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Autumn 2009

From the Chair

Photo of Bettina Shell-Duncan

As the leaves turn color and the chill of autumn is in the air, activities at the Department of Anthropology have resumed in full gear. This includes completing our inaugural electronic issue of e-AnthropoLog. We will be mailing a printed version of AnthropoLog this spring, but our hope is to transition fully to this eco-friendly, budget conscious, forward looking format in the future.

Last year we pulled together and survived the biggest budget cut in our department’s history. This crisis, however, did not dampen the passion with which our students and faculty embrace their work. Indeed, we have many exciting new developments. Last year, we launched a new track in our undergraduate curriculum entitled Medical Anthropology and Global Health. This track has been wildly popular, contributing to a 50% increase in majors in just one year! More tracks are currently being developed, and hopefully will be launched later this year.

Meanwhile, the research activities of our graduate students and faculty continue better than ever. The University of Washington awards highly competitive grants for new research initiatives through a fund known as the Royalty Research Fund. Last Spring, out of 32 awards campus-wide, four were given to anthropology faculty! The awardees are Sareeta Amrute (Town and terminal: An ethnography of service workers in Pune’s IT industry), Jason De León (The migrant material culture project: An ethnoarchaeological and ethnographic analysis of undocumented migration in southern Arizona), Kathleen O’Connor (Health initiatives for men: Pilot project), and Arzoo Osanloo (Gender and forgiveness in Islamic criminal justice in Iran).

I am also thrilled to share that our undergraduate honors student Laura Hinton was the recipient of both the Dean’s Medal and the President’s Medal. This award is given to the graduate with the most distinguished academic record. Clearly there is much to celebrate!

As you read through the stories about our students and faculty in this issue of e-AnthropoLog, I think you will see that our department is continuing to be a vibrant corner of the University. I am so pleased to be able to share this with all of you.