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Warm greetings and best wishes for a Happy New Year, from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington! While 2014 has just begun, our academic year is already in full swing. We are thrilled this year to welcome three faculty members who are new to the University of Washington, as well as two faculty members who have been hired into new positions after years of great contributions to the department.

New Faculty

Sara Gonzalez Square

Sara Gonzalez joins our archaeology faculty, and brings expertise in archaeology of colonialism, community and public archaeology, indigenous and feminist archaeology and historic anthropology. Trained at the University of California–Berkeley, Sara has focused her research geographically in Northern California, and expects to extend this work in the future to include sites in Washington State.

Sven Haakanson

Sven Haakanson comes to the University of Washington from Kodiak, Alaska, where he served as longtime director of the Alutiiq Museum. A member of the Old Harbor Alutiiq Tribe, trained in ethnoarchaeology at Harvard University, Haakanson focuses on making collections more accessible to Native communities by researching objects in the world’s museums and developing traveling exhibits, educational programs and resources. At the University of Washington he is jointly appointed as faculty in the Department of Anthropology, where he contributes to both the archaeology and the sociocultural anthropology programs, and as Curator of Native American Ethnology at the Burke Museum.

Matthew Taylor

Matthew Taylor, who comes to us from Texas, is a bioarchaeologist with expertise in skeletal biology, dental anthropology, forensic anthropology, and a particular interest in prehistoric populations in Texas and the Southwest. He brings experience that includes not only university teaching, but also a variety of different kinds of museum-based work, including work with several Native American tribes on Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) issues at different sites, including the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, the New York State Museum, and the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. He teaches courses on various topics, including human osteology, which contributes to both the biocultural anthropology and the archaeology programs.


We also congratulate and welcome two faculty members who have stepped into new positions this year, after already making excellent contributions to the department in other capacities. Patricia Kramer, who has been a vital member of the biocultural anthropology faculty since 2001, has recently accepted a new appointment as a tenured Associate Professor. She teaches a wide range of courses in biocultural anthropology, and pursues research concerning the evolution and functional morphology of human mobility, with a particular focus on the foot and the spine—an interest that draws upon her background as a structural engineer.


Holly Barker, whose research has long focused on the Marshall Islands and the environmental and health impacts of the United States nuclear testing program there, has recently accepted a joint appointment as Lecturer in Anthropology and Curator of Pacific and Asian Ethnology at the Burke Museum. She teaches courses on topics that include applied anthropology, anthropology of sport, and environmental justice—and in 2013, she was awarded both the University of Washington’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the Undergraduate Research Mentor Award.

In the News

These five and all of our faculty, as well as our 600+ undergraduate and graduate students, do great work every day in labs, field sites and classrooms, creating and sharing understanding about human life and human diversity. Some of this work occasionally makes headlines. You may have read an article in the Seattle Times sports section about UW student athletes exploring their heritage through independent study work with Holly Barker at the Burke Museum. Or you may have read a story in Real Change about sociocultural anthropology graduate student Graham Pruss’s research among people in Seattle who live in their vehicles. You may have read in the Arts & Sciences Perspectives magazine about the research ethics issues being addressed by the Biological Futures in a Globalized World initiative, spearheaded by Alison Wylie, with participation of Celia Lowe among others—or about Devon Peña’s field course on agroecology, exploring indigenous acequia irrigation techniques on-site in a high-altitude farming community in the Upper Rio Grande region of New Mexico. Or you may have seen the UW News feature profiling Faustine Dufka’s undergraduate honors research project, whose original research focused on grieving parents’ embrace of remembrance photography.

And let me share some other notable highlights that you may have missed: Miriam Kahn’s book Tahiti Beyond the Postcard: Power, Place, and Everyday Life, recently won a prize from the International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS). Alison Wylie, who is jointly appointed in Anthropology and Philosophy, was named Distinguished Woman Philosopher of 2013 by the Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP). And anthropology faculty and students have played key roles in several exciting new large-scale interdisciplinary research projects at the UW, such as the Mellon Foundation funded project on Climate Change, Global Health, Vulnerability and Resilience, of which Celia Lowe is one of the co-directors; and the Future of Ice project, in which Ben Fitzhugh has a leading role.

Speaking of ice, what I have mentioned here is only the tip of the iceberg. UW anthropologists (undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty) are busy every day creating and sharing understanding of our many diverse and interconnected ways of being human. Some of this work has been made possible by the support of our alumni and friends, which we deeply appreciate. Thank you for helping us to support financially needy and deserving students, enhance and extend the classroom experience, award prizes recognizing excellent student work and excellent teaching, recruit and support outstanding PhD students, and fund crucial pilot dissertation research for graduate students.

Look for more about all of this, in the new issue of AnthropoLog that will be coming to you in spring 2014. You will also be hearing from us soon, with invitations to a few events that we are planning, as fun and interesting opportunities for current anthropology students and faculty to connect with our broader community of alumni and friends. We intend to reprise last year’s successful “Career Night” event, sharing with current students advice and insights on some of the ways UW alums and friends have put their anthropology training to work outside of academic settings, as well as our “Puget Sound Anthropology” social gathering. For now, let me close by simply sending my best wishes to you, on behalf of the entire department. We deeply appreciate your friendship, and your support for anthropology. May 2014 bring health, peace, and happiness, for you and for all the world.


Janelle Taylor Signature
Janelle Taylor
Anthropology Chair

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