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Faculty and Staff

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Department Chair

Peter E. Siegel, professor and chair, received his PhD from the Department of Anthropology, State University of New York, Binghamton. He is a New World archaeologist, with work conducted in eastern North America, the West Indies, and lowland South America. Siegel’s research interests include origins and development of social inequality, historical ecology, ethnoarchaeology, and stone-tool analysis. His work has been funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the Heinz Family Foundation for Latin American Archaeology. He teaches courses in general archaeology, experimental archaeology, North American archaeology, Caribbean archaeology, and Native North Americans.


Bonita Kates is the professional services specialist for the chair.

Full-Time Faculty

Cortni Borgerson, assistant professor, received a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research explores why people choose to hunt endangered species, and examines how this hunting affects both human health and wildlife conservation. Dr. Borgerson is currently managing numerous interventions to improve food security and reduce unsustainable hunting in Madagascar. In addition to her field research and active development interventions, she is a National Geographic Explorer, an Animal Planet guest co-host, and a Commission member for the Madagascar Section of the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group. She teaches courses, including: Introduction to Physical Anthropology; Environmental Anthropology; Globalization; Human Behavior for Biodiversity Conservation; and Planetary Health.
Julian Brash, associate professor, received a PhD from the Anthropology program of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of anthropology, geography, and interdisciplinary urban studies. They include urban development and politics, economic development policy, urban neoliberalism, the politics of space and place, urban identity, political economy, and the study of North American society and culture. He teaches courses including Cultural Anthropology, Communities in Transition, and Multicultural America. He is the author of Bloomberg’s New York: Class and Governance in the Luxury City, published by the University of Georgia Press (2011). Brash’s current research focuses on the High Line and other new public parks in New York City. It has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation.
Elsa Davidson, associate professor, received a PhD from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Her research interests include processes of aspiration formation and social reproduction among youth from diverse class, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, and shifting expectations of success and definitions of the normal and pathological in childhood. Her current research explores this theme in relation to emergent norms and pedagogies in the United States focused on social and emotional skill development and difference in childhood. Her course offerings include Cultural Anthropology, Multicultural America, Anthropological Theory, and the Anthropology of Childhood and Youth. She is the author of The Burdens of Aspiration: Schools, Youth, and Success in the Divided Social Worlds of Silicon Valley (New York University Press, 2011) and publishes in both geography and anthropology journals.
Julie Farnum, assistant professor, received a PhD from the University of Missouri. Her research interests include modeling health processes through the examination of activity patterns, diet, ecology, genetics, occupational stress and pathologies, and social inequalities. She teaches courses including: Physical Anthropology, Health and Healing, Human Variation, Health and Disease in the Ancient World, and Medical Anthropology. Farnum is also the director of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies program.
Elaine Gerber, associate professor, received a PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests include: food security and disablement; active living; audio description; blind theater; and the cultural construction of disability. Her earlier work also centered around culture and the body, particularly in the area of women’s reproductive health. She teaches courses including Multicultural America; Introduction to Disability Studies, Rights, and Culture; Introduction to Cultural Anthropology; Health & Healing in Cross-Cultural Perspectives; Methods in Anthropological Research and Practice; Anthropology of Food and Nutrition; Medical Anthropology; and Community and Health.
Christopher N. Matthews, professor, received a PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University. His research interests include the archaeology of capitalism and race in the United States and the practice of community-based research. His focus is the archaeology of slavery and freedom, and he has directed field projects in this area in Maryland, Louisiana, New York, and New Jersey. He teaches courses such as: the Anthropology of Race, Archaeology in Montclair, Native North Americans, and Introduction to Archaeology. He is the author of An Archaeology of History and Tradition and The Archaeology of American Capitalism and co-editor of Ethnographic Archaeologies: Reflections on Stakeholders and Archaeological Practice and The Archaeology of Race in the Northeast. He is also the editor of the Society for Historical Archaeology’s journal, Historical Archaeology.
Katherine McCaffrey, associate professor of anthropology, received her PhD from the City University of New York. Her research interests focus on social inequality and violence, its consequences, and resistance to it in Latin America and the United States. She examined a multi-decade long movement to evict the U.S. Navy in her book, Military Power and Popular Protest: the U.S. Navy in Vieques, Puerto Rico. More recently, she has been conducting participatory action field research among new immigrants and refugees in New Jersey. She teaches classes including: Cultures of Latin America, The Twentieth Century, and Building Sustainable Communities.
Maisa C. Taha, assistant professor, received her PhD from The University of Arizona. Her research interests include language and power, migration and multicultural politics, and discourses of diversity. She teaches courses in linguistic and cultural anthropology and has conducted primary and applied research in Spain and the southwest United States. Articles based on her research with Moroccan immigrants and Spanish social workers and teachers have appeared in The Journal of North African Studies and Crossroads of Language, Interaction, and Culture.
Neeraj Vedwan, associate professor, received a PhD from the University of Georgia. An environmental anthropologist, his research interests include water resources management, environmental perceptions, perceptions of risk and vulnerability, and the linkages between consumerism, nationalism and environmental values and behavior. He teaches courses including Cultural Anthropology, Cultures of South Asia, Environmental Anthropology, Anthropology of Food and Nutrition and Environment and Community.