56:Anthropologist of the Fortnight

1 03 2009

By Chrystal Kinsella
Dr. Ronald T. Marchese

Dr. Ronald T. Marchese was born and raised in Fresno, CA. He got his Bachelors degrees in History and Anthropology from CSU Fresno and his Masters degree from NYU. All through out high school Marchese planned to become an Architect. It was in his early years at Fresno State that he realized architecture was not what he wanted to pursue. He had always been interested in Archaeology so it worked out nicely for him. He still uses all of his architecture knowledge in his archaeology work today.
He is a professor at the University of Minnesota, teaching classes in ancient history and archaeology. He also teaches graduate classes on the Minneapolis campus and undergraduate classes on the Duluth campus.
Dr. Marchese is the winner of two Fullbright Research Awards. With these awards he studied the settlement archaeology in Western Turkey. More specifically, he studied early to complex urban societies and landscape architecture. From this work he produced two books. Dr. Marchese has also done extensive work on ethnoarchaeology in South East Turkey.
Dr. Marchese would like to leave the students of Fresno State with some words of wisdom. If you want grant money for digs, you must generate a lot of research data. Also, Anthropology is more than just the classes. A person needs to extend their reach outside of the classroom while they are still a student. It is important for an anthropology student to learn at least one other language which can be used in the field.

54: Anthropologist of the Fortnight

18 12 2008

Chrystal Kinsella

Ruth Benedict was one of the first female anthropologists. She also helped shape the discipline of anthropology. She attended Vassar College on a scholarship and graduated in 1909. Ten years later she went to Columbia University, where she studied under Franz Boas. In 1923, after she had her PhD, Benedict became a faculty member. She worked there until 1948. Boas’ influence showed in her work in anthropology. She was very influenced with the idea of egalitarianism. Benedict was very good at organizing facts and summarizing. One of her most famous publications is Patterns of Culture which has been translated into fourteen different languages. This book promotes cultural relativism. She especially argued that morality could only be judged within the circumference of ones own culture.

52: Anthropologist of the Fortnight

26 10 2008

Chrystal Kinsella
Dr, Henry Delcore is a much respected member of the faculty at CSUF since 2000. He graduated form George Town University with a B.S. in Foreign Service, Asian Studies in 1990. Dr. Delcore received his M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1995 and his Ph.D. also in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2005. He did his doctoral studies on Localizing Development: Environment, Agriculture, and Memory in Northern Thailand. He is has been published many times and has received many awards and grants throughout the years.

Q: What was the turning point in your life that led you to Anthropology?
A: I stumbled into anthropology. As a junior in college [Asian Studies Major], I went to Thailand for a year. In my study abroad program, we were asked to do a 12 unit fieldwork-based project. Fortuitously, I was assigned a Stanford-trained Thai anthropologist to be my advisor for the year. He linked me up a Thai grad student he was also advising, who took me where I wanted to go: a mountain village of the Karen, a minority ethnic group. Once I had the feel for the windy gravel and dirt road into the mountains, I started heading up there alone on my motorbike for weekends (I had classes during the week). I was researching Karen conversion from their own traditional religion to Buddhism, but I did the classic anthropological holism thing, studying everything from agriculture (which eventually became my real interest in Thailand) to family life. I remember one day I pulled into the village and right into the middle of a traditional Karen wedding. In retrospect, all of this was strong medicine for a 20 year old kid, and I was immediately hooked by anthropology’s promise of adventure, discovery and fun!

Q: Where were your favorite research studies done?
A: To date, some of my most interesting research experiences as an anthropologist have been in Thailand and elsewhere in Asia. Now,

I’m shifting my focus more toward things here in our local area. I’m finding that the adventure and challenge of anthropology holds up just as well here as anywhere else. People are the most fascinating

and complicated topic one can study (don’t let any astrophysicist or microbiologist ever tell you otherwise!).

Q: What else would you say was important in your Anthropological Career?
A: The other big part of my work life is teaching. There, I think the biggest jolt I get is when I provide opportunities for students to see something anew. Recently, I’ve been covering the Vietnam War in my Southeast Asia class (Anth 123). I have had multiple students tell me that they have substantially revised the way they see that war by taking in the material I’ve been presenting, which includes firsthand accounts of the war from the Vietnamese perspective (very anthropological).

Q: Do you have any advice for students?
A: When it comes to education and career, follow your heart whenever possible. For the rest of your life, you may spend 40 or 60 hours a week working. You will want it to be something you love.

50:Dearly Departed: “Hill Jenny” Morgan (class of 2007)

22 05 2008

Jenny Morgan aka Hill Jenny (Class of 2007, Senior or the Year award winner), reports that her first year since  graduation was a great success.  After her first year of graduate school in a Midwifery program, she writes of a chance meeting with a luminary of our field:

Robbie Davis-Floyd and Jenny Morgan at a recent midwifery conference talking anthropology

Robbie Davis-Floyd[at left] & Jenny Morgan, 2008

Hey Mullooly,

I thought you might like to know that I was able to meet Robbie Davis-Floyd (highly regarded anthropologist of Childbirth and Midwifery [on the right]) and we got to talk a lot of anthropology.  She made some great suggestions, such as keeping notes of my experience of learning to be a midwife. She says no one has written anything about that yet. Just wanted to let you know that even though I am knee deep in midwifery, anthropoloy is still a part of my studies. I have attached a photo of her and me at the recent midwifery conference. 


49: Anthropologist of the Fortnight

1 05 2008

By Chrystal Kinsella

Julian Steward (1902 – 1972) first got bachelor degrees in Zoology and Biology at Cornel University. He then went to UC Berkley and obtained his Ph.D. in Anthropology.
Steward had a multilinear theory of evolution in which he theorized that cultures had many different ways of evolving, and there was no universal standard to this. He believed that the cultures environment directly effected the cultures development. The culture would adapt to their environment and evolve accordingly. In his theory, Steward paid no attention to kinship systems; it was all about the evolution in relation to the surrounding environment.
Steward was a part of the first research team to look at all aspects of all the cultures in a specific area, and how they interacted with each other. They examined everything, including economics, ecology, and politics. He is noted for his work on cultural ecology and cross cultural laws.

47:Anthropologist of the Fortnight – Franz Boas

16 03 2008

by Chrystal Kinsella


Franz Boas is greatly considered to be the father of American Anthropology. He not only studied anthropology, but also geography and physics.  Rather than study cultures using the standard theories and anecdotes, Boas implemented the scientific theory to his studies. He sought to gather all data before making any generalizations. Aside form all his innovative ideas and practices, Boas was unique in the fact that he actively encouraged women to become anthropologists.


Boas made it standard anthropological thought that all human races are equally able to develop culture. He also believed that race and genetics were not responsible for behavioral differences among human populations, but are a result of culture. With these beliefs, Boas developed cultural relativism and cultural determinism.

46:Anthropologist of the Fortnight – Melford Elliot Spiro

3 03 2008

Melford Elliot Spiro (born April 26, 1920) is an American cultural anthropologist specializing in psychological anthropology. He is known for his work on the Westermarck effect, and for his studies of the kibbutz. He has conducted fieldwork among the Ojibwa, on Ifaluk atoll in the South Pacific, in Israel, and in Burma (now Myanmar). He was a significant figure in a series of debates over relativism and postmodern theory among American cultural anthropologists in the 1980s and early 1990s, in which he consistently argued for the importance of the comparative method and the appreciation of universal psychological processes, especially child development and unconscious drives. He is also trained as a lay psychoanalyst.

He began his undergraduate career at Northwestern University in philosophy, but soon decided that the empirical and comparative methods of cultural anthropology provided a better approach to answering his questions about human nature. He received his B.A. in anthropology, working with Melville Herskovits, and continued on to graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania with A. Irving Hallowell. He received his Ph.D. in 1950. He later taught at Harvard University and was invited to found the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla, California, in the early 1970s. He has been professor emeritus there since the 1990s. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)


(Special thanks to Jeanne Binning)