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Research overview and highlighed projects
Dr. Potter's current research has focused on intersite variability in Interior Alaska, with special reference to modeling early to mid-Holocene site structure and assemblage structure as they relate to regional ecological dynamics, integrated by robust GIS and statistical components.
Dr. Irish also has a strong background in prehistoric archaeology with over 25 seasons of fieldwork in the U.S. and abroad. He has served as the bioarchaeologist for two Egyptian expeditions: the Combined Prehistoric Expedition to Nabta Playa (through the Polish Academy of Sciences, Southern Methodist University, and Geological Survey of Egypt), and the Hierakonpolis Expedition (through the British Museum).
Dr. Hoover also has background in both field and lab-based archaeology with a primary focus on human remains within the archaeological context (bioarchaeology). She has worked on several North American field sites as well as Imperial Roman populations and prehistoric Japanese hunter-gatherers.
Research overview and highlighed projects
Dr. Irish's research takes a biocultural approach to the Upper Pleistocene through modern peopling of Africa, with a concentration on hard tissue morphometric data to understand population affinities, migration, and diachronic adaptation. I have assembled a considerable database of dental and osseous morphometric variants (313 variables in >4,000 individuals), recorded in North and sub-Saharan African samples from institutions throughout the U.S., Europe, and Egypt. This current research project on the prehistoric expansion of Bantu speakers (early agriculturalists) in Africa using the Arizona State University Dental Anthropology System (ASUDAS) to assess intra- and inter-regional population variation to answer theoretical and methodological questions about human affinity and migration on a broader scale. This work is funded by the National Science Foundation.
Dr. Hoover also takes a biocultural approach to research in bioarchaeology and anthropological genetics. She is involved in multilpe bio-archaeological research projects that use the long historical sequence of the archaeological record to interpret how past societies built capacity to adapt (culturally and biologically) to environmental changes. This research has been supported by grants sponsored by the US National Science Foundation, the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science and the Alaska Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). In the field of anthropological genetics, she is interested in olfactory variation in the context of human evolutoinary ecology. The full extent of OR genotypic variation and its evolutionary underpinning leading to the diversity of modern phenotypes is unknown but humans are incredibly variable in genotypic and phenotypic reception/perception of odors. This research focuses on understanding the role of adaptation in within and between population variation.
Research overview and highlighed projects
Our department has strong links with scholars of the former Soviet Union, in particular with the Russian Academy of Sciences and local research units in Siberia and the Russian Far East. Departmental faculty are also involved in collaborative research projects in Kamchatka and Chukotka, and international interdisciplinary research in the North Atlantic .
Dr. Schweitzer and Dr. Koester are both Project Leaders and Dr. Plattet is a Principal Investigator on projects under the
(Histories from the North: Environments, Movements, and Narratives) program initiative of the European Science Foundation's
program, with funding from the National Science Foundation. These projects entail widespread international, interdisciplinary collaboration, including relations established with scholars at such institutions as: Tartu University (Estonia), the Finnish Academy, European University of St. Petersburg, Vitus Bering State University (Kamchatka, Russia), Kamchatka Branch of the Pacific Ocean Geographical Institute, (Russian Academy of Sciences, Far Eastern Branch), University of Alberta, University of Greenland, University of Lapland, and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.
NEWREL (New religious movements in the Russian North : competing uses of religiousity after socialism) is concerned with the full variety of religious phenomena that has flourished in the Russian North since glasnost’. The most visible topics have been resurgence of the Russian Orthodox Church and the revival of shamanism, two religious manifestations that have often been perceived in conflict with one another. NEWREL considers these phenomena, but shifts the focus primarily to the interstices of institutionalized religion, studying what we call “in-between” religious phenomena. This includes evangelical protestant groups, new age spiritualities, Mormons, Bahais, “ekstra-sens” practitioners, and any other phenomena that our interlocutors may draw our attention to.
MOVE (Moved by the state: perspectives on relocation and resettlement in the Circumpolar North) is concerned with migration in a diversity of sites across the circumpolar north from a ground-up perspective in order to address questions of community sustainability, social fabric and senses of belonging. Bringing together an interdisciplinary team of anthropologists, demographers, historians and community-based researchers, MOVE will for the first time consider in a single research framework Russian/Soviet and Western modes of relocation, as well as indigenous and settler histories of migration.
Regional Center of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Research Initiative (PCRI/Russia)
The international Center for the Study of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements in Russia focuses on the anthropological study of contemporary Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity in various regions of the Russian Federation. The research agenda of the Center includes issues of globalization and indigenization, processes of creating and shattering “meaningful universes” in Pentecostal communities in Russia, and their modes of ritualization along with social and religious contexts and consequences of their activities. Situated at the European University at St-Petersburg, the Center assembles 16 participating Senior and Junior Investigators from Russia, USA, Ireland, U.K., France, and Estonia. Together, the Investigators participate in 7 projects and carry out extensive fieldwork in multiple areas of the former Soviet Union.
Reindeer Herding on The Alaska Peninsula
Funded by the U.S. National Park Service, this project documents (a) the historic migration of Inupiat people to the central Alaska Peninsula (circa 1910) and (b) the ethnohistory and ethnoarchaeology of reindeer herding in the Northern Alaska Peninsula (1910s-1940s). A main objective is to shed light on a relatively unknown facet of the “American period” of Southwest Alaska by exploring the connections between Inupiat migratory waves and reindeer economics in this region. Various sets of data will help understand the correlation between human population movements and modes of herding mobility across the Alaska Peninsula with emphasis on Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve (ANIA) and Katmai National Park & Preserve (KATM).
Dr. Schweitzer is also a co-Principal Investigator on an NSF International Polar Year project: Municipal Water Systems and Resilience of Arctic Communities
Dr. Fazzino's research focuses on food security and sustainability. He has been engaged in community-based research on food assistance providers and recipients in Fairbanks in collaboration with Fairbanks Community Food Bank and UAF Cooperative Extension. He has been successful at involving upper division undergraduate students in this research.
Dr. Sicoli’s current research investigates language and human sociality from three vantages: Discourse Analysis, Language Documentation, and Language Contact and Change. Linguistic Anthropology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks provides training in each of these three areas. Sicoli conducts discourse and conversation analysis of face-to-face interactions recorded on multimedia during fieldwork and conducting comparative conversation analysis across world populations. He is interested in working with M.A. and Ph.D. students to study conversation and discourse with special emphasis on less-commonly studied and endangered languages. Students can study language and social interaction using methods of multimodal discourse, conversation analysis, and the ethnography of speaking, considering the ways in which talk is used create social actions through which people manage social relations and create social identities. We work to develop an understanding of cross-cultural variation and universal principles of social interaction through both semiotic and evolutionary perspectives. Sicoli has conducted primary language documentation using ethnographic methodologies in Latin America, focusing on Mexico since 1997, and has been working in Alaska since 2010. Through cooperation with UAF’s Program in Linguistics, students can pursue an M.A. or Ph.D. in Language Documentation, learning both practical skills of linguistic analysis, data management, and archive building, combined with critical ethnography and discourse analysis. A third focus for specialization within linguistic anthropology is in Language Contact and Change in which students combine methods of comparative linguistics with linguistic, cultural, biological and archaeological anthropology to analyze language evolution and linguistic and cultural change. Sicoli has worked with questions of Language Contact since 1999 and has developing work conducting Linguistic Phylogenetics both with Otomanguean languages of Mexico and in Dene-Yenisean, a language family centered in Alaska and which spans North America and Siberia. Students can take advantage of the excellent computational resources of the linguistic anthropology laboratory and the Arctic Region Super Computer to conduct phylogenenetic and network analyses of languages of the Circumpolar North, North America, and Latin America.