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Dr. Justin Dunnavant, an incoming professor in the Department of Anthropology, has been selected as one of “15 global changemakers” for the National Geographic 2021 Emerging Explorer cohort.

National Geographic Society states: “These 15 individuals are conducting innovative work focused on a range of topics such as inventing space technologies, ocean exploration, understanding the past through archaeology and anthropology, species conservation, storytelling, and elevating young voices for the future of education.”

Dr. Dunnavant is currently a provost’s postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University’s Spatial Analysis Research Laboratory and will be an assistant professor in UCLA’s Anthropology Department starting this fall. His current research in the U.S. Virgin Islands investigates the relationship between ecology and enslavement in the former Danish West Indies. Dr. Dunnavant is also co-founder and president of the Society of Black Archaeologists, an American Academy of Underwater Sciences scientific diver, a consultant for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and a 2021 inductee to The Explorers Club. His research has been featured on Netflix’s Explained and Hulu’s Your Attention Please and in American Archaeology and Science magazines.

To read Dr. Dunnavant’s latest article, “Craft an African American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act,” in NATURE, click HERE.

Dr. Justin Dunnavant, an incoming professor in the UCLA Department of Anthropology, recently had his work with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) featured on WUSA9 news in Washington, DC. Dr. Dunnavant’s research seeks to share the whole truth about the experience of African Americans by unearthing artifacts from some of the highest and lowest places on earth. The Slave Wrecks Project is focused on salvaging artifacts from the wreckage of slave ships around the world. Dr. Dunnavant states that there is history, particularly underwater history, that hasn’t been uncovered. “Dunnavant has done work in Africatown, Alabama, a city that was formed by African Americans after the emancipation of enslaved people. Many of those in the town crossed the Atlantic on a ship named the Clotilda — the last known slave ship to reach the United States.”

To learn more about this important research, check out WUSA9’s print and video coverage HERE.

The research of Dr. Justin Dunnavant, an incoming professor in the UCLA Department of Anthropology, and his colleagues was recently featured as the cover story for American Archaeology Magazine. Dr. Dunnavant consults for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture Slave Wrecks Project, which is chronicled in the story. It covers their research at the Estate Little Princess in St. Croix and their forthcoming research in Africatown, Alabama.

The American Archaeology Magazine article features an excerpt HERE, and the full printed article is available HERE.

 

UCLA Anthropology alumnus and Professor Robert B. Lemelson has made a generous gift to establish The Study of Black Life and Racial Inequality Program Fund that will provide critical support for graduate and undergraduate students who share a commitment to the study of Black Life and Racial Inequality in Anthropology.

As part of Anthropology’s commitment to ensure ongoing financial support for transformative positive social change, as well as provide much-needed material support for students engaged with these issues, Professor Lemelson’s gift will pave the way for more sustainable future support from alumni and friends who share Anthropology’s vision of impactful research and social justice.

To build on this vision, the Department of Anthropology is excited to support a student-initiated group focused on academic engagement, mentorship, and the professional development of Black graduate students in Anthropology. The Department will also offer a new mentoring course for diverse undergraduates led by the student group to be inaugurated in the Winter of 2021. Undergraduates in the course who are also interested in pursuing independent research will be encouraged to apply to the Department’s prestigious undergraduate Lemelson Anthropological Honors Program to further develop their research and professional careers.

The Department of Anthropology is deeply grateful to Professor Lemelson for his support of this vision and his generous gift, which will ensure the program’s success in years to come.

We invite the community to join us in this important initiative to support the study of Black Life and racial inequality by making an online gift HERE. If you are interested in making a gift by check, please contact Lisa Mohan at lmohan@support.ucla.edu. We appreciate your support of this important program.

 

Dr. H. Samy Alim, UCLA Professor of Anthropology and David O. Sears Presidential Endowed Chair in the Division of Social Sciences, and Dr. Geneva Smitherman, Michigan State University Distinguished Professor Emerita, recently released an opinion piece in The New York Times titled “Of Course Kamala Harris Is Articulate.” They challenge the often used description that high-achieving Black people are “articulate.” They assert that these types of descriptions are highly problematic and offensive, because the exceptional descriptions imply that the opposite is true of other Black people. As co-authors of the book Articulate While Black: Barack Obama, Language, and Race in the U.S., Drs. Alim and Smitherman further explain why comments like these denigrate Black Americans, even if done unintentionally.

To read the full op-ed, please click HERE.

Summer 2020 starts this month, and LA Social Science will continue to highlight some of the summer courses being offered within the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA.

UCLA summer courses are open to BOTH UCLA students and NON-UCLA students. All Summer 2020 courses will be offered online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can enroll as long as you are 15 years of age or older by the first day of summer and you do NOT have to be enrolled in an academic institution in order to participate in UCLA Summer Sessions. For more information, click HERE.

UCLA’s Department of Anthropology has several summer course offerings. Check out the course list below. Enroll HERE TODAY!

Session A:

ANTHRO 142P – Anthropology of Religion

Survey of various methodologies in comparative study of religious ideologies and action systems, including understanding particular religions through descriptive and structural approaches, and identification of social and psychological factors that may account for variation in religious systems cross-culturally.

ANTHRO 143 – Economic Anthropology

Introduction to anthropological perspectives for interpretation of economic life and institutions. Economic facts to be placed in their larger social, political, and cultural contexts; examination of modes of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services in their relation to social networks, power structures, and institutions of family, kinship, and class.

ANTHRO 153 – Language and Identity

Language as social phenomenon. Introduction to several angles from which language use can be critically examined as integral to interactions between individuals and between social groups.

Other Session A offerings:

ANTHRO 3 – Culture and Society

ANTHRO 110 – Principles of Archaeology

ANTHRO 124S – Evolution of Human Sexual Behavior

ANTHRO 133 – Anthropology of Food

ANTHRO 137P – Anthropology of Deviance and Abnormality

Session C:

ANTHRO 126P – Paleopathology

Evidence of disease and trauma, as preserved in skeletal remains of ancient and modern human populations. Discussions of medical procedures (trepanation), health status, ethnic mutilation (cranial deformation, footbinding), cannibalism, and sacrifice and roles such activities have played in human societies.

ANTHRO 132 – Anthropology of Environment

Environmental anthropology explores relationship between complex human systems and environments in which they are entangled. Examination of how people impact and are impacted by their environments, and how relationships between people are negotiated through management of place and space throughout time. Traces multiple theoretical lineages, beginning with early work in cultural ecology and including political ecology, environmental history, contested ontologies, and contemporary environmental justice. Through engagement with grounded, multimodal ethnographies (in text, film, and new media), study of historical movements of people across ecosystems, politics of managing common goods resources such as rivers and atmosphere, bioeconomics of environmental contamination, and development of climate change adaptation strategies in hard-hit areas.

ANTHRO 138P – Field Methods in Cultural Anthropology

Introduction to skills and tools of data ascertainment through fieldwork in cultural anthropology. Emphasis on techniques, methods, and concepts of ethnographical research and how basic observational information is systematized for presentation, analysis, and cross-cultural comparison.

Other Session C offerings:

ANTHRO 1 – Human Evolution

ANTHRO 4 – Culture and Communication

ANTHRO 135 – Visual Anthropology

ANTHRO 146 – Urban Anthropology