Spring 2020, Volume 20, No. 2


NMSU Anthropology is making a difference in the Borderlands! 
The Anthropology faculty and students and profiled here are just a few of those who have received funding and recognition for their research and teaching. 

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NMSU Department of Anthropology
NMSU University Museum

We have supported students and faculty working both internationally and locally on projects as diverse as cultural heritage and archaeological stewardship, food security and sufficiency, biocultural perspectives on medicine, health, and variation, the social determinants of health disparities, Native American art and material culture, indigenous social movements and participatory action in the study of migration, displacement, and diaspora. 

We invite you to share in our Department's success and our students' accomplishments. Your support matters!

Dr. Rani T. Alexander
Academic Department Head and Professor of Anthropology
Be a Friend of Anthropology
Dr. Miriam Chaiken
Retires as NMSU Honors College Dean 

We miss you!
Department Head of Anthropology, 2009-2014
Distinguished Achievement Professor, 2012-present
Dean of the Honors College, 2014-2020

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MatriArt: Native Motherhood Sites and Spaces 

Dr. Georgina Badoni's
 current research looks into Native women artists expressions of motherhood. After centuries of oppression, Native women are still here and the center of families, communities, and nations. 
The colonial narrative has labeled Native women as “un-fit,” however Native women artists are upholding sacredness, power, and the beauty of Native motherhood. Native artists include Acoma Pueblo artist Michelle Lowden, owner of Milo Creations specializing in hand-painted jewelry, blankets, and accessories. Her tribal clans are Bear Clan and Yellow Corn Clan. Michelle is a first-time mother and raising her son to honor his culture and be empowered with a strong connection to her homelands, traditional ways like ceremony, farming, and ancestral languages. Michelle comes from a strong matriarchal lineage of potters. Michelle draws inspiration from her grandmother’s pottery designs she had seen around the house. Her grandmother taught her the meaning of designs and to carry it on.
Using her grandmother's design as inspiration, overtime Michelle has developed her style. Michelle’s work has changed since having her son, before she was blending street art, using bright colors and a non-traditional approach. Now, Michelle feels like her work is about wellness as a person and to create a balanced environment for her son. Michelle believes art is a responsibility to teach healthy practices, to represent in the best way, and to set an example for future generations. 
Titled: Nourishment, donation piece to SWAIA on July 2019
Photo credit: Nate Lemuel of Darklisted Photography
Spring Speaker Series
Dr. Nicole Burt

Darwin Day is the international celebration of science and reason that commemorate the contributions of Charles Darwin to our understanding of biological diversity.
In recognition of the importance of science as one way of knowing the natural world, the NMSU Department of Anthropology invited university and community members to attend a talk by Dr. Nicole Burt, a biological anthropologist who specializes in using stable isotope analysis to reconstruct diets in past and living human populations. Dr. Burt is the Curator of Human Health and Evolutionary Medicine at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Her talk, titled "What Should Humans Eat? Reconstructing Human Diets with Science", considers the role of diet in human evolution and how we can reconstruct past diets with stable isotope analysis.
Listen to the KRWG-FM Interview Here.
Spring Speaker Series
Baltazar de la Cruz Rodríguez

We are honored that Baltazar, a member of the Alcaldía Indígena of Cotzal, Guatemala, took time to inspire our students by speaking about Ixil Maya Youth, Migration, and Resistance and engaging them individually in many different classes and at the University Museum. His public talk with Giovanni Batz, Visiting Assistant Professor, was live-streamed from the NMSU American Indian Student Center. 
Listen and View More!
Spring Speaker Series
Dr. Sherine Hamdy

Hamdy is a medical anthropologist at the University of California, Irvine and editor of the EthnoGRAPHIC anthropological graphic novel series. She recently published the graphic novel “Lissa: A Story about Medical Promise, Friendship, and Revolution.” The book is the 2018 recipient of the PROSE Award in Cultural Anthropology & Sociology. Her talk invites us to rethink how we represent academic scholarship and how we can reach a wider audience. 
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Discovery Scholars
Hailey Taylor and
Andrea Marañón Laguna

Anthropology's Discovery Scholars had expected to travel internationally to conduct fieldwork in Vanuatu, South Pacific, and in Yucatan, Mexico, before the Covid-19 epidemic sparked a change of plans. 
Together with Drs. Katie Olszowy and Mary Alice Scott, they are investigating the gendered impacts of the pandemic.
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Andrea Marañón Laguna's poster on the Tren Maya, a contemporary megaproject unfolding in Mexico's Maya region, for NMSU Honor's College URCAS Symposium.
Graduate Student Research

Anthropology graduate students were poised to participate in four national conferences in the Spring, but all conference events were cancelled in early March in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Jorden Scott (right), Lindsey Cron (left), and Fumi Arakawa made presentations at the Gila Symposium, Feb 27-28, 2020, at Western New Mexico University, in Silver City.
Students taking in Anth 497/507 “Curation Crisis in Archaeology” with Dr. Fumi Arakawa went on a field trip to Amerind Museum on March 7th! Thank you for Dr. Eric Kaldahl (President and CEO) for giving us a great tour of the collections.
Camino Real Research

Ashley Stabenow, Jorden Scott, and Vanessa Carrillo served as Graduate Research Assistants on two  different projects relating to the Camino Real. On the first weekend in March, just before the quarantine, they revisited all of their sites and did a little field recording at San Diego South Fork, where they found...a fork!  Read More!
Thriving Amidst the Coronavirus
In mid-March, faculty, staff, and students decamped and continued the semester remotely. Despite the challenges of moving all course offerings online in only two weeks, we all pulled together and our students came through with flying colors. The Department held its first ever Zoomed In Graduation Celebration, with virtual flowers and lots of kind words!
Undergraduate Students – BA Anthropology
Elliot Jessen
Delaney Lavelle
Madison Marino
Allison McCullar Gómez
Allan Miles
Melissa Pérez
Isabella Shores
Josiah Toorman
Carlos Uccles
Graduate Students – MA Anthropology
Sharon Gloshay
Sashiel Pina
Jorden Scott
Amanda Semanko
Ashley Stabenow
The Bradley A. Blake Prize in Anthropology 
Amanda Semanko was chosen as the recipient of the Blake Prize recognizing excellence in anthropological research. Her MA thesis is entitled Prehistoric Southwest Dogs: A Case Study from Kipp Ruin. 
Dr. Bradley A. Blake was a professor of Anthropology and Director of the University Museum at New Mexico State University. The Blake Prize was established to honor his legacy as an outstanding NMSU anthropologist, social scientist, and educator – by recognizing rigorous and original scholarly anthropological research carried out by graduate students for their master's thesis. Amanda Semanko has produced work of extraordinary quality that exemplifies the holism, evidence-based rigor, and collaborative practices that Dr. Blake sought to instill in his students.
Amanda Semanko and "Rudy", a 1,400-year-old Canis familiaris (domesticated dog) who was  uncovered by Dr. Bill Walker during field work at the Kipp Ruin Site near Deming, NM.
University Museum News

This memorial exhibition is to honor and celebrate a long time artist and supporter of the museum. Spencer Nutima (February 18th, 1948 – July 11th, 2019) was born and lived in his home village of Old Oraibi, located on the Third Mesa of the Hopi Reservation in northern Arizona. Spencer was of the Greaswood Clan and learned his craft from his grandfather and his clan father. Spencer  helped co-curate the exhibition, “Itaa Katsi: Our Life (as Hopi Artists),” in 2015. 
Most recently, Spencer Nutima was a part of the Mimbres Workshop and Exhibition “In Sacred Continuum,” with museum director Fumi Arakawa and in collaboration with professor Atsunori Ito at the National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) in Japan. 
Read More!
The NMSU University Museum is home to a unique and comprehensive collection of both prehistoric and historical pottery.  This collection includes almost 600 pottery vessels that reflect the vibrant artistry and beauty of Southwestern and Mesoamerican ceramics.  

The Permanent East Gallery Exhibition was curated and reinstalled by Rachel Cover, Interim curator. 

Read More!
Meet Kristin Otto, University Museum Curator
The University Museum and Department of Anthropology welcome Kristin Otto in 2020. 
Kristin Otto is a museum anthropologist and curator whose work focuses the relationality of museum collections and the processes of making and repair that shape material culture. She is currently wrapping up her Ph.D. (anticipated August 2020) through the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University, where she specialized in the fields of museum anthropology and material culture studies, and minored in folklore studies and African studies.
Her recent dissertation research traces the layered processes of repairing sowei masks as they circulate from performative spaces in West Africa into Western markets, collections, and institutions. In the process, she examined masks in private and institutional collections around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution, the Sierra Leone National Museum, the British Museum, and the National Museum of China. Her 2017 exhibition “Extending Lives: Repair and Damage in African Arts” at the Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University expanded the focus of repair to include its importance for other artistic practices on the African continent. Otto is interested in continuing to broadly explore the many ways repair mediates between people and materials, and manifests in museum collections.
Within the scope of her broader research and curatorial practice, Otto curated the 2018 exhibition on Ghanaian figurative coffins—entitled “Shapes of the Ancestors: Bodies, Animals, and Ghanaian Fantasy Coffins”—at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures at Indiana University based on ethnographic research with artists at Paa Joe Coffin Works in Accra, Ghana (which you can read about in
Museum Anthropology Review). In both her research and museum work, Otto enjoys opportunities to connect people with the materiality and relationality of museum collections, and is looking forward to doing so at NMSU.
  • Otto working with sowei masks at the Smithsonian Institution (Photo by E. Keats Webb).
  • Daniel Anum Jasper painting a lion palanquin at Paa Joe Coffin Works (Photo by Kristin Otto)
The Organ Mountains 2018
Photo by Tom Conelly
NMSU Department of Anthropology
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Department of Anthropology, New Mexico State University · MSC 3BV/Box 30001 · Las Cruces, NM 88003 · USA

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