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Often Misunderstood Today, Mayans Did Not Predict 2012 Apocalypse

— from UVA Today

The rock band REM may have sung, "It's the end of the world as we know it," but not according to the Mayans, despite some popular misconceptions about their ancient calendar.

Students in a University of Virginia summer course on "The Maya Today: Fiction and Reality" learned why the notion that pre-Columbian Mayans predicted the end of the world would happen Dec. 12, 2012, is all wrong. They learned not only the facts behind this misinterpretation, but also the basics of the complicated calendar system the Maya developed....(Read more)

"Reset the relationship with President Sullivan"- Communication from UVA Deans to the BOV

— from Fred Damon

Please see attached the letter from deans of the schools at the University of Virginia, requesting that the BOV reconsider the decision of June 8, 2012, and restore Teresa A. Sullivan to the position of President of the University of Virginia.


TO:          Board of Visitors, University of Virginia 

FROM:    Deans of the Colleges, University of Virginia 

DATE:     June 21, 2012 

RE:          Reinstatement of Teresa Sullivan, PhD
                 as President of the University of Virginia

We, the deans of the Colleges of the University of Virginia, respectfully request that the Board of Visitors (BOV) reconsider their decision of June 8, 2012 and restore Teresa A. Sullivan to the position of President of the University of Virginia. 

The Deans do not make this suggestion lightly. We are aware of both the dedication and responsibility that the BOV has for the University, and the fact that the Board has acted in what they believe are the best interests of the University despite a substantial amount of discord evoked by the decision in the faculty, the student body, and many members of the staff. 

Among the reasons for the BOV’s decision were concern for the fiscal status of the University and more rapid action on fiscal and other issues, such as the role of on-line learning in our educational models and proactive approaches to the demographic changes that will occur in the faculty (retirements, etc.) in the next 5-8 years....


Lydia Wilson Marshall Becomes Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Gettysburg College

Lydia Wilson Marshall (Ph.D. 2011) has accepted a one-year position as Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, PA for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Roberto Armengol Wins Jefferson Dissertation Year Fellowship 2012-2013

— from Ira Bashkow

Roberto Armengol has been awarded a Jefferson Dissertation Year Fellowship for 2012-2013. This fellowship, which is one of just two being given out across GSAS by the Jefferson Scholars Foundation, will support him in writing his dissertation on the changing role of the state in the Cuban informal economy.

Congratulations, Roberto! 

Two U.Va. Anthropology Students Receive Davis Prize for Guatemala Project

— from UVA Today 

With al Qaeda and Latin American drug cartels moving into some parts of Africa, small arms control has become a matter of great concern to those involved with security. Anthropologist Niklas Hultin, who taught in the University of Virginia's Global Development Studies program last year, is researching issues concerning gun control in Gambia on the west coast – a gateway for illegal trafficking.

Hultin, who will be a research professor in the College of Arts & SciencesDepartment of Anthropology, has studied human rights, democracy and African legal institutions. He recently received a National Science Foundation grant to return to Gambia to research small arms use in West Africa, international small arms control and anti-transnational crime initiatives, he said. The Isaac Newton Trust at Cambridge University is also contributing funding for his two-year project....(Read more)

Yu-Chien Huang Awarded 2012 Academia Sinica Fellowship

— from Ira Bashkow

Yu-Chien Huang has been awarded a 2012 Academia Sinica Fellowship for Doctoral Candidates in the Humanities and Social Sciences. This prestigious award by Taiwan's Academia Sinica will support her fieldwork on kinship, gender, food, and hierarchy on the Yap islands in Micronesia.

Congratulations, Yu-Chien!


Yu-Chien Huang Awarded World Austronesian Studies Fieldwork Grant

— from Ira Bashkow

Yu-Chien Huang has been awarded a second major grant to support her fieldwork on the Yap Islands of Micronesia.

This World Austronesian Studies Fieldwork Grant for PhD Students comes from the World Austronesian Studies Project, an International Scholarly Exchange and Academic Research project commissioned by Taiwan's Bureau of International Cultural and Educational Affairs, in the Ministry of Education. Click here for details.

Congratulations, Yu-Chien!

Award for Best Teaching Assistant in Anthropology Goes to David Flood

— from Eve Danziger

Congratulations to David Flood, who has won the Anthropology graduate student award for Best Teaching Assistant in Anthropology for 2011-12.

The applicants for this award all submitted excellent evaluations and insightful statements of teaching philosophy, thus making the decision a very difficult one for the judges.

David earned the win based on his teaching evaluations and statement of teaching philosophy.  From the comments, it is clear that students not only learned a lot about the history of anthropology from David, but also felt comfortable and thoroughly enjoyed participating in his class.  One student even felt the urge to describe Mr. Flood as an “AWESOME DUDE” - in all-caps! Most importantly, students appreciated his ability to make theory easier to comprehend, an ability which one student characterizes as “explaining difficult concepts in more understandable language.”

Rose Wellman, Lydia Rodriguez: Co-winners of 2011-12 Best Dissertation Chapter Award

— from Eve Danziger

Warmest congratulations to Lydia Rodriguez and Rose Wellman, who are the joint winners of the 2011-12 UVa Anthropology Department Award for Best Dissertation Chapter.

The two main criteria which guided the judges' decision process were 1) the clarity of each writer's main ideas and arguments and 2) the significance of the work to anthropology as a whole, considering its portability to other ethnographic contexts. The two winners did exceptionally well in each of these two categories. The judges also considered each submission's use of literature, definitions of key terms, accessibility to non-specialists, and interest for the reader, with respect to the question "Would I like to read more of this dissertation?" For each submission - not only the winners' - the judges answered this last question in the affirmative. The judges commend the writers for their efforts and look forward to reading their future contributions to the discipline of anthropology.


Roberto Armengol Named Best Graduate Student Instructor 2012-13

— from Eve Danziger

Congratulations to Roberto Armengol for winning the 2011-12 Department of Anthropology award for Best Graduate Student Instructor.

The Best Graduate Student Instructor Award is given to the post-field graduate student who most exemplifies what it means to teach anthropology. A few of the key criteria most important to this year's judges include the candidate's attention to explaining and promoting anthropology's role within the global scheme of the Academy, and also making it relevant and insightful to students' everyday experiences. Also important was the candidate's ability to frame courses in a way that--through assignments, classroom activities, and overall organization of themes--is pedagogically creative and mindful of students' abilities to actively contribute to intellectual dialogue. The judges were pleased to see all candidates approach the teaching of anthropology with a level of professionalism, but also intellectual thoughtfulness, that makes them all worthy of praise.

Indeed, all applicants showed an impressive measure of the above virtues and all deserve our admiration and respect.


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