About Sociology & Anthropology

Official blog of the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at the University of Puget Sound.

SOAN Students and Faculty Win Major Research Awards at PSA’s 2017 Conference

SOAN students and faculty have for many years presented their research at the Pacific Sociological Association’s (PSA) Annual Meeting. This year’s meeting, held in Portland, April 6-9, 2017, was no exception. Besides four SOAN faculty participating in the conference, five SOAN students presented their original senior thesis research, including Kylie Young, Lizzy Chao, Annie Krepack, Leonard Henderson, and Allison Nasson, with each receiving in-depth feedback from faculty discussants and participants at their roundtables. We are proud of each of our SOAN students, who presented fascinating research on topics as diverse as “farmwives” and changing gender identities in rural communities, parental control over school lunches, hip-hop in global and local settings, and more.

This year we are also pleased to share the exciting news that SOAN major Allison Nasson and SOAN Associate Professor of Sociology Jennifer Utrata won two major research awards announced at PSA. These awards are significant given that the PSA, the oldest of sociology’s regional associations, includes sociology departments from the entire Pacific region of North America, including California, Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alberta in Canada, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Alaska, Wyoming, and more, with only one recipient in each award category.

At the Presidential Address and Awards Ceremony on Friday evening, Allison Nasson, a senior SOAN student, won the 2017 Distinguished Undergraduate Student Paper Award for her paper entitled “Donor-Friendly Victimhood: Narrative Construction as a Fundraising Strategy.” The paper, lauded for its high professional quality, and building on her summer research award work, examines how personal narratives have become a key fundraising tool for nonprofits as they compete for attention and funding. It argues that studying the selection, manipulation, and circulation of these stories provides insight into which identities are being privileged, whose stories are going untold, and the potential ramifications of these trends.

Allison&AwardChair

SOAN senior Allison Nasson receiving the 2017 PSA Undergraduate Student Paper Award from Dr. Kposowa, Awards Committee Chair and Professor of Sociology, UC-Riverside.

We are impressed by Allison’s achievement, and cannot help but feel some SOAN pride more generally given that this is the second consecutive year and the fifth time in the past decade that a Puget Sound SOAN student has won one of these highly competitive undergraduate student paper awards.

At the same awards ceremony, Jennifer Utrata, Associate Professor of Sociology in the SOAN Department, was awarded the 2017 PSA Distinguished Scholarship Award for her book, Women without Men: Single Mothers and Family Change in the New Russia (Cornell, 2015). The award recognizes major intellectual contributions embodied in a recently published book or a series of at least three articles on a common theme.

PSA-2017-Jennifer-PSAaward

Prof. Jennifer Utrata receiving the PSA Distinguished Scholarship Award from Dr. Judith Hennessy, Central Washington University.

Utrata’s book illuminates Russia’s “quiet revolution” in family life through examining the puzzle of how single motherhood, frequently seen as a social problem in other contexts, became taken for granted in Russia. The ambitious book uses the Russian case of growing single motherhood during the transition to capitalism to think theoretically and critically about assumptions in U.S.-focused scholarship on family change, poverty, and gender relations. Last year her book won the other coast’s major award, the Eastern Sociological Society’s Mirra Komarovsky Book Award.

Traditionally SOAN faculty presenting research, organizing sessions, or serving as discussants on panels gather together with student presenters over dinner. This year we had plenty of celebratory toasts and discussions, and we look forward to gathering together in future years with students presenting their original research.

PSA2017-SOANdinnerphoto

SOAN Sociology Professors and students gathered for dinner at PSA: Jason Struna (and adorable son!), Kylie Young, Lizzy Chao, Annie Krepack, Jennifer Utrata, Ben Lewin, John Parker (Arizona State), and Leonard Henderson.

Would you like to join us at next year’s PSA? Are you interested in learning more about the SOAN major and its opportunities for conducting, and presenting, independent research? Then be sure to drop by the SOAN Research Symposium, to be held this Friday, April 21st from 3:30-5:30 in the Tahoma Room…all are welcome, refreshments provided.

Congratulations to Allison Nasson, Prof. Utrata, and all of the students and faculty who participated in this year’s PSA!

Advertisements

SOAN Major Elena Becker Wins 1st Place at the SfAA Student Poster Competition

We are very pleased to share the news that SOAN major Elena Becker (’17) has won first place at the 2017 Society for Applied Anthropology’s Student Poster Competition in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her winning poster, titled Impacts of Development Discourse on Appropriate Technology “Solutions,” drew on fieldwork conducted in Madagascar, which was subsequently developed into her SOAN and Honors Program thesis. In addition to the stiff competition from her SOAN peers, the SfAA’s Student Poster Competition draws entrants from colleges and universities across the country and beyond, including many graduate students, so winning first place is an extremely impressive accomplishment. We asked Elena to describe her research and experience attending the SfAA conference:

Elena Becker with her poster at the Society for Applied Anthropology conference.

When I went to Madagascar to study abroad in 2015 I had a vague idea that my required, month-long research would somehow involve rural to urban migrations and the preservation of cultural practices in cities. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. When I actually got to Antananarivo I started noticing small, metal cookstoves littering the streets. These stoves (called fatapera) were sold on every corner, used in street food stalls, and fired up in middle-class homes three times a day. Their omnipresence piqued my interest, and I ultimately focused my research on how researchers can apply characteristics of traditional stoves to alternative models in order to increase the latter’s popularity.

I re-appropriated this fieldwork when it came time to write my senior thesis in the fall of 2016. Although I kept my focus on the cookstove case study, I created a new framework for it, this time focusing on the way that development organizations (inaccurately) imagine and engage with the Global South as they develop and distribute technologies that they imagine to be “appropriate” for those spaces. A few weeks ago I was fortunate to present this research in poster form at the 2017 Society for Applied Anthropology conference in Santa Fe, NM. As I’ve found in previous years, this was a great opportunity to meet other students, engage with professional anthropologists, and to get feedback on my work and I left the conference with lots of exciting ideas and new directions to explore!

Congratulations on receiving this well-deserved recognition for your insightful work, Elena!

-Gareth

Anthropology Takes Center Stage at This Year’s Southeast Asia Symposium

Our third annual Southeast Asia Symposium, which takes place this Friday and Saturday, will incorporate programming of interest to folks from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives, but particularly those interested in anthropology, ethnomusicology, and art. The events are free and open to the public.

handle_without_care__1996-97__brisbane_low-2

Arahmaiani

The symposium is the centerpiece of our Southeast Asia Program, and provides a forum for undergraduates who have participated in our LIASE fieldschool courses to share their research with the broader campus community, while also serving as a forum for Northwest scholars whose research or pedagogy addresses Southeast Asian environmental and cultural topics to come together and collaborate. This year marks our first faculty panel on Southeast Asia’s role in the liberal arts, which includes three anthropologists discussing topics ranging from gender to music to mediation of distance.

Peter Brosius. Photo by Paul Efland.

Peter Brosius. Photo by Paul Efland.

The symposium takes place this October 28-29, with keynote talks on both evenings: on Friday the 28th, renowned environmental anthropologist Peter Brosius will speak on his pioneering work on cultural approaches to conservation and environmental activism.

On Saturday the 29th, Arahmaiani, an internationally known Indonesian performance artist, women’s rights activist, and political dissident, will discuss her work and career.

We will be having batik workshops on both days as well (sign up in advance), using sustainable, naturally derived dyes.

The symposium concludes Saturday evening with a free performance of Indonesian music by the Northwest’s premiere Javanese music ensemble, Gamelan Pacifica, in Rasmussen Rotunda.

Gamelan Pacifica

Gamelan Pacifica

The full schedule is available online here, with links to more information on each event. We hope to see you there!

Salam hangat,
Gareth

Indonesia Field Course Interest Meeting

2017 Field School Course Interest Meeting

Wednesday, October 12th at 4pm in Murray Boardroom

The Puget Sound LIASE Southeast Asia Program offers a field course each spring and summer, involving a semester of study on campus, and then a subsidized trip to Indonesia at the end of the semester (mid-May to early June). The 2017 Southeast Asia field school course is SOAN 312, which will be taught by Gareth Barkin, and which is cross-listed with Global Development Studies and Asian Studies. The course will cover the anthropology of Southeast Asia with a focus on Indonesian cultural and environmental topics. Those interested must complete an application, as there is usually competition for available spaces in the course. Students who are accepted to the course will attend class throughout the spring semester, and then travel to Central Java, Indonesia, for a three-week period of intensive, experiential learning, cultural socialization, and individual research projects.

Come to the interest meeting to learn more about the application process, the course focus, subsidized trip expenses, the timeline, and the abroad experience in Indonesia.

The University of Puget Sound’s Southeast Asia programming is made possible with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, via the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE).

SOAN Club Social on Friday, May 13

Salmon Beach

The SOAN Club invites you to come celebrate the end of a great semester!

On Friday, May 13th we’ll be hosting an informal gathering at Andrew Gardner’s house (cabin 56) at Salmon Beach to wrap up this academic year. Feel free to drift in and out any time between 4 and 8pm. If your family is in town you’re welcome to bring them too! The more the merrier.

Salmon Beach is about fifteen minutes away by car, and at least one SOAN club leader will be driving. If you’d like to come but need a ride email Elena Becker at esbecker@pugetsound.edu to coordinate. If you want to drive yourself and you have never been to the Beach before, shoot Andrew (gardner@pugetsound.edu) a quick email for directions and parking instructions. It’s pretty straightforward, but you’ll need a code for the gate. And while we’ll have a few snacks around, you should bring your own food or drink.

Congratulations on making it to May, and we’ll see you on the 13th!

Note from Andrew: Carpool if you can, bring something if you want!

Professor Denise Glover talks about her new album

front cover only

We asked our colleague, Professor Denise Glover, to talk about her new album! Here’s what she had to say:

To kick off the new year, I released a new album, titled Pathways. This is my first solo album (which just means that it is a work separate from membership in my band, Rosin in the Aire). Although a “solo” album, I am incredibly indebted to the amazing musicians that joined me, including Puget Sound’s very own Professor Don Share (P&G Dept, and in several bands), who plays guitar and sings harmony on two cuts. The songs (lyrics and music) are all my own with the exception of one song (my husband wrote the lyrics for “Your Face”). We started on this project back in March of 2015, with our first recording date at David Lange Studios in April and our last in October 2015 (I did research in China during part of the summer, and we were all very busy). My producer, Julian Smedley, an accomplished musician and producer, plays impressive guitar, fiddle, and viola throughout. Also joining me was Cary Black (Kathy Kallick Band) on bass, Bob Knetzger (The Debutones) on dobro and pedal steel, Jeff Busch (multiple bands) on percussion, Ben Smith (Heart) on drums, David Lange (Pearl Django, and a Puget Sound graduate!) on accordion, and two of my bandmates from Rosin in the Aire, JP Wittman on fiddle and Allan Walton on banjo. In addition to singing, I play mandolin and guitar on the album.

As some of you may know, as an undergraduate I studied music. It was fun, but my path branched off to the study of anthropology after that and I was fully consumed. After finishing my PhD, I found a way to balance my academic and musical lives, which makes me very happy and grateful—one feeds my mind, the other my soul. Several of my songs reflect my anthropological outlook on life, from writing about the human condition, travel, love, and family, to being self-reflective about one’s own short-comings. “Deep History” is a song that starts out talking about my own family history, and then expands to talk about the history of our species, tracing back to mitochondrial Eve in Africa, and how all humans are relatives (a point too easily forgotten). I wrote “Pietracatella” after exploring my own family roots in Italy and visiting my great grand-mother’s natal village (after which the song is named). “Along the Path” came to me when I first started studying Buddhism and became interested in Asia (many years ago). A recent song I wrote, but not on the album, is titled “Medicine Man” and is inspired by the research I have done with Tibetan doctors in China’s SW.

I experienced my first live radio interview a couple of weeks ago (interesting to be on the “other” end of the interview—since we anthropologists interview people a lot of the time), and on February 19th we will be having a CD release party in Seattle at Egan’s Ballard Jam House. If you would like to learn more about my music, please visit www.deniseglovermusic.com  or www.facebook.com/deniseglovermusic Here is the first cut on Pathways, one of my favorites (and Don Share plays and sings on this one): “High Plains Drifter”  [here is the link to insert, to hyperlink: https://soundcloud.com/denise-glover-258307458/high-plains-drifter  ]

Thanks for reading/listening!

Denise