Graduate Students

Agbelusi, Oluseyi  Email:

Agbelusi, Oluseyi
Oluseyi is a doctoral candidate in anthropology with a concentration in archaeology. He is a Syracuse University Graduate Fellow and Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow. He holds a B.A in archaeology from the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria and an MSc in conservation studies from the University College London (Qatar Campus). Oluseyi’s region of interest is West Africa where he has participated in numerous archaeological research and conservation projects. He has conducted fieldwork on several sites across south-western Nigeria and in coastal Sierra Leone. He has also participated in a number of excavations and conservation projects in the Mediterranean Basin, the Arab and Islamic World, and recently in the Caribbean. Oluseyi’s research interests include African archaeology, the African Diaspora, culture contact and change, colonialism, cultural heritage law, and archaeological conservation. His interest in African archaeology and Africa’s intersection with the Atlantic world is what led him to apply for the doctoral program. He is writing his dissertation entitled, British Anti-Slavery, Trade, and Nascent Colonialism on the Freetown Peninsula, Sierra Leone, which reveals the impacts of British anti-slavery, local, regional, and state-sanctioned trade on household socio-economic organization at Regent, a Liberated African village on the Freetown Peninsula, Sierra Leone during the early colonial period (1808-1896).  

Almer,Calista Email:

Almer, Calista
Calista Almer is a masters student in archaeology. Her work primarily focuses on the investigation of settlement and dwelling patterning of Maritime Archaic Period Paleo-Inuit/Dorset cultures (3,000 BCE–1,000 CE) found in boulder field sites along the Lower North Shore of Quebec. Calista received her B.A. from Dartmouth College in 2020 where she studied biological anthropology, bioarchaeology, and philosophy. Her archaeological fieldwork experience consists of the Smithsonian Institution's Gateways Project in 2019.

Anthony, Alexander Email:

Anthony, Alexander
Alex is a doctoral student in anthropology with a focus in historical archaeology. His primary research is on the influences of prison reform movements and ideology on the human and spatial/material dimensions and experiences of incarceration in late 18th - early 20th century Southern Italy. His interest in institutional sites stems from over a decade of field and laboratory experience including multiple single-room schoolhouses, a 19th-century Kanza Native American reservation, and Spike Island Prison in Cork Harbor, Ireland. He holds a MS in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His MS thesis is an analysis of the material medical waste interred with individuals at the Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery in an attempt to narrow down from which county medical institution the waste, and thus the associated human remains, originated. Alex’s research interests also include the Irish Diaspora due to his extensive involvement in the CRM excavation and analysis of an Irish-American farmstead in central Wisconsin. His field and lab experience extend over a decade and include projects in the Midwest, Great Plains, Pacific Northwest, and the Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. Additionally, his more recent experience leading archaeological survey in Western Sicily has familiarized him with some of the complexities of the region.

Appiah-Adu, Siaw   Email:
Siaw Appiah-Adu
Siaw is a doctoral student of anthropology with research interest in landscape archaeology and pre-European contact in West Africa. He holds a Master of Philosophy degree in archaeology from the University of Ghana, Legon. His master’s research involved survey, identification and documentation of the spatial distribution of mounds at Hambuikong of Komaland, Northern Ghana. This contributed to the reconstruction of culture history and an understanding of the spatial organization of the ancient settlement. He has conducted archaeological research in several parts of West Africa, including Ghana, Benin, Togo, and Sierra Leone. He has also engaged in cultural resources management projects. He is a faculty member of the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, University of Ghana. Prior to his arrival at Syracuse University for the doctoral program, he taught several undergraduate courses at the University of Ghana, including Human Origins and Cultural Foundations in Africa, Foundation of Old and New World Civilizations, Landscape Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management in Ghana, Public Policy in Ghana, and Archaeology and Tourism in Ghana. His current research focuses on examining long distance trade patterns and sociopolitical transformations in West Africa, by investigating the emergence and development of sociopolitical complexity of the Gonja polity, a precolonial African state that flourished in northern Ghana between the 16th and 18th centuries.

Behrens, Joanna  Email:  

Black, Cullen  Email:

Black, Cullen
Cullen is a doctoral candidate in anthropology with a concentration in bioarchaeology.  His dissertation research focuses on the impact of structural violence on the body throughout the life course and extending into the postmortem period with his field work conducted in La Verbena Cemetery in Guatemala City.  Cullen is currently a forensic anthropologist with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Bowes, Jessica   Email:
Jessica Bowes
Jessica is a doctoral candidate in anthropology with a focus on historical archaeology, African diaspora, and paleoethnobotany. She has her master's degree his historical archaeology from UMASS Boston and her thesis focused on the social relationships of slaves and their masters's over multiple owners at Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest as seen through plant remains. Her PhD research focuses on faunal and botanical remains from the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn, NY. She will use these remains to understand food and identity among the former slaves making up Tubman's household. Jessica has been fortunate to serve as a National Council for Preservation Education intern and help at the new Harriet Tubman National Historical Park.

Burnside,Aren Email:

Burnside, Aren
Aren Burnside (he/him) is a master’s student in anthropology, with a focus in political anthropology. He received a B.A. in anthropology from Syracuse University, along with a B.A. in philosophy. His research interests include political violence, nationalism, domination, rhetoric, necropolitics, history, and resistance, especially in Eastern Europe. Currently, Aren is interested in rhetorical domination and identity repression in emergent populist/fascist states in Eastern Europe, specifically Hungary and Poland. He maintains secondary interests in the digital/virtual as sites of resistance, gender and sexuality, and postcolonialism. 

Chamoun, Tony

Collazo Lopez, Julissa Email:

 Julissa Collazo Lopez
Julissa is a doctoral student from Puerto Rico with a focus on Historical Archaeology. She holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Puerto Rico and an MA in Nautical and Underwater Archaeology from the University of Cadiz, Spain. Her research interests include the processes of gendering and production of colonial subjects through notions of femininity and masculinity in early Spanish settlements in the Caribbean, as well as the recontextualization of colonial Spanish gender norms in the 16th century. She also has experience with Spanish primary sources that date from the 16th -19th century. 


Darroch, Melissa

Darroch, Melissa
Melissa Darroch is a doctoral student in historical archaeology with a focus on bioarchaeology. She holds a B.S. in Anthropology (2016) from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a M.A. in Museum Studies (2021) from Syracuse University. Her dissertation focuses on a turn of the 20th century quarantine cemetery located on Gallops Island, Boston, MA. Concerns of smallpox and other contagious diseases resulted in public health regulations that isolated symptomatic people entering the Boston port by removing them to Boston’s quarantine hospital on Gallops Island. Through a combination of bioarchaeological remains and archival research, her dissertation research investigates insights into concerns about immigration and public health at a time when globalization sent an array of products and people on the move. 

Deal, Rachel   Email:

Deal, Rachel
Rachel Deal is a doctoral student studying historical archaeology with research interests in the archaeology of capitalism, conflict, frontiers, and Portuguese Atlantic diaspora. Her dissertation examines 18th-century military supply within conflict zones in the New York Frontier. She received her B.S. in Anthropology from Missouri State University in 2015 and worked for three years as an archaeology technician in the Western and Midwestern United States before pursuing a doctorate degree. She has also participated in several archaeological excavations concerning enslavement and emancipation, race relations, and labor in both the United States and Africa. .

Fiorentino, Nicholas  Email:
 Fiorentino, Nicholas

Nick is a doctoral student in anthropology, with a concentration in cultural anthropology and food studies. The focus of his research centers on Japanese foodways, and he is currently developing a project to ethnographically engage with the diverse relationships between Japanese people and whale meat in the wake of Japan’s controversial resumption of commercial whaling in 2019. He earned his BA in Anthropology and Asian Studies from Temple University and is a native of Philadelphia, PA. He has lived in Tokyo and is an alumni of Middlebury College’s Language School.

Freedenberg, Ross 

Gagnon, Terese  Email:

 Gagnon, Terese

Terese Gagnon is a doctoral candidate specializing in socio-cultural and environmental anthropology. She is writing her dissertation, “Seeding Sovereignty: Sensory Politics and Biodiversity in the Karen Diaspora” in dialogue with Indigenous Karen refugees from Burma/Myanmar. Her dissertation investigates the role of sensory and embodied engagement with plants in articulating visions of a free Karen homeland and in the making of Karen Indigenous sovereignty in diaspora. Her writing has appeared in Ethnography, Anthropology and Humanism, Ethnobiology Letters, Asian Journal of Peacebuilding and other journals and volumes. She is co-editor of the book Moveable Gardens: Itineraries and Sanctuaries of Memory from the University of Arizona Press (May 2021). Her ethnography has been recognized with the Christine Wilson Award from the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition. She has also received a prize from the Society of Humanistic Anthropology for her ethnographic poetry. As recognitions of her commitment to teaching she has been awarded the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from Syracuse University, as well as a Certificate in University Teaching.

Ghosh, Ipshita

ipshita Ghosh
Ms. Ipshita Ghosh is a doctoral candidate in socio-cultural anthropology with interests in entrepreneurship, global finance, digital capitalism, development, future of work, and humanitarianism. Her interests bridge economic and medical anthropology, and her dissertation examines tech startups working on health and wellness in India and US, building new ideas of value. Ipshita's work seeks to provide an ethnographic lens on digital startups, examining their cultural, social, and ethical impacts in a post-pandemic landscape. Ipshita holds an MSc in Contemporary South Asian Studies from the University of Oxford and an MPA from Maxwell School, Syracuse University. For a detailed CV and publications, please contact

Greenfield, Sally

Sally Greenfield

Sally is a doctoral student in cultural anthropology.  Her work focuses primarily on the body, including issues of performance, gender, ethnicity, and identity.  She studies materiality within the context of cultural anthropology, and she is specifically interested in the use of archival materials to inform the analysis of current cultural practices.  She also has interdepartmental interests, particularly in the fields of musicology and ethnomusicology.

Greer, Matthew  Email:

Greer, Matthew

Matthew Greer is a doctoral candidate and a 2020-2022 Pre-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Virginia’s Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies. His studies focus on the archaeology of enslaved life. He has worked on sites throughout the Middle Atlantic and the Southeast, especially in Virginia, and has directed excavations at Virginia’s Belle Grove Plantation since 2015. Matt’s dissertation, Assembling Enslaved Lives: Labor, Consumption, and Landscapes in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, combines archival research, archaeometric studies of ceramics, and landscape analysis with insights from Black studies and the new materialism to study they lives of enslaved people in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Specifically, his work asks what life was like for those enslaved in the Valley and how enslaved Shenandoahan shaped the region’s political economies.  

Harman,Taylor Email:

Harman, Taylor

Taylor Harman is a doctoral student in anthropology with a research focus in biological anthropology. She holds a B.S. in Molecular Biology (2017) from the University of California, San Diego and an M.S. in Exercise Science (2019) from Syracuse University. This diverse academic background informs her interdisciplinary approach to research, which seeks to combine crucial elements from both STEM and the humanities. Her dissertation work will focus on the unique physiological, genetic, and epigenetic adaptations of Nepali Sherpa, who are known for exhibiting impressive resilience and physical prowess in the face of severe environmental hypoxia. This work will be largely informed by previous work in human adaptation and molecular biology, as well as by anthropological theories of embodiment.

Harris, Steven

Harris, Steven

Steven Harris is a doctoral student in Historical Archaeology with a focus in Caribbean Archaeology, archaeometallurgy, and African Diaspora. His research focuses on the context of iron and steel artifacts recovered from a once predominate sugar plantation, to examine the social complexities between enslaved and free populations in Barbados between the 16th to early 18th century. During a time in which the Caribbean was heavily influenced by the transatlantic trade, his project is designed to distinguish how the entangled, materiality of metal artifacts would have separated itself from being a product of ritual significance, commercial profit, and everyday usage. Originally, he earned his B.S. in Anthropology and Earth Science from Syracuse University in 2016, minoring in Chinese Studies. Prior to pursuing his doctoral degree, Steven served as Peer Mentor for the Doris Duke Conservation Scholar Program in Seattle, Washington.  


Hernandez de Lara, Odlanyer Email:

Hernandez de Lara, Odlanyer
Odlanyer is a doctoral student from Cuba with a focus on Historical Archaeology. His research interest includes Conflict and Battlefield Archaeology, the Archaeology of Contemporary Past, Heritage and Memory. He studied undergraduate sociocultural studies at University of Matanzas (Cuba) and anthropology at University of Buenos Aires (Argentina) before graduating from University of Florida. He has conducted archaeological research and CRM projects in Cuba, Argentina, and United States for over two decades in urban and rural contexts, including precolonial sites, coffee and sugar plantations, fortifications, urban and rural residences. His publications include several papers, single-authored and edited books, the more recent: Arqueología en Campos de Batalla: América Latina en Perspectiva (2020), and Fortificaciones de Matanzas, 1693-1876 (2019). He is the editor for the Cuba Arqueológica journal of archaeology. 

Hicks, Katherine Elizabeth  Email:

Katherine Hicks(2)
Katie is a doctoral candidate in anthropology at Syracuse University, focusing on historical archaeology. She holds a BSc from Kent State University and a MA from the University of Cincinnati. She has participated in fieldwork at sites throughout England, Martinique, Barbados, and central New York. Her doctoral research explores landscapes of life and death in nineteenth century Manhattan, as viewed through the lens of the diverse, abolitionist Spring Street Presbyterian Church. This study uses GIS, historical address data, and mortuary artifacts excavated from the burial vaults associated with the church, to examine the influences of urbanization, economic revolution, and social reform on the movements and mortuary practices of the church congregation. For more information about past and present research on the Spring Street burial vaults, please visit the Spring Street Archaeology Project website:

Jamieson, LuAnn  Email:

Khalid, Zainab Eamil:

Khalil, Hamza Email:

Hamza Khalil

Korn, Andrew  Email:

Korn, Andrew
I am most interested in researching the connections between decisions made by political/societal leaders and the way those decisions impact marginalized populations and contribute to systems of ingrained inequality, especially in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Lans, Aja  Email: 
Aja Lans
Aja Lans is a doctoral candidate in historical archaeology with a focus on bioarchaeology. She holds a B.S. from Binghamton University and a M.A. from New York University. Her dissertation is a study of the archival and skeletal remains of black women who died in turn of the century New York City. Their remains are now part of the Huntington Collection, which is housed by the Smithsonian Institution. Utilizing life course and intersectional approaches, she aims to better understand how race, gender, class, and place came to be literally embodied by the women who ended up in this skeletal collection, and (re)insert their physical remains into the wider discussion of black women’s histories in the United States. Also of interest are the ethics of museum collections, the objectification of human remains, and the history of race.

LaVoy, Catherine   Email: 

Mali, Ajaya  Email:
Ajaya Mali
Ajaya N. Mali is a doctoral candidate interested in politics and religion. His focus is on changes to the religious life of small communities when political contexts change. He is also interested in the conservation strategies adopted at UNESCO cultural sites and the experience and participation of local communities in such state projects. For his doctoral research, Ajaya will study the efforts made by the Nepalese state to develop the Hindu temple of Pashupatinath in Kathmandu into a South Asian, and global, pilgrimage and tourism hub.

McCormick, Francis Email:
Francis McCormic
Fran McCormick is a historical archaeologist whose research has focused on historic period Brazil, slavery, and the African Diaspora. Graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 2008 and entering the Syracuse University Anthropology graduate program in 2009, Fran has studied archaeology, anthropology, and Portuguese for over 13 years. He also has several years of experience in contract archaeology across the east coast, and currently works as an archaeologist for the U.S. Forest Service.

McDaniel-Bouley, Julia

McDaniel-Bouley, Julia
Julia McDaniel is a cultural anthropology doctoral candidate. Her research is focused on Congolese and Somali refugee maternal health experiences in displacement and resettlement contexts. She is interested in power, transnationalism, political economy, and reproductive health policy. Julia has worked domestically and internationally on issues of gender, public policy, leadership, social justice, and human rights with the U.S. Peace Corps, USAID, NYU, DFID, and community organizations that serve local populations. She earned her MPA in International Public Policy from New York University and her B.A. in International Relations and French Language and Literature from the State University of New York College at Geneseo.

McDermott,Joseph Email:

McDermott, Joseph
Joseph is a masters student in archaeology. His work is primarily dealing with developing and refining methods of analysis through the use of macro photography and other photographic tools. Joseph received his B.A. from Syracuse University in 2020 where he studied historical archaeology with a minor in geography with a focus on GIS. 

O'Leary, Matthew Email:

O'Leary, Matthew
Matthew is a doctoral student focusing on anthropological archaeology, with a particular interest in blurring the lines between “prehistoric” and “historic” archaeology within the Canadian Far Northeast. His current research focuses on cultural entanglements, the economics of faunal extraction, and frontier adaptation along the Strait of Belle Isle. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Georgia where he studied history, anthropology, and military science. He participated in archaeological research into early industrial hydraulic mining in Lumpkin Co, Georgia, including the integration of archaeological evidence, historic maps, and LIDAR imagery into a more comprehensive vision of anthropogenic change within the region’s hydrology. He previously worked in historic interpretation at Gen. Washington’s Newburgh Headquarters New York State Historic Site and retains a keen interest in public engagement with heritage resources.


Okanlawon,David Email:

Okanlawon, David
David is a doctoral student in the anthropology department with a focus on historical archaeology. He holds a B.A and M.A in archaeology, both from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. David has participated in several archaeological fieldworks in Nigeria. Notably among his archaeological research experiences are his participation in the Old Oyo archaeological investigations and the archaeological investigations of the Ife region, both in Nigeria. David’s research interests include, African archaeology, culture contact, colonialism, and the Atlantic trade relations. Currently, he is interested in investigating European presence in West Africa to understand the socio-political and economic effects of the Atlantic trade on the host communities and the visiting Europeans likewise. 

Olesch, Dana  Email:

Olesch, Dana

Dana Olesch is a doctoral candidate who specializes in the historical archaeology of urban spaces. Her research focuses on structural and cultural violence in urban spaces during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in the United States. Dana earned her B.A. with high honors in Anthropology and History from Beloit College in 2016. Before pursuing her doctoral degree, Dana was the McDermott Intern for Ancient American Art at the Dallas Museum of Art and has excavation experience in the United States and Peru.  

Ortiz-Valdez, Fabiola  
Ortiz Valdez, Fabiola
Fabiola is originally from Mexico and a doctoral candidate in cultural anthropology, her dissertation focuses on labor relations and labor organizing among undocumented dairy workers in Central New York. Her research interests include undocumented migration to the U.S., alternative forms of organizing for low wage workers, farmworkers’ social reproductive labor, and activist research.  She holds a MA in Anthropology from Syracuse University. For the past eight years, Fabiola has been a labor and immigrants' rights organizer, first with the Workers’ Center of Central NY , the New York Immigration Coalition, and now as a lead organizer with the Food Chain Workers Alliance. 

Perucchio, Giulia  Email:
Perucchio, Giulia
Giulia Perucchio is a cultural anthropology doctoral student interested in Italian Black-led social movements, postcolonial Italy, humanitarianism, the Mediterranean, and the borders of Fortress Europe. Her research focuses on the search for an Italian Left, the Italian Black radical tradition, and organizing within urban space in Southern Italy. She graduated from the University of Rochester in 2014 with a dual bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and English Creative Writing. She was awarded a Take-Five, an additional scholarship year at UR, to study gender performance and the politics of sexuality, and received 1st Place in the Dean’s Prize for Poetry. She collaborated on community based participatory research in Borca di Cadore, in the Italian Dolomites, (Dr. Nancy Chin University of Rochester & Marta Talpelli independent anthropologist) and in Arezzo, Central Italy ("Ascoltando Saione" [Listening to the Saione neighborhood]). In 2017, she was a recipient of an NSF GRFP Honorable Mention. 

Platt, Sarah  Email: 
Platt, Sarah
Sarah is a doctoral candidate and her research focuses on the southeastern metropolis of Charleston, South Carolina at its economic and sociopolitical height in the eighteenth century. Utilizing a multi-faceted approach, Sarah is unpacking the social and material networks as the center on and unfold from one urban town lot, 87 Church Street (currently The Heyward-Washington House owned and operated as a house museum by The Charleston Museum), across generations of human occupants – both free and enslaved – from 1730 to 1792. Her research is entirely collections based, her field site a museum storeroom, and she is invested in creative uses of legacy collections and data in the face of the ongoing “collections crises.” She received her B.A. in anthropology with minors in history and museum studies from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2013 and her M.A. from Syracuse University in 2018.   She just completed a two-year residency with The Charleston Museum with the support of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Over the course of her residency she worked extensively on public interpretation projects both at The Charleston Museum and McLeod Plantation Historic Site, and is particularly interested in interpreting difficult histories to the public. Sarah joined the team at the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS) based out of the archaeology lab at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia as an Archaeological Analyst in May 2019.

Posega, Jessica  Email: 
Posega, Jessica
Jessica is a Ph.D. candidate in cultural anthropology. Currently, she is writing-up her dissertation research on pro-choice activists in Northern Ireland. Her research focuses on activist life histories and experiences of reproductive resistance. She holds an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of South Carolina and a B.S. in Anthropology from Michigan Technological University. Jessica works in consulting, where she researches patient experiences with medical conditions and treatments. 

Reid, Sean  

Sean Reid
Sean H. Reid is a doctoral candidate in the anthropology department at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. He specializes in African archaeology, maritime archaeology, and the archaeology of the Atlantic world. His doctoral research examines broad transformations over the past two thousand years in the lifeways of the people inhabiting the coast and hinterlands of Central and Western Region, Ghana. He specializes in the use of remotely sensed imagery to aid archaeological survey, particularly satellite imagery. He received his BA in sociology and anthropology from St. Mary's College of Maryland in 2007 and his MA in anthropology, with a concentration in international development, in 2010 from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.   His undergraduate thesis , Un Comptoir Oublié: Reconstruction of a French Trading Post on The Gambia River 1681-1857, is an exploration of the historical, physical, and cultural dimensions of the French trading post Albreda, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. After finishing his master's degree, he began working with the Slave Wrecks Project. He is a former Critical Language Scholar (Egypt '09) and has worked on archaeological projects in Sierra Leone, South Africa, The Gambia, Barbados, Maryland, Florida, and France. He is a Fulbright scholar for the 2016-2017 academic year affiliated with the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon. 

Rivera, Mariel   Email:

 Mariel Rivera

Mariel Rivera is a PhD candidate at Syracuse University in the Department of Anthropology. Her research interests are within medical anthropology with a specific focus on reproductive health. She is interested in how race and gender influence reproductive and maternal health experiences. For her doctoral research, she is focusing on the use of community-based doulas in Syracuse, New York, who specifically work with Black women and other women of color. 


Shabnam, Moushumi

Moushumi Shabnam
Moushumi Shabnam is a cultural anthropology doctoral candidate working on South Asian diasporic Muslim community living in the U.S. Her research interests include American Islam, South Asian diaspora, social movements, migration, Muslim youth, religious revivalism, Islamic female education movements, identity politics, gender, transnationalism, urban anthropology, politics of fear and terror, and impact of time-place-and space. Her dissertation title is-- American Islam: Ethnographic Understandings of Diasporic Bangladeshi Muslims and Their Piety Movements in New York City in Post-9/11 Era. In her research Moushumi investigates how the culture of fear and terror associated with Islamophobia impacted the lives of American Muslims and their religious practices. Her research findings highlight different religious-social movements that emerged as a result from the South Asian diasporic community in the post 9/11 USA, which play vital role in the formation of a new wave of “American Islam”. Moushumi has taught courses in Anthropology, Sociology, and International Relations in Bangladesh at North South University for several years as a Senior Lecturer.

Sharma, Jay   Email:

Jay Sharma

Jay Prakash Sharma is a doctoral candidate specializing in socio-cultural anthropology and indigenous studies. His Ph.D. dissertation is titled, “Revisiting Subaltern Politics: Memory, Spirituality and Law”. His dissertation investigates how a local tribal movement against limestone mining in a remote village of Jharkhand in India, is mediated by indigenous faith (religion), and ethnic identity and memory chequered with a history of oppression, exploitation, and alienation. He has published his previous work in Economic and Political Weekly and International Journal of Indigenous and Marginalized Affairs. He received American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) Junior Fellowship (2021-22) for conducting his year-long dissertation fieldwork.

Sly, David  Email:
David Sly
Dave, an Anthropology doctoral student, graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.  Following his graduation from RIT, Dave served for 14 months in Southern Baghdad, Iraq and 6 months in Khost Province, Afghanistan with the U.S. Army, and was later selected to receive the 2012 MacArthur Leadership Award. After leaving active service, Dave spent 5 years working in alternative education, which included leading an outdoor adventure therapy program for at-risk youth. As an Anthropology student, Dave is interested in identity formation and post-conflict reintegration, with a geographic focus on Europe and North America.

Smith, Maria  Email:

Smith, M headshot 2021 (2)

Maria Smith is a doctoral candidate in the Syracuse University Anthropology Department. Maria is studying historical anthropology with research interests in colonialism, life course, and textile production. She is interested in the contributions that textile producers made to the colonial identity aesthetic.

Taylor Riccio, Kia Email:

Taylor Riccio, Kia
Kia Taylor Riccio is a doctoral student with research interests in the intersection between environmental archaeology and the archaeology of colonialism. Her current research project in La Soye, Dominica focuses on 17th century Kalinago and Dutch foodways. She attended undergrad at Florida Atlantic University with concentrations in Anthropology and Environmental Studies. Her previous field experience includes the search and recovery of WWII American fighter-pilots in Stuttgart, Germany, seasonal analysis of pre-Columbian shell mounds in Jupiter, Florida as well as projects on Belize and Ecuador.


Thakur, Nimisha

Thakur, Nimisha
Nimisha Thakur is a doctoral candidate in anthropology specializing in socio-cultural and environmental anthropology. She was also a part of the EMPOWER NSF Research Traineeship at the Department of Earth Sciences, where she was previously supported by a Syracuse University Water Initiative Fellowship. Nimisha previously earned a Masters in Archaeology and a B.A. in History from Pune and Delhi University, India respectively. Her ethnographic project focuses on the amphibiousness of river island spaces called chars, which are nether land nor water formed by the river Brahmaputra in Assam, inhabited by a riverine community called the Mising. Nimisha aims to understand how life on these chars can contribute to understanding the geo-social fluidity of water and its links to multiple ways in which the Mising community defines belonging and intersecting gender roles. She also hopes to understand the gaps between these lived experiences of gendered belonging and state definitions that are caught up in colonial racial categorizations of communities designated today as Scheduled Tribes in northeast India and increasingly in Hindu nationalist attempts that seek to equate ‘indigeneity’ with being Hindu. Nimisha’s writing recently appeared in Anthropology and Humanism (December 2020). She recently worked on an independent climate action group focusing on livelihood impacts of climate change in Majuli river island in Assam, India. 

Tolley, Thomas Email:

Tolley, Thomas
Thomas is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology (Historical Archaeology) who is trained both as a cultural anthropologist and historical archaeologist. He completed his B.A. at the University of Arizona in 1996, then finished his Master’s (with honors) at Syracuse in 2002. Tom returned to Syracuse to complete his doctoral studies after a decade working in CRM and management pursuits. In 20+ years as an archaeologist/anthropologist, Tom has worked on 3 continents and multiple countries across the globe. His doctoral research engages a landscapes-based approach to investigate the influential role the missions of Alta California had in expanding global economies into the eastern Pacific Basin. Using two missions as case studies, he is determining how each mission developed unique strategies for responding to frequently changing conditions and a lack of external support from New Spain. Critically, Tom is highlighting how indigenous peoples were not passive receptors of Spanish colonial activity, but were prominent active agents in their own lives, cultural adaptations, transformations, and survival.

Warner-Smith, Alanna  Email:

 Warner-Smith, Alanna
Alanna is a doctoral candidate in anthropology with a focus on historical bioarchaeology. Her dissertation, entitled "Working Hands, Indebted Bodies: Labor and Inequality in an Era of Progress" examines the lives of Irish immigrants who died in New York City between 1893 and 1921 from the skeletal and archival traces they left behind. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and she is currently a 2020-20201 Resident Scholar at the School for Advanced Research,  a position funded by the Paloheimo Foundation. In addition to her dissertation research, she has assisted in the analysis of individuals recovered from the burial vaults of Spring Street Presbyterian Church (1820-1850) in Manhattan, as well as the analysis of a victim of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. In 2016, she served as an intern in the Department of Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., a position funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Internship program. She has also conducted fieldwork and/or skeletal analysis in Turkey, Peru, Guatemala, Boston, and throughout the Caribbean. Her work has been published in Historical Archaeology and The International Journal of Historical Archaeology. She recently co-edited a special issue for International Journal of Historical Archaeology on mapping and historical archaeology with comrade and fellow Syracuse student Sarah Platt. Photo by Garret P. Vreeland and courtesy of School for Advanced Research

Williamson, Christian  Email:

Received his B.A. in Anthropology from Mississippi State University.  Christian received his M.A. in Anthropology from Louisiana State University. His thesis project focused on the removal and reburial of a historic Louisiana family from an abandoned cemetery to the family's ancestral home at Nottoway Plantation.  His current PhD research at Syracuse University focuses on examining social and spatial relationships within a nineteenth century, house compound in Charlotte Amalie on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.