Spectrum 2020

From the Desk of Co-Editors Dr. Amy Michael and Dr. Sara Withers

This issue of Spectrum reflects the expansive and creative work done by Anthropology majors and students over the 2019-2020 academic year. In this issue, you will see a wide representation of the various areas of focus of our students in terms of methodologies used and topics tackled, reflecting all four subfields of the discipline. As the COVID-19 pandemic upended the Spring 2020 semester, our students endeavored to finish their years (and, for some, their academic careers!) while juggling new responsibilities and social and physical distancing in a predominantly virtual way. Anthropology students are, by training, a resourceful and expressive bunch, and those qualities are expressed in this wide ranging issue.

The work in this issue exists on a continuum between traditional academic research and writing, and an exploration of new ways of presenting and sharing ideas and questions with a broader audience. From videos and websites, to research papers and podcasts, UNH Anthropology students examined cultural heritage, linguistics, forensic science, law enforcement, bioarchaeology, migration, education, tourism, and more through an anthropological lens. The applied nature of much of the anthropological work presented in this issue underscores the UNH Anthropology Department’s emphasis on the practice of anthropology in the world around us, and an engaged, problem-oriented research focus. We are proud to present a diverse issue reflective of the many research interests our students will pursue at UNH and beyond.

Section I. Applied Anthropology Projects: How can you use an anthropological perspective and framework to address a real world problem or issue?

In a semester-long project, students in ANTH 612, Applied Anthropology, were asked to develop a project that explored, and then proposed a solution to a topic or issue that was important to them or to their local community—in a way that was anthropologically-centered, and met the needs of those involved. As part of this project, students submitted a proposal, conducted interviews, and produced a film that “pitched” their ideas. As they developed their project, they thought about the root causes, scope and magnitude of the issue, as well as the social and/or environmental impact of their proposed solution, and its financial sustainability. Ultimately, students’ projects exemplified why current solutions are ineffective and/or inefficient, and how an applied anthropology lens might help to better address the issues at play. Below, you will see two examples (both a film and a short analysis of their project by the author).

In her #LearnAnthropologyLiveAnthropology project, Crystina Friese advocates for an ongoing collaborative academic-public partnership between UNH students, faculty, local museums, and local indigenous communities with the goal of making the way in which archaeological collections are managed and displayed more ethical and transparent.

In Higher Education and the Workforce in NH, Hannah Jean develops a series of concrete programmatic recommendations to make higher education more accessible to non-traditional students at a university like UNH.

Section II. ANTH 511: Core Concepts. What’s the different between Linguistics and Linguistic Anthropology?

With his paper, It’s All Relative: How Linguists and Anthropologists View Language Differently, Thomas Pedtke, analyzes the relationship between the fields of Linguistic Anthropology and Linguistics, using the concept of context to distinguish between the two.

Section III. ANTH 611: History of Anthropology Theory.

Sarah Jarrar submits her written analysis, The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Investment of Conservative Forces in Renewable Energy Technology (and the related URC presentation) that focuses on current trends of investments in renewable energy by major oil firms and their subsidiaries, using the writings and theories of Leslie White as a framework for analysis.

Section IV. ANTH 697: Cold Cases in Forensic Anthropology.

Students were asked to select an unsolved homicide and/or missing persons case to research for class. By going through archival documents and media sources, as well as interviewing people connected to the cases, these students produced a podcast and a Twitter account about their research.

Hannah Harkins and Crystina Friese present their podcast, If You Know, Then You Know, focused on the forensic case of missing person Shirley “Tippy.” Harkins and Friese report: “We were specifically interested in familiarizing ourselves with this case because it is a bizarre turn of events that led to a fifteen year old girl falling through the cracks of the 1984 justice system. This case and many other cold cases heavily rely on citizen sleuths and advocating for those who no longer can advocate for themselves which is where we emphasize the importance of those assets to cold case resolution.”

Hannah Corrow, Shannon McKelvey, Michaela Morrill, Victoria Slight, and Audrey Waterman created a Twitter and Facebook account titled, Northeast Missing. The students report: “We initially started up a Twitter account that focused on older missing persons cases in the northeastern United States, starting in 1959. We later started up a Facebook page that posts the same content, to reach a wider audience. We started this project because we wanted to bring attention to older cases, with the hope that the increased attention would help them to get solved.”

Section V. ANTH 415: The Human Story.

With her her paper, Skeletal Analysis Reveals New Details About the Beginnings of the American Slave Trade, Helen Brosnan submits a critical review of bioarchaeological research on the beginnings of the American slave trade in the Chesapeake Bay area. Brosnan discusses the need for bioarchaeological research into forced migration and kinship in the 17th and 18th centuries. Interestingly, Brosnan details how skeletal analyses and DNA research can inform or refute assumptions about colonial populations and kinship patterns.

Section VI. ANTH 440: Saving Culture/Heritage Management.

Culture and heritage are increasingly important topics for scholars, art connoisseurs, politicians, and the public alike. In this Fall 2019 Honors course, students debated questions such as: who decides what heritage is and what counts as culture? How do these decisions impact people and their daily lives? The two projects in this section—a paper and a prezi presentation—begin to address some of these questions.

Astrophysics major Audrey Coleman, in her paper The Fight for Mauna Kea, explores the question of whether or not the Thirty Meter Telescope should be built on Mauna Kea. By investigating the native Hawaiian voices opposed to the construction on the sacred landscape, Coleman explores the cultural and spiritual significance of the mountain and the tensions between scientists and activists.

Shannon Anderson highlights five locations (Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Namibia, Thailand islands, Ajanta Caves in India, and Cancun, Mexico) in her Prezi, Heritage Tourism. The economic, environmental, and cultural impacts of tourism in these locations are underscored with a thought experiment: How would you feel if Durham, NH became an international tourism hotspot? Would unfettered tourism and an influx of tourists to a place you associate with comfort, nostalgia, serenity, or even ownership upset you?


If You Know You Know Podcast
Crystina Friese and Hannah Harkins


Northeast Missing
Hannah Corrow, Shannon McKelvey, Michaela Morrill, Victoria Slight, and Audrey Waterman


Heritage Tourism
Shannon Anderson