SMU Department of Anthropology

Official page of the Anthropology Department at Southern Methodist University

Southern Methodist University's Department of Anthropology offers doctoral specialties in medical anthropology, globalization and migration, and archaeology. Since 1964, our community has been dedicated to furthering undergraduate and graduate education.

Operating as usual

Mapping the Lost History of the Tenth Street Historic District 06/19/2024

More on Katie Cross’ amazing research here in Dallas!

Mapping the Lost History of the Tenth Street Historic District Much of Tenth Street's history has been lost to demolition and city policy. A new effort aims to help people visualize what once was, with the goal of appreciating and saving what remains.


Public education and outreach are an important part of anthropology. SMU’s Dr. Christopher Roos gave a lecture today to share his team’s research with the local community.

Upcoming Friends of the Library event!


SMU Department of Anthropology's Dr. Aanmona Priyadarshini designed and facilitated a workshop, "Ethnographic Methods in Education Research," for the Department of Teaching and Learning at SMU Simmons School of Education and Human Development. The workshop's goal was to demystify ethnographic fieldwork and give participants hands-on experience in a broad range of methods for collecting ethnographic data. It also supported the faculty and postdocs in developing their qualitative research toolkit.



Congratulations to Dr. Nusaiba Chowdhury on the successful defense of her doctoral dissertation!

Nusaiba’s research focuses on refugee experience after resettlement in a system that puts achieving self-sufficiency above all. In the U.S., refugees are expected to find a job as soon as possible after arriving but are not provided long-term support to find a job that would provide true self-sufficiency. Her dissertation investigates how Rohingya refugees conceptualize and work toward a good life in Dallas, Texas, within the constraints of the refugee resettlement system.


Join us this Thursday for an event in the DCII Big Challenge Series co-organized by a number of SMU Anthropology faculty!
Free and open to the public.

Register here:


Check out the new publication by SMU's Dr. Karen Lupo and Dave Schmitt titled "Recasting forest forager and food-producer population interaction as a pivotal prehistoric process of change," published in Afriques: Débats, Méthodes et Terrains d’Histoire (vol 14) out of Paris (online).


Archaeology Research Collections at SMU director Matthew Boulanger received the 2023-2024 SMU Provost Teaching Recognition Award yesterday at SMU's Spring faculty meeting!

La ‘caja escocesa para el bebé’: TikTok expande el debate sobre el estado del bienestar 12/01/2023

SMU’s Dr. Kelly McKowen is quoted extensively in this article published in the Spanish newspaper, La Vanguardia, about Americans' reactions to Scottish baby boxes on Tik Tok. Learn more here:

La ‘caja escocesa para el bebé’: TikTok expande el debate sobre el estado del bienestar A la enfermera especializada en partos Jen Hamilton no le quedó otra que subtitular así todo su vídeo de reacción en Tik Tok. Esta sanitaria estadounidense registró

Urban Indigenous Experiences: An Evening of Lecture, Film, and Discussion 10/30/2023

Please join us Thursday, November 9 for an event co-sponsored with KERA, the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute at SMU, Clements Center for Southwest Studies, and SMU Department of Anthropology focused on Urban Indigenous Experiences. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Urban Indigenous Experiences: An Evening of Lecture, Film, and Discussion KERA and SMU are proud to debut Native America, Season 2. Please join us in the Oren Auditorium on the lower level of Hughes-Trigg.

Transilient Acts: Managing Change in the Ancestral Pueblo World - Crow Canyon Archaeological Center 10/26/2023

Check out today’s lecture by SMU’s Dr. Michael Adler for Crow Canyons Webinar series. 10/26/2023 at 4 pm MST (5 pm CST).

The talk is titled “Transilient Acts: Managing Change in the Ancestral Pueblo World”

This talk focuses on the wide range of practices and, likely, beliefs that have long been part of Ancestral and modern Pueblo strategies to manage change within their communities. Dr. Adler starts with a critique of how archaeology currently uses the concept of “resilience” to model past practices dealing with change and transition and poses “transilience” as a more appropriate model for understanding such practices. Examples from Pueblo communities in the Northern Rio Grande, including Picuris Pueblo and ancestral homes of the Picuris people, are detailed to illustrate past transilient acts and practices.

Transilient Acts: Managing Change in the Ancestral Pueblo World - Crow Canyon Archaeological Center This talk focuses on the wide range of practices and, likely, beliefs that have long been part of Ancestral and modern Pueblo strategies to manage change within their communities. Dr. Adler starts with a critique of how archaeology currently uses the concept of “resilience” to model past practic...


The Department of Anthropology would like to introduce the new Director of the Archaeological Research Collections (ARC) at SMU—Dr. Matthew T. Boulanger. Dr. Boulanger joined SMU in January of 2016, and is currently a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology. In addition to the ARC, he manages the X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry laboratory in the department and teaches courses on world prehistory, lithic technology, quantitative methods, pseudoscience and critical thinking, and North American archaeology.

Dr. Boulanger received his B.A. (1999) in anthropology from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. For a time, he worked as a field archaeologist for Bear Creek Archaeology (Cresco, Iowa) and as a project archaeologist for Archaeology Consulting Team (Essex Junction, Vermont). Matthew received his M.A.(2009) at the University of Missouri, writing a thesis on the formal, petrographic, and geochemical analysis of the ceramic assemblage from Fort Hill (27CH85)-a seventeenth-century Native American village in Hinsdale, New Hampshire. He also earned a graduate certificate in geographic information systems (2009) examining the distribution of Mississippian mound sites in the lower Mississippi alluvial valley. His Ph.D. (2015) focused on the morphometric and phylogenetic analysis of Paleoindian projectile-point forms from eastern North America.

While at the University of Missouri, Dr. Boulanger worked full-time in the Archaeometry Laboratory in the Missouri University Research Reactor (MURR), beginning as a laboratory technician and working his way up to senior research specialist. During his time at MURR, he worked extensively with archaeological collections and databases, including producing open-access databases for the archives of the archaeometry programs at the University of Manchester, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His work at MURR included independent research focusing on lithic-sourcing in the Midwest and Northeast, as well as ceramic-sourcing studies in the Near East, Central Europe, Mesoamerica, and the American Southeast.

To learn more about the ARC visit:


Congratulations to SMU Anthropology Professor Christopher Roos for his new article in Nature Ecology & Evolution with Julie Field and John Dudgeon “Fire activity and deforestation in Remote Oceanian islands caused by anthropogenic and climate interactions.”

Here, Roos and co-authors use landscape geoarchaeology to show that swidden farming and El Niño interacted to drive deforestation of Fiji’s largest island and likely did the same on other islands throughout the region. You can read the article here:

or here if you hit a paywall.

A brief research summary can be found here:


The SMU Department of Anthropology would like to introduce our new lecturer Dr. Elizabeth Berk. Dr. Berk completed her doctoral degree in Anthropology at Yale University in 2021, at this time also receiving a certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She served as a Postdoctoral Associate for Yale University’s Council on Middle East Studies from 2021-2023. Dr. Berk also has an MA in Middle East Studies from Washington University in St. Louis, and a BA from the University of Michigan. Dr. Berk is the recipient of grants from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Department of State Critical Language Scholarship, among others.

Her research focuses on chronic illness and subjectivity, and her specialties include medical anthropology, the Middle East, science and technology studies, disability studies, and gender and sexuality studies. Her current book project focuses on HIV/AIDS in Lebanon, and she has also published on Type 1 Diabetes and the Insulin Pump. Future projects include continued work on these subjects as well as on conceptions of disability.

At SMU, Dr. Berk currently teaches Introduction to Medical Anthropology, Health and Human Rights, and Health in Cross Cultural Perspective.

Outside of work, Dr. Berk enjoys fitness, food, animals, and getting to know Dallas (at least during fall, winter, and spring)!


Last week to nominate outstanding staff for Presidential Awards and the Loretta O'Reilly Hawkins Award!


The SMU Department of Anthropology would like to introduce our new Visiting Lecturer Aanmona Priyadarshini. Dr. Priyadarshini completed her doctoral degree in cultural anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh in 2023 with Mellon and Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork grants. She earned an MA in women's studies and gender studies at Loyola University Chicago with a Fulbright scholarship in 2012. Her Ph.D. research examined how destruction and government-led tourist-centric reconstruction of Buddhists' religious space have affected the religious practices and social relationships of Buddhist communities in a Muslim-majority country, Bangladesh. Her book project explores what relation violence against sacred sites bears to violence against the people who built, inhabited, or identified with that sacred space.

Dr. Priyadarshini’s interest in material culture has led her to design a Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute research cluster on "The Social Life of Things," which will foster interdisciplinary research that considers the implications of the recent "affective turn" in social sciences, focusing on the ways in which it may help us explore the entanglement of humans with the material world. She is also planning to develop a lecture series on "Invisible Margins," which will acknowledge the voices of the scholars from the margins that are often deliberately silenced and preferably unheard in the academy.


SMU Anthropology is hiring for multiple tenure track positions. We invites nominations and applications for a tenure-track position in medical anthropology. This is an opportunity to be involved in shaping innovative, interdisciplinary, research- and activism-oriented programming and curricula in a dynamic, well-established, and growing Department of Anthropology with a competitive undergraduate major in Health and Society and MA and PhD programs in medical anthropology.


SMU Anthropology is accepting applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Economic Anthropology. Open to all interests and regions. Deadline is October 15.

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