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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Anthropology

Faculty and Students

Department of Anthropology

News and Events


Precedent film released: Created by DU Professor Esteban Gomez, undergraduate student Alia Reza, and graduate student Whitney Peterson, Precedent explores the real consequences when people in positions of power perpetuate and fail to challenge harmful rhetoric towards marginalized groups of people. Following stories of Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II and Muslim Americans today, the film contextualizes the historical precedent for ongoing acts of discrimination and highlights the lessons that history can teach us about leadership, power, and belonging.

Dr. Lawrence Conyers, along with 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


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 is 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." 



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 Kylie Dillinger and Walid Hedidar.

Kylie Dillinger Bogard WinnerKylie combines her Anthropology major with Emergent Digital Practices. She writes, "My goals are to become more proficient in 3D scanning and rebuilding broken artifacts, to make anthropology and archaeology more accessible to the public, and to one day create a digital database of 3D scanned artifacts. Being an anthropology major I've learned the proper way to handle artifacts, and I've seen how reproductions of artifacts can be used to better bring history to people in a tangible way." Kylie's Senior Capstone project will involve 3D scanning artifacts at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science early. She also intends to create models that turn fragmentary into complete items, and 3D printing her models for visitors to physically interact with.

Walid Hedidar Bogard WinnerWalid is another double major, in Anthropology and International Studies. The co-founder of a LEAPS Education, he writes, "I am passionate about questions of education reform across the world. My cultural and applied anthropology classes have equipped me with valuable foundational skills that I need to be able to perform such work across a plethora of cultural contexts. It is thanks to my anthropology major that I have been able to ponder and reflect on the link that exists between culture, education, and learning: an intersection that is often overlooked in the field of educational studies."

Please join us in congratulating Kylie and Walid! We look forward to all they will accomplish in their Senior year at DU.


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 Delaney Brink and Gabriella Molinar-Castillo.

Delaney BrinkDelaney (Laney) Brink is a double major in Anthropology and Chemistry.She came to the University of Denver with these two interests and over the last three years, has turned interests into passions, and passions into a single future: archeochemistry. Laney's capstone project in anthropology will employ her skills to analyze residue from prehistoric ceramics in the DU Museum of Anthropology collections with an eye to one question: were these Colorado's first microbrewers? As Laney wrote in her Bogard application, "With the assistance of amazing mentors I was able to discover a field that combines my passions and it is a field I hope to pursue for many years to come through such opportunities as research, field schools, and graduate school. Although it is difficult to say where my career will lead me once I leave the University of Denver, I know without a doubt that this passion will remain for the rest of my life."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.

Gaby Molinar-CastilloGabriella (Gaby) Molinar-Castillo plans to go on to be a teacher, something for which she sees her anthropological background as key. " I see anthropology as the shining light that connects the reason why I want to teach and the means I have to do it. I am driven by the fact that connections between cultures can be used as a way to motivate individuals. One of the many ways I can show my commitment to anthropology is with the ethnographic research I did on beauty ideals in Costa Rica. Although I am still analyzing data to reach my final conclusions, I am enthusiastic to see where my results take me."

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!