make a difference in the lives of students.


Alumni Art Prize Entry Veronica Kirin

I’ve been creating since I was a child, from mud soup for my friends to stories for my mom and finger paint creations. Now my art takes a different turn. I like to make people think about their surroundings and attitude. I hope I can both inspire and challenge my viewers. The idea behind the piece is to facilitate anonymous community interaction and interest in each other. Through the eight mailboxes, each labeled with a different human condition/emotion, community members can either leave a message for someone in need of encouragement, or take one from the appropriate mailbox. The messages will be digitized every night to be simultaneously projected to the city. This installment is created to withstand the elements over the course of many years, rather than just one month. This not only gives participants the sentiment that their experience is, in fact, a legacy, but allows the piece to be considered a permanent installment should it be so lucky. It will work best in a highly trafficked and easily accessible area where wandering minds are close at hand. Check it out at

Entry Details: Year created: 2012, Width: 4.5 ft, Art form: 3-D, Depth: 1.5 ft, Medium: Wood and Miscellaneous Items, Height: 4.5 ft

Veronica Kirin is an avid traveler, but chooses Grand Rapids, MI as her home base. She participates in all forms of creativity, but her favorite experience is to include social movement and change into her pieces to challenge viewers.

Paleo Olympics games are an annual compilation of events that conclude Archaeology week.

Help a Student

Do you want to help a student develop their anthropology career?

The games, as well

as archaeology week, are co-sponsored by the Anthropology Club, the Classics Society, Archaeology Club, and the History club. Pictured at right Professor Mark Schwartz

If you have internship opportunities available or would like the chance to help mentor a student, please contact Dr. Mark Schwartz at Pictured Aaron Howe, 2012





Anthropology Department 1 Campus Drive Allendale, MI 49401

Pictured below Professor Elizabeth Arnold (right) & Kelsey Shaw (left)


Return Service Requested

Lab Update More recent alums know that as of 2001 the anthropology lab expanded space to 249 Lake Michigan Hall which serves as a lab classroom and research space for students as well as a place for the library, and teaching collections for bioarchaeology, primatology and archaeology. The basement lab of Lake Michigan is still the primary storage location and in spite of the devastating flood in 2011, the materials in the sub basement and basement lab have been rescued and replaced. None of the collections were damaged. Just this summer, the janitor’s closet between 253 LMH and 249 LMH was converted to a wet lab dedicated to the processing of animal remains to build the university faunal comparative collection. Most days, Dr. Arnold or her students can be found there working. We are excited at the prospect of moving and expanding our operations in 2014 when the new library opens and the big shuffle occurs opening the space on the south side of Lake Michigan Hall’s second floor, which will house the offices for the department and expand our lab space to include a small language lab and possibly a video production lab. Faunal Collection Processing Below Left: Wild Turkey & Bobcat, Below Right: Bat

Grand Valley State University is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution. It encourages diversity and provides equal opportunity in education, employment, all of its programs, and the use of its facilities. It is committed to protecting the constitutional and statutory civil rights of persons connected with the university. October, 2012 © 2012 Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley State University Anthropology Alumni Fall 2012 Newsletter  

Grand Valley State University Anthropology Alumni Fall 2012 Newsletter

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