49: AnthroNews: SWAA Panel

1 05 2008

By Jason Scroggins and Alecia Barela

Four Anthro students, and Professor Mullooly, presented a panel at the
annual Southwestern Anthropological Association (SWAA) conference April 11th at CSUF. Our panel’s theme was “Imagining a Brighter Future for the San Joaquin Valley”. The team’s research represented applied efforts in analyzing issues within the valley, including equity, access, and intercultural conflict and innovation.

Our presentations weaved together the work performed by the Institute for Public Anthropology over the last year:
Alecia Barela introduced the contesting paradoxical identities of a hospice thrift shop.
Bethany Ranson lectured on the digital divide existing in rural areas of the San Joaquin Valley.
Jason Scroggins presented the construction of a new restaurant paging system.
Heather Cruz focused on the necessity for Interpreting Services and cultural sensitivity in the health care industry.
Prof. Mullooly presented the power and pitfalls of employing Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) software in anthropological research.

A few newcomers to SWAA were apprehensive about presenting, but were relieved to find a welcoming atmosphere at the conference. The environment was non-competitive and conducive to the free-exchange of information and ideas. Among the panel attendees was Professor Jan English-Lueck from the Applied Anthropology program at San Jose St. and Fresno State’s very own Dr. Sydney Story. Dr. Story’s dissertation Spiritual Christians in Mexico: Profile of a Russian Village is a must read for everyone interested in the Anthropology of Religion. In a note of local interest there is also a Molokan settlement in the town of Kerman, 5 miles from Fresno. Perhaps an enterprising student should take a look.

Presenting at the SWAA conference was a gratifying experience. The coming together and meeting with one’s colleagues was a memorable and encouraging opportunity. All aspiring anthropologists should definitely consider partaking in next year’s 80th meeting of SWAA.

(From left to right; Bethany Ranson, Jason Scroggins, Heather Cruz, Dr. Mullooly, Alecia Barela)