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Student Research

Student Research is the Core of Anthropology

Anthropology students learn to design and complete research projects in our methods courses. In the senior year, each student prepares a senior thesis based on original research the student designs in consultation with a faculty advisor, working alongside peers in the Senior Colloquium course. Students develop a research problem, complete background research, design appropriate research methods, and carry out the research and analysis. Most students do original fieldwork or lab analysis; some apply new perspectives to already published scholarship. Toward the end of the senior year, students present their thesis research results to the department faculty and fellow Anthropology majors.

Students prepare senior theses in any area of Anthropology. Many students develop projects related to their long-term interests or career goals. Some build on work they began in field schools, other summer fieldwork opportunities, or while studying abroad. Others develop projects on or near campus. Here is a list of recent theses that Anthropology students completed.

2020 Senior Theses:

  • The More You Live Here and the Smaller and Smaller Somali": Understanding Identity, Community, and Nationality in Somali Refugees Throught Foodways
  • The Inevitability Approach:   Adjustment of archaeological theory and methods for the reality of anthropogenic climate change
  • Japanese Hip-Hop:  Intersections of Music, Meaning, and Identity
  • A Multispecies Ethnographic Approach to Wine Grapes and French Terroir

2019 Senior Theses:

  • Cue the AABA Jokes:  The American Association of Physical Anthropologists as a Case Study for the Changing Culture of Higher Academia
  • Gender and Formation in Childhood and Masculinities at Dickinson College
  • Genetic Ancestry and How it Affects Identity
  • A Synthesis of Biological Anthropology, Archaeology, and Genetics in Understanding Modern Human Dispersal Out of Africa and Migration
  • Building Their Way Up:  Women Brick Makers, Capitalist Tanzania, and Planning for the Future in Rural Tanzania

2018 Senior Theses:

  • Menstruators:  Exploring the Crossroads of Biology and Gender
  • Piety, Politics, Parentage, and Prejudice:  The Power and Plasticity of the Confederate Battle Flag
  • HARD Times:  A Generational Analysis of Roller Derby in Central Pennsylvania
  • Best Methods for International Humanitarian Aid to Provide Care to Gender-Based Violence Victims in Vulnerable Migrant Communities
  • Cross-Cultural Friendships:  Exploring the Relationship Between International and Domestic Students in American Campuses
  • Wearing Oneself:  How Youth Construct Identity through Consumption
  • Life Course Transitions:  Self-Perception of Success Among Recent Dickinson College Graduates

2017 Senior Theses:

  • Fad Diets:  The Construction of an Ideal Diet
  • The Role of Partnership in Agricultural Research and Development:  Investigating Moral Obligation and Neoliberal Governmentalities
  • Perfect to Horrible:  Variation in the Categorization of Subjective Pregnancy Experiences
  • The Anthropology of Hand, Foot, and Mouth at Dickinson College
  • Strong is the New Skinny:  Futile Resistance to the Normalization of Gendered Body Work
  • Away from the Plantation:  An Ethnography of Hawai'i Japanese American Identity in Honolulu, Hawai'i
  • Virginity and the Heternormative Framework
  • A Comparative Study of the Membership and Belonging of Latin American Immigrants in Pennsylvania, United States and Mendoza, Argentina
  • Men of Battle:  Exploring Hypermasculinity in Sport and War
  • Passing Muster:  Negotiating the Racialized & Gendered "Mythology" of Reenactment

2016 Senior Theses:

  • House of Angklung & Ethnic Identity:  Indonesian Identity Formation through Music Performance in Washington, D.C.
  • Justice, Care, and Gender Violence:  How Medico-Legal Systems Fail Victims of Sexual Violence
  • An Analysis of the Local Food Movement in Carlisle, Pennsylvania
  • Sex Work Doesn't Involve Sex Workers?  A Comparative Study of the Exclusion of the Voices of Sex Workers from Sex Work Policy Development in Sweden and The Netherlands
  • A Comparative Study of the Glenohumeral Joint in New World Monkeys
  • The Power of Ink

2015 Senior Theses:

  • Investigating Aborginal Adaptation to Climate Change in Western Australia:  Sourcing Lithic Artifacts Using Fossil Bryozoans
  • Eygwela:  The Impacts of Livestock on Wealth & Livelihoods in Kibatata Village (Kibatata Village, Tanzania)
  • Tribes and Salmon in the Columbia River Basin:  An Anthropological Study
  • 'Come Si Dice "Cultura?"'  The Presence of Culture with the Italian Classroom
  • Tous Les Mêmes:  Youth Masculinity in the Political Economy of Cameroon
  • Investigating the Indigenous History of Camp Michaux, Pennsylvania
  • Bones of Beliefs:  A Mortuary Analysis of the Effects of Medieval Christianization within the Carpathian Basin
  • Mother is Gold, Father is Glass:  The Affect of Immigration on West African Women's Identities as Mothers

2014 Senior Theses:

  • Organic and Natural Food Preferences of Dickinson College Students
  • Discussion of Historical Trauma within Native American Communities, and A Discussion of Discourse Within The Subject
  • Giriama and Gedi Ruins: Heritage Control and Changing Ethnic Identities
  • Anthropology and the State
  • Anthropological Approach to Personal Health Assessment: A Generational Interpretation
  • Enamel Hypoplasia and Early Mortality: Interpreting Developmental Stress at Neale’s Landing, West Virginia (46Wd39)

2013 Senior Theses:

  • Changing Agricultural Practices in a Rural Andean Community
  • Identity, Community, and Social Capital in Chicago Steppin' Style Dance
  • Nordic Identity and the Emergence of "New Nordic Cuisine" in Denmark
  • Three-dimensional Analysis of Dental Change and Early Hominin Diet
  • Implications of Genetic Data for Research on Neandethals
  • Perspectives of Amish People on Health and Genetic Disorders
  • Preservation and Promotion of Yiddish Language in the United States
  • Generational Changes among Indian Communities in the United States
  • Native American Communities and Historical Trauma
  • Maternal and Child Health in Rural Eastern Africa
  • International Development Volunteers and their Perceptions of Effectiveness
  • Cultural Aspects of Anxiety among College Students
  • Gender and Culture in Alcoholics Anonymous

2012 Senior Theses:

  • Dental Evidence for Diet in an Archaeological Population
  • Women's Work and Changing Economic Conditions in Rural Eastern Africa
  • The Archaeology of Religious Change and Mortuary Practices in the Ancient World
  • Transnational Uses of Electronic Social Networking
  • Socioeconomic Standing and Access to Improved Water Sources in Rural Eastern Africa
  • Ethnographic Approaches to Bee Colony Collapse in the Mid-Atlantic United States
  • Health Care Decision Making among College Students
  • Nationalism and the Study Abroad Experience
  • Changing Options in Elderly Care in the United States

Theses from the Previous Decade:
Theses over the previous decade similarly covered a wide range of topics, including the following:

  • Medical Anthropology
  • Economic Development
  • Gender; Agriculture and Sustainable Development
  • Archaeology and Cultural Heritage
  • Osteology and Archaeological Populations
  • Nonhuman Primates, Communication and Conservation
  • "Race" and Racism
  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Religion and Culture
  • Political and Legal Anthropology
  • Human Rights; Gerontology
  • Body Modification
  • Migration, Immigration, and Refugees

These projects were based on fieldwork in the following countries:

  • Cameroon
  • Dominican Republic
  • England
  • France
  • Kenya
  • Mexico
  • Tanzania
  • United States

Lab analysis and work with mobile populations in these earlier theses concerned the following countries:

  • Bosnia
  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Mexico
  • Uganda
  • United States