News and Events
Anna Mossolova earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees in semiotics and culture studies from the University of Tartu, Estonia. After graduating from her “relatively theoretical” master’s program, she decided to change her disciplinary approach and methods. “I wanted to focus more on the material culture of the past and its interpretations and meanings for people nowadays,” she said. So, in 2013, Mossolova started her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology to study the past and present of mask making in Southwest Alaska. Here, she talks about the Fulbright program that brought her to Alaska, her fascination with Alaska Native culture and the technology she learned at UAA that will help her in the future.
The history of industry has long fascinated UAA Professor Paul White, who earned master’s degrees in historical and industrial archaeology in New Zealand and the United States before receiving his Ph.D. in anthropology from Brown University.
Now, the anthropology professor and five of his students are immersed in a field class high above the ruins of Independence Mine in spectacular Hatcher Pass, at a Depression-era compound known as Gold Cord Mine. They’ve spent two weeks there so far, meticulously measuring walls and recording every feature and component of the mine’s mill. In their off time, they live in a structure that had been the mine’s original cookhouse and administrative quarters.
Alaskans in Hawaii—happily soaking up light and sun in December and January—that’s hardly news. Buy me a ticket, right?
But UAA scientists and graduate and undergraduate students, employed and paid for their scientific skills as they survey for artifacts in Hawaii—now that’s something to talk about.
In these lean economic times in Alaska, the university system is working hard to reach out to the public with new inventions, ideas and skill sets. This particular project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers happened through the Applied Environmental Research Center within the UAA Business Enterprise Institute.
While Jana V. Lekanoff, a UAA anthropology student (and her older brother, Nicholai Lekanoff, a UAA mathematics student) both were born in Anchorage, they grew up on Unalaska Island, part of the Aleutian Chain, and think of Unalaska as home. “I truly love the beauty of our Aleutian landscapes,” she said. “My favorite memories include taking boat rides and going to our camp during the summers.” Her father and his parents were born there, and have lived their entire lives there, while her mother came to Unalaska with her family in the 1970s. Jana won the 2016 Second Bridge Scholarship Award, and will be using funding from that award to research the shifts between Unangan, Russian and English place names on Unalaska. One example: Capt. James Cook reported that Samgan Udaa meant “bay of snouts”, which evolved into Angliiskii Bay, a name derived from Cook’s winter stay in the bay. Now, that place is known as English Bay.
Faculty, graduate students and former graduate students of the UAA Department of Anthropology played a significant role in the success of the 76th annual meeting the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) held in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, March 29 - April 2, 2016.
“My first step, when one starts to roll now, is to open the door. It’s much easier to prop one shut if you need to later than it is to try to pull on it and it’s stuck.” — a research subject discusses one of her recollections of the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964. UAA student Yvette Pype interviewed the woman as part of a linguistics research project she devised with guidance from Dr. Clare Dannenberg, in which Pype talked with a dozen subjects from Anchorage about their recollections of the quake and 9-11. Pype will present her findings April 15 during the UAA Undergraduate Research and Discovery Symposium. Project posters will be displayed at the UAA/APU Consortium Library from April 11-14. We recently spoke with Pype and Dannenberg about their work.
"When I carried the object out of its place no one interfered, but if only one of the true warriors of that clan had been alive the removal of it would never have been possible. I took it in the presence of aged women, the only survivors in the house where the old object was kept, and they could do nothing more than weep when the once highly esteemed object was being taken away to its last resting place.”
Louis Shotridge, a Tlingit man from Klukwan who became a University of Pennsylvania Museum curator 100 years ago, explained in a journal entry how he took a shark helmet from his own clan—the “only one of its kind”—after buying it from a Kaagwaantaan clan member for $350 in 1929.