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CSUSM Anthropology News

Help Fund CSUSM Belize Archaeological Field Research Station

Thank you for your help in helping us reach our Giving Day goal in November 2021! That day alone, we brought in over $6,000 from more than 35 donors. The CSUSM Belize Archaeological Field Research Station is that much closer to becoming a reality thanks to your support.

cave view belizeThough we had a successful campaign, we aren’t there yet. Through February 24, we are continuing our efforts to raise funds for the CSUSM Belize Archaeological Field Research Station. Once completed, the research station will be a base of operations where CSUSM students will learn to conduct archaeological research and help us learn more about ancient Maya cave ritual practices by participating on my Rio Frio Regional Archaeological Project. No matter the amount, your donation today will help make this field station a reality and help our students have an invaluable international experience.

Join me today in giving to the CSUSM Belize Archaeological Field Research Station.

 Scan the QRL code below to give to this effort!

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Jon Spenard


CSUSM Anthropology Statement on Archaeology and NAGPRA

October 21, 2021

The CSUSM Anthropology Department condemns the wantonly harmful display of ancestral human remains that have appeared recently on social media. Recent opinions posted to social media regarding ancestral remains and “ownership” of them are wrong, outdated, and have no place in contemporary anthropology. Further, we strongly disagree with the belief that repatriation of ancestral remains and associated grave goods as required by federal and state laws is an acquiescence to religious dogma. Instead, we celebrate such processes as ones that aim to balance long-standing colonial structural inequalities that prioritize and privilege Western world view at the expense of others. We believe that respect for tribal sovereignty, and cultural patrimony are essential. Working in consultation with descendant communities and NAGPRA compliance is not only ethically right but is good science. We understand that personhood extends beyond the “living” corporal body. Such words and actions of a few cause real-world harm and are acts of violence against descendent communities. We call on those who would make such claims to end their disrespectful and hurtful campaign. The pursuit of knowledge without regard to potential harm serves no one.

Anthropology Faculty impact COVID-19 response in San Diego County

September 9, 2020

photo of prof

Professors Konane Martinez, Laurette McGuire (CHABSS) and Richard Armenta (CEHHS) have been invited to serve on a San Diego County wide "Regional COVID-19 Taskforce for Equitable Recovery." The CSUSM News Center Article explores this work.

New Courses for Fall 2020!

ANTH 280: "Of Trowel and Trenches: An Introduction To Archeology"

ANTH 280 is being offered for the first time at CSUSM!

Anthr 280 introduces the aims, methods, and history of the science of anthropological archeology, one of the four main subfields of general anthropology. Subjects covered include site formation, research design, survey methods, data collections, laboratory analysis, and dating techniques. Also covers reconstructing and interpreting the past, theoretical approaches, contemporary archaeological practice, and the ethics of archeology.

Anthr-302: "Culture and Medicine: The Anthropology of Healthcare"

Dr. McGuire is offering a course on the anthropology of biomedicine! This course focuses on the anthropological study of biotechnology and investigates the sociocultural influences and repercussions of biomedical approaches to disease, health, , and science.  explores how scientific knowledge  and medical technologies move from the laboratory to public health policy and popular culture and from professional medicine to the intimate realms of bodily experience. 

CSUSM Anthropology Student receives Dean's Award

Jessica Garcia

April 4, 2020 

The Anthropology Department is proud to announce that Jessica Garcia has received the Dean's Champion Award for Schoarship and Creative Works. Jessica was nominated by Dr. Spenard for her excellence in research and scholarship in Archaeology.  Congratulations Jessica!

About Jessica:

Jessica found her passion for archaeological research while studying at Palomar College and made her mark in archaeology here at CSUSM. She accompanied Archaeology Professor Dr. Jon Spenard last summer to Belize to investigate ancient Maya cave rituals. “Although the jungle and cave environments we were working in were challenging, she excelled and demonstrated herself to be a well-rounded researcher. My team placed two excavation units that season, and she was in charge of one of them from beginning to end. Jessica’s work with me is establishing the foundational knowledge that all future work there will build upon for generations to come,” said Dr. Spenard. Jessica also contributed to collecting informal interviews with Maya community partners in Belize to learn more about the symbolic significance of plants they use in cave rituals, what plants in the jungle are useful and for what purposes, what kind of spirits live in the caves who demand rituals, and about local healing practices. She’s presented her research finds at undergraduate research conferences as well as professional and cultural interest groups including Southern California Mesoamerica Network. Jessica has also co-authored a report on her work in Belize with Dr. Spenard. All these accomplishments illustrate her intellectual prowess and tenacity as a scholar. Congratulations, Jessica! Your curiosity and research embody CHABSS and CSUSM’s core values and highlight the meaning ofUnderstanding the World, Improving Your Community!