Anthropology Online Academic Forums

The study of Anthropology promotes an understanding of self and of all humanity by exploring human nature from its beginnings to the present. There is perhaps no single field of study that can better prepare students to cope with the challenges of the 21st century than anthropology. Confronted with increasing global population, rapid technological change, rising tides of nationalism, and economic globalization, many look to the future with uncertainty. Anthropology provides understanding and answers based on a century of exploring the development of human nature, society, and culture. It is the only social science that seeks to understand both human biological and cultural variation in the past and in the present.

Anthropology Forums

Herbs, Herbalists & Healing in the Western Highlands of Kenya

Dayne Gradone
Anthropology Graduate Student, Chico State

Decorative Use: Image of Herbs, Herbalists and Healing in the Western highlands of Kenya PresentationDayne Gradone traveled to Kenya to learn the role indigenous herbalists, called chepkerichot, play in the provision of community health care. He learned about the methods and plants used in their healing practices, but he also returned with a passion for the land and its people. Gradone shares his experiences, including interviews with herbalists and medical staff at rural dispensaries. He also tells of his experiences in extended herb harvesting trips with the chepkerichot. Presentation time: 54 minutes | View Now

Mountain Maidu: Traditional Ecology & Medicine in Contemporary Spaces

Christina L. Quigley
Anthropology Student, Chico State

Decorative Use: Mountain Maidu Traditional Ecology & Medicine in Contemporary SpacesChristina Quigley pursues what she calls “de-colonized research” to learn about traditional ecology and indigenous land stewardship, and how those two things connect to a system of medicine. She believes in indigenous sovereignty and defines “de-colonized research” as learning about this subject from the Maidu people themselves. In doing so, she has found that ancestral ecological knowledge remains present in contemporary households and still influences how the Maidu people interact with the environment. Quigley’s research focuses on an area of the Sierra Nevada mountains that includes the town of Chester; most of the Maidu people who have shared their knowledge with her live in the Greenville and Susanville Rancherias. Presentation time: 49 minutes | View Now

Please note: This is a public anthropology lecture for learning and research. Research is presented about Indigenous California Traditional Ecological Knowledge through Mountain Maidu land stewardship and reclamation. Ancestral practices and system of medicine persist and emerge through creative ways in contemporary life.

Serendipity in My Teaching in Thailand & Chico

Dr. Tony Waters
Faculty, Chico State Sociology Department

Decorative: Serendipity in My Teaching in Thailand and ChicoGoogle the word “serendipity” and this is what you will see: “The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” Dr. Tony Waters lived and worked in Thailand for two years. He was invited to a university there to help set up a PhD program, but ended up experiencing so much more. Dr. Waters learned that the academic culture there was one of improvisation. Instructors are encouraged to pursue academic creativity, whether it is trying new classes, new research projects, or new ways of teaching. Presentation time: 47 minutes | View Now

Where the Ground Shakes: Native American Ceremonial Houses in Northern California

Jack Fair
Grindstone Ranger District Archeologist, Mendocino National Forest

Decorative: Where the Ground Shakes Presentation During his seven years as Archeologist for the Grindstone Ranger District, Jack Fair has forged a strong relationship with the Grindstone Indian Rancheria. He has attended the tribe’s Big Head ceremony for years. In this lecture, Fair describes and shares photos of Native American ritual and ceremony houses at Grindstone and from throughout Northern California, including Chico. He also explains how each tribe uses its ceremony and ritual houses. Whether it’s used as a dance house or as a place for hand games, Fair tells every tribal house’s story. Presentation time: 41 minutes | View Now

At a Crossroads: Changing Identity in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico

Melody Yeager
Faculty, Anthropology Department, Chico State

CHanging Identity in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico presentationMelody Yeager has been studying four generations of the same family in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico, since 2007. In doing so, she has seen a transformation of the small village of mango farmers and subsistence fishermen on the Pacific Coast of Central Mexico. In recent years a multi-million dollar marina was built, changing the lives of the village’s inhabitants. The marina and highway construction has linked La Cruz de Huanacaxtle to a tourist zone that includes Puerto Villarta. While this has brought more commerce to the area, it has also caused such negative effects as increased rents and the flooding of local fish markets by imported fish to supply restaurants frequented by tourists. Presentation Time: 51 minutes | View Now

Cuba and the U.S. in a Sandbox: Tit for Tat in the Cuban Funny Papers

Dr. Sara E. Cooper
Director, Multicultural & Gender Studies Department and Faculty, International Languages, Literature, & Cultures Department, Chico State

Decorative Use: Cuba and the US in a Sandbox presentation Dr. Sara Cooper likens the 100-plus years’ adversarial relationship between the United States and Cuba to two children hurling accusations back and forth. She presents her findings from her studies on the use of humor by Cubans to comment about serious issues between that country and the United States. Dr. Cooper notes that the Cuban political comics were used in the years after the 1959 revolution as a way to transmit ideological information to a newly-literate public. She presents examples from the early 1960s all the way into the 21st century. Presentation Time: 50 minutes | View Now 

Catholic to the Bone: The Bioarchaeological Imprint of Marian Devotion

Dr. Frank Bayham
Faculty, Anthropology Department, Chico State

Decorative Use: Catholic to the Bone- The Bio archaeological Imprint of Marian DevotionHow do two skeletons discovered during excavation for a medical center reveal the spiritual devotion of nuns who lived over a century ago? First, Dr. Frank Bayham explains the terminology in the title of his presentation – “bioarchaeology” refers to archeology that focuses on physical aspects of the dead subject, including diet and nutrition, health and disease, trauma, and activity, while “Marian Devotion” refers to the devotion to or veneration of St. Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. One of the striking aspects of the skeletons of the two nuns was their osteoarthritis – joint degeneration – in a distinctive pattern in their hands. It turns out that this was due to the repetitive motion of manipulating rosary beads while saying the rosary countless times over the course of a lifetime. In fact, both skeletons were buried with rosary beads and a crucifix. Dr. Bayham also talks about why millions of Christians over the centuries since the time of Christ have identified with Mary and the rosary. Presentation Time: 49 minutes | View Now

Costumes Optional: Halloween's Transformation from Pagan Ritual to American Party Night

Kevin Dalton
Anthropology Department, Chico State

Decorative Use: Halloween's Transformation from Pagan Ritual to American Party NightHalloween wasn’t always trick or treating, costumes, and alcoholic beverages. In this presentation, Kevin Dalton shows how Halloween is a holiday that has been continually transforming over many centuries. Starting with the “All Hallow’s Eve” of the Celts and the Pagan “Samhain” rituals, and on through the introduction of Halloween to the United States, Dalton traces the holiday’s evolution. He concludes with a survey of how Halloween is celebrated today in different countries around the world. Presentation Time: 42 minutes | View Now

Why We Dig: Revelations & Shifting Research at the La Prele Mammoth Site

Dr. Matt O'Brien
Faculty, Anthropology Department, Chico State

Decorative Use: Revelations and Shifting at the La Prele Mammoth SiteDr. Matt O’Brien provides an update to his previous presentation about his archeological research at the La Prele Mammoth site in Wyoming. Since his last presentation a major shift took place in the nature of the excavation work there, which was started in 1987. The guiding question for the first 18 years had been, “Is the mammoth at the La Prele Site associated with a human occupation?” The question has become, “Is this site just a mammoth kill site?” Dr. O’Brien focuses on two field sessions in summer 2015 that resulted in new revelations; several Chico State Anthropology students took part in these sessions. Dr. O’Brien concludes by sharing plans for future excavations which he hopes will result in more discoveries. Presentation Time: 34 minutes | View Now

Major Hole and his Beloved Oxen: The Ninth Archaeological Summer Field Season, Antigua 2015

Dr. Georgia Fox
Faculty, Department of Anthropology, Chico State

Decorative Use: The Ninth Archaeological Summer Field Season For the ninth consecutive year, Anthropology Professor Georgia Fox led a group of students to the Caribbean island of Antigua for excavation and study of the Betty’s Hope Plantation, which dates back to the 17th Century. This program provides the students with hands-on training in archaeological field methodology. In past years, Dr. Fox and her students uncovered structures and relics related to the Great House, the kitchen, the rum distillery, and the slave quarters area. In 2015, the students continued to excavate the slave village area and also excavated at Galleon Beach. As Dr. Fox explains, the title of this year’s presentation refers to English Army Major Hugh Hole, who decided he preferred to live with the oxen in the animal pen rather than in the Great House. Presentation Time: 44 minutes | View Now

Chinese Porcelains of the 17th Century

Dr. Stephen Little
Curator of Chinese and Korean Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Decorative Use Only: Chinese PorcelainDr. Stephen Little explains that the Chinese were the first people to produce porcelain, and that they managed to keep the firing technique they used secret from the rest of the world from the 8th Century to the 17th Century. However, things changed in the 17th Century, as China began to directly confront Europe and the West, and as the Ming Dynasty gave way to the Quing Dynasty. After Dr. Little places his presentation in this historical context, he shares photos of some of the beautiful porcelain art that emerged from that turbulent and chaotic period in Chinese history. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 24 minutes | View Now

World War II, 1931-1945: Locations, Images, and Words

Dr. Charlie Urbanowicz
Professor Emeritus, Anthropology Department, Chico State

Slideshow presentation image: World War II Locations, Images and WordsMidway Islands, Guadalcanal, Chuuk Lagoon, Iwo Jima – all are places where key World War II battles took place. Dr. Charlie Urbanowicz has been to all of those places – in fact, he has been a lecturer on 30 cruises throughout the Pacific island groups of Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. In this presentation, he provides the context in which these small Pacific Islands played crucial roles in the war between the U.S. and Japan. Dr. Urbanowicz uses photos from his travels and maps to explain the historical legacy of these islands, starting with the 1931 Japanese invasion of Manchuria and the establishment of a puppet state – an event which he and other scholars now recognize as the start of World War II. He also provides an extensive list of books about the war. Presentation Time: 50 minutes | View Now

From Forager to Citizen: Transitions for Rwanda's Twa

Anna Kamanzi
Graduate Student, Chico State

Decorative ImageMs. Kamanzi’s first trip to Rwanda piqued her curiosity regarding the Twa people and their life experiences. Their lives are very different compared to other groups in Rwanda. Ms. Kamanzi set out to answer the question: What created the stigma against the Twa and why have they been marginalized? Her research and this presentation focus on how the Twa have made the rapid transition from forest foraging to living in villages and cities as Rwandan citizens. Ms. Kamanzi is the first Chico State student to receive a Fulbright Scholarship. Presentation Time: 45 minutes | View Now

Pleistocene Megafaunal Predation & the La Prele Mammoth Site

Dr. Matt O'Brien
Faculty, Anthropology Department, Chico State

Pleistocene Megafaunal PredationDr. Matt O’Brien explores competing theories for the disappearance of large mammals during the Pleistocene Epoch (2.58 million years ago). He describes his research at the La Prele Mammoth site in Wyoming. Dr. O’Brien focuses on showing that history repeats itself and on measuring the environmental impact of humans. As mammoths became extinct long ago, so elephants are becoming extinct today. We know that humans have not only hunted elephants, but also hunted mammoths. Dr. O’Brien explores the question: Did large, land-based mammals disappear from several continents because of environmental changes or because of human encroachment? Presentation Time: 40 minutes | View Now

It's Never too Late to Seek Pride

Dr. Turhon Murad
Professor Emeritus, Anthropology Department, Chico State

Decorative ImageDr. Turhon Murad was instrumental in beginning and growing the highly-respected Forensic Anthropology program at Chico State. In this presentation, however, he journeys to his roots in the village of Lakavica in Albania. This leads to a story intertwining Dr. Murad’s family history with the centuries-long struggle of the people there for their independence and identity. This region of the Balkans was traditionally called Macedonia and was part of Greece, but due to political differences, the Greeks have not let the people there use that name – thus, their country is called Albania. The region’s people have been subjected to the rule of many outsiders, from the Ottoman Empire to the communist takeover of Macedonia in the 1940s, which was then incorporated into Yugoslavia. However, the people have managed to maintain their customs and their identity. Presentation Time: 52 minutes | View Now

"Earth First" or Anti-oppression? Ritual & Conflict Within Radical Environmentalism

Dr. Sarah Pike
Faculty, Comparative Religion & Humanities Department, Chico State

Decorative ImageDuring several years of conducting research about radical environmental groups such as “Earth First!”, Dr. Sarah Pike has been seeking the answers to two questions: (1) What is the relationship between ritual and social change – that is, are there cultural conditions underlying social change that include ritualizing? and (2) What motivates young people to risk arrest, sometimes in dangerous protests? She shares some of her observations of these groups, including a trend in radical environmentalism of linking the devastation of the natural world to other forms of abuse and oppression. Dr. Pike also talks about how the label “eco-terrorist” sparked her interest in this research. Presentation Time: 43 minutes | View Now

Above and Beyond: The Eighth Field Season at Betty's Hope Plantation, Antigua, West Indies

Dr. Georgia Fox
Faculty, Chico State Anthropology Department

Decorative ImageFor eight summers, Dr. Georgia Fox has accompanied her Chico State anthropology students to the West Indies island of Antigua to participate in an ongoing excavation of a 17th-Century sugar plantation. Each “dig” has revealed more about what life was like on such a plantation – and has provided Chico State students with first-hand experience in archaeological mapping and surveying, field excavation, and other aspects of archaeological field work. During the three summers of 2007-2009, remains of the Great House were revealed; in 2010, more of the Great House and the Kitchen; in 2011-2012, the rest of the Kitchen; in 2013, the Rum Distillery; and in 2014, the rest of the Rum Distillery and part of the Slave Quarters area. Plans have been made for another trip in 2015. There is a visitors center/museum on the site, and the discoveries by Dr. Fox’s students have contributed to visitors’ understanding of the site’s history. Presentation Time: 50 minutes | View Now

Beyond the Binary: Gender Dysphoria & Gender Identity

Dr. Thomas W. Johnson
Professor Emeritus, Chico State Department of Anthropology

Decorative ImageSince retiring from teaching cultural anthropology at Chico State, Dr. Thomas Johnson has surveyed over 3,000 eunuchs – with eunuch defined as a biological male whose testicles have been removed or destroyed. He notes that some of these people have been castrated voluntarily, and they do not fall into the male or female binary dichotomy. Some have what is known as extreme gender dysphoria, which is not the same as male-to-female transgender. This group desires to not be male but does not wish to be female, either. Dr. Johnson also discusses the presence of eunuchs throughout history. Some were castrated to become castrati – opera singers who could reach unusually high notes, with a different tone quality from female-born sopranos. He also notes that, centuries ago, court eunuchs were common in China, Vietnam, Assyria, Turkey, and other countries. Presentation Time: 52 minutes | View Now

Maritime Navigation and the Archaeology of Shipwrecks

Dr. Thomas Layton
Faculty, San Jose State University

Decorative ImageDr. Layton tells a fascinating story about how his study of Pomo Indian settlements in Mendocino County in California led to research about Americans involved in the opium trade with China in the mid-19th century. While excavating a Pomo Indian site, he and his crew began to find pieces of Chinese porcelain and bottle glass. This led to the site of an 1850 shipwreck off the coast. The ship was The Frolic, a clipper ship that traveled to Bombay and China, trading opium. Dr. Layton ended up at Harvard University, researching boxes of files about The Frolic and the opium trade. Dr. Layton’s presentation on campus was in conjunction with his serving as guest curator for the exhibit, “Maritime Navigation and the Archaeology of Shipwrecks,” at the Chico State Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology. Presentation Time: 44 minutes | View Now

Regional Regulatory Regimes and the Political Ecology of Critical Mining Development in the Rural American West

Jeffrey Jenkins
PhD Student, Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

Decorative ImageJeffrey Jenkins, who earned his Master’s Degree at Chico State, is writing his doctoral dissertation on the subject of this presentation. He begins by providing background about economic restructuring and the mining legacy in the Western United States. He goes on to put this in the current context of the political-economic drivers of critical minerals classification: policy, innovation, and geopolitics. Jenkins then provides theoretical frameworks for this issue. He finishes with comparative studies for currently proposed mines on United States Forest Service lands. Presentation Time: 49 minutes | View Now

Historic Preservation of Apollo 11's Tranquility Base

Lisa Westwood
Faculty, Anthropology Department, Chico State

Decorative ImageThe subtitle of this presentation is “An Archaeological Site Representing the First Human Lunar Landing.” Ms. Westwood has been working with historic preservation officials, NASA, members of the U.S. Congress, and the international community to designate Tranquility Base – where, in 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon—a World Heritage Site. She brings the point of view of a professional archaeologist to this effort to preserve a historically-significant site. Along with Dr. Beth O’Leary of New Mexico State University, Ms. Westwood co-founded the Apollo 11 Preservation Task Force. She describes the site and presents an artifact inventory. Presentation Time: 52 minutes | View Now

The 2007 Electoral Crisis in Kenya: Ethnography of an International Response

Ariane Belanger-Vincent
Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology, Universite Laval, Quebec, Canada

Decorative ImageMs. Belanger-Vincent's paper draws largely from ethnographic research on the notion of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) that is slowly becoming the new intervention doctrine in international circles. The main objective is to show why and how the 2007-2008 Kenyan electoral crisis is important vis-a-vis R2P and its implementation as a norm of action within the practice of international politics. Presentation time: 50 minutes | View Now

Taphonomic Signatures of Animal Scavenging

Lisa Bright
Chico State Anthropology Department Graduate Student

Decorative ImageGraduate student Lisa Bright, whose specialty is forensic anthropology, presents her research regarding wildlife scavenging. The research is in the area of taphonomy, which is what happens to a body from the point of death until discovery. She arranged to have several dead pigs placed in various areas in the mountains above Chico, with a video camera focused on each. Ms. Bright then recorded the daytime and nocturnal approaches of various animals to the pig carcasses. The result is some fascinating video footage, including visits by bears and other predators. She used the videos along with analysis of the carcass bones to determine scavenging patterns. Presentation time: 49 minutes | View Now

From Chico to Sharjah: Emerging Cross-Cultural Dialogues and Opportunities

Dr. Gayle Hutchinson
Dean, College of Behavioral & Social Sciences, Chico State

Decorative ImageDr. Gayle Hutchinson shares highlights from two recent trips to Sharjah, the third largest Emirate in the United Arab Emirates. Dr. Hutchinson tells about her visit with Her Highness Sheikha Jameela Al-Qasimi who is the Director General of the Sharjah City Humanitarian Services - a non-profit organization providing services to children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities. Ms. Al-Qasimi graduated with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Anthropology from Chico State and was honored as the 2009-2010 College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Distinguished Alumnae. Dr. Hutchinson shares pictures of the University of Sharjah and the American University of Sharjah. Presentation time: 50 minutes | View Now

Monastic Archaeology at the Cistercian Abbey of Ourscamp

Dr. Kyle Killian
Faculty, Anthropology Department, Chico State

Decorative ImageDr. Killian shares some results from his recent excavations at the Cistercian Abbey in Ourscamp, France. He briefly describes monastic life and traces its history, starting with St. Anthony in the Third Century A.D. Dr. Killian shows how the artifacts excavated from the site of the ruined abbey can provide insights into monastery life many centuries ago. Presentation time: 50 minutes | View Now

The Paleo Solution

Robb Wolf
Chico State graduate & author, "The Paleo Solution"

Decorative ImageRobb Wolf graduated from Chico State with a BS degree in Biochemistry. He went on to write a New York Times bestselling book, "The Paleo Solution - Maybe there is something to this 'Evolution' thing." Wolf believes that humans should revert to a paleolithic diet, which he defines as gluten-free, dairy-free and low-carb,with an emphasis on meat and vegetables. He considers this "the original human diet." Presentation time: 44 minutes | View Now 

The Archaeology of Antigua and Barbuda

Dr. Reg Murphy

Decorative ImageDr. Murphy lives and works on the Caribbean island of Antigua, located approximately 300 miles southeast of Puerto Rico. In this presentation he shows artifacts, many of them quite beautiful and detailed, and explains the information they provide about the thriving culture on the island many centuries ago. Dr. Murphy is well known to Chico State anthropology students who travel to Antigua each summer with Chico State Professor Georgia Fox to participate in the Betty's Hope archeological project. Presentation time: 50 minutes | View Now

Daily Bread: Prehistoric Cooking Features in the Northern Sacamento Valley

Kristina Crawford
MA Anthropology, Chico State graduate

Decorative ImageMs. Crawford shares some interesting highlights from her master's thesis, illustrating how the food and cooking methods used by Indians in the Northern Sacramento Valley reflected on land use, population changes, and other events in prehistoric times. She outlines the different ways the indigenous people cooked in an area that includes what are now Butte, Glenn, Shasta, and Tehama counties. Included is information about what was cooked, from acorns to fish to root vegetables. Ms. Crawford studied the cooking methods of six tribes. Presentation time: 46 minutes | View Now

Clean Water and Sanitation near Mt. Kilimanjaro: A Story of Cross-Cultural Collaboration

Dr. Walt Schafer
Chico State Sociology Professor Emeritus

Decorative ImageDr. Schafer's presentation describes a program begun in 2008 through which Chico Rotary Club and 15 other Rotary clubs in Northern California have partnered with the Rotary Club of Moshi, Tanzania, and with Rotary International to bring clean water and sanitation to villages in the Mt. Kilimanjaro region of northern Tanzania. This multi-year, sustainable collaboration has become a model of community development. The presentation highlights needs assessments, opportunities, challenges, successes, individual stories, and future plans. Presentation time: 47 minutes | View Now

More Potholes, Goats, and Questions than Answers: The 2011 Field Season at Betty's Hope, Antigua

Dr. Georgia Fox
Faculty, Anthropology Department, Chico State

Decorative ImageEvery summer since 2008, Chico State students have traveled to the Caribbean island of Antigua to participate in an ongoing archaeological excavation there. Chico State Anthropology Professor Georgia Fox has led these trips, during which students gain valuable field experience. In this presentation, Dr. Fox describes the work of excavating the buried ruins of a colonial sugar plantation. The building foundations and artifacts that have been unearthed by the students reveal much about the history of early European settlers in Antigua. Additional groups of students continue to travel to Antigua with Dr. Fox each summer. Presentation time: 47 minutes | View Now

Before the "Mouse" the Travel Agent was Your Dealer in Dreams

Dr. Valene L. Smith
Chico State Anthropology Professor Emeritus

Decorative ImageDr. Smith is a pioneer in the field of anthropological tourism, as well as a distinguished Chico State Professor Emeritus. The anthropology museum on campus is named for her. Her studies have focused on the economic and social impacts of the tourism industry around the globe. In this presentation, Dr. Smith gives an historical perspective of anthropological tourism, from the late 1950s (when she co-owned a travel agency) to the present. She shows how tourism patterns have changed due to changes in world population distribution and other factors. She also discusses changes in the travel industry due to the rise of the personal computer. Presentation time: 47 minutes | View Now

Diet and Health in Prehistoric California - Lifeways of the Ancestral Ohlone

Karen Smith Gardner
Chico State Anthropology Graduate Student

Decorative ImageThe subtitle of this presentation is "Insights from Stable Isotope Analysis of Human Bone from the Yukisma Mound." Karen Smith Gardner presents her research from studying an Ohlone native tribal burial site unearthed in Santa Clara County, near Milpitas, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. She discusses dietary patterns of the tribe that were discovered by analysis of the bones at the site, such as what the Ohlone of that area ate and how it compares with other tribes. She also presents an analysis of individual dietary patterns by sex, age, and markers of status/social roles. Presentation time: 44 minutes | View Now

Community Archaeology and Optimal Foraging Theory: A Journey from Eagle Lake to Paris, France

Kevin Dalton
M.A. Anthropology, Chico State

Decorative ImageKevin Dalton’s talk is actually two presentations. The first is about a report he made at a zooarcheology conference held at Eagle Lake, near Susanville, in Lassen County, California. In the report, he outlines a community Archaeology project in Talus, New Mexico. The second part of the presentation is a report from the 11th conference of the International Council for Archaeozoology, held in Paris, France in 2010. In this report, Mr. Dalton looks at group size and hunting landscapes in the prehistoric western great basin. Zooarchaeology (or Archaeozoology, as it is known in Eurasia and Africa) is the study of animal bones from archaeological sites. Presentation time: 48 minutes | View Now