Dr. Robert Scott Given SAS Special Award for Pandemic Pedagogy

Professor Robert Scott has served as the Anthropology Department's Undergraduate Program Director for almost seven years.  As the COVID crisis unfolded, he helped to develop contingency online teaching plans and individually coached and encouraged many faculty members.

Read more: Dr. Robert Scott Given SAS Special Award for Pandemic Pedagogy

Dr. Erin Vogel featured in article in Discover Magazine

Rutgers Anthropology faculty member Dr. Erin Vogel and former Postdoctoral Scientist Dr. Wendy Erb were featured in an article in Discover Magazine that focuses on the effects of global wildfires on wildlife. The article focused on their 2018 article in Scientific Reports that demonstrated that SE Asian wildfires have negative impacts on orangutans health.

Book Launch - David Hughes' Who Owns the Wind? Climate Crisis and the Hope of Renewable Energy

Join this hybrid event, the launch of David Hughes' new book, Who Owns the Wind? Climate Crisis and the Hope of Renewable Energy. The Rutgers Climate Institute is holding this event on Friday Oct. 22nd at 11:30am.  Register at this link:

New Yorkers may be interested in the in-person, outdoor launch at the Brooklyn Public Library on Oct. 12th. Registration is required, all details are here:

Erin Vogel and Lab Group Publish Article on Orangutans and Muscle Catabolism during Fruit Scarcity

orangutanRutgers Anthropology Associate Professor and Grad Program Director Erin Vogel and her lab group published a new article in @SciReports showing orangutans experience muscle catabolism during episodes of fruit scarcity. The article was lead by Dr. Caitlin O’Connell, a research associate and postdoc in the Vogel Lab. They estimated lean body mass and found that muscle mass was significantly lower when less fruit was available for all age-sex classes. This was pretty remarkable because orangutans are thought to be especially good at storing and using fat for energy. In humans, burning through muscle happens after body fat stores are significantly depleted, characterizing the final stage of starvation. So it was surprising that an ape that is well-adapted to withstand fruit shortage was resorting to catabolizing functional body tissue. The research team already knew fruit was important for critically endangered orangutans, and these findings highlight the need to consider fruit availability in forest corridors and areas being considered for rehabilitant release or translocation.


The research team studied orangutans at the Rutgers co-directed Tuanan Biological Research Station over a 6 year period and consists of Rutgers doctoral student Rebecca Brittain, two former Anthropology undergraduate students (Alexa Ugarte and Daniel Naumenko), two postdoctoral researchers working with Vogel in her lab (Dr. Caitlin O’Connell and Dr. Andrea DiGiorgio) and Vogel’s long-term collaborator and partner in Tuanan, Dr. Sri Suci Utami Atmoko.  You can find more information here: and read the article here

New Organization - Cooperation Science Network

Lee Cronk and his longtime collaborator at Arizona State University, Athena Aktipis, created a new organization called the Cooperation Science Network. This is a group of scholars spanning many disciplines that come together to understand the fundamental principles driving cooperation and the forces that can compromise it. 
web site:

Omar Dewachi Guest Editor of Special Issue on Health and Body Politic in the Middle East

Omar Dewachi recently guest edited a special issue of the journal Middle East Report (MERIP) on health and body politic in the Middle East.

 “Health care workers are finding it increasingly difficult to work in settings of violent conflict and insecurity, rapidly declining health care systems, pervasive corruption and widespread economic mismanagement—all amidst the waning capacity of states to improve the health and wellbeing of their populace. While the Middle East region trains a lot of doctors, few end up staying. The winter issue of Middle East Report explores the interactions of the body politic with health and medicine and examines the entanglements of physical bodies in the institutional and political processes that govern them.”

 Link to winter issue of Middle East Report

Louisa Schein Quoted in New York Times Article on High Cost of Monument-Building in China

Louisa Schein contributed insight for a New York Times article, which looks at increasing criticism of investing millions to build huge statues in China.

See article here

David Hughes Chairs AFT's National Committee on Greening Schools

Dr. David Hughes led a process within the American Federation of Teachers (1.7 million members) to endorse the Green New Deal in July 2020, becoming the first major union of the AFL-CIO to support the Green New Deal. Now, Dr. Hughes is chairing AFT’s national committee on greening schools.

Safiena Salaman Receives SGS Excellence in Student Support Award

Congratulations to Safiena Salaman, Anthropology Grad Assistant, who was selected for the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) Excellence in Student Support Award (Nov. 2020), recognizing Rutgers staff members who have made significant contributions to SGS grad students and programs. In her recognition speech, Graduate Director Erin Vogel cited “her strong commitment to facilitating graduate studies and her dedication to the Anthropology Department graduate students. Safiena keeps the program running, she makes sure that all of the needs of our students are met, and ensures that I meet all of the many deadlines within the School for Graduate Studies. Safiena goes far beyond expectations in her ability to multi-task, to look after our graduate student cohort, and to cope with the ever-increasing complexity of our Graduate Program. Safiena is also a very gifted supervisor and mentor to our undergraduate work-study students.”

Omar Dewachi & Joyce Lu Lead Panel on COVID Challenges to Grad Research

Cabrera panelOn November 5, 2020, Prof. Omar Dewachi and graduate student Joyce Lu led a panel on challenges to grad student research and education during  COVID19. Hosted by the Society & Pandemic Working Group, this interdisciplinary panel brought together speakers from multiple departments and campuses across Rutgers, featuring doctoral candidates Alexandra Adams, Biological Sciences-Newark; Gabrielle Cabrera, Anthropology-New Brunswick; Dilara Demir, Sociology-New Brunswick; and Lisette Varón-Carvajal, History-New Brunswick. Topics discussed included COVID19-related restrictions on travel and access to research materials, IRB modifications and "COVID contingency plans," precarities in funding, as well challenges unique to international students.       - Joyce Lu, CITE doctoral student

image2panel panel group photo

Dr. Dan Cabanes Leads Team to Explore Mystery of Missing Bones

SAS featured the work of Dan Cabanes, who is leading an undergraduate research project to investigate an intriguing mystery (November 2020). For about 30,000 years , an archaeological site in Spain served as a campground for Paleolithic hunter-gatherers. While these meat-eating humans left behind tools, ornaments and ash, no bones have been found.
See full story here

Ulla Berg, Bridget Purcell, Louisa Schein and team receive social science research award to study impacts of Covid-19

Congratulations to Ulla BergBridget Purcell, Louisa Schein and colleagues, who won a joint social science research grant for their projects, "Putting Stories to Work: Confronting the Pandemic through New Jersey Narratives" and “Migrant Detention, Deportation, and COVID-19 Transmission: Public Health and Safety Challenges in New Jersey.”  The project includes diverse Rutgers faculty members and research assistants.  The Grant was awarded by the Center for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness.

Click for more about this project

Dr. Erin Vogel (PI) and Colleagues Awarded Global Environmental Change Grant

VogelGrantAward2020Dr. Erin Vogel (PI) and her colleagues (Dr. Victoria Ramenzoni (Rutgers, Human Ecology and Graduate Program in Anthropology), Dr. Suci Utami Atmoko (Universitas Nasional, Indonesia), and Daniel Naumenko (former Rutgers undergrad and doctoral student at UC Boulder) have been awarded a Global Environmental Change Grant titled  “Building On-the-Ground Conservation Infrastructure for Long-Term Monitoring of Anthropogenic Air Pollution and Its Impact on Forest Dynamics and Wild Bornean Orangutans”. The Global Environmental Change Grant is offered in partnership between Rutgers Global, the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, and the Rutgers Climate Institute. Vogel and her collaborators propose to initiate a study to monitor peatland carbon emissions and document the impacts of smoke on the health of wild Bornean orangutans and the environment in which they live. Combining local air quality monitoring with on-going assessment of forest phenology  and orangutan health will allow detection of the impact of human-induced smoke and climatic variation on local plant and wildlife populations.

Spring 2020 Undergraduate Awards

The Anthropology Department is pleased to announce our spring 2020 undergraduate awards.

Henry Rutgers Scholar Awards
These awards recognize the outstanding theses for the academic year. To be considered for a Henry Rutgers Scholar Award, a student must have presented his/her research at the Aresty Research Center Symposium, a department-based research event, or a professional conference.

Matthew Baldes
Olivia Boss
Rohan Ferriols Alibutud
Christopher Kotkin

Anthropology Department Honors Symposium Awards
Honors students’ presentations of their work are judged based on the merits of the thesis work and quality of presentation.

Olivia Boss – First Prize
Rohan Ferriols Alibutud – First Prize

click here for more

Omar Dewachi Receives New Millennium Book Award

Dewachi Book AwardOmar Dewachi was presented with the prestigious New Millennium Book Award for his book, Ungovernable Life: Mandatory Medicine and Statecraft in Iraq  (SUP 2017).  This award, sponsored by the Society for Medical Anthropology, is given biannually to "the author whose work is judged to be the most significant and potentially influential contribution to medical anthropology. Books of exceptional courage and potential impact beyond the field will be given special consideration.”

Link to book's website, Stanford Press:

Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello Microbiome Research Featured in Rutgers Magazine Online


Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, microbial ecologist and member of the Anthropology Department Faculty, explores the preservation and rebuilding of the human microbiome, which has been severely compromised by overuse of antibiotics and other factors. Her research can have great impact on human health and the practice of medicine.

Link to Article

Erin Vogel received the 2019 Robert W. Sussman Award for scientific contributions to anthropology from the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Erin Vogel, Henry Rutgers Term Chair Professor of Anthropology, School of Arts and Sciences, received the 2019 Robert W. Sussman Award for scientific contributions to anthropology from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. See here in the current faculty and staff news letter.

Discover Magazine Article Covers Human Generosity Project

Discover Magazine covers research from the Human Generosity Project, a project created by Lee Cronk (SAS) and other researchers, that found generous societies are more likely to survive during difficult times, quoting Cathryn Townsend (SAS).

Link to article

Human Generosity Project Video

Catalyst, a TV production crew at Arizona State, has created a 25 minute video featuring The Human Generosity Project. This Project, co-directed by Lee Cronk of Rutgers University NB Anthropology Department and Athena Aktipis of Arizona State University, uses multiple methodologies to explore the nature of generosity in people and cultures around the globe. It is the first large-scale transdisciplinary research project to investigate the interrelationship between biological and cultural influences on human generosity.

Link to Human Generosity Project video

Link to Human Generosity Project web site

Festschrift in honor of Robin Fox has been published

See more here.

Erin Vogel, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, is co-director of the Tuanan Orangutan Research Station

Erin Vogel, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, is co-director of the Tuanan Orangutan Research Station. The Tuanan team is currently fighting fires at the station and surrounding forest that are a result of El Niño and small scale fires that have spread throughout the region of Central Kalimantan. Read more about the fires in Indonesia here. Professor Vogel's work on orangutan diet and conservation was recently highlighted in Scientific American.

Lee Cronk's research with The Human Genorosity Project was recently featured in High Country News

Lee Cronk's research with The Human Genorosity Project was recently featured in High Country News, a magazine for those living in the Rocky Mountain region. Dr. Cronk is mentioned as well as graduate student Dennis Sonkoi. Read the article, Why Being a Good Neighbor is a Good Idea.


Professor Erin Vogel was awarded the 2017 Rutgers Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research

Professor Erin Vogel was awarded the 2017 Rutgers Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research and was also named as a Henry Rutgers Term Chair Professor (2017-2022).

Professor Erin Vogel received a 3-year research grant from the National Science Foundation (2017-2020) titled “Coping with a challenging environment: a holistic approach to
nutritional immunology in wild Bornean orangutans”. The goal of this project is to understand how nutritional strategy modulates immune function in response to natural variation in nutrient availability in one of our closest living relatives, orangutans.

Professor Erin Vogel received a 2-year research grant from the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation (2017-2019) focusing on nutritional immunology in wild Bornean orangutans.

Professor Robert Scott has been awarded a 3-year Senior Research Grant

Professor Robert Scott has been awarded a 3-year Senior Research Grant from the National Science Foundation titled "Collaborative Research: Experimental Assessment of Dental Micro-wear Formation”. His research team will conduct experiments designed to evaluate how patterns of microscopic damage in teeth that result from foods of varying mechanical properties should be interpreted to reconstruct diet in fossil humans.