Anthropology student Danielle Schaf is SU’s first Beinecke Scholar

Thursday, April 26, 2018 | By Kelly Homan Rodoski 

Danielle SchafDanielle Schaf, a junior majoring in anthropology in the Maxwell School and the College of Arts and Sciences and in forensic science and writing and rhetoric in Arts and Sciences and a member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program, is a recipient of a 2018 Beinecke Scholarship. She is one of just 18 students awarded the Beinecke Scholarship for 2018. The Beinecke Scholarship Program was established in 1971 by the Board of Directors of the Sperry and Hutchinson Co. to honor Edwin, Frederick and Walter Beinecke. The program encourages and enables highly motivated students of exceptional promise to pursue opportunities available to them and to be courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Following are excerpts from the SU News article:

Tell us a bit about the research you have done, and the research you will be doing at the Smithsonian this summer, analyzing the effects of labor and activity on skeletal remains.

Throughout my time here at SU, I have had the privilege to work with and be mentored by Dr. Shannon Novak, a brilliant anthropologist and bioarchaeologist. In addition, I also have had the opportunity to do research in SU’s Physical Anthropology Lab, in which I focus on the biomechanical effects of labor therapy at the 19th-century Oneida County Asylum. For my Renée Crown University Honors Program capstone, I will be assisting Alanna Warner-Smith, a doctoral candidate in anthropology, in examining the effects of labor on the skeletal remains of 43 pre-Famine Irish immigrant women from the Huntington Collection located at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. My goal is to focus on the lived experiences and the narratives of these women. Though I know the narrative that I will tell is fragmentary and certainly not the story they would tell themselves if they were living, it is necessary and significant, especially for a population that has been perpetually dehumanized in life and death. These women had names and stories, and I want my research to illuminate that.

In your Beinecke application personal statement, you said, “My family background and service work have, I think, made me a nuanced and empathetic researcher of labor, gender, structural violence and inequality.” How have your experiences fired in you a passion for the academic and research work you are now doing?

I come from a single-parent home and a low-socioeconomic background, and because of that I have witnessed and experienced the inequality and weight (which in honesty sometimes feels like shackles) of those identities. Anthropology has given me a framework—structural violence—to understand the world through and to implement in my work. Further, I have also witnessed the intersectionality of those identities along with gender and labor, and how that can affect someone and their body—emotionally, mentally and physically. These experiences gave me my academic and research passions. I believe my background has given me a really unique perspective to view skeletal remains and contribute to the disciplines of bioarchaeology and anthropology.

Read more in the full article "Danielle Schaf Is Syracuse University’s First Beinecke Scholar."