Monday, December 5, 2011

Grad & Postdoc opportunities at Max Planck!

Several funded opportunities for prospective PhD students and postdocs are available at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig.

PhD opportunity:
The Leipzig School of Human Origins, a joint Ph.D. program of the University of Leipzig and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology invites applications to its PhD program. 
Deadline: January 31, 2012

The Research Group on Plant Foods and Hominin Dietary Ecology in the Department of Human Evolution is seeking one or more Ph.D. students to study plant microfossils and/or plant biomarkers as a record of plant foods in human prehistory. The project may involve developing novel methods for recovering evidence of plant food consumption, or collecting dental calculus and other samples for analysis of plant microremains. Other projects focusing on the role of plant foods throughout hominin evolution may also be considered.Postdoc opportunities at Max Planck:

Applicants should hold a Master's degree or equivalent in biology, anthropology, evolutionary ecology, or a related field. A good basic knowledge of the hominin fossil and archaeological record, and of common analytical methods, including statistics, is important. The fellowship is limited to 3 years. The student will receive a fellowship according to the funding guidelines of the Max Planck Society. The working environment of the institute is English-speaking. Accepted students will be a part of the International Max Planck Research School . Candidates should apply directly through the IMPRS website by 31 January 2011. For further information, contact Amanda Henry (

I. Post-Doctoral Position in Biological Anthropology (deadline December 15, 2011)
The Research Group on "Plant Foods and Hominin Dietary Ecology" in the Department of Human Evolution of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig (Germany) invites applications for a post-doctoral researcher in biological anthropology. The research group is committed to exploring the relationships between the plant component of hominin diets and aspects of their biology, behavior, and evolution.
The position is a research-only post, with no teaching obligations. The initial contract, which is two years and may be extended, will begin March 2012 at the earliest. The project will provide substantial support in a highly stimulating environment. We offer a salary according to German public service regulations (TVöD-Bund). The successful candidate will work on aspects of plant foods in the dietary ecology of later hominins and modern humans, and will be expected to assist in current projects and to bring novel research foci to the group.

We are particularly interested in candidates with a strong background in one or more of the following: analysis of residues using mass spectrometry; human or primate dietary ecology; plant microfossil research; but will consider any suitably qualified candidate in a related field. The selected candidate must have a PhD and ideally will have post-doctoral experience with a strong track record of research.

Applications should be sent by email as a single PDF including: a cover letter, curriculum vitae, reprints of selected publications, short statement of research interests (2pg maximum), and the names of three referees, to Amanda Henry ( Reviews of applications will begin December 15, 2011 and will proceed until the position is filled.

II. Post-Doctoral Position in Zooarchaeology (deadline December 31, 2011)
The position is a research post with a specialization in zooarchaeology. In addition to zooarchaeological analysis of archaeological assemblages, we will consider favorably researchers developing novel or interesting methods addressing faunal topics including bone surface modification analysis, bone tool analysis, burned bone analysis, combined isotopic and faunal analysis, seasonality, migration, and taphonomic studies. Experimental programs are welcome, and the department is prepared to invest in equipment to support a research program. While the focus of the Department is on the archaeological record through to the expansion of modern humans, we will also consider favorably researchers specialized in Upper Paleolithic or LSA subsistence and prepared to start a program of comparison to earlier assemblages.

The selected candidate will have a Ph.D. and a significant track record of research. The initial length of the appointment is two years but the contract is extendable. For further information please contact Dr. Shannon McPherron (

III. Post- Doctoral Position in Physical Anthropology (deadline December 31, 2011)
The position is a research post. We expect the successful candidate to work closely with Professor Jean-Jacques Hublin on the analysis of the Middle to Late Pleistocene cranio-dental fossil record. The selected candidate will have a Ph.D. and a significant track record of research.

The initial length of the appointment is two years but the contract is extendable. For further information please contact Professor Jean-Jacques Hublin (

IV. Post-Doctoral Position in Paleontology (deadline February 28, 2012)
This position is a research post. We expect the successful candidate to conduct research on the Plio-Pleistocene African hominin fossil record. The selected candidate will have a Ph.D. and a significant track record of research. The initial length of the appointment is two years but the contract is extendable. For further information please contact Professor Jean-Jacques Hublin (
Note: Please check here for specific application information as in some cases you will need to mail hard copies of materials.
ETA: Sorry for the wonky formatting. Cut and paste can be a cruel mistress.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Looking ahead to AAPA 2012

Before you know it, AAPA 2012 will make landfall in Portland, Oregon (you will see this link from me again and again). Wanted to let you know about two exciting things we've got planned!

1) 3rd Annual BANDIT Happy Hour!
Holy yes, this is happening. And this year we've got a new time: Friday evening, 6-7pm, right before the interest group meetings. We hope this new time will encourage more BANDITs to attend and meet colleagues.

2) Anatomy Education & Career Workshop!
The American Association of Anatomists (the other AAA) has awarded me and my UIC colleague Alison Doubleday an Education Outreach Grant to organize a workshop at the AAPA meetings to open a discussion with graduate students about the advantages and caveats about pursuing graduate training, teaching experience, and faculty careers in the anatomical sciences. We have a wonderful panel of biological anthropologists who have pursued an anatomically-oriented path in their scholarship and teaching. We will also be awarding a student (undergraduate or graduate) presentation that exemplifies the marriage of anthropological and anatomical research approaches. More details will follow, but if you are or have a student planning to present anatomical research at the AAPA meeting, consider applying for this award!

The workshop is tentatively scheduled for Saturday afternoon, 2-3pm, immediately after the Career Development Workshop, and a few hours before the Student Awards Reception, where we hope to announce the winner of the anatomy prize. Please stick around for all of Saturday to attend these great student-centered events!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Neurobiology Assistant Professorship

The University of Oklahoma seeks an outstanding researcher in neurobiology for appointment at the level of tenure-track Assistant Professor beginning in fall 2012. The successful candidate will join an interactive group of researchers with strengths in neurobiology and behavior. This individual will also play an integral role in an active interdepartmental Cellular & Behavioral Neurobiology Graduate Program. The successful applicant will have a Ph.D. degree and a demonstrated ability to conduct independent research as evidenced by publications. This individual will be expected to establish an externally funded research program, provide excellent training for graduate students and postdocs, and contribute to undergraduate and graduate teaching in the department.

Applicants should submit a cover letter, complete curriculum vitae, research and teaching statements, and selected reprints/preprints as PDF files to Chair, Neurobiologist Search Committee, at Applicants should also arrange to have three signed letters of reference sent to or Department of Zoology, 730 Van Vleet Oval, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA. Visit us at Screening of candidates will begin 15 December 2011 and will continue until the position is filled.

The University of Oklahoma is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and encourages diversity in the workplace.

Perishing from Publishing? Let this guide help!

We all know that publishing our best work is key to building a scholarly repuation and in turn, a compelling and successful tenure package. But as junior faculty/grad students/etc. it isn't always clear how to build a publishing strategy. Did you even know you needed a "strategy"? You do. Yikes, right?

Tom Boellstorff, current Editor-in-Chief of the American Anthropologist has recently published a really excellent essay on the subject of building your early career publishing strategy. He focuses on the choice of venue for your work and the peer-review process. His concept of the "Journal Triangle" is new to me but makes a lot of sense: publish in general journals (e.g. American Anthropologist, Current Anthropology), area journals (e.g. geographic area, species-centric journal such as Am J Primatology), and specialist journals (e.g. Placenta, Neuroscience, Bone Biology, etc.). Entirely without planning (alas, I did not have a strategy. Boellstorff, where were you??), I've done this and I'm pleased now to learn of the collateral benefits of doing so.

I have broken some rules here, mainly his edict to refrain from or strictly limit publishing in edited volumes as an untenured professor and I can attest to the wisdom of his advice. I have two chapters in print, one in press, and one in prep. I was blushingly gratified to have been invited to participate as a graduate student in one of the volumes and unwisely prepared some dissertation data for publication. The book took over 5 years  to come out and I couldn't publish those data as a journal article. That was dumb. (Note: the book itself is awesome and I'm very proud of my chapter!) That's why I now advise untenured folks looking to build up their pub list to reserve their original data for publication in journals. You can then later refer to it in a chapter, or even reprint the article in its entirety in a book. But if it's in the book first, it's done for.

The second chapter already in print wasn't too big a deal as I was third author in terms of effort. Sometimes you'll be invited to participate as an author because the other authors are leaning heavily on your work to build a section. If you're invited to do this, make it clear to the other authors what your availability to participate really will be. Be very protective of your effort on these kinds of co-authored projects. It's easy to say Yes! and Sure! I'll throw together a table! and No problem! I'll be happy to track down permission to use that figure! but it can be a real pain in the neck to follow through. Be sure you can really do it so as to protect not only your time but your reputation as a responsible collaborator.

Another tip: Don't underestimate the time a book chapter will take to write, even one that's based on previous work.  If you take even a modicum of pride in your work, it will take a lot longer than you expect and if the book is to be peer-reviewed, you might be surprised to find the review process even more exacting than that of a journal. And know going into it that the schedule will deviate from the best intentions. It just will. The slow turnaround is yet another excellent reason to publish your original data in a journal article.

Boellstorff's one easing of the no-edited-volume edict is being the editor yourself. Testify! I'm doing this now and I am lucky enough to have two smashing lady co-editors in Katie Hinde and Kate Clancy but it is a lot of work and has absorbed effort away from some other projects maybe I "should" be doing. That said, it's worth it because I deeply believe in the project, its potential impact on the field, and its timeliness (i.e. "This topic is so timely the book needs to happen NOW!"). AND I am concurrently working on journal articles and grant proposals. You can't just rest on the edited volume - whether it's just a chapter or the whole damn thing - for tenure (for most departments/schools that emphasize research over teaching, or articles over books. Your miles may vary so get smart about your local tenure culture.) So if you're going to do it, it needs to be for more than just vanity. You need to think about impact on the field, the timeliness of the topic, the quality of the contributors, and the potential pros/cons for your own scholarly reputation. Co-editing is a great idea IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT EDITORIAL TEAM.

Good luck to you all as you craft your strategy! Please share your tips and questions in the comment section.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Recording of Science in Anthropology discussion online NOW!

Following up on my call to action, I'm very happy to report that we were able to secure permission from all AAA Science in Anthropology panel participants to record the session, and that we were able to plug directly into the sound system so the recording is very crisp and clean. I've been told that it will be added to the AAA webpage of the recorded sessions; however, that won't be ready until after the holidays. AAA is planning to feature it on their blog and website this week via the iTunes link once that is up so that it won't be delayed. Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen. Once the podcast is up, please listen, possibly as part of your seminars and lab or  faculty meetings and comment on the BANDIT blog, the AAA blogFacebook, and Twitter to keep the discussion going!

In the meantime, Michigan graduate student Caroline VanSickle wrote a great summary of the discussion as told by twitter.

ETA on November 27, 2011: The podcast has been posted on AAA's blog. Check it out and please share & discuss.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Science in Anthropology at AAA: an "open" discussion?

The Society for Anthropological Sciences proposed a session to discuss Science in Anthropology in the wake of what became known as #aaafail: the omission of the word "science" from the Long Range Plan. There will be a roundtable of various folks, various perspectives, including members of the Executive Board. Awesome! Well, sort of. The session is scheduled for the morning of Thursday, November 17. Which happens to conflict with not one but two sessions of the Biological Anthropology Section, three sessions of the Archaeological Division,  and one session of the Evolutionary Anthropology Society. These are some of the most affected and vocal stakeholders in the discussion, but those voices won't be able to participate in this discussion. Indeed, one of the speakers is Dr. Alice Dreger, who wrote what could be considered the opening salvo in the #aaafail reporting. It was entertaining and clever, and it was also one of the most polarizing perspectives. Importantly, Dr. Dreger isn't an anthropologist. She's a historian/philosopher of science. That's great and interesting and relevent to an extent, but why go outside the discipline to have a discussion about science IN anthropology? Where are the anthro bloggers who contributed so much passion to the issue? Well, I would be there but I'm presenting a paper in one of the BAS sessions so I'm out.

In the wake of all that's happened in the last year (#aaafail, Florida governor Rick Scott), and the EB's embracing of the Science discussion (President Dominguez is a discussant) it is disappointing that there was no outreach to all of the scientifically-rooted AAA sections to consider how this would affect opposing sessions. There is concern that the discussion will draw away the audience for the BAS sessions, which are already competing directly against each other.

To be clear, this is not an oversight by the Biological Anthropology Section. Since the session did not originate with BAS it had no jurisdiction over scheduling nor did it even know about the session until the schedule was made. I really do understand that scheduling a meeting of this scale is a gargantuan task and some double-bookings are unavoidable. We just need to get each other's back a little more. In recent weeks, the AAA has done an admirable job of claiming science and scientists as part of anthropology. I want us to grow that inclusivity! That's something I hope to explore at this meeting as a 2011 AAA Leadership Fellow. I'll be meeting with members of the EB to learn about AAA governance and I'll be asking questions about what we can do to navigate and ultimately break down these disciplinary partitions.

But I'm not just kvetching, as fun as that is. I want us all to be able to at least hear the discussion even if we can't be there. To that end, I requested that AAA record the discussion to produce as a podcast but there is no recording equipment available at that time. So, BANDITs, are you going to be in Montreal? Do you have some kind of recording device? Are you willing to attend and record the session and send the files to AAA so they can produce a podcast? Please let me know tout de suite, d'accord?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Order your 2012 ASP calendar now!

ASP is pleased to announce that the 2012 Primate Portraits calendars are ready for sale for $15 each. All proceeds from the sale go to the ASP Legacy fund, which supports new initiatives of the society to strengthen primatology and the ASP.

Order online using our secure website or print off an order form and mail it in. If you use the order form, please email or fax it to our treasurer, Kim Phillips, whose contact info is on the form; or if you are paying by check, mail the form and check to her. Calendars will be shipped to you via the USPS.

The calendar has 13 beautiful photos of nonhuman primates (one per month, plus the cover), in 8.5 x 11 size, perfect for hanging on the wall. Eleven of the 13 photos were taken by members of ASP; the other two were donated by friends of ASP. You won’t find a more beautiful calendar with primates anywhere. Take a look at the proof copy at the link above. These make lovely gifts for those naturalists on your gift list. One should grace the office of every primatologist!

Order yours today!

Biological Anthropology sessions at AAA

There are some wonderful biological & evolutionary anthropology sessions on the schedule of the upcoming AAA meetings. It's not too late to join us in Montreal!

Thursday, November 17, 2011:

· 08:00-09:45: ATTACHMENTS, ALLIANCES, AND REPUTATIONS: TRACING COOPERATION THROUGH TIME, SPACE, AND THE LIFESPAN. Organizers: Adam H Boyette (Washington State University, Vancouver) and Shane J Macfarlan (Oregon State University)

· 08:00-11:45: BODY PARTS AND PARTS OF BODIES: THE TRACES OF VIOLENCE IN CULTURES IN CONFLICT. Organizers: Ryan P Harrod (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) and Debra L Martin (UNLV)

· 10:15-12:00: CALCULATING LEGACIES: INFORMED BIOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY IN THE 21ST CENTURY. Organizers: Robin G Nelson (University of California, Riverside)

· 10:15-12:00: SCIENCE IN ANTHROPOLOGY: AN OPEN DISCUSSION Organizer: Peter Peregrine (Lawrence University)

· 13:45-17:30: RE-ENVISIONING CULTURE: CHALLENGING LEGACIES AND SHIFTING TIDEMARKS IN THE STUDY OF HUMAN DIVERSITY. Organizers: Amber Wutich (Arizona State University) and Daniel Hruschka (Arizona State University)

Friday, November 18, 2011:

· 08:00-11:45: THE SCARS OF HUMAN EVOLUTION. Organizers: Karen Rosenberg (University of Delaware) and Rachel Caspari (Central Michigan University)



Saturday, November 19, 2011:

· 08:00-11:45: TRANSFORMING BIOCULTURAL AND ECOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES IN ANTHROPOLOGY: THE LEGACIES OF R BROOKE THOMAS. Organizers: Thomas L Leatherman (University of Massachusetts) and Lisa B Markowitz (University of Louisville)

· 10:15-12:00: DOWN TO EARTH: EXHUMATIONS IN THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD: Organizers: Francisco Ferrandiz (SPANISH NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL) and Victoria D Sanford (Lehman College/CUNY)


· 16:00-17:45: TRACING CHILDHOOD: BIOARCHAEOLOGICALINVESTIGATIONS OF EARLY LIVES IN ANTIQUITY. Organizers: John J Crandall (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

· 18:15-20:15: Section Summit on the Changing Job Market and Student Training: Linking Anthropology Departments and Practice. Organizers: Keri Vacanti Brondo, Wendy Bartlo, and Mary Odell Butler

Sunday, November 20, 2011:

· 08:00-11:45:  TRACES OF VIOLENCE AND LEGACIES OF CONFLICT: COMBINING MATERIAL EVIDENCE AND NARRATIVE EXCHANGE FOR AN ANTHROPOLOGY OF VIOLENT ENCOUNTERS. Organizers: Rahul C Oka (University of Notre Dame) and Nerina Weiss (Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims).

AAA prizes for bioanthropology students!

Are you (or do you have) an undergraduate or graduate student in biological anthropology who will be presenting at the AAA meeting in Montreal? You are eligible to compete for the Biological Anthro Section (BAS) Student Prize! Please submit the your name, paper title, and session title to Dr. Katherine MacKinnon by November 15 (note: you may nominate your students yourself).

Student participation in the AAA is so important to maintain and grow the presence (and influence!) of biological anthropologists within the larger discipline of anthropology, so please enter and be recognized for your outstanding work!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Primate Anatomy Research Technician Wanted!

The Department of Anatomy at Midwestern University (Downers Grove Campus, 20 miles west of downtown Chicago) seeks a full-time technician to assist in state-of-the-art primate morphology research. This is a particularly good opportunity for recent bachelor's/master's graduate in biological anthropology, anatomy, or zoology who wishes to gain further experience and training before continuing his/her education. Contact Dr. Michelle Singleton or Dr. David Green for more information.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Study Hyena Behavior in Kenya!

Dr. Kay Holekamp of Michigan State University announces a wonderful field school opportunity studying the behavior of Kenyan hyenas! Even for students with a primary interest in primates, hyenas are fascinating animals and the field school draws on similar behavioral observation techniques as does primate research. Dr. Holekamp is looking for undergraduates between their junior and senior year. Please print out the flyer and announce to your students! (Application info can be found on the flyer.)

There are 2 projects that will be available for participation during summer, 2012:

1. Spotted hyenas and ecosystem health. The spotted hyena is the most abundant and wide-ranging large carnivore in Africa. In addition to their plasticity in regard to habitat choice, hyenas are extremely adaptable carnivores that can survive by scavenging or hunting large and medium-sized herbivores. Where many other mammalian species occupying African ecosystems cannot readily adapt to changing environmental conditions, the spotted hyena is able to thrive. Using the spotted hyena as an indicator for changing African ecosystems, we may be able to predict changes and modify conservation practices before it is too late.
*** Work this summer will involve running transects to document space use patterns of sympatric mammal, monitoring of hyena space-use via radio telemetry, and daily monitoring of hyena behavior and demography.

2. Maternal strategies and offspring development. The spotted hyena displays a protracted period of development characterized by extensive maternal care and marked by distinct developmental milestones. This project explores first, how maternal behavior and physiology vary with social rank and degree of human disturbance and second, what the consequences of anthropogenic disturbance may be for the development of spotted hyena cubs. Previous research indicates that adult females in areas of high disturbance show higher stress levels and lower attendance at communal dens where cubs are reared.
*** Work this summer will include collection of focal and all-occurrence behavioral data, organization and analysis of demographic and hormonal data, and development of field experiments to measure temperament/personality.

Travel costs (airline tickets, room, board, Kenyan visa, etc.) will be covered by NSF funds, and students will also receive a stipend of $2500.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Postdoctoral Scholar at University of Georgia

Applications are invited for a 1-year postdoctoral scholar position at the University of Georgia to undertake research at the intersections of Science, Technology and Society (STS), participatory community research and strategic communication. The work will be relevant to the NSF-funded Coweeta Long Term Ecological Research (CWT LTER) project. Renewal for a second year may be possible contingent on satisfactory performance. Coweeta LTER researchers have initiated the Coweeta Listening Project (CLP) to address the long-standing difficulties of ecological scientific knowledge production being carried out in undemocratic ways in the hopes of accelerating the evolution from Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) to Long-Term Socioecological Research (LTSER). In order to contribute to this project, candidates should be qualified to carry out research related to the public understanding of science and linkages between scientific expertise and public participation in scientific knowledge production.Candidates should be comfortable working within community-based participatory methodologies. Candidates should hold a Ph.D. in an appropriate field, including science and technology studies, geography, anthropology, sociology, political science, or other related fields.

Interested candidates should submit a curriculum vitae, a cover letter with a statement of research interests, a writing sample or representative publication, and three references electronically to Dr.Nik Heynen (, Director, Coweeta Listening Project (CLP), University of Georgia, Department of Geography, GG Building, 210 Field St., Room 204, Athens, GA 30602  by November 15th , 2011 or full consideration.

Anthropological Genomics Workshop


The Texas Biomedical Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas - January 9th - January 10th, 2012
(Registration Deadline- November 30th, 2011)

Organized in conjunction with the American Association of Anthropological Genetics (AAAG) Education Committee in collaboration with the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, the Application of Genomics to Anthropological Research (AGAR) Workshop aims to provide students and scholars interested in evolutionary anthropology with a thorough introduction into the theory and application of state-of-the-art genomic research. The workshop will be led by experts from across the field of human genomics, who will instruct and interact with participants in both semi-formal and casual settings. Specifically, the workshop will comprise (1) keynote lectures from leaders in anthropological genomics, (2) formal presentations describing general as well as anthropology-specific applications of genomic tools, (3) Q&A sessions that address the practical issues of genomic research, (4) informal chalk-talk sessions in which the participants can discuss their own projects, and (5) social events to foster contacts and future collaborations. The goal of this event is to provide anthropologists previously unfamiliar with the field of genomics sufficient knowledge to apply (and at a minimum to understand the application of) genomic tools to their future research.

Registration is open to all interested parties, though it will be limited to 40 participants. Registration fees are $200 for students and $500 for postdoctoral fellows, faculty, and other professionals. Fees will cover lunches, dinner, and a mixer. Fees do not include travel to and from San Antonio or accommodation, though reservation blocks will be held at local hotels. The deadline for registration is November 30th, 2011. To register please go to A limited number of student awards are available to cover the registration fee.
For more information, please contact Omer Gokcumen ( to subscribe to the workshop email list. Updated information on the program and speakers is posted at here.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Assistant Professorship at Northeastern Illinois University

Northeastern Illinois University Department of Anthropology invites applications for a tenure track Assistant Professor in Biological Anthropology.  We seek a biological anthropologist with expertise in any area of modern human biological variation or paleoanthropology, except bioarchaeology. The successful candidate will be expected to teach existing relevant biological anthropology courses as well as develop advanced courses in his or her area(s) of expertise. The individual will also participate in NEIU’s interdisciplinary programs as appropriate. We are especially interested in a colleague who will enthusiastically contribute to our active department and who has a demonstrated commitment to teaching excellence, providing fieldwork and collaborative research opportunities for students, and educating a diverse student body. An active research agenda is expected.  Appointment, pending budgetary approval, is to begin August 2012.  An earned doctorate at the time of appointment is required.
Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) is a comprehensive state university serving approximately 12,000 commuter students located on a 67-acre campus on the northwest side of Chicago. Along with quality academic programming consistent with the University’s mission of excellence and access, the University is known for global education opportunities for students and a strong track record in external grant funding. Northeastern is nationally recognized as having the most ethnically diverse student body in the Midwest. NEIU is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer and we value diversity and encourage applications from women and underrepresented minority group members. 

Electronic applications are preferred.  Please send application materials listed below to Lesa Davis, Ph.D.,  (Search Committee Chair, Department of Anthropology, Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625-4699):  letter of application, curriculum vitae with email address and names of three references, statement of teaching philosophy and research plan, sample syllabi you have developed, and samples of publications or other examples of scholarly writing.  Application materials received by November 1, 2011 will receive fullest consideration. Review of applications will continue until position is filled.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dr. Claudia Valeggia receives prestigious PECASE award!

Congratulations to biological anthropologist Dr. Claudia Valeggia, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, who was just honored with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. You can read about Dr. Valeggia's work as a PhD student at UC Davis here.

The award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach. Dr. Valeggia will receive her award from President Obama on October 14.

This is an enormous honor for Dr. Valeggia, but I also see it as hugely encouraging to our discipline as a whole. Especially in the wake of John Hawk's "call to arms" for anthropologists to work toward a more significant and visible impact in the scholarly and public spheres, Dr. Valeggia's success on the national stage indicates how vital anthropology is and how successfully it can compete and cooporate in the marketplace of ideas. Dr. Valeggia is not the first biological anthropologist to be granted this prestigious award; in 2002, Dr. Thom McDade of Northwestern University was a PECASE recipient as well. (Note: this is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Contact me if you can add some names.)

As anthropologists, we have a track record of producing and being recognized for paradigm-shifting work. It's easy to lose track of that in the quagmire of a bleak job market and internal debates about identity and future, but let's remember - and remind our students! - of the important and unique role our discipline should play in discussions of  "our origins, history, and diversity" (Yes, John Hawks, I hear you!).

Monday, October 3, 2011

Assistant Professorship in Primate Ecology, Northern Illinois U

Northern Illinois University Department of Anthropology anticipates hiring a tenure-track Assistant Professor with expertise in primate ecology starting August, 2012. Candidates in all areas of primate ecology are encouraged to apply. However, special consideration will be given to those candidates whose active research can be applied to primate conservation. Candidates will have the opportunity to work with the Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability and Energy and Environmental Studies program and the Center for NGO Leadership and Development Program. The candidate is expected to be engaged in active field work, to maintain a strong externally funded research program, and to supervise undergraduate and graduate student research in the field. The successful candidate will be responsible for supervising graduate students, and teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses including introductory courses in physical anthropology and primatology, as well as upper level courses in their area of expertise. Teaching responsibilities normally include four courses per academic year. The Anthropology Department is a four field department, with an MA graduate degree program. The successful candidate must complete the requirements for a PhD in physical anthropology by August, 2012. Candidates should submit a letter describing their scholarship, record of external funding, plans for future research, and teaching qualifications and interests, plus a full vita and the names and addresses of three references to: Dr. Kendall Thu, Department of Anthropology, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, 60178; Phone: 815-753-0246. Initial review will begin December 1, 2011 and will continue until the position is filled. Pre-employment criminal background investigation required. NIU is an AA/AEEO institution.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Open House for prospective grad students at Purdue University

Considering a PhD in anthropology? If you're in the Midwest consider swinging by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana to attend the Purdue Anthropology Graduate Program Open House on November 11, 2011. Purdue is the home of some really great primatology research by Melissa Remis and her students, including Brandi Wren who as a graduate student started a fantastic primatological field school in South Africa.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Job updates

If you are actively on the market or just indulging in some good old-fashioned voyeurism, be sure to keep tabs on the Physical Anthropology Job Wiki. There are 25 jobs posted that are still in play. I don't think it's an exhaustive list, so I encourage BANDITs to provide updates.

Collaborative Research Travel Grants

The Burroughs Wellcome Trust announces its Collaborative Research Travel Grants, awards up to $15,000 in support for researchers to travel either domestically or internationally to a laboratory to acquire a new research technique, to facilitate a collaboration, or to attend a laboratory/lecture course (but not a conference). Applicants must hold a Ph.D. or be currently studying in a Ph.D. program. Deadline: Dec. 1, 2011, 4pm EST, electronic applications only

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mammals Suck, literally...

Kudos to Dr. Katie Hinde (Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard) for her wonderful new blog, Mammals Suck...Milk!. Katie says: "My goal for this blog is to showcase new research in milk science (so please send me announcements of your papers when they are published), synthesize emerging results into short science pieces, and to announce symposia and conferences of interest to folks studying mother's milk (or father's milk in the case of dyak fruit bats)."

I'm so excited to see many of us building these virtual research communities. Anthropologists are drawn to connections and boundary-crossing by nature, and blogs like BANDIT, Context and Variation, Neuroanthropology, and now Mammals Suck...Milk! are wonderful vehicles for that interdisciplinary endeavor.

Monday, September 12, 2011

DANTA Winter Field Course

Kim Dingess, Director of DANTA, the Association for Conservation of the Tropics, announces the Winter 2011-2012 field courses. Much of DANTA's advertising is word of mouth so please circulate this announcement:

Danta: Association for Conservation of the Tropics is pleased to announce its winter 2011-2012 field course in tropical biology. Our courses are intended for undergraduates or early graduate level students who have a keen interest in tropical biology and conservation, but have little or no experience of working in a tropical environment. Participants may enroll on either a credit or non-credit basis.

Courses will be held in Costa Rica’s spectacular Osa Peninsula. As one of the largest tracts of rain forest north of the Amazon, this area is renowned for high animal and plant diversity. It is one of only a few places in Costa Rica that has jaguar, puma, sea turtles and four species of monkey (mantled howler monkey, black-handed spider monkey, white-faced capuchin and squirrel monkey). It is also home to nearly 4,000 plant species, including trees more than 200 feet tall. All students participating in our programs will have opportunity to be involved in applied conservation (i.e., sea turtle monitoring and reforestation) and community service.

Winter Session 2011-2012

Primate Behavior and Conservation (December 28 – January 15, 2012). Instructors: Kimberly Dingess, Anthropology, Indiana University, Bloomington; Marni LaFleur, Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder and Dr. Klaus Zuberbühler, Department of Psychology, University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

For more information, please visit our website at or email

Hope to see you in Costa Rica!

Primatology meeting in Peru

Dr. Francine Dolins announces an important primatology conference to be held in Peru, October 17-22, 2011.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tenure Track position in Evol/Ecol Genomics at The Ohio State University

Assistant Professor of Evolutionary or Ecological Genomics
The Ohio State University

The Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology (EEOB) invites applications for a TENURE-TRACK POSITION at the Assistant Professor Rank in Evolutionary or Ecological Genomics. We seek outstanding individuals who address fundamental questions in evolution and/or ecology either through the generation of large-scale sequence or gene expression data or by using either computational/statistical approaches for the analysis of genomic data. Researchers studying non-model systems are strongly encouraged to apply. This position builds on our established strengths in population genetics, systematics, and model-based studies of evolution, and will expand the scale and scope of research on evolutionary processes in EEOB. The successful applicant will have a Ph.D., preferably with postdoctoral experience, and will be expected to develop a strong, externally funded research program, train graduate students, and contribute to undergraduate and graduate teaching. Find additional information about OSU at or about EEOB at For questions about the position, contact Dr. Lisle Gibbs (, (614) 688-3861), Chair of the search committee. The position will begin 1 October 2012.

Applicants should submit a cover letter, current CV, and statements of research and teaching interests, preferably as a single pdf file, and have three letters of reference sent to Ms. Corey Ross at Review of applications will begin on 12 October 2011 and continue until a suitable candidate is identified. Women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. EEO/AA employer.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Make your MPIG travel plans!

The 8th annual Midwest Primate Interest Group meeting is around the corner and it's time to make your travel arrangements. Here's a message from MPIG president Dr. Katie MacKinnon:

We have received an impressive group of abstracts for this year's MPIG meeting! The finalized schedule will be up soon--stay tuned.

In the meantime, this is just a gentle reminder to make your hotel reservations and book your flights if you haven't yet done so. We encourage those of you traveling from the same university/geographical areas to coordinate on flights and carpools if possible. While we are finalizing the scientific schedule for poster and papers, I refer you to this general timeline when making your travel arrangements.

Marilyn Norconk has posted a very helpful list of information on the MPIG website, so I direct you there again for hotel/travel info (note airport suggestions and driving directions, etc.). Please note that the hotel reservation deadlines for the special group rates are fast approaching!

Also: if you wish to be picked up at the airport, please email her at will arrange for meeting volunteers to help pick up groups of people at certain times, based on arrivals.

Many thanks again for your interest and participation -- we are looking forward to another great MPIG meeting!


Friday, September 2, 2011

Hey, jobs!

The 2011-2012 Bioanthropology job market is shaping up to be pretty decent. There are many places to look for jobs and you *should* look in multiple places because not all jobs are cross-listed. Here are my recommendations:

The Anthropology job wiki. A perennial favorite of the BANDIT blog, not only does the wiki provide a handy digest of the current market, but you can find out from other users about information requests, interview invitations, job offers and rejections. It can be a little painful to follow the wiki because of that, but considering the frustrating silence so common to so many search committees, it can be a relief.

The job postings page on the AAPA website. This is pretty good and often includes postdoc opportunities.

For the biological anthropologist with training and teaching experience in anatomy, the classifiedsat the American Association of Anatomists might point you to an interesting opportunity.

The career center on the American Anthropological Association website lists several bioanthropology jobs.

Through the University of Wisconsin, you can access Primate Jobs to look for, you know, primate jobs.

If you're willing to do a little more digging (tip: if you want a job you should be willing to do a little more digging!) search anthropology, biology, and psychology postings at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

I'll also continue to post individual job listings that BANDIT readers forward to me. Good luck to all searchers!

On the joys of primate fieldwork, or "There's flies in my eyes": Marni LaFleur

In the next installment of Dispatches from the Field, graduate student Marni LaFleur humorously recounts a series of misadventures during her dissertation fieldwork in Madagascar:

I am a 33 year old graduate student in anthropology at the University of Colorado Boulder and last year, I lived in Madagascar in order to study ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) for my dissertation. I worked in a very remote area and spent nearly 10 months living in a tent. During this time, and like many who do field work, I went without luxuries such as running water, a bathroom, electricity (other than a small generator), the internet, or medical care, not to mention my husband or the people I love at home. It can be tough, but that is life in the field.

Now, I've worked in Madagascar before and have experience in all sorts of forest types and other countries. So, I figured I knew what I was in for. WRONG. None of my experiences or elaborate plans prepared me for the challenges that ensued. Some were to be expected (heat, bugs, etc.), albeit terribly difficult to tolerate. While other challenges were more of a surprise (illnesses, cyclones, using cold French fries to pay off drunken AK-47 yielding crooked cops, etc.), that you just have to chalk up as part of the joys of doing field work in an un-developed nation. The following are some of highlights of my field work highlights:

The heat. Day time high of 55°C and an overnight low of 32°C is miserable. Especially for months on end. There is no way to acclimate. It is horrible.

The tormenting flies. They simply torment you. Endlessly. And they are everywhere and so gross. For goodness sake, they literally barf on you and then lick up their own barf. On you, and on your food, and dishes, and eyeballs, and all forms of feces. And they have the audacity to continually land on the same spot, like the tip of your freaking nose, and will happily fly up your nose and down your throat. For months. Sick.

The incessant mosquitoes. I don't think I can even accurately describe the mosquito horrors. Let me just say that in addition to 3 layers of head to toe clothing (including two pairs of socks on my hands), I tried to set up a mosquito net in the forest, and it didn't help. Better yet, picture what SWARMS of mosquitoes do when you drop your drawers. Countless swollen burning potentially Elephantitis infected mosquito bites on your private parts, repeatedly, is about as bad as it gets. Trust me.

Everything I own falling apart. In August I left my husband behind and my heart crumbled. In September my hiking boots died (which is a big freaking deal). In October my radio receiver for tracking animals died. In November my tent and water filter died. In December my body kicked the proverbial bucket, as did my duct tape. Seriously. I didn't know duct tape could die. In January my second radio receiver arrived, and promptly died. In February my generator died. In March, I was given a human raised pet lemur, who escaped from my tent and I am sure died (this is a long sad story from which I am still heartbroken). In April, I dropped my Ipod in a bucket of dirty laundry water and it died, which is admittedly less traumatic, but nearly unbearable by this point.

Illness and mystery parasites. In December I had Dengue fever, which in hindsight, nearly killed me. After that, I had one malady after another. A calcium deficiency serious enough to threaten heart and other muscle functions, followed by a magnesium deficiency, followed by Mononucleosis, followed by an immune reaction which was at least consistent with malaria. Not cool, my friends, not cool.

The car ride from hell. After the calcium, but before the magnesium deficiency, a routine by-monthly food supply trip that normally took 10 hours, turned into a 5 day epic journey. Probably the one and only time I will sleep inside a car (with 4 others) which is A) short a functional transmission, B) cozily parked in the middle of a lake, and C) surrounded by the deafening calls of wildly mating frogs. I did more than my share of wading in stagnant wriggly tadpole water over that 5-day period and yes, I had open wounds on my feet. As one does.

Cyclone Bingzia. The 2011 "cyclone season" opened with Cyclone Bingzia and was responsible for the car ride from hell. It was much more destructive on the eastern coast of Madagascar (I was on the west) but did manage to make rivers out of "roads" and bring a 2ft deep flash flood through camp, which of course included my tent home.

Attempted assassination on the president and a sequential 4 day internet black out. To be honest, this happened when I was out in the forest, and I actually had no idea, but it sounds pretty dramatic. The government has been unstable and under dictator rule since 2009 when a popular 30 year-old former DJ decided to stage a coup and then ousted the actual elected president. The former DJ has been in power ever since, and remains so, without end in sight.

That, I believe, nicely sums the unpleasantries of my dissertation field work. I must, however, admit to already planning my imminent return to Madagascar. Why? I love the animals. And I'm banking that an equally horrible field experience would never happen to the same person twice. Right?

Tenure-track Psychology Position at University of Delaware

The UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY invites applications for tenure-track Assistant Professor positions to begin September 1, 2012. Under some circumstances, candidates at the Associate Professor level might be considered. We are particularly interested in candidates who can bridge departmental areas and extend existing research strengths within the department. One priority area is Cognitive Neuroscience, broadly defined. We welcome applicants working in any area of cognition.

A second targeted area is Neuroendocrinology / Psychoneuroimmunology. We prefer a colleague studying endocrine or immune physiology in relation to animal models of stress, sex differences, psychopathology, developmental disorders, psychosomatic disease, neurogenetics, social processes and health, or aging; applicants using other approaches to study these issues may also be considered. These positions, which could be based in any of the department's areas (Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical, Cognitive, Social), are part of a new departmental hiring initiative that reflects the arrival of a new department chair, an emphasis on a neuroscience perspective, and cross-disciplinary interaction. The initiative will bring additional faculty to our department, located in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

For more information about the department, see Applicants should go to to submit a cover letter stating research and teaching interests, along with a current vita. In addition, 3-5 reprints (all in pdf format) and three letters of reference should be sent to

Applicants for these positions should have a Ph.D. or expect to complete their degree requirements prior to appointment. Inquiries should be addressed to the search committee chairs, Dr. James E. Hoffman (; 302-831-2453) for Cognitive Neuroscience, or Dr. Anna Klintsova (; 302-831-0452) for Neuroendocrinology/Psychoneuroimmunology. Review of applications will begin on October 1, 2011, although applications received after that date may be considered.

James E. Hoffman
Department of Psychology
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716
Fax: 302-831-3645

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tenure-track Assistant Professor in Behavioural Neuroscience

Tenure-track Assistant Professor in Behavioural Neuroscience

The Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in Behavioural Neuroscience, which will begin 1 July 2012. Candidates must have a PhD before commencing the position.

We are seeking an individual who can add to the departmental strength in animal-based behavioural neuroscience. Particular areas of interest include: epigenetics, behavioural genetics, developmental psychobiology, addiction, interactions between the immune system and behaviour, and learning. Note that primate facilities are not available. We are seeking an individual who has a strong commitment to teaching and a strong research record appropriate to a research-oriented doctoral program. The successful candidate will be expected to maintain a program of effective teaching, departmental service, graduate and undergraduate research supervision, and scholarly research that leads to publication.

The starting salary for the position will be commensurate with experience. This position is subject to final budgetary approval. The University of British Columbia hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority. UBC is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

Applicants for the position should upload a single PDF file (containing a cover letter, CV, research statement, teaching statement, evidence of teaching effectiveness, and 3 publications) to and complete the brief form found on that webpage. Next, applicants should arrange to have at least 3 confidential letters of recommendation submitted online (details provided at the above webpage).

The closing date for applications is: 31 October 2011.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Confronting professional and cultural ethics: Gwen Robbins Schug

BANDIT is very pleased to host Dr. Gwen Robbins Schug as a guest blogger. In her compelling and beautifully written post, Gwen recounts a difficult ethical dilemma involving both scientific and cultural standards that stemmed from recent fieldwork in India.

(Re-)Wrapping a Sacred Bundle
Gwen Robbins Schug

"Anthropological researchers bear responsibility for the integrity and reputation of their discipline, of scholarship, and of science. Thus, anthropological researchers are subject to the general moral rules of scientific and scholarly conduct: they should not deceive or knowingly misrepresent (i.e., fabricate evidence, falsify, plagiarize), or attempt to prevent reporting of misconduct, or obstruct the scientific/scholarly research of others." AAPA Code of Ethics

"Ethics in Anthropology is like race in America: dialogue takes place during times of crisis." Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban (2003:pg. 1).

As an archaeologist, it is my belief that knowledge about the past is essential to our present understanding and should inform our future actions. Recently, I was involved in a situation where a colleague violated scientific ethics, plagiarized a paper, and attempted to obstruct future scholarly research. The situation soon became a public spectacle. I was challenged to devise a response that satisfied all of my various commitments to being a professional scientist, anthropologist, colleague and mentor. The liminal space I occupy as a biological anthropologist, with the ethical responsibilities of a scientist and the philosophical sensibilities of an anthropologist, led to an outcome that can only be called "the best of a bad situation". For this reason, I share my experience.

The Unravelling
Recently, I received a research fellowship and I took a sabbatical. I left my job, as an assistant professor at a small comprehensive University in the U.S. and I traveled to India, where I was to do research on two very important skeletal collections for 6 months. I had received permission to study paleopathology and trauma in this skeletal collection from the Government of India, Anthropological Survey of India, and the senior physical anthropologist in charge of the collection (Dr. Y). After about 10 days of waiting and meeting with the Head of Office at AnSI and Dr. Y, I began my work. A former student had traveled to India to work with me and was also granted permission by the head of office and the senior anthropologist to work on the skeletal material.

We examined a small collection first and then we turned our attention to the skeletal material from a very important archaeological site, a collection that has never been scientifically studied. The day we began work on that collection, Dr. Y was not in the office but he had left instructions for us to begin with the glass case in his office. This case was full of skulls from archaeological sites around India. They were all facing to the left because the case was not quite wide enough to accommodate them. There were only a couple from the site we were working on so we pulled those out and took them to the lab.

When we sat down to work, it was immediately apparent that one of the skulls was a specimen with a suspected trepanation, which had been a subject of speculation in the literature for decades. There was a depression fracture on the right side of the skull. Just below that, there was a small hole with a raised margin that suggested it could be a trepanation. This skull had been described a few times in 20th century writings about evidence for trepanation in prehistoric India, including a mention in a paper written about trepanation at a different site published by Dr. Y 10 years earlier. However, the skull had not been examined and the trepanation had not been confirmed. When Dr. Y returned to the office later that week, my student and I immediately informed him that we had found the specimen and we requested a CT scan (because the specimen is covered with a lot of preservative and confirmation required more work. He immediately exclaimed that our entire trip to India had just been validated by this discovery because he had been "looking" for the skull for many years and was happy we would finally be able to report on this evidence.

This trepaned skull turned out to be only the first in a long series of important results, which will lead to several publications and may very well revise our current ideas about life in the Indus Civilization. To me, the evidence for trepanation was interesting but primarily my interest was in the larger social issues of interpersonal violence, medical intervention, and hierarchy in the Indus Civilization. In fact, this evidence in combination with evidence for interpersonal violence in several skeletons that we examined early on led me to submit an abstract on that topic for an invited session at AAA later the same year.

After six months of working in India, seeing Dr. Y regularly when we were both in the labs and offices at AnSI, two things happened that challenged the relatively easy working relationship I thought I had developed there. The institution has generally remained aloof to foreign scholarship and I was proud of the apparent ease with which I had gotten access to their collections for the second time in my career.... until one afternoon when Dr. Y came into the lab where I was working. He started up a conversation about the results of my study and he asked me if I had seen a trepanation in another skeletal series I had studied in the repository. Knowing of his longstanding interest in trepanation, I shared with him that although it had been previously reported that there was a trepanation in a child's skull from Kalibangan, I had already confirmed that the skull was damaged postmortem and no such evidence existed.

During the course of this conversation, I asked Dr. Y if he wanted to write a paper reporting the confirmation of the case of trepanation I had discovered. When my field work began, we had discussed authorship and agreed that I would be first author on any and all publications resulting from my research and he would also be listed as an author. That day, I suggested that he could write a case study on the trepanation because I knew of his long-standing interest in the topic. We had not discussed it previously because we had both been traveling a lot and had usually not been present in the lab at the same time, except for a brief period early in my project.

Dr Y seemed very pleased that he would be able to report this case study and he mentioned that he had already started putting something together on the topic. Although I saw this comment as a potential red flag because we had not discussed it previously, I did not ask him for clarification and I dismissed the brief uneasy feeling and went on with my work. In fact I finished my work that very day, packed up all of my equipment and research supplies that afternoon, and headed home to write my final report and prepare to return home to the US.

That night, Mr. X, a reporter from a major newspaper wrote to ask a few routine questions for a story he was writing about trepanation in prehistoric India. I was not certain how he knew about the finding so I immediately wrote to Dr. Y. I told him that although we had discussed a potential paper that he would write on the trepanation, and although we discussed making him first author on that potential publication, I preferred to keep research results from the media until after a peer reviewed publication appeared.

I then wrote to the journalist and told him that I am the PI on a research project to study trauma and pathology in this skeletal collection housed at AnSI. I told him that I had not written a paper on the evidence for trepanation and was interested to know how he had learned of this aspect of my research. I also told Mr. X that I was not interested in commenting on his story and did not wish to be included in his article as the story was communicated without my knowledge or permission.

These two events marked the beginning of an unravelling, a spiralling chain of events which revealed scientific misconduct, a serious breach of scientific ethics by Dr. Y and a lack of diligence on the part of editors at a leading scientific journal in India. It is a long story and I will spare the reader most of the detail. Basically, the reporter informed me at that point that he was quite confused by my email. A manuscript was already published online in the current issue of a respected scientific journal. I was listed as second author on the paper and he was simply writing to me to get a comment about our conclusions. He noted that he found it odd that my affiliation was not listed on the paper. He had already spoken with Dr. Y (who was first author) and he never mentioned that I was the PI on the project. He had simply stated that I assisted with the analysis. At the end of this earthshaking email, he said simply that he would like to write an article on the serious breach of scientific ethics that had obviously occured in this case.

What followed was a series of phone calls and emails between myself, Dr. Y and Mr. X. All of this resulted in an article being published in the newspaper that accused Dr. Y of a serious breach of scientific ethics. Once the article came out, I contacted the director of Anthropological Survey of India and the journal editor. According to the AAPA code of ethics, I had a responsibility to inform the editor that a contribution in his journal was plagiarized and had been published without knowledge of one of the authors. As anyone can imagine, this was a delicate situation.

Culture Conflict- science and anthropology
I had been included as a second author on a paper that was submitted for publication, peer reviewed, and published without my knowledge. The contents of the paper were plagiarized from my research. It was unavoidable that an article was published in the newspaper because the reporter was the one who informed me of my own publication (which obviously made him suspicious that a bigger story existed). And I was under ethical obligation as a scientist to inform the journal editor (Dr. Z) and the director of AnSI of what had happened, uncomfortable as that was. So, I carefully wrote the necessary letters and then waited to see what the response would be (keeping in mind my position as a foreign scholar, and a young female one at that).

Shortly after the newspaper article came out, basically everyone I knew in India called me. All of my friends and colleagues expressed support for me. They gave me advice on whom to speak with, how to handle myself, and when to sit quietly and wait for a response. Many of my American colleagues also called me to express support as well. One thing that all of these calls had in common was an almost immediate outpouring of similar stories, in India and in the United States. Most of these stories were from young, female scholars. Most of them were not cathartic moments.

The director of AnSI wrote to Dr. Y and demanded an explanation. In an email he wrote to me that Dr. Y's conduct was unethical and unacademic. Dr. Y's formal letter of response was inadequate and contained obvious fabrications. For example, Dr. Y claimed that he did not show me the paper before its publication because it was submitted from the field. On the published version of the paper, there was a date of submission that did not corroborate this story. As emails and phone calls flew back and forth and all over India (all the way up to the Ministry of Culture), the scientific ethical issues were clear. AnSI handled the entire issue with respect for scientific enquiry, investigating the matter and disciplining the scientist involved.

Dr. Z, the journal editor, had a different response. In scientific publishing, a charge of plagiarism is enough to retract a paper. Dr. Z did not wish to retract the paper, even though I initially requested him to do so. Although he had been given evidence to demonstrate that clearly Dr. Y had committed an ethical violation by publishing without my knowledge and although there was evidence for the plagiarism, Dr. Z wanted to publish an erratum and correct the authorship and affiliation details while leaving the paper intact. Now it was my turn to wrestle with the ethical issues, not the ethics of being a scientist but the ethics of being an anthropologist.

The "appropriate" response to a breach of ethics of this magnitude is clear. Within the scientific community in the United States, ethical violations are ideally handled immediately and thoroughly because every aspect of the scientific process is based on trust. Science is not the "Truth" but it is a set of claims about the world and the scientific literature is a permanent historical record of experiments, observations, and interpretations. As a society, we rely heavily on this record and most scientists and concerned people would agree that integrity is crucial to the process of science.

For this reason, there are reasonably clear ethical standards of practice in the United States. Not everyone lives up to those standards all of the time and thus our professional associations and institutions have written policies for dealing with misconduct. Gray areas can emerge about details of particular cases but ultimately errors in authorship should result in an erratum, plagiarism should result in retraction.

But what about anthropological ethics?
The editor of the journal expressed a preference for leaving the paper in the journal. I tossed and turned, night after night about the anthropological ethical issues of imposing my own standards for ethical conduct on someone from a different culture. Although there are guidelines for how to proceed when scientific misconduct is clear, there are no clear rules for knowing how to proceed when it becomes apparent that scientists from two different cultures have conflicting goals, interests, norms, and standards of scientific practice.

Dr. Z had a solution, his way of solving the problem fit within his own tradition and he did not wish to retract the paper. In a sense, I had simultaneously respected and violated a trust by calling attention to the situation. I felt scientific ethics demanded that much from me. As a consquence, Dr. Y had threatened at one point to restrict access for foreign scholars again and the situation obviously had the potential to negatively impact future anthropological and scientific research. Dr. Z clearly expressed his solution and although it was not what I wanted, I eventually decided that I had to respect his authority as journal editor and his reading of the correct response to an ethical dilemma. Basically, anthropological ethics suggested it was wrong to enforce my own view of ethical practice in scientific journal publishing over views expressed by a highly qualified scientific journal editor. In the end, I consented to the erratum and the paper was left in the journal.

Wrapping up
I would sum up the dilemma by evoking the interdisciplinarity of biological anthropology, which does not always easily straddle science and anthropology. As a PI, I am responsible for ensuring that the research is conducted ethically and this includes an ethical dissemination of the results. I found Dr. Y's article to be unprofessional and misleading in its claims to have 'discovered' the 'first evidence' of 'brain surgery' in India. More importantly, if I am aware of unethical conduct, I have a responsibility as a scientist to report that to the authorities in place. I have a responsiblity for the factual content of publications on which my name appears and I have a responsiblity to tell the truth when a concern is brought to my attention. When scientific literature is published, it is important for practical reasons that all authors have an opportunity to write, review, edit and respond to reviewer comments. If I said nothing about my name being placed on a paper without my knowledge or consent, I am tacitly condoning an unethical practice.

However, I also have a responsibility as an anthropologist to respect the solutions of people in the communities where I engage in research. I must carefully consider the social and political implications of my research and my behavior. I have a responsibility to be reflexive about my actions and to do no harm, including to future colleagues. I have a responsibility to "preserve opportunities for future fieldworkers to follow [me] to the field" (AAPA code of ethics). I have a responsibility to behave as a guest and to respect the views and opinions of my hosts, their concept of ethical behavior, and the consequences for violating those norms.

I think that the AAPA guidelines summed well the position of the biological anthropologist in a case like this one: "Active contribution and leadership in seeking to shape public or private sector actions and policies may be as ethically justifiable as inaction, detachment, or noncooperation, depending on circumstances" (pg. 2). In this case, I chose to do both. I was not silent about the ethical violations but I did not demand a particular resolution either. I tried to satisfy ethical obligations as a scientist while respectfully negotiating my position as an anthropologist. By speaking up, I took a stand that is impossible for many junior scientists (particularly women) who are vulnerable to abuses of power like plagiarism, discrimination, and sexual harassment. Through the anthropological perspective, I found a path that honored those vested with authority over scientific enquiry and publishing in India. I don't know if scientists and anthropologists would agree with the way that I handled the situation. I do know that I now sleep very well at night.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Share your field experiences with BANDIT!

You are invited to share your field experiences with the BANDIT community via a guest post on the blog. Not only do I want to hear about your research specifically, but I am especially interested in hearing about the process of doing field research, because the obstacles and successes may be broadly relevant to colleagues doing very different kinds of work. I envision posts regarding the following three themes, although this is by no means an exhaustive list: 1) preparing for the research - IRB, IACUC, permits, establishing your itinerary with colleagues and subjects before you get there, etc.; 2) preparing for the trip itself - what to bring, shopping, travel issues, etc.; 3) doing the fieldwork - interpersonal/cultural issues, illness in the field, encountering scientific or procedural problems and devising solutions in the field. Let me know if you're interested. I'd like these dispatches to be separate blog posts rather than filler in the comments section so that they can really stand out. You can email me your idea for a dispatch at ruther4d at uic dot edu.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Project manager position at Anthrotech

Anthrotech seeks Physical Anthropologist/Project Manager to start immediately. Anthrotech is an expanding company in Yellow Springs, Ohio specializing in applied anthropometry – the study of human body measurements as applied to problems of design and accommodation. Our roots go back to the 1950’s and we have evolved into the nation’s leader in anthropometric data collection, analysis and application.

We are currently seeking a motivated and enthusiastic physical anthropologist to join our growing family. This individual will apply his/her advanced knowledge of human biology, primarily involving such background as anatomy, biomechanics, anthropometry and statistics, to anthropometric survey management and client interface. Additional hands-on training will be given in landmarking, measuring, and data collection techniques. This highly visible position will be responsible for ensuring timely progress and reporting of an extensive anthropometric survey conducted at military bases throughout the United States. The ideal candidate will possess excellent verbal and written communication skills and the ability to successfully drive the remainder of the project to its completion, approximately 15 more months. This is a great opportunity to showcase your ability to balance scientific rigor, company culture and client confidence.

At Anthrotech our commitment to success provides challenges and opportunities for all of our employees. The manager of the survey must have the flexibility to travel routinely to various military installations to observe the data collection team and coordinate with the on-site team leader, as well as to interact regularly with our military client. The candidate should ideally possess graduate level training in a discipline such as anthropology, anatomy, biomechanics, kinesiology, and/or biostatistics. Previous experience with 3-D visualization software (e.g., Rhinoceros) and a Masters or Ph.D. in Anthropology or a related field is highly desirable.

If you are an ambitious and energetic individual who wants to make a difference in a growing organization, please apply by submitting a cover letter which also states when you would be available for hire, your resume, your college and graduate school transcript(s), and your salary requirements to Anthrotech, 503 Xenia Avenue, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387 or email all the above materials to Proof of U.S. citizenship will be required.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

American Association of Anatomists Early Career Awards

I recently renewed my membership in the American Association of Anatomists in preparation for an upcoming anatomy education workshop at AAPA and have found a nice little enclave of biological anthropologists there. Perusing the AAA website I found a number of great awards and grants for scholars and educators at many stages of their careers. Here are a few that stand out for early stage people, including postdocs:

Postdoctoral Fellowship

R.R. Bensley Award in Cell Biology
This award, first given in 1979, recognizes a cell biologist who has made a distinguished contribution to the advancement of anatomy through discovery, ingenuity, and publications in the field of cell biology. The successful candidate will be an independent cell biologist whose publications have had substantial impact on his/her field.

C.J. Herrick Award in Neuroanatomy
Established in 1962, this award recognizes investigators who have made important contributions to the field of comparative neuroanatomy and have demonstrated remarkable promise of future accomplishments. The area of comparative neuroanatomy is defined broadly; previous awardees are outstanding scientists who have made contributions to areas of neuroscience, including neurochemistry, development, neurocytology, neuroendocrinology, neurophysiology, and molecular neurobiology.

H.W. Mossman Award in Developmental Biology
This award was established in 2001 to recognize investigators in the early stages of their careers who have made important contributions to the field of developmental biology, as broadly defined, and have demonstrated remarkable promise of future accomplishments.

AAA Morphological Sciences Award
This award was established in 2008 to recognize investigators in the early stages of their careers who have made important contributions to biomedical science through research in the morphological sciences, as broadly defined, and have demonstrated remarkable promise of future accomplishments.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

AAA 2011 program available

The program for the upcoming American Anthropological Association conference in Montreal is now available. In the coming months I will put together a list of talks and events relevant to biological anthropologists. You may also be able to find information at the Biological Anthropology Section site.

I am super excited about this meeting and I look forward to seeing many of you there!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Gwen Robbins Schug - awesome scholar, awesome book

As has been hinted previously on the BANDIT blog, Dr. Gwen Robbins Schug's new book has just been released! It is entitled, "Bioarchaeology and Climate Change: a view from South Asian prehistory". A short synopsis of the book is available on her website.

The book is published by University Press of Florida as part of Clark Larsen's book series "Bioarchaeological Interpretations of the Human Past: Local, Regional, and Global Perspectives". It will also be available through Oxford University Press Online later this year. If one's academic institution subscribes, OUPO carries fully searchable academic books, which can be downloaded by chapter or in their entirety without cost to the patron.

Congratulations to Gwen on the publication of her book!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

MPIG 2011 abstract deadline August 15

Remember how geeked out I was about MPIG 2010 in Chicago? Well, we're gearing up for a wonderful MPIG 2011 hosted by Kent State University. Abstract deadline is August 15. Can't wait for MPIG, Buckeye Style!

In the meantime, relive the magic of MPIG 2010!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Anatomy Education workshop at AAPA 2012?

AAPA folks (undergrad, grad, postdoc, professor, researcher) with an interest or training or teaching career in anatomical sciences: let me know if you're interested in participating in a workshop at AAPA 2012.