Puget Sound SOAN Students at the Society for Applied Anthropology meeting in Santa Fe

Hi all,

Over the past decade, SOAN students have been a regular feature at the annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA). The SfAA uniquely convenes academic anthropologists with a constellation of ‘practitioners’ — anthropologists who use their degree(s) to work in international development, public health, international development, the non-profit sector, and a variety of other areas. This year, the annual meeting was held in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Seven students participated in the poster session, which provided them the opportunity to present their research and receive feedback from numerous conference attendees. And as usual, our students’ research widely impressed the anthropologists at the conference. Here’s a quick list of the Puget Sound students’ poster titles.

Elena Augustine’s project, Pro-Life Direct Activists’ Affect on Planned Parenthood Patients and Employees, explored how pro-life activism shapes clinic dynamics and defense tactics in the greater Tacoma area.

Elena Becker’s project, Impacts of Development Discourse on Appropriate Technology “Solutions,” distilled her fieldwork in Madagascar and her subsequent senior thesis work into a critique of the contemporary development paradigm.

Maria Birrell presented her senior thesis project, entitled Applying Feminist Theory to Indigenous Archaeology, which explores how feminist archaeological theory has reshaped the practice of archaeological fieldwork in the Pacific Northwest.

Sam Carp’s summer research exploring agricultural practices in Ghana, further extrapolated for his senior thesis, was distilled in his project poster, entitled, Understanding the Role of Subsistence Farming in a Developing Nation. In that project, Sam emphasizes the food security role of local markets and subsistence farming.

Emma Erler’s project, A Forged Dichotomy between Biomedicine and Traditional Healing Practices: An Ethnographic Study of Sikkim Dichotomy, builds on her ethnographic research during her semester abroad in India, exploring the dialectic between the biomedical paradigm and traditional, historic healing practices in India.

Kathryn Stutz’s project, Transnational Museum Networks Passing Through Qatar: The Balance of Communication, Curation, and Culture, distilled her AHSS summer research project in Qatar amidst the astonishing bloom of new museums there. This project examines some o the complex processes and relations discernible in the the process of establishing these museums, their exhibit, and their content.

Ariel Ziegler’s senior project, entitled National Parks for All?: Exploration of African American Accessibility of US National Parks, uses an ethnographic methodology to explore differential access to America’s archipelago of national parks.

As noted, Puget Sound has established a perennial footprint at the Society for Applied Anthropology, and these students’ work set the pace for the annual poster session. Congrats to all involved for another successful conference.



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.

Elena Becker, presentation and award!

Junior Elena Becker will be deliver a afternoon lecture about her research in Borneo. The project, entitled Cultural Authenticity and the Impacts of Cultural Tourism in Malaysian Borneo, was the result of an AHSS summer research grant from the University of Puget Sound. Come check it out!

What: Elena Becker’s Summer Research Presentation
When: Wednesday, February 17, 4:00 – 5:00 PM
Where: MC309

And there’s more! Elena recently received IMG_6174confirmation that her paper had been awarded second place in the Society for Applied Anthropology’s Peter K. New Award. Research for her paper, entitled Malagasy Cookstove Use and the Potential for Alternative Models: A Case Study in Madagascar’s Vakinankaratra Region, was conducted during her semester abroad with the School of International Training (SIT), and built on the ethnographic fieldwork skills she developed in the department. The competition pitted her paper against a slew of excellent, PhD-level submissions, which marks her award as particularly impressive.

The award honors the late Peter Kong-ming New, a distinguished medical sociologist-anthropologist and former president of the SfAA. The prize is awarded to papers which exemplify applied research in the social/behavioral sciences. Second place in the SfAA’s competition comes with a substantial, $1500 stipend, travel monies to help facilitate attendance the conference in Vancouver this March, and an invitation to submit the paper to the society’s flagship journal, Human Organization, for potential publication.

Congratulations, Elena. We’re so proud of you!








SOAN Students at the SfAA Conference in Pittsburgh

Hi all,

Puget Sound students at the Pittsburgh SfAA Poster Session

Puget Sound students at the Pittsburgh SfAA Poster Session. Clockwise from upper left: Mason Constantino, Reilly Rosbotham, Mally Wyld and Elena Becker.

Seven Puget Sound students just returned from the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) annual meeting in Pittsburgh, PA. The SfAA is the second largest annual gathering of anthropologists, and it attracts both practitioners and academics who work in heath, development, environmental change, education, migration, and a constellation of other topics.

Six Puget Sound students participated in the poster session — a session that’s a perennially popular event at the SfAA. Students (and others) prepare a poster that details their research project, and hundreds of conference attendees explore and discuss these projects with students. Amongst many others in the audience, Puget Sound students discussed their research with H.Russell Bernard, Brian Burke, David Hoffman and Erin Dean.

Most of these posters detail the students’ senior thesis projects in SOAN — projects in progress this semester. Sophomore Elena Becker presented the findings from her independent project from SOAN 299: Ethnographic Methods, and Parker Raup (IPE) presented a poster about his summer research project in Tanzania. Altogether, here are the titles of those posters:

Parker Raup

Parker Raup

  • Mason Constantino (Puget Sound) Empowerment through Care: An Ethnographic Examination of a Youth Gardening and Sustainable Living Education Program in Tacoma, WA
  • Elena Becker (Puget Sound) Generational Change in Durable Intentional Communities
  • Kasey Janousek (Puget Sound) The Fashionista’s Dilemma: The Identity Politics of Following Fashion Trends
  • Parker Raup (Puget Sound) Defending Pastoralism: Livelihood Diversification and Competing Currencies in Northern Tanzanian Maasailand
  • Kasey Janousek

    Kasey Janousek

    Reilly Rosbotham (Puget Sound) Imagining the Wild: Conceptions of What MakesLand Wild among proponents of Wilderness Conservation and Re-Wilding Efforts in Western Washington

  • Mally Wyld (Puget Sound) Our Daily Choices: Analyzing How and Why We Eat What We Eat

Notably, Erica Hann also had a poster in the session. Erica graduated from Puget Sound (IPE) in 2011, and she previously won an award at this very poster session. Nowadays, she’s completing her Master’s Degree in Geography at Pennsylvania State University.

Elize Zeidman's presentation

Elize Zeidman’s presentation

While most students presented posters, SOAN senior Elise Zeidman presented a paper as part of a session presenting undergraduate research, organized by Tara Hefferan (GVSU). Elise’s paper — Migrants Search For Asylum from Narco Violence — captivated the audience, and resonated with many other and papers at the conference this year.

My own paper, entitled An Ethnographic Assessment of Transnational Labor Migrants’ Experiences In Qatar’s Justice System, comprised a description of that recently-completed project and report, followed by a discussion of the reception of that report by an invited audience of policymakers, ministry officials, and other stakeholders in the Qatar Justice system.

The SfAA conference will be in Vancouver, BC next year, and we’re hoping for an even larger Puget Sound presence at that meeting.