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College of Arts and Sciences Anthropology

Undergraduate curates exhibit for Black History Month

Sidney Murphy discussing work on display in the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.Anthropology senior Sidney Murphy thinks it’s important that people of all ethnicities connect with art and that art can help us celebrate culture.

Murphy, who is also earning a minor in exhibition studies, selected works of four prominent black artists from the collections of Jordan Schnitzer and his family foundation for a special six-week “Social Space” exhibit at WSU’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

“Black artists and ethnic artists are the lowest-represented at art museums — and especially black women,” Murphy said. The four featured artists–– » More …

WSU undergraduate receives Sigma Xi research grant

100 years Grants-in-aid of Research Sigma XiAnnMarie McCracken, a student at WSU Pullman, has been awarded one of only 17 undergraduate research grants from the international scientific research honor society Sigma Xi  and its Grants‑in‑Aid of Research program.

McCracken is pursuing a double degree and plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degrees anthropology and French. She will receive financial support from the program’s ecology category for » More …

If these walls could talk

Aerial shot of historic WSU Pullman campus.The University’s Historic Preservation Committee recently launched a new website that provides the first comprehensive online history of WSU Pullman’s buildings and landscapes.

Developed as a teaching tool and an eventual community history repository, the WSU Building and Landscapes website features photographs, maps and plans from the WSU Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections (MASC).  Currently, the website includes entries for 161 buildings on the Pullman campus, including 39 buildings » More …

Archeology: days of future past

HousesRapid global cooling 13,000 years ago challenged early occupants of Alaska to adapt. People used to hunting mammoths and other megafauna with big stone tools suddenly found their weapons shattering in the cold. Access to the stone they used to make them got buried under snow.

As with any climactic change, the cold resulted in a shift in fauna, requiring new tools. Early Alaskans turned to microblade technology, a technique they’d kept alive for » More …

Undergraduate students’ research opens doors to the future

Collage showing a mineral, institutional icons, a student with latex gloves inspecting what looks to be a bat wing, and a woman leaning up against a stack of books.Alyssa Sperry’s research for her University Scholars Honors thesis on the history of salt in Jamaica earned her the Library Research Excellence Award for 2018. It also changed her life.

The library research award is designed to recognize students who excel in using the library and its rich resources. Sperry, who graduated from WSU Vancouver in May with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a minor in history, used the library exceptionally well—and went far beyond it. » More …

The curation crisis

The Marmes RockshelterMore than 8,500 years ago, a group of people used a rock shelter at the confluence of the Palouse and Snake Rivers as a base camp. When rediscovered in the early 1950s, the shelter amazed scientists, including Washington State University archeologist Richard Daugherty, with its wealth of artifacts—and the age of its human remains. Named after the property owner at the time, the Marmes Rockshelter was soon inundated by waters from the recently closed Lower Monumental Dam on the Snake. Although a levee had been built by the Army Corps of Engineers to keep the shelter dry, the Corps neglected to take into account the layer of permeable gravel beneath the site. Within three days, it was all under water. » More …

Northwest Indians used tobacco long before European contact

David Gang, left, and Shannon Tushingham holding ancient tobacco pipes WSU researchers have determined that Nez Perce Indians grew and smoked tobacco at least 1,200 years ago, long before the arrival of traders and settlers from the eastern United States. Their finding upends a long-held view that indigenous people in this area of the interior Pacific Northwest smoked only kinnikinnick or bearberry before traders brought tobacco starting around 1790.

Shannon Tushingham, a WSU assistant professor and director of its Museum of Anthropology, made the discovery after teaming up with David Gang, a professor in the Institute of Biological Chemistry, to analyze pipes and » More …

Vancouver junior awarded National Udall Scholarship

student with WSU flag on a suspension footbridgeWSU Vancouver cultural anthropology major Emma Johnson has received a prestigious and nationally competitive Udall Undergraduate Scholarship in its tribal public policy category.

“The Udall (Scholarship) is incredibly important to me,” said Johnson. “Completing all the work to apply and then being successful, it’s a really huge deal. It is helping me complete my education.”

Johnson, 22 years old, is WSU’s fifth Udall recipient since 2015. The Udall Foundation, a federal agency, works both to strengthen » More …

Researcher named to Washington State Academy of Sciences

Professor in officeTimothy Kohler, Regents professor in anthropology, has been elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences

He is an eminent archaeologist and evolutionary anthropologist specializing in quantitative analyses of prehistoric behavior set in climatically accurate paleoenvironments. He is well known for his work on cooperative behaviors, wealth inequalities and their consequences, and models of pre-Hispanic agricultural » More …