News and Events



Holman Thesis Defense

FEB 19th pdf

FEB 19th pdf




Archaeology Day is October 17th, 2015!  At the University Center, 10am-5pm! Practice your atlatl skills, identify artifacts, and participate in a mock dig!  Free and open to all ages!

Anthropology Advising Fair

advising fair 2014

Archaeology Day, University Center Mall, Saturday October 18, 2013 10:00 am -4:00 pm.


In the September/October 2014 issue of Anthropology News, Dr. Ryan Harrod co-authored a paper titled Peace at Any Cost: When Violence Is Used as Social Control with Debra L. Martin (University of Nevada-Las Vegas).  The article was originally published online on May 19, 2014 on

theft of a Tlingit Totem poster

Tetenkin Plasma

January 13, 2014-  UAA Anthropology Alumni and Special Exhibit Curator at the Anchorage Museum Aaron Leggett was awarded the Governor's Award for the Arts and Humanities.  He was recognized for his work on the major Dena'ina exhibit which recently concluded at the Anchorage Museum. He was one of four recipients of the Governor'sAward.  In case you missed the information about the Dena'ina exhibit at the Anchorage Museum, it was highlighted in Hometown U (the Anchorage Daily News and UAA Green and Gold). An additional article was written by Mike Dunham.

Steve"The Tlingit cosmos is filled with spiritual presence, essences, and powers that exist both within and beyond direct experience.  Tlingit life is fundamentally relational in that interactions with others establish the basis for existence and well-being.  All spiritual forms are attentive, sentient, and volitional and positive relations with them are essential."  Dr. Steve Langdon presented his lecture Spiritual Connections and Obligations: The Foundation of Tlingit Existence, the first of five Native spirituality programs sponsored by Sealaska Heritage Institute as part of Alaska Native and Native American Heritage Month.  The CoastAlaska News published an article (Anthropologist Discusses Tlingit Spirituality) about Dr. Langdon's presentation and you can view the full lecture on the Sealaska Heritage Institutes website.




November is Alaska Native & Native American Heritage Month!  There is a Celebration Reception on UAA Campus and Dr. Phyllis Fast will be giving Keynote address.  The celebration will be November 7th at the Student Union Cafe, 11:30am-1:00pm.  Other individuals like Polly Andrews (UAA Student and Storyteller, and Tom Case (Chancellor) will be speaking.





October 13th, 2013- Aaron Leggett's (graduated in 2006, BA in Anthropology) studies and museum exhibit about the Dena'ina culture was highlighted in the Anchorage Dailey News by Kathleen McCoy.  In the article, Leggett describes he desire to understand his own culture and some of the professors (especially Dr. Steve Langdon) who proved to be major influences.  Leggett's exhibit is currently at the Anchorage Museum, and will continue to be on display until January 12th, 2014.


October 11th,2013- Kylea Liese a certified nurse-midwife and medical anthropologist talked about the disparity in maternal mortality between women in northern Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

Archaeology Day FlierArchaeology Day on October 19th, 2013

Ryan's Talk

Come and meet Ryan Harrod as he discusses his research about the identification of social inequalities and violence in a community at the UAA bookstore Wednesday, September 11th at 5pm.  The lecture is free and open to all audiences!








Screen shot 2013-09-10 at 10Congratulations to Paul White for winning the 2013 Robert M. Vogel Prize!  He was awarded the prize for his paper "The Rise and Fall of the California Stamp: Historical and Archaeological Perspectives on the Aging of a Technology" published in IA volume 36 number 1, pp. 65-83.  For more information on Dr. White's award, please check out the Vogel Award website.







The fifth edition of Dr. Steve J. Langdon's The Native People of Alaska: Traditional Living in a Northern Land was released in August.  The new edition, the first since 2002, includes over 40 additional pages providing updated information on prehistory, linguistics, biological characteristics as well as expanded information on recent developments such as climate change and increased costs of living that have impacted Alaska Native villages in the past decade.  You may contact the publisher at for copies.


Screen shot 2013-09-05 at 2
The latest volume of Ethnohistory, Summer 2013 Volume 60, Number 3, entitled "Governmentality and Hybridity in Northwestern Alaska from Russian Colonization to the Present" includes a section of four papers edited by Dr. Steve Langdon.  The section is entitled "Post-Contact Governmentality in Northwestern North America: Divergent Visions and Agentive Initiatives" and includes two papers by Langdon: "Early Engagements Implicating Governmentality in the North Pacific Region" and "Unreciprocated 'Reverence': "Papers," Political Recognition, and Tlingit Engagement with US Governmentality in the Late Nineteenth Century."  Dr. Alan Boraas, Professor of Anthropology at the Kenai Peninsula College, in co-authorship with Aaron Leggett also has a paper in Langdon's section entitled "Dena'ina Resistance to Russian Hegemony, Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Cook Inlet, Alaska."  Copies may be purchased from their website

Steve Langdon wins Bullock Prize! Click here for more details.

Report in the UAA Green & Gold

Bullock Award


October 2, 2012.

Dr. Steve Langdon delivers Key Note Address at 100th Centennial Convention of the Alaska Native Brotherhood. Click here for more information.



September 21, 2012
CPISB 101d, 3:30-4:30pm


Lecture by Dr. Vance Holliday, University of Arizona (Live Videocast) 


September 7, 2012
RH 101, 3pm

Lecture by Carol Ellick.

September 7, 2012
BMH 104, 10:00-12:00


Discussants: Carol Ellick and Dr. Joe Watkins

September 6, 2012
SSB 118: 6:30pm


Lecture by Dr. Joe Watkins


March 22, 2012,
Anchorage Museum, 7pm


Lecture by: Dr. Terry Hunt, University of Hawai'i Manoa.

Easter Island has become widely known as a case study of human-induced environmental catastrophe resulting in cultural collapse. The island’s alleged tragic prehistory is offered as a cautionary tale of our own environmental recklessness and flirtation with failure on a global scale. However, a closer look at the actual archaeological and historical record for the island reveals that while an environmental disaster unfolded, the ancient Polynesians succeeded despite the odds, developing ingenious solutions to moving grand scale rock figures and innovative methods for cultivating agriculture in a harsh environment.

Sponsored by the Anthropology Department, Alaska EPSCOR, and the RAM Group


March 23, 2012
Consortium Library 307, 4:00 pm


Lecture by Dr. Judd Walson, University of Washington.
Discussant: Dr. Rhonda M. Johnson, University of Alaska Anchorage

March 5, 2012,
Consortium Library 307; 12:00 - 2:00 pm


Lecture by: Dr. Dara Culhane, Simon Fraser University
Discussant: Dr. Phyllis Fast, University of Alaska Anchorage


November 28, 2011
Consortium Library 307, 5:30 pm


Lecture by: Dr. David Jones, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard University
Discussant: Dr. Thomas Hennessy, M.D., MPH, Arctic Investigations Program

D. Roy Mitchell, "Eyak Language Revitalization."
Thursday, December 1, 12:00, Anchorage Museum, Reynolds Classroom.

Join UAA linguistic anthropologist D. Roy Mitchell to learn how Eyak people are bringing their "extinct" Alaska Native language back to life. Recent revitalization efforts include holding language workshops, posting Eyak language lessons online, and holding bi-weekly Eyak language circles. This is a brown bag lunch event. Sponsored by the Arctic Studies Center. Note: museum admission required.

Dr. Rachel Mason, “Attu, a Lost Village of the Aleutians"
Thursday November 17 from 2:00pm-4:00pm at the UAA Campus Bookstore

Lost Villages of the Aleutians, a project of the National Park Service's Aleutian-World War II program area, documents the history of four villages that disappeared because of the wartime relocations of their Unangan residents. The story of Attu, the most remote Unangan village, is particularly tragic.  The Japanese military took the Attuans captive and held them on Hokkaido Island for the remainder of the war.  Almost half of them died, and the U.S. government did not permit the surviving Attuans to return to their village.  Instead, they were settled in Atka.  This presentation gives a preview of Nick Golodoff's Attu Boy, a memoir of his experiences in Attu, Japan, and Atka, and reports on plans for a boat trip to revisit Attu in the summer of 2012, 70 years after the Japanese invasion of Attu, with elders and descendants of the village. Lost Villages of the Aleutians is a project of the National Park Service in partnership with other agencies, including the Ounalashka Corporation and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

This event is held in honor of Alaska Native/American Indian Heritage Month.


Dr. Diane Hanson. The House on the Hill: New Archaeological Developments in the Aleutian Islands.
Monday, November 14 from 5:00pm-7:00pm, Campus Bookstore

The archaeological excavation of an upland house on Adak Island is the topic for Dr, Diane Hanson's presentation.  This event highlights new findings from a year ago.  This event is held in honor of Alaska Native/American Indian Heritage Month. 


September 23 & 30. What I Did Last Summer: Student Presentations Related to Summer Anthropology

If you are interested in anthropology and you did an anthropology-related activity this past summer, please come and present! Make a PowerPoint for a 10 minute talk and visit the Anthropology Club board on the first floor of BMH under the Anthropology Department and sign up! You do not have to be a club member to participate. The order of speakers will be put up Wednesday afternoon.

April 22. Imagining "Atlanta": Spatiality and the Cultural Politics of Experimental Medicine in East Africa. A Lecture by Dr. Denielle Elliott.
3:00 pm, Rasmuson Hall, Room 101.

In East Africa there is a field research station that locals call ‘Atlanta.’ Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork with HIV clinical trials in Kenya, Dr. Elliott considers the stories people tell about the landscapes and spaces of experimental medicine to examine the uneven movement of knowledge, scientific practices, and scientists in global medicine. She begins this narrative journey at ‘Atlanta’ to consider what local idioms about such places tells us about the politics and ethics of global science in East Africa. Specifically, Dr. Elliott draws attention to the social and material effects of global science projects on the lives and landscapes of East Africa.

April 15. Our Roots, Our Strength: The Jamu Industry, Women's Health and Islam in Contemporary Indonesia. A Lecture by Sarah Krier.
4:30 pm, Consortium Library, Room 307.

Sarah Krier (PhD candidate, University of Pittsburgh) discusses the commercial production, distribution and consumption of jamu, a herbal indigenous medicine, in Central Java, Indonesia. While jamu is often criticized as “unscientific” and ignored by the formal public health sector, Krier’s study, based off of 15 months of ethnographic research, provides an alternative perspective. Specifically, she reveals how discourse concerning jamu provides a creative platform for Indonesian Muslim women to mediate their sexual and reproductive health.

Apr. 12. UAA Anthropology Club Book Sale.
SSB Lobby, 10 am - 4 pm.

Apr. 8. One Size Doesn't Fit All: Legal Product Abuse and the Importance of Context in Drug Use Prevention. A Lecture by Dr. Kristen Ogilvie.
3 pm, Consortium Library, Room 307.

Examples of the abuse of legal products like inhalants, over-the-counter medications, and alcohol-laden household products in lieu of alcohol and illicit drugs abound in many settings, including rural Alaska. Adults and youth alike often misuse these products for euphoric effects particularly when alcohol and other substances are not available in their social or physical environments. Physical harm from misusing these products is understudied but long-lasting systemic damage and behavioral problems have been documented, speaking to the importance of prevention. This talk explores the social, cultural, and physical contexts that promote the use of these products in Alaska. A critical medical anthropological analysis underscores the implications these contexts present for prevention.

Mar. 18. The Object of Medicine: Towards a Redefinition of Homo sapiens. A Lecture by Dr. Roman Franco, University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine.
1pm, Rasmuson Hall, Room 117 .

Recent advances have drawn attention to the importance of understanding the social dimensions of medicine’s fundamental object: Homo sapiens. The field of medicine needs to reassess the relationship with its object away from a strictly biomedical framework to incorporate the body in both its organic and social dimensions. A new definition is essential for identifying what constitutes health, and for identifying when a person has entered the realm of illness (as informed by symptoms) and disease (as revealed by signs). This lecture charges that anthropology, with its contextualized view of H sapiens, is better equipped to achieve this task than contemporary medical educators. The talk also underlines how the transformation of medicine’s relationship to H. sapiens is essential if medical educators are to organize education in ways that better meet the needs of individuals and their circumstances.

Sponsored by the UAA Anthropology Club

Feb. 24. Mammoths and Mastodons: Surviving Ice Age Alaska. A Lecture by Dr. David Yesner.
5-7pm, UAA Bookstore

Everyone is invited to this intriguing event about Alaska's frozen past and the creatures that roamed. The importance of Alaska in understanding global migration will be highlighted. Dr. David Yesner is professor of Anthropology and UAA Graduate Studies. is Professor of Anthropology at UAA and Associate Dean of the Graduate School.

Feb. 3. Smithsonian Spotlight: Moses Uksuq'taq Wassilie.
7pm, February 3, Anchorage Museum (625C Street, Anchorage)
Admission free after 3pm

Explore Yup'ik art and cultural heritage with artist Moses Uksuq'taq Wassilie. The Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center at the Anchorage Museum is hosting the talk by Mr. Wassilie as part of the "Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska" exhibition that presents over 600 Alaska Native cultural heritage objects from the Smithsonian collections.

Jan. 27. The Evolution of Creationism. A Lecture by Dr. Eugenia Scott.
UAA/APU Consortium Library, Room 307, 7-9 pm.

From creationism to creation science to intelligent design to the present day "evidence against evolution" approach, antievolutionists have consistently changed their strategy for attacking the theory of evolution in response to legal decisions. Evolution traditionally has been presented by creationists as weak or invalid science, and as incompatible with the Christian faith. Currently, the teaching of antievolutionary ideas in science classes is being framed as having pedagogical value--yet there is little pedagogical value in teaching as science ideas that are not scientific. Please join us for an overview of the origins, approaches, and current status of the antievolution movement, and a discussion of waus to ensure the integrity of the science education of the next generation of Americans.

Jan. 27. Remembering the Lost Villages of the Aleutians. A Lecutre by Dr. Rachel Mason.
7 p.m. 1/27/2011, Anchorage Museum auditorium (625 C street, Anchorage)

Dr. Rachel Mason, cultural anthropologist of the National Park Service-Alaska Regional Office, tells the story of Unangan residents who were evacuated from villages near the Unalaska islands. They left their villages behind, never to be resettled. This presentation also addresses Attu residents who were taken to Japan as prisoners and held for the war's duration. This program is sponsored by the National Park Service, Alaska Regional Office.

Nov. 19. Return to Lost Villages of the Aleutians. A lecture by Dr. Rachel Mason.
Friday, UAA Bookstore, 1:00-2:00pm.

Nov. 18. Before Russian Contact: Uncovering the Past of Adak Island. A lecture by Dr. Diane Hanson.
Thursday, UAA Bookstore, 5:00-7:00pm.

Nov. 12: From Bronze Age to Stone Age: Travels in Europe. A presentaiton by Dr. David Yesner.
Friday, BMH 104, 12:00 pm.

Anthropology Dept. Graduate Student Travel and Development Grants
Applications due November 5, 2010.

The Anthropology Department Graduate Student Development and Travel Fund exists to aid the growth and development of individual students in the graduate program in Anthropology at the University of Alaska Anchorage.  Project proposals may involve creative activity, research, writing, training, and study.  Projects are ranked and funded based on their merit, including their relevance to a student’s Graduate Studies Plan or similar statement. Click to download grant information and grant application.

Nov. 5. The Lost Boys and Buffalo Jumps. A lecture by Dr. Eldon Yellow Horn.
Friday, November 5, 6 pm, Social Science Building (SSB) 118.

The Besan expansion in the southern plains of Canada is an enduring mystery in plains archaeology. Besan sites are found across the northern plains in Canada and the United States. They are often associated with large scale communal hunting and are credited with inventing the buffalo jump. Dr. Yellow Horn examines the mystery of Besan expansion and proposed a scheduling breakthrough hypothesis derived from Blackfoot mythology to explain their appearance in the archaeological record. The Lost Boys tells the story of how the Blackfoot people came to possess the knowledge of buffalo jumps.

Dr. Yellow Horn is Associate Professor of Archaeology/First Nations Studies at Simon Fraser University.

Organizers: Dr. Phyllis Fast, Dr. Diane Hanson, Department of Anthropology.

Canada Week activities sponsored by: UAA Department of Anthropology, UAA Anthropology Club, Native Student Council, UAA Bookstore, The Elizabeth Tower Endowment Fund, UAA's Canada Council, Alaska Airlines, UAA Diversity Action Council, UAA Alaska Native/Native American Heritage Month, Planning Committee.

Nov. 4. Growing the Next Generation: A Discussion Panel.
Thurs, November 4, Fine Arts Building (ARTS) 150, 6:00-8:00 pm.

Maria Campbell, Laurie Meijer Drees, and Eldon Yellow Horn talk about their goals and successes in mentoring Métis, First Nationas, and Inuit students in Canada.

Maria Campbell is a Métis writer, playwright, filmmaker, teacher, and mentor. She works with the World Indigenous Knowledge and Research Centre, Athabaska University, and it the Artistic Director of the Crossing Theatre Company.

Nov. 3. The History of Aboriginal People and Health Care in Canada. A presentation by Laurie Meijer Drees.
Wed, November 3, UAA Bookstore 5:30-7:00 pm.

Dr. Meijer Drees discusses her research into Canada's Indian Health Services, the history of Aboriginal nurse training, and the history of Canada's Indian Hospital system.  Her new book is entitled "Healing History: Stories of Canada's Indian Hospital System" and is an oral history collection.  Canada is known for its socialized health care, and it is interesting to see how this medical care system applied to First Nations and Metis and Inuit.

Dr. Meijer Drees is professor and co-chair of First Nations Studies Department at Vancouver Island University.

Nov. 2. Film Screening. "Between: Living in the Hyphen." Director: Anne Marie Nakagawa.
Tues, November 2, Fine Arts Building (ARTS) 150, 6:00-7:00 pm.
Fri, November 5, BMH 104: 12:00-1:00 pm.

In Canada, diversity often means "one ethnicity + hyphen + Canadian," but what if you don't fit into an easy category? What if your background is a hybrid of ancestries and you live somewhere between, where cultural identities overlap? Between interweaves the experiences of a group of Canadians with one parent from a European background and one from a visible minority. They're all struggling to find a satisfying frame of reference. Cultural identity, it seems, is more complex than what our multicultural utopia implies.

Description taken from National Film Board of Canada website.
Event hosted by UAA Anthropology Club

Oct. 27 Anthropology Club Book and Bake Sale.
10:00-3:00, Rasmuson Hall Lobby.

Oct. 20. Fireside Chat: Where Have All the Mammoths Gone? A lecture by David Yesner.
Wed, October 20, Campbell Creek Science Center, 7:00 pm.

The woolly mammoth is the symbol of the Ice Age and the official Alaska state fossil, but there are still many controversies surrounding how this great animal lived and why it went extinct. Using a variety of new information from paleontology, archaeology, paleobotany, chemistry and geology, David Yesner of UAA will attempt to piece together the latest version of how mammoths lived and died. He’ll also describe what it’s like to eat mammoth meat and marrow that’s 15,000 years old.

Sept. 23, Sept. 24: Two public lectures by Dr. Patricia McAnany.
The Anthropology Club, in cooperation with the UAA Concert Board, Anthropology Department, and Student Club Council is delighted to present two public lectures by Dr. Patricia McAnany on the ancient and contemporary Maya. Dr. McAnany is Kenan Eminent Professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Questioning Maya Collapse: A Reconsideration of Apocalyptic Narratives.
Thursday, Sept. 23, 7pm. Rasmuson Hall 101

Can the collapse of ancient civilizations be used as lessons for current environmental crises? Were they good stewards of their surroundings, or did deforestation, erosion, and overpopulation result in their demise? Noted archaeologist Dr. Patricia McAnany of UNC will address this controversy with respect to the mysterious disappearance of the ancient Maya civilization.

Free parking in the Rasmuson lot.

Indigenous Rights and Cultural Heritage in the Maya Region.
Friday, Sept. 24, 3 pm. Rasmuson Hall 110.

Issues of archaeological cultural heritage often are phrased in globalizing terms--conserving places of the past for the benefit of humanity. Ironically, many heritage sites in Latin America are alientated from indigenous communities--descendent populations--that would benefit economically and politically from greater participation in heritage management. Dr. Patricia McAnany discusses the frictional intersection of cultural heritage with indigenous rights with reference to the Maya region and the history of nation-building processes within Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras.