Kathryn Stutz’s AHSS summer research plans

Hi all,

As many of you know, students at the University of Puget Sound can compete for funding to support summer research endeavors. Our department’s students were particularly successful last year, and again this year we’ve had numerous proposals successfully funded. In short, the AHSS Summer Research Awards, varying from $3250 to $3750, allow students to pursue an in-depth research project over the summer months. I’ve asked each of this year’s batch of students to tell us a little bit about what they’ll be doing with their time, energy, and grant monies in the coming summer. Here’s what Kathryn had to say about her new project:


Style options, from the material detritus of the central neighborhood razed for new development in Doha, and now part of the collection in one of the three new Mshereib Museums.

This summer, I’ll be examining how museums in different national contexts communicate notions of individual identity, community, ethnicity, nationality, and global citizenship. 

 My journey will start off in Doha, the capital city of Qatar, a prosperous nation on the Arabian peninsula. As Qatar has risen on the world stage in recent years, foreign professionals have been brought in to consult on many design projects, including the construction of several new national museums. By conducting ethnographic interviews with museum staff and consultants, I’ll investigate how these transnational connections affect curation and exhibit design, and how the new Qatari museums communicate their national identity, and place themselves within the global museum scene.
Following several weeks in Qatar, I’ll travel to London, the home base for several museum consultancy firms involved in the Doha-area construction. There, I’ll attempt to unravel the other end of the transnational museum design business, and see how consultants mediate differences between their own culture and the culture in which they create exhibit-based narratives. I’ll also compare Qatar’s museums with historically-entrenched, traditional museum efforts in London and in other prominent cities around Western Europe. 
This project will allow me to expand upon several themes I’ve uncovered while studying issues of identity and indigeneity in the museums of the Pacific Northwest, and to begin to get a feel for the enormous scale of the museum networks in our globalizing world. I’m so excited to get started on this research! 
We’re really excited about this research, Kathryn, and as I know from experience — there are so many interesting things going on in museums in Qatar. You know that it’s on the hotter side there in the summer, right?

SOAN Senior Research Symposium Today!


A scene from last year’s SOAN Senior Symposium

Hi all,

The SOAN Seniors will be presenting their research on posters today in the Rotunda. Stop by and check out the fascinating and diverse projects of our department’s seniors.

SOAN Senior Research Symposium
Rotunda, 1:00 to 3:00
Thursday, April 28
Some food and drink available

And note that there’s an informal SOAN reception at Engine House 9 (E9) afterwards, from 5 to 7. Please join us!


Dr. Farah Al-Nakib on the Urban History of Kuwait

Farah al-Nakib_0Dr. Farah Al-Nakib, an Assistant Professor of History at the American University of Kuwait and the Director of the Center for Gulf Studies, will visit Puget Sound on Monday evening. Her lecture will encapsulate her new book, Kuwait Transformed: A History of Oil and Urban Life (Stanford University Press).

In this book, Al-Nakib traces how decades of urban planning, suburbanization, and privatization eroded the open and tolerant society that had long existed on the northern shores of the Arabian Gulf, resulting in the insularity, xenophobia, and divisiveness that characterizes social relation in Kuwait today. In her analysis, the story of this tectonic shift is written into the urban landscape of Kuwait City.

Key Information:
Date: Monday, April 25, 2016
Where: Wyatt 109
Time: 6:00 to 7:30 PM

Here’s some additional information. We hope to see you there!

2016 Al Nakib Lecture Puget Sound 2


Warren King George speaks on campus tomorrow evening!

kinggeorgeASUPS Lectures is hosting Warren KingGeorge of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe to speak on campus on April, 20th, this Wednesday at 6:30pm in the Tahoma Room.

Warren is the Oral Historian for the Muckleshoot tribe. His talk is titled The Importance of Place, and he will be speaking on issues of sovereignty, resources, and co-management facing Indian tribes today.

We hope you can be there!


Danya Axelrad-Hausman Wins Major Award


Danya receiving the Distinguished Undergraduate Student Paper award at the Pacific Sociological Association annual conference in Oakland, California.

Senior Danya Axelrad-Hausman has won the 2016 Pacific Sociological Association’s Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Student Paper for her senior thesis essay titled “Responses to Environmentalism and Environmental Policy as Mechanisms of Exclusion.” The PSA represents the entire U.S. West Coast and this award is given to only one student per year, so it represents a significant honor. Danya told us that she is very honored to have received the award, and had a great experience presenting her research at the PSA meetings.

Danya’s research focuses on how racial identity, gender, and other sociocultural factors influence environmental activism, and unpacks racialized constructs surrounding environmental purity. Danya shared her paper’s abstract with us:

Taking into account the unique sociocultural and sociopolitical climate that shapes the contemporary environmental justice discourse, this paper provides an account of the processes of identity formation that individuals and communities undergo when participating in environmental justice movements. Specifically, this research examines how socioeconomic status, race and gender influence participation in environmental justice advocacy. Through this approach I address the following questions: How are individuals and groups harnessing social and cultural factors, such as gender, socioeconomic status and racial identity, to drive activism? How does identity shape environmental activism and social movements, and how is environmental activism ultimately shaped by identity? Finally, I examine the policies and discourses that are shaped by racialized notions of environmental purity and ultimately reinforce systems of exclusion and marginalization. Through the examination of these driving questions I find that individual identity influences conceptions of the environment, environmentalism and structures of power. The construction of collective identity by environmental justice organization and activists connects the physical and social realities of environmental injustice. Finally, a perceived disconnect between the environmental movement and the environmental justice movement perpetuates a tangible disconnect and barrier to the environmental justice movement meeting its goals on an institutional level.

Elena Becker wins the SfAA Peter New Prize

Hi all,


Elena receiving her award at the Vancouver meeting, 2016.

I’m extremely proud to announce that Elena Becker was recently awarded the second place prize in the Society for Applied Anthropology‘s annual Peter K. New Award. The research/paper competition is named after applied anthropologist Peter Kong-ming New, formerly the president of the Society for Applied Anthropology, as well as chairman of the Medical Sociology section of the American Sociological Association. Elena’s prize includes a $1500 stipend and an invitation to submit her paper to the society’s flagship journal, Human Organization. In competition with numerous graduate students with dissertation-focused social scientists, it’s particularly noteworthy that an undergraduate received this award. She joins a list of previous winners that includes anthropologists and sociologists now on faculty at Harvard, CUNY, UMass, and many other excellent universities. That list of winners also includes anthropologist Brian Burke, who recently visited Puget Sound for a research talk with students.

Elena’s winning paper, Malagasy Cookstove Use and the Potential for Alternative Models: A Case Study in Madagascar’s Vakinankaratra Region, exemplified applied anthropology. Using an ethnographic methodology honed in coursework at Puget Sound, Elena deployed those skills to explore how the adoption of new cooking technology might fit with the cultural and practical norms of rural Madagascar. Notably, research for this project was conducted as part of her semester abroad with the School of International Training.

We’re very proud of you, Elena!




SOAN Students at the SfAA Meeting in Vancouver

Hi all,

Five students from the SOAN department recently returned from the annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) in Vancouver, Canada. The SfAA is the second largest society in anthropology, and connects a variety of academic anthropologists with practitioners in the fields of international development, education, public health, conservation, and much more.


Marshall Glass

In addition to attending numerous sessions at the conference, all five students participated in the conference’s large and energetic poster session.

Marshall Glass (’16) presented a poster about the research agenda he first began exploring in SOAN 299: Ethnographic Methods, and has now carried into the research-based senior thesis track offered by the department. His poster and project, entitled A Survey of the Differing Experiences and Culture Present among Various Realms of the Narcotics World, fit well in the thematic foci that coalesce at the SfAA.


Carolynn Hammen

Carolynn Hammen (’16) also presented a poster about her senior thesis project currently underway. Her project and poster, entitled Understanding the Latino Paradox: An Ethnographic Exploration of Cultural Preservation in Relation to Health, is perfectly located at the juncture between migration studies and public health — the culmination of the research interests she’s developed in the SOAN department. She’s currently wrapping up the fieldwork portion of this project in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area!

Sam Carp (’17) presented a poster about the project he completed in SOAN 299: Ethnographic


Sam Carp

Methods. His project and poster, entitled Relationships to Food: How Technological Limitations Inspire Individual Responsibility, explored how food choices shift as a result of technological limitations — in this case, how the separation between cars and residences at Tacoma’s Salmon Beach impacts individual decisions about food. His paper, and Sam’s broader research agenda, finds the synergy between the methods and topics of SOAN and a concern with our environmental future.


Elena Becker


Elena Becker (’17) presented a poster about her AHSS summer research project in Malaysian Borneo. That poster and project, entitled Cultural Authenticity and the Impacts of Cultural Tourism in Malaysian Borneo, used an ethnographic methodology to look at cultural tourism in Borneo — work that is described in more detail here. This poster was presented in addition to the paper she presented earlier the same day.

Finally, Kathryn Stutz (’17) presented a poster about the project she conducted in SOAN 299: Ethnographic Methods. That project, entitled Native Identity in Pacific Northwest Coast


Kathryn Stutz and her prize-winning poster

Museums and Cultural Institutions, revisited some of the issues described by historian James Clifford in his pathbreaking work about Northwest museums and the presentation of indigeneity. Congrats to Kathryn for her excellent work!

At the poster session, students were able to network with a variety of anthropologists and other social scientists. Russel Bernard even stopped by to check out their posters! Several students received offers to publish their work, and others were able to survey the possibilities for Masters and PhD programs for their coming years. Finally, after an amazing and impressive day for Puget Sound students, we had a celebratory dinner at Sura Korean Restaurant.


The aforementioned celebratory dinner at Sura.


Elena and Kathryn talking with Dr. Diane Austin, Director of the University of Arizona’s School of Anthropology (and my advisor in graduate school …) at the SfAA’s Sustaining Fellows reception in the hotel’s penthouse suite.