Department of Anthropology

In Anthropology It's ALL About Research

Here Are Some of the Things Being Studied at FAU:
(Scroll To The Sections For Archaeology, Biological (Physical) Anthropology and Cultural Anthropology)





Ashley Hampton

My research is focused on gender, archeology, and hunter-gatherers.  I am studying the relationship between gender and access to power within California hunter-gatherer groups, particularly between the 1800s and 1940s.  My research will help better define the interconnection between social roles and gender within hunter-gatherer lifeways and explain the manifestation of differential access to socio-religious roles.



Kelin Flanagan

My research interests include spatial analysis in archaeology, archaeological survey, fractal analysis, environmental archaeology, and geoarchaeology within Mesoamerica and the southeast United States.  My current research focuses on discovering new ways to approach survey methodology and new ways of concieving  patterns of human movement, settlement and impact on the prehistoric environment of the Valley of Oaxaca in southern Mexico.  I am conducting a lacunarity and fractal analysis of the prehistoric settlement distributions in an attempt to more accurately describe the shape of archaeological distributions and improve site discovery rates.



Justin Colon

My research interests include prehistoric archaeology in the Americas, in particular lithic technologies, trade and status.  Most of my previous work has been in the tri-state areas of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, as well as internationally in Oman and Ecuador.



Catherine Smith

The Belle Glade [Florida] culture is one of the most understudied populations in North America.  I am completing a skeletal analysis of the three excavations of Belle Glade Mound using strategies and software incorporated into recent literature on addressing fragmentary and commingled remains.  Using new techniques and software will provide additional ways to glean information from poorly preserved sites and provide data about a population of which little is known about.



Brittany Reneau

My research interests lie in the field of geoarchaeology.  Geoarchaeology is a new focus in the field of archaeology which combines techniques of geography, geology and other earth sciences to better understand archeaological finds.  One area of geoarchaeology is the study of chemical residue analysis.  For my thesis, I am looking at the formation of phosphate in the prehistoric soils of the Manteno people in Ecuador.  I am looking at two different prehistoric structures at one site and four contemporary households in the nearby community of Rio Blanco.  From this analysis, I am hoping to determine the function of the structures, such as how they were utilized and their purpose within the society. 


Dr. Arlene Fradkin

My major area of expertise is zooarchaeology, the study of animal bone and shell remains recovered from archaeological sites.  As a branch of environmental archaeology, this discipline is directed toward understanding the dynamic relationship between past human populations and the natural and social environment in which they lived. 






Rose Gualtieri


My thesis research is from the collection for the historic site called "Preacher's Cave, on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas."  British colonization of Eleuthera began in the mid-17th century with the arrival of the Puritans who came from Bermuda seeking refuge from religious persecution.  Funded by a group of British investors called the Eleutheran Adventurers, this first group of settlers developed unique cultural traditions in adapting to the island's maritime tropical environment.  By analyzing the faunal assemblage collected at the site and the historic documentation, I hope to provide a more complete interpretation of one of the first British colonizations in the Bahamas.




Crystal Geiger

My research interests center on historical archaeology, and particularly themes of continuity in frontier sites.  The collection for my thesis is from a known historical campsite, circa 1890's, in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.  I am interested in looking at the interplay of market forces and environmental realities in the early social and economic development of Ft. Lauderdale.  Through an analysis of the cultural materials and the documentary evidence, I hope to reach an understanding of the complexities and anxieties of early frontier life in South Florida.

Dr. Clifford Brown

Most of my research and experience in archaeology focuses geographically on the culture area called Mesoamerica, which encompasses central and eastern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, and western Honduras.  Recently, I began survey and excavations in northwest Nicaragua.  My research interests include the origins of civilization, particularly the emergence of inequality and social complexity; ceramic analysis; lithic analysis; and the application of quantitative methods in archaeology, especially fractal analysis.





Benni Litman

My research interests in primatology focuses on biological stress markers in chimpanzees  My previous fieldwork involved studying unhabituated chimpanzees in Sierra Leone as they transition from extremely negative human interaction (being hunted) to neutral human presence (field observers) through hormone analysis.  My current focus involves further exploring various methodologies for assessing chimpanzee endocrine responses.



Erin Broemel

My research interests focus on non-human primate nutritional ecology.  In particular, the impact of diet on life history.  My previous fieldwork centered on nutritional analysis of captive primate diets supplemented by natural browse.  My current research examines the nutritional ecology of mixed-species hybrid guenons in Tanzania.



Christopher Hennessey


My research interests focuses primarily on population dynamics.  As a bioarchaeologist, I attempt to understand the population mortality rates of prehistoric societies using the cutting-edge age-at-death estimation and statistics methods in the field of Paleodemography.  Currently my research involves the re-examination of the sex-specific mortality rates of a local pre-Columbian Native American population of South Florida. 



Ruben Verdes

My research interests pertain to biological anthropology, but more specifically of a forensic angle. I'm interested in the human skeleton and it's power in helping us understand everything from unsolved criminal cases to the past lifestyles of prehistoric peoples. Currently, I am focused on the human remains of cultures within Southeast Florida.



Kenton MacDowell

I am interested in the neurological basis for human and primate cognition and behavior, specifically focusing on social behaviors like affiliation in subsistence behavior, reproduction, and child-rearing.  To understand this my research topics include the evolutionary history of the brain, and the role of neuropeptides and the endocrine system in their relationship to different types of social behavior.



Alexandra Thomas

My research interests involve human evolution and migration.  I am research dentition and diet to see if these markers explain the morphology of the cranium.  My particular areas of resarch interest are Europe and Asia.



  Elizabeth Tapanes

I want to understand how biological markers and behavioral mechanisms work together to influence organisms at the species, population, and individual level.  I focus on questions involving mating systems of non-human primates.  I have been interested in this comparative approach to research questions since I was an undergraduate working with monogamous owl monkeys.  For my thesis, I will be looking at the mating behaviors and genetic expression of individuals in a mixed species hybrid group of guenons in Tanzania. 


Ailissa Leroy

Evolutionary anthropology is the basis of my research.  I aim to re-evaluate the current taxonomy of individuals in Cercopithecus mitis, the Blue Monkey group of the Cogo's Lomami River Basin.  I am particularly interested in phylogenetic relationships within the Blue monkey group, meaning how each individual is genetically related.



  Steven McPhee

I study the behavior of non-human primates as it relates to environment in unique ecosystems.  I am interested in combining field research and molecular techniques to better understand evolutionary pressures placed on old world monkeys in Central Africa.  My current research involves using camera traps to study the behavior and ecology in the newly announced lesula monkey (Cercopithecus lomamiensis) at the future Lomami National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  By investigating questions of density, home range, group size, social behavior, activity patterns and hunting pressures, we can attain better protection for lesula and the unique environment in which it lives.



Lana Ruck

I am interested in tracking the progression of cognitive abilities within the genus Homo, particularly focused on brain lateralization.  I intend to trace the progession of brain laterization via proxies in the paleoarchaeological record, and understand what selective pressures caused handedness and tool manufacture, the increased specialization of right and left halves of the brain, and even language.  I will focus on a small sample of hominid fossil evidence, such as stone-flaked tools or Homo brain endocasts.  By studying these items, we can glean information about handedness and brain lateralization and eventually cross-compare other fossil data to generate trends over time.



Sarah Lynn Redding

My interest is the variation of cervical vertebrae across human populations and the application of this knowledge within the areas of language evolution and forensic anthropology.  I have researched the possibility of physical adaptations within humans for musical abilities and will further my research while collecting measurements of cervical vertebrae from museums across the US and Europe.


Dr. Douglas Broadfield

My research focuses on the evolution of the human brain.  My approach is to examine all forms of evidence.  The primary method of looking at human brain evolution is to look at the human brain evolution is to look at the human fossil record.  My second areas of research involves comparative neuroanatomy, which involves direct comparison of the brains of humans to other primates.  Of the greatest importance here is what we can learn from the brains of our closest living relatives - chimpanzees.  With access to a large collection of ape brains we are beginning to understand where changes in the brain may have occurred since the last common ancestor of chimps and humans.





Michael Perez  

My research looks at the belief system, social, "family," and political structure of a large and active video game community that functions within a multiplayer online game (MMOGs).  The goal is to create a comprehensive, detailed, ethnographic account of a rare type of gaming community.  It is open to any player without time or skill commitments but still maintains influence and prowess within and outside the game.  I want to explore how an existing model was modified by the gaming community and used as the basis for creating and maintaining a gaming community that would fill a cultural niche in virtual space.



Carlyn Porter

My research falls under the realm of medical anthropology, using a biocultural approach.  I study how culture influences which substances we consume, whether for nutritional or medicinal purposes, and ultimately how those substances can change our physiology.  Currently, I am working on a biocultural analysis of caffeine intolerance looking at the cultural factors that impact the pharmacokinetics of caffeine.  My interest in the interactions between biology and culture also encompasses the use of medicinal plants, pharmaceutical drugs, as well as how these treatments correspond to cultural categories of illness.



Ricardo Sabogal-Suji

Anthropology has been my passion ever since I realized that I want to understand more about who we are and why we humans do inhuman things.  I am interested in surfing culture, social justice, altruistic sentiments, unnecessary suffering, and the popular ideas of immortality, spirituality, love, goodness, and honesty.  Additionally, I am very interested in the relationship between quantum mechanics and witchcraft, M theory and magic, music lyrics and anthropology, oneiric fantasy and the possibility of possibility.  I did fieldwork in the Andes in Peru, in the Amazonia jungle, on the north coast of Peru, and in Italy.  The product of this research is a series of books published by two Peruvian universities.  Finally, my current research is undestanding older cultures that the Moche civilization of Peru and their relationships.  Specifically, my research topic is the symbiolic meanings of the Pacific Ocean among Peruvian fishermen-surfers from Huanchaco Beach."



Sacha Franklin-Jeune

I am a cultural anthropologist whose interest lies in alternative medicine and food theories. My vocation would be to combine the best of the two worlds of medicine, natural and conventional; I see much potential if both worlds combined their efforts instead of competing against one another. During my undergraduate career, I wrote a thesis called "More than just a cup of tea," where I discuss the values modern-day tea enthusiasts have towards tea. For my master thesis, I hope to expand on this project by looking into other areas of tea culture such as different regions of tea drinking and the economics of tea.


Dr. Max Kirsch

Most of my work as an anthropologist has been economic and political anthropology, globalism, the anthropology of work and the anthropology of gender, as well as human rights and issues of peace and justice.  In doing this, my focus contains questions of the meaning and generation of theory and their consequences on the analysis of local populations in global settings, as well as the analysis of the individual in society. 

Dr. Michael Harris

My work in anthropology is motivated by my interest in making anthropology relevant to contemporary social problems.  In general, I am most interested in how anthropology can be used to address such disparate issues as health and disease patterns, inequality, and environmental degradation.  Most of my work has focused on the human-environment interaction, particularly examining how people use land in subsistence practices, how access to land changes over the course of a household’s life cycle, and through inheritance practices.  From this basic focus on land use, my research extends out to economic and political processes as well as issues of health and illness (especially childhood disease and mortality).

 Last Modified 11/8/16