BrownBag Lecture with William Lammons, Anthropology Graduate Student, Graffiti’s “Royale with Cheese”: Transnational Cultural Diffusion and Heterogeneity in Mérida, Yucatan, Friday, October 16th at 12pm, Hale 450. I use graffiti in Mérida, Mexico as a lens to examine the phenomena of transnationalism and cultural migration.  I look at the migration of graffiti practitioners and the relationships they maintain across cultural lines to facilitate the development of locally unique graffiti “scenes”.  I first look at graffiti’s origins in the US in the 60s and 70s, then its development in Mérida, Yucatan.   I find that when culture, like graffiti, crosses cultural and political boundaries, it “heterogenizes”, or becomes locally unique.  I present Mérida’s most striking visual differentiations in its use of locally significant Maya, or Maya-like, figures.

BrownBag Archaeology Lecture with Dr. Scott Fitzpatrick, Assoc. Prof., U of Oregon Thursday October 1 at 11:30am, Hale 450.
“Life and Death at the Chelechol ra Orrak Rockshelter in Palau, Western Micronesia”
Dr. Scott M. Fitzpatrick is an archaeologist who specializes in the archaeology of island and coastal regions, particularly the Pacific and Caribbean. Much of his research focuses on colonization events, seafaring strategies, adaptations to smaller islands, exchange systems, chronometric techniques, and human impacts on ancient environments. He has active field projects in Palau (western Micronesia) and several islands in the Caribbean, including Carriacou and Mustique in the Grenadines, as well as Nevis. Dr. Fitzpatrick is the founding Co-Editor of the Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, Associate Editor for Archaeology in Oceania, and serves on the editorial boards for three other journals, including the newly established Journal of Archaeological Science.

BrownBag with Adam Schneider, post-doctoral fellow in CIRES Friday, October 2 from 12:00-1:00pm in Hale 450
“Political Climates”: Politics, Economics, and Environmental Resilience in Premodern Societies
In the past twenty-five years, there has been a resurgence of interest in studying the processes that shaped ancient societal collapses. In particular, a great deal of attention is now being paid to the potential role of environmental change as a cause of ancient collapse events, both in academic literature and popular media. One result of this increased interest in the relationship between social transformations and environmental change is that a growing number of scholars are seeking to understand how and why some past societies appear to have been more resilient in the face of environmental change than others. In this presentation, I will discuss how cultural factors, such as the political and economic priorities of premodern states, appear to have helped shape their environmental resilience (for better or for worse) during periods of climatic instability. Finally, I will consider what modern societies who are likely to experience similar challenges as a result of anthropogenic climate change might be able to learn from these historical cases. Contact:

Archaeology Lectures Sponsored by the CU Museum
Wednesday, October 7: “Cleopatra: An Archaeological Perspective on Egypt’s Last Pharaoh”. AIA Lecture by Dr. John Hale, University of Louisville, KY at 7:00pm in HUMN 1B50.
Thursday October 15: “Did the Ilopango eruption in El Salvador cause the collapse of Teotihuacan?” Speaker: Payson Sheets. 7:00pm at the CU Museum.
Thursday, November 12: “La Consentida: The Origins of Village Life in Coastal Oaxaca, Mexico” Speaker: Guy Hepp. 7:00pm at the CU Museum.

Doug Bamforth in the latest Coloradan magazine? A major story on the Mahaffy Exhibit in the CU Museum Opens October 9

  • Spring 2015 Brown Bag Schedule, 12pm Hale Science Building Room 450
    Wednesday, February 4: Dani Merriman
    Wednesday, February 18: Gerardo Gutierrez
    Wednesday, March 4: Jakob Sedig (11-noon)
    Wednesday, March 18: Rachel Egan
    Friday, April 10: David Shaul and Tonio LeFebre
    Friday, May 1st: David Shaul
  • March  12, 2015  -IPCAS March Presentation Meeting (Second Thursday) Fire, Sweet Corn, Violence, Demography, Woodrow Wilson and the Lindberghs: A new history of Aztec Ruins excavated from Earl Morris’ field notes… (with some interesting implications for Chaco Canyon too)
    Speaker:  Erin Baxter 7:00 pm. Dinosaur room, CU Museum of Natural History.
    For directions and parking  go to
  • January 24, 2015 at 7PM in Hale 270 – Public Lecture: John W. Ives, Executive Director, Institute of Prairie Archaeology, Landrex Distinguished Professor, Department of Anthropology University of Alberta “The Ninth Clan—Exploring Apachean Origins in the Promontory Caves, Utah.” Twentieth century anthropologist Julian Steward concluded in the 1930s that the Promontory Caves on Great Salt Lake, Utah, contained highly suggestive evidence that Navajo or Apache ancestors had lingered briefly in the eastern Great Basin on their way between Canada and the American Southwest. Compelling though Steward’s arguments were, comparatively few archaeologists took them seriously. Today we can use the astonishing array of perishable materials (including hundreds of moccasins, as well as mittens, other clothing, basketry bows, arrows, and bison robes) from Steward’s as well as our own more recent excavations in the Promontory Caves to illustrate how Steward was indeed correct, and how Dene ancestors originally from the Subarctic had begun their transformation toward historic Navajo and Apache cultural identities.
  • January 23, 2015 at 4PM in Hale 270 – Faculty Lecture: John W. Ives, Executive Director, Institute of Prairie Archaeology, Landrex Distinguished Professor, Department of Anthropology University of Alberta
    Promontory Point—Implications of a High Fidelity Archaeological Record for Apachean Migration” Discussions of prehistoric migration are frequently founded upon ordinary archaeological records that present archaeologists with fundamental challenges. Nowhere would this be truer than in the Dene (Athapaskan) world, where we often deal with assemblages composed entirely of lithics, and where we know that Dene peoples shared a cultural genius for rapidly emulating neighboring material cultures. With their extraordinary preservation of all material culture, Utah’s Promontory Caves allow detailed interdisciplinary probing of Apachean migration, applying hypotheses developed in light of current migration theory in the social sciences.  Apachean ancestors who had left the Subarctic Canada encountered a turbulent AD 13th century world in which hunting and gathering lifestyles offered not simply an option, but at times, a highly preferable alternative to terminal Fremont and Puebloan lifeways, themselves undergoing profound change.

  • November 14, 2014 at 12PM in Hale 455 – Brown Bag Lecture Series, UAV (drone-based) survey at Cuyamungue, New Mexico–an alternative to LiDAR. Scott Ortman, Sara Cullen, Kaitlyn Davis, Rachel Egan, Lindsay Johansson.
  • November 7, 2014 at 4PM in Hale 230 – Public Lecture, Rotting Bodies: The Clash of Stances toward Materiality and its Ethical Affordances. Professor Web Keane, George Herbert Mead Collefiate Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan. Any community supposedly identified with a “single” kind of Christianity is likely to contain conflicts and divisions due to the different logics and temporalities associated, respectively, with ecclesiastical institutions, popular practices, and scriptural texts. These conflicts may extend even to basic ontological assumptions. This paper looks at clashes concerning popular practices surrounding relics and icons in Eastern Orthodoxy. It asks what are the ethical stakes when people insist on the powers of material things even in the face of withering criticism and contempt from inside and outside their church. That criticism, which can have both theological and atheist bases, often focuses on the allegedly instrumental reasoning and selfish motives of people who expect to receive divine intervention from objects such as relics and icons. I argue that popular practices that focus on the agency of objects may above all be responding to material properties as ethical affordances. These affordances provide ways of treating the world as ethically saturated. In the Eastern Orthodox context, this may be one way for ordinary villagers to take lofty theological claims about the divine nature of humans in concrete terms. Reception to follow.
  • November 6, 2014 at 12pm in Hale 450 – Brown Bag Lecture My Cry Gets up to My Throat’: Reflections on Reverend Case, the Garrison Dam, and the North Dakota Oil Boom through Collaborative Anthropology with the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara NationPresentation by Dr. Jen Shannon. This talk explains the process, and products, of a collaborative anthropology research project with the MHA Nation.  Our relationship began with a museum collection and NAGPRA consultation and moved on to creating an oral history video archive, a community website, and a documentary.  As Julie Cruikshank’s work shows, oral history recounts the past with lessons for the present for a contemporary audience.  Oral history also shows how our experiences of the past shape how we understand the present. As community members reflect on the role of a prominent missionary and his fight against the US Government program that dammed the Missouri River and flooded their homelands in the 1950s, they see parallels with the oil boom today. Contact: Jen Shannon at 303-492-6276 or
  • October 24, 2014 at 3:30PM in GUGG 205 – Public Lecture, Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development. Emily Yeh, Associate Professor of Geography, CU-Boulder. The violent protests in Lhasa in 2008 against Chinese rule were met by disbelief and anger on the part of Chinese citizens and state authorities, perplexed by Tibetans’ apparent ingratitude for the generous provision of development. In Taming Tibet, Emily T. Yeh examines how Chinese development projects in Tibet served to consolidate state space and power. Drawing on sixteen months of ethnographic fieldwork between 2000 and 2009, Yeh traces how the transformation of the material landscape of Tibet between the 1950s and the first decade of the twenty-first century has often been enacted through the labor of Tibetans themselves. Focusing on Lhasa, Yeh shows how attempts to foster and improve Tibetan livelihoods through the expansion of markets and the subsidized building of new houses, the control over movement and space, and the education of Tibetan desires for development have worked together at different times and how they are experienced in everyday life. The master narrative of the PRC stresses generosity: the state and Han migrants selflessly provide development to the supposedly backward Tibetans, raising the living standards of the Han’s “little brothers.” Arguing that development is in this context a form of “indebtedness engineering,” Yeh depicts development as a hegemonic project that simultaneously recruits Tibetans to participate in their own marginalization while entrapping them in gratitude to the Chinese state. The resulting transformations of the material landscape advance the project of state territorialization. Exploring the complexity of the Tibetan response to—and negotiations with—development, Taming Tibet focuses on three key aspects of China’s modernization: agrarian change, Chinese migration, and urbanization. Yeh presents a wealth of ethnographic data and suggests fresh approaches that illuminate the Tibet Question.

  • May 8, 2014 – 7:00PM – Scott Ortman – What the Pueblos can teach us about social development – CU Museum
    • The process of social development refers to the ability of human groups to control their physical and social environments to get things done. This process has been going on ever since people became farmers, and it has transformed the material conditions of life for all of humanity. In this talk, I suggest that economic growth is a special case of social development and that both processes involve the interactions of people, things and ideas. I also illustrate that this process appears to have operated the same way in the ancient Pueblo world that it does in our world today. If this is true, the archaeological record would appear to provide a rich and generally untapped resource for deepening our understanding of this most important process. Contact:
  • April 25, 2014 – “Intimacies of War” Conference
  • April 18, 2014 – Student Speaker Series – Dr. Barth Wright – “Revisiting Capuchin Evolution and Adaptation” – Hale Science Building, Room 230
    • Dr. Barth Wright, PhD, Department of Anatomy, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences will be giving a lecture regarding the Capuchin monkeys who represent a fascinating and informative model species for investigating the complexities of human and non-human primate evolution. Join us for a discussion regarding their behavioral and morphological variation and dietary ecology.
  • April 11, 2014 – 4:00PM – Student Speaker Series – Dr. Esteban Gomez – Memory and Practice on the Colonial Frontier – Hale Science Building, Room 230
    • In thinking about colonial entanglements, and the colonial legacies that take place thereafter, landscape, memory and place become useful terms and necessary concepts for understanding how people experienced and actively participated in different colonial settings. The research that forms the basis of this paper involves the historical documentation and archaeological excavation of Conchagua Vieja, a Lenca settlement on the island of Conchaguita, in the Gulf of Fonseca. Landscape, memory, and place will be explored here in order to explore the complexities that characterized the colonial situation in eastern El Salvador, as well as to better understand the connection between El Salvador’s colonial past and its present condition.
  • April 5, 2014 – 1:00PM – CU on the Weekend with Steven Leigh
  • April 3, 2014 – 12:00PM – Rachel Fleming – ANTH PhD Candidate. CAS Conference Room, 1424 Broadway, CU-Boulder. [CAS Luncheon Series]
    • As more Indian women enter workplaces in cities like Bangalore, especially in fields such as Information Technology, they are experiencing new dilemmas, lifestyles, and friendships that differ from previous generations. Based on several months of fieldwork in Bangalore and interviews with three generations of women, this talk presents conclusions about how women in this site understand and experience new work opportunities, gender interactions, attitudes about marriage, and changes in families, and how they come to rely on friends amidst rapid urban and social change in India.
  • February 28, 2014 – 4:00PM – Student Speaker Series – Dr. Annabeth Headrick – Hale Science Building, Room 230
    • Dr. Annabeth Headrick from the School of Art and Art History at the University of Denver will be giving a lecture entitled, “The Architectureal life of a Chichen Itza Warrior,” in room 230 of the Hale Science Building. This talk will explore how novel architectural arenas created functional venues that doubled as magnificent and constant reminders of the crucial political and economic roles played by the military. Further, while some structures documented the actions of the living warriors, another temple memorialized the fallen warriors, engendering heroism among the living and immortality for the dead. In sum, the city vetted the military participants on a large stage, reflecting their role in the city’s international success.
  • February 21, 2014 – 4:00PM – Student Speaker Series – Dr. Sarah Parcak – Hale Science Building, Room 230
    • Dr. Sarah Parcak is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB), and is the founding Director of the UAB Laboratory for Global Observation. She is the first Egyptologist to use multispectral and high resolution satellite imagery analysis to identify previously unknown archaeological sites. Dr. Parcak will be giving a lecture entitled “Seeing the past from Space: The view from Egypt.” This presentation will discuss how archaeologists use NASA high resolution satellite technology to map and model ancient landscapes, with a focus on Egypt and the Mediterranean. It will show how high resolution satellites have allowed us to find previously unknown pyramids, settlements, temples, and other structures in Egypt. It will discuss the implications for understanding past human-environmental relationships, and how we need to move beyond “dots on a map”. The talk will also review archaeological sites threatened by looting following the Arab Spring, and the long term global issues for archaeological heritage. For more information please contact Zan Halmbacher.
  • February 7, 2014 – 4:00PM – Professor Lisa Rofel – Hale Science Building, Room 230
    • Professor Lisa Rofel joins The University of Colorado, Boulder for a lecture entitled “The Tranistional Business of Cultural Encounters in China:The Twenty-first Century Silk Road.” Professor Rofel attempts to answer questions regarding social inequality and its justification, class hierarchy, and how Maoist socialism has affected social development. For more information about this event, please contact Carla Jones.
  • January 25, 2014 – 7:00PM – Dr. Ken Sassaman – Hale Science Building, Room 270
    • Distinguished Archaeologist Speaker, Ken Sassaman of the University of Florida will give a talk entitled,Futurescapes of the Late Archaic: How Humans Dealth with Sea-Level Rise in the Long Term. Explore with Dr. Sassaman the Native American Societies of the Gulf Coast of 3000 to 5000 years ago – a landscape of settlements, monuments, and cemeteries that created a kind of time-space “map.” The history encoded in the landscape enabled Native communities along the Gulf Coast to call upon past experiences for future planning, making their landscape a futurescape. Dr. Sassaman will share how their vision of the future is reflected in their responses to sea-level rise.

      Video from Lecture Futurescapes of the Late Archaic: How Humans Dealth with Sea-Level Rise in the Long Term

  • January 24, 2014 – 4:00PM – Dr. Ken Sassaman – Hale Science Building, Room 230
  • January 21, 2014 – 4:00PM – Ruth Phillips – British Studies Room, Norlin Library
    • Noted Art Historian, Ruth Phillips, will be presenting her topic: “Monstances and Wampums: Jesuits, Iroquois, and Materializations of the Spiritual in Seventeenth-Century America. Ruth Phillips was the director of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia from 1997 – 2003. She is currently Professor of Art History at Carleton College in Canada.

  • November 15, 2013 – 4:00PM – Dr. Kent Lightfoot – Hale Science Building, Room 230
    • Dr. Lightfoot’s general research interests include North American prehistory, coastal hunter-gatherer societies, the emergence of early village communities, and culture contact between Native peoples and European explorers and colonists. His current work focuses on how indigenous peoples responded to European contact and colonialism, and how the outcomes of these encounters influenced cultural developments in postcolonial contexts. He is an archaeologist from the University of California – Berkeley.

  • December 5, 2013 – 12:15PM – Oliver Paine – Hale Science Building, Room 450
    • “Grass and sedge consumption by our hominin ancestors: did C4 Plants help shape human evolution?” Oliver Paine is a PhD student and ANTH 2030 lab coordinator for the Anthropology department located in the Hale Science building.
  • November 14, 2013 – 12:15PM – Nevada Drollinger – Hale Science Building, Room 450
    • “The Changing Face of Buddhism: Buddhist ‘Terrorism’ and Western Imagination”. Nevada Drollinger is an MA candidate and Lead Teaching Assistant 2013-2014 in the Department of Religious Studies.

  • April 4, 2014 – 1:00PM – Magda Stawkowski – CAS Symposium 2014: Catastrophic Asia
    • Magda Stawkowski will be one of the featured scholars in this year’s symposium for the Center for Asian Studies. The Center for Asian Studies will host presentations on the risks, costs and effects of different types and contexts of disaster in a day-long symposium on April 4 beginning at 1:00pm in the British and Irish Studies Room on the fifth floor of Norlin Library. Presentations will be followed by a faculty panel of respondents, and the symposium will conclude with a reception.
  • February 11, 2014 – 6:15PM – Jonku Kim – Materiality of Transmutation: What Persists and What Projects?
    • Visual Arts Center (VAC) Lobby, CU Bolder
  • November 15, 2013 – 6:00PM – Brot Coburn – Everest – New and Old Perspectives about Mt. Everest and the Sherpas.
    • Eaton Humanities, Room 150

  • November 4, 2013 – 6:30PM – BHOPALI Film – Hale Science Building, Room 270
    • BHOPALI is a feature length documentary about the world’s worst industrial disaster, the 1984 Union Carbide gas leak in Bhopal, India, by award-winning director Van Maximilian Carlson. The film is followed by a Q&A with survivor-activist Sanjay Verma.