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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Anthropology

Faculty and Students

Department of Anthropology

News and Events


July 2017: Dr. Lawrence Conyers, along with two Archeology MA students, Maeve Herrick and Jasmine Saxon, were recently featured in an article in University of Denver Magazine discussing their use of ground-penetrating radar (GPR) technology to find evidence of an an early 17th-century farmstead in Connecticut. The team ended up uncovering what may be the first archaeological evidence of cohabitation between early colonists and Native Americans.

Dr. Esteban Gomez received the Service Learning Faculty of the Year award by the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. Some of his projects include the following: 

This is My Denver: This community-engaged project serves as a creative platform for important conversations concerning the accelerating social, economic, and demographic changes taking place in the city. The photos, videos and artwork produced by high school students from Abraham Lincoln High School ask provocative questions about social issues that affect the residents of Denver. As part of the project, students enrolled in Digital Anthropology at the University of Denver participated in several workshops designed to help the high school students develop their creative works.

Para Place: An Exploration of the Spaces Betwixt and Between: Working with contemporary artist JD Sell, Abraham Lincoln High School Students explored their neighborhoods and documented their experiences through photography. The resulting photographs reveal the in-between spaces of our urban environment from the unique perspective of Denver teens. The photographs were then transferred to canvas by Sell, creating multilayered paintings that speak to the fragility of our surroundings.

 The He(ART)ery of Pregnancy and Baby Loss: Collaborating  with Professor Erin Willer in the Department of Communication Studies. The He(ARTery) of Pregnancy and Baby Loss showcased the artwork of The Scraps of the Heart Project collaborators, including bereaved parents, healthcare providers, artists, students, and researchers. The exhibit welcomed all to bear wit(h)ness to its art and stories— vessels that contribute to a circulatory system of community and breathe life into babies and their families. Students enrolled in Professor Gómez's Museums and Public Culture course were tasked with the design and installation of the exhibition.

Dr. Bonnie Clark was interviewed in a podcast for the "The Archaeology Show," hosted by DU alumni April Kamp-Whittaker to discuss her work with at Amache, a Japanese-American Internment Camp that operated during WWII, and descendant populations. 

Dr. James LaVita's Dance and Theater Company, 3rd Law Dance and Theater, was awarded the 2016 Living Legends of Dance in Colorado award. Since 2004, this award honors outstanding contribution to dance.

Dr. Bonnie Clark has written a blog about ethics called, "The Missing Ethics of Heritage", posted on the website for the American Anthropological Association.

Professor Lawrence Conyers was featured July 2015, in the AHSS expressions e-newsletter. The article,  "Professor Maps Ancient Burial Sites Using Radar Technology" was written by Naomi McMillen. 

The department of anthropology was recognized at History Colorado's annual historic preservation awards ceremony on February 6, 2013.  The Stephen H. Hard Award recognizing outstanding achievement in archaeology and historic preservation throughout Colorado.  The award was given to Professor Dean Saitta and other department faculty and staff for their work at the Ludlow Tent Colony in Southern Colorado.  You can learn more about Ludlow and Saitta's work on his DU Portfolio page. 

Dr. Bonnie J. Clark, professor of anthropology, has worked at Amache, the site of a World War II Japanese American internment camp since 2005. The work brings students, former internees and the nearby community of Granada together.  Their latest work is highlighted in the spring DU Magazine.

Dr. Clark was also interviewed about the department's research project at Amache, the site of a World War II Japanese American internment camp for the program Colorado Matters



Each year the Department of Anthropology recognizes as a Bogard Scholar, one or more outstanding majors set to begin their senior year. This scholarship was established in 1979 by Thomas Aquinas Lee Bogard, an alumnus of both the BA (1937) and MA (1940) programs in Anthropology at DU. The department is pleased to announce this year's recipients of the Bogard Scholarship are Alia Reza and Nicole Miller.

Alia Reza has found a sense of mission in museum anthropology. "My major has taught me to understand complex relations and communications between groups of people, Ali Rezawhether verbal, bodily, written, or material. This understanding allows me to identify ways in which to present issues faced by a group of people, in such a way as to elicit prompt and insightful responses from members of other groups. As an anthropologist, I plan to develop museum programs that exhibit this complexity and trigger communicative responses from visitors. Through these programs, groups of people can relay complex notions of political, social, and personal experiences to others." A leader in the DU Muslim Student Association, Alia's senior capstone project will investigate the way Muslim students at DU perceive their individual identities and places on campus.

Nicole Miller is a double major in Anthropology and Art and spent her entire junior year abroad. "I chose a double major in anthropology and art because I felt I would be able to produce more compelling artwork and research by utilizing the two subjects together. The most important factor in choosing a major for me was the ability to use my knowledge to create social change; research in anthropology and production of artistic works are able to cause shifts in the perspectives of their audience." Nicole will spend this summer researching the human-plant relationship in the urban environment of Barcelona, Spain to better understand how plants are culturally incorporated (or neglected) in everyday life.

Michele Koons, Ph.D., a 2006 anthropology graduate and currently the Curator of Archaeology at Denver Museum of Nature and Science, wrote an article about her work studying the Moche civilization in Peru.  The article in on page 12 of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science online magazine

Susan Gillis, who received her master's degree in anthropology in 1982, has written books on the history of Fort Lauderdale. The author says she, "strongly believes that sharing history is key to building community, and the more people know, the more they take an interest and get involved and become good citizens." You can learn more about her books and research in this DU Today article. 

Willi Lempert who received his master's degree in cultural anthropology from DU in 2010 and is currently studying for his PhD in the Anthropology Department at CU Boulder, has just secured two extremely prestigious grants for his research, the Fulbright and the Wenner-Gren.  Willi will be commencing his fieldwork on Indigenous media in Australia in July 2014. "Broadcasting Indigeneity: The Social life of Aboriginal Media. My dissertation research seeks to understand the recent rise of two national Aboriginal television networks through an 18-month ethnographic study of two parallel cohabiting indigenous media organizations in the town of Broome and the remote Aboriginal community of Yungngora in Northwestern Australia. By following the social lives of their media through collaboration on production teams, I seek to reveal the tensions and paradoxes of contemporary Aboriginality embedded within the daily practices of diverse video projects." 


Halena Kapuni-Reynolds and Wahid Hedidar were recently featured in the book, "Many Voiced, One DU," a collection of stories and essays from undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, staff, and faculty from across campus. The book honors the many voices that combine to form our DU community, bringing together reflections about identity, difference, and community inspired by the common prompt of telling a story about an encounter with the unfamiliar.

Undergraduate and graduate students participate in archaeology field school, a four-week intensive program held every two years at Amache, a World War II Japanese American internment camp in Eastern Colorado. Read about the student experience in the DU Magazine

Find more AHSS events here!