Department of Anthropology

Graduate Students Bowers and Flores Aguilar Receive Departmental Awards

Wed, January 11, 2017
Graduate Students Bowers and Flores Aguilar Receive Departmental Awards
Rhonda L. Andrews

Alejandro Manuel Flores Aguilar received this year's Rhonda L. Andrews Memorial Award and Jordan D. Bowers received the Peyton and Douglas Wright Fellowship.


The Rhonda L. Andrews Memorial Award was established in 1996 by Basil and Joyce Andrews honoring the memory of their daughter, Rhonda. She was an anthropologist who specialized in the curation and analysis of perishable materials such as basketry and textiles. She analyzed fragile materials from such famous archaeological sites as Meadowcroft Rockshelter, Antelope House in Canyon de Chelly, Walpi, Jarmo, Nan Ranch and Hinds Cave. This award is intended to support graduate students in Anthropology who have completed research and are at the stage of writing their dissertations.

Jordan describes his proposed research/dissertation project as a large-scale, regional study on the relationship between settlement practices of the people of the Castro Culture and the landscape they inhabited, modified, and exploited. His research asks: did capitalization of phenomena associated with topographic prominence, such as increased visibility and audibility of the surrounding area, provide apparent social advantages to settlements during the Iron Age? Other common themes within in his discussion of the relationship between settlement location and the landscape in the region during the Iron Age will be defensibility and disadvantages associated with the establishment of settlements in topographically challenging locations, namely the difficulty of traversing the terrain to collect valuable resources, moving building materials from quarry sites, and accessing potable water.


Peyton and Douglas Wright were both graduates of the Department of Anthropology, specializing in archaeology, and Peyton went on to be a professional archaeologist. The Wright Fellowship was established by family and friends in their memory. This fellowship is intended to allow archaeology graduate students to undertake a research project leading to the Masters or PhD degrees. Since it was established in 1990, the fellowship has provided support to eighteen archaeology graduate students for specific scholarly investigative projects.

In Alejandro’s words, this dissertation sheds light on – and problematizes – the effects that built environments have in the formation of sociopolitical subjectivities in the context of the counterinsurgency constitutional State (Schrimmer 1998.) By problematizing the fixation on the security-victimhood discourse in both the academic debate and the aesthetic-artistic execution of this discourse, I make a contribution to the debate on Guatemala’s post-genocide (McAlister & Nelson 2013) and post-counterinsurgent society, and aim to take part of the international theoretical efforts to understand contemporary political reality and its interrelation to aesthetics and ordinary life in post-conflict societies. By promoting inter-reflexive research-artistic experiences, I have also intended to broaden the analysis and impact it can have in that post-counterinsurgency reality. Finally, I have also aimed to make a methodological contribution, reflecting on the implementation of collaborative ethnographies with artists, curators, cultural managers, and ordinary people developing projects in post-counterinsurgency societies to analyze the potentialities of engaging in political transformations in contemporary Guatemala.


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