Three experimental ethnography pieces by undergraduate students on COVID-19 experiences have been recently published on the Experimental Ethnography at Emory blog. These works were produced for ANT/THEA 377W “Fieldwork into Performance,” taught by Prof. Vidali in Spring 2019.
“Rush Monologues” by Aditya Jhaveri is a verbatim ethnographic theater script based on interviews with three international students.
“Face-Time during COVID-19” by Katherine Pitts is a creative nonfiction essay aimed to promote awareness of isolation and the importance of staying connected in a highly disrupted world.
“Silent” by Joy Min is a short ethnographic theater piece documenting the experiences of people who are victims of racist/xenophobic sentiments concerning the origins of COVID-19.
Naomi Tesema (C20), earned her BS with honors in Anthropology and Human Biology. She received the Atwood Award for her honors theses titled “Mobile Phone Apps for HIV Prevention Among College-aged Black Women in Atlanta: Preferences and Prototype.”
Anna Wachspress, a junior majoring in anthropology and human biology, received an honorable mention for “Lori Loughlin and the College Admissions Scandal: Frame Analysis of Online Entertainment Magazines,” an assignment for Sociology 289: Crime and the Media.
The Carlos Museum usually offers great activities and events for families on site. With the closure of the galleries due to COVID-19, the museum has been creating online activities for kids and adults.
The Anthropology Department is pleased to announce our 2020 student award winners! Please join us in congratulating undergraduates Isabel Slingerland, Claire Biffl, Emma Hanlon, Evan Amaral and Rebecca Rusnak, and graduate students Sara Kauko and Shreyas Sreenath. Undergraduate awards were conferred at a virtual celebration on Friday, April 24. See below for detailed award descriptions. We are so proud of our many impressive students!
2020 Undergraduate Student Awards
Outstanding Senior Award: Isabel Slingerland
Outstanding Junior Award: Evan Amaral and Rebecca Rusnak
Marjorie Shostak Prize for Excellent and Humanity in Ethnographic Writing:
Claire Biffl for her honors thesis “Experiences of Aging, Kinship, Death, and Independence in an Independent Living Facility”
Emma Hanlon for her honors thesis “Negotiating Spirituality: Ritual, Language, and Space in the First Existentialist Congregation of Atlanta”
2020 Graduate Student Awards:
Marjorie Shostak Prize for Excellent and Humanity in Ethnographic Writing: Shreyas Sreenath for his dissertation “Black Spot: An Account of Caste and Discards in 21st Century Bangalore”
George Armelagos Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student: Sara Kauko and Shreyas Sreenath
The Anthropology department is proud to recognize eleven seniors who successfully defended honors theses, most of them holding defenses remotely and completing their projects from home after the University closed due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Their projects, the culmination of a year (or more!) of independent research and writing, were completed under the supervision of faculty advisors and committee members from within and outside of Anthropology, with support from faculty honors coordinator Dr. Kristin Phillips. These students were honored in a virtual Anthropology Honors and Awards Ceremony on April 24th. One student, Rachel Kim, graduated from Emory in December, and the others are scheduled to graduate with honors on May 11.
Please see below for a full list of theses, and join us in congratulating these students on their hard work and accomplishment!
Claire Biffl – Experiences of Aging, Kinship, Death, and Independence in an Independent Living Facility
Advised by Kristin Phillips
Elisabeth Crusey – “Does anybody have ibuprofen?”: An Investigation of Emory Undergraduates’ Over-the-Counter Analgesic Use
Advised by Bisan Salhi (School of Medicine)
Emma Hanlon – Spiritual Community, Sacred Congregation: Ritual, Discourse, and Space in the First Existentialist Congregation of Atlanta
Advised by Anna Grimshaw
Sarena Ho – Father Absence and Young Adult Romantic Relationship Ideals
Advised by Craig Hadley
Jahnvi Jain – Effects of a Brief Breath Focused Mindfulness Meditation Intervention on Heart Rate Variability and Dissociation in Patients with PTSD and Dissociation
Advised by Negar Fani (School of Medicine)
Adama Kamara – The Politics of Empowerment and Black Female Sexuality: Perceptions Through the Lens of Atlanta’s Trafficking Networks
Advised by Bayo Holsey
Nora Keathley – Latinx Women and Labor in the Digital Age: Exploring Childbirth and Medical Authority Through the Use of YouTube
Advised by John Lindo
Rachel Kim – Representation Matters: Changing Portrayals of Asian-Americans in Hollywood Films from 1993-2019
Advised by Anna Grimshaw
Riana Peskopos – The Queer Female Medical Narratives
Advised by Anna Grimshaw
Ruhika Prasad – Mental Illness and Pregnancy among Women in Mysore, India: Health Provider and Women’s Perspectives
Advised by Joyce Flueckiger (Religion)
Naomi Tesema – Mobile Phone Apps for HIV Prevention Among College-Aged Black Women in Atlanta: Preferences and Prototype
Advised by Rasheeta Chandler (Nursing) and John Lindo
A list of all previously completed Anthropology honors theses is available at
The American Anthropological Association (AAA) designates the 3rd Thursday of February as Anthropology Day, a day to “celebrate what Anthropology is and what it can achieve” while “sharing it with the world around us.” Emory Anthropology students stopped by today to share what they love about Anthropology, which included things like:
“It focuses on concepts I have always thought about but have never been able to articulate. Anthro promotes understanding and acceptance for/of differences!”
“It allows me to apply cultural competence to the social justice issues that I am passionate about.”
“I love anthro because it opens my mind into thinking in new ways and broadens my world view!”
“It connects us to our ROOTS!”
“Because it’s teaching me how to be a more empathetic doctor and human.”
“It provides multi-dimensional perspectives that apply to many disciplines.”
“Anthropology has taught be how to be in the world in a meaningful way.”
We love to see how studying anthropology allows our students to feel more connected to each other and the world, while focusing on a broad range of interests and applications. Whatever our specific goals and inspirations, we all believe in the power of anthropology to help make the world a better place! #AnthroDay
Anthropology and human biology graduate Abbe McCarter received the Bradley Currey Jr. Seminar Award for her project “Food Insecurity on the Cattaraugus Reservation.” This was part of her honors thesis titled “Windows into the Lived Experiences and Health Consequences of Food Insecurity on the Cattaraugus Reservation: Implications for Indigenous Peoples’ Food Sovereignty”. She graduated in May with highest honors.
“I am beyond grateful for the Rose Library and their consideration for the Bradley Currey Jr. Seminar Award. This award allowed me to travel to the Seneca Nation of Indians’ Cattaraugus Reservation and conduct first hand qualitative and quantitative research. The experience as a whole provided me with significant lessons in conducting anthropological research as I examined the lived experiences and health consequences of food insecurity and sovereignty for Indigenous Peoples. I am certain that this award, the mentorship of Dr. Vidali and the rest of Emory’s Anthropology department, and the completion of my honors thesis, contributed to me achieving my current position – as the 2019/20 Melvin Ember intern with HRAF at Yale University working with some of the most important minds and data in cross-cultural research. Having the opportunity to travel to the Cattaraugus Reservation was absolutely critical, and allowed me to foster relationships with interlocutors in the field and embark upon a course of study which will continue to grow for years to come thanks to the Bradley Currey Jr. Seminar Award!”
She is one of eleven Emory students who recently received undergraduate research awards for their library research. Read more in the Emory News Center.
Anthropology major Katya Bobrek was one of six recent Emory graduates to receive NSF funding and the only one to be awarded the prestigious grand right after receiving her undergraduate degree. She graduated in May with high honors in Anthropology and Human Biology. The title of her honors thesis was “Genomic Analysis and Natural Selection Scan of Mexican Mayan and Indigenous Populations” and her advisor was Dr. John Lindo.
“I’m so thankful for the opportunity given to me by NSF. What excites me the most about my research is its interdisciplinary nature. I would never have found this niche if not for the education I received at the Emory Anthropology department. There I discovered my love of anthropology, health, and scientific research. It’s because of Emory Anthropology that I found what I am most passionate about.” Katya Bobrek
Kristen graduated in May with highest honors in Anthropology and also minored in Sustainability. She has worked with the Office of Sustainability Initiative on the zero waste policies.
“I have learned so much about how to make change happen thanks to the sustainability initiatives at Emory. Through collaborating with administrators, faculty, staff, and student peers in the process of working towards a sustainable Emory, I have met inspiring people across the University and forged connections that contribute not only to my sense of place but also to my professional development.
Through working as a student employee with theOffice, I have also been able to understand the links between my education in theclassroom and real-world translation and application. I think people are so fundamental to understanding sustainability and sustainable outcomes, so studying anthropology has been as necessary supplement to my sustainability work and a fundamental influence in my thinking. Both working with OSI and studying anthropology were invaluable for my skills development, my understandingof people and the world around me, and the evolution of my sustainable vision for the future.”