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Anne Austin, PhD, Teaching Professor of Anthropology

Office: 518 Clark Hall
anne austin

Anne Austin received her B.A. in Anthropology from Harvard University, and she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in the Archaeology program at UCLA. She joined UMSL in 2017 after completing a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University in the History Department. Her research combines the fields of osteology and Egyptology in order to document medicine and disease in the past. Specifically, she uses data from ancient Egyptian human remains and daily life texts to reconstruct ancient Egyptian health care networks and identify the diseases and illnesses people experienced in the past. While working in Egypt, Anne discovered the only known ancient Egyptian tattoos on a mummy with over 30 different tattoos. Anne's next research project will focus on the practice of tattooing in ancient Egypt and its potential connections to gender, religion, and medicine. In addition to her interested in Egyptology and osteology, Anne works on improving archaeological data management practices through her participation in an international, collaborative ethnographic research study on archaeological field schools.

Susan Brownell, PhD, Professor of Anthropology

Phone: (314) 516-6451susan brownell

Education: Dr. Susan Brownell received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1990.  She joined the department in Fall, 1994.

Research and Teaching: Dr. Brownell is an internationally recognized expert on Chinese sports.  She has done fieldwork in China, primarily in Beijing.  Her research interests are sports and body culture.  In 2007-08 she was a Fulbright Senior Researcher at the Beijing Sport University, doing research on the Beijing Olympic Games.  At UMSL, she teaches Introduction to Cultural Anthropology; Ideas and Explanations in Anthropology; Senior Seminar; History, Theory and Practice of Anthropology; The Body in Culture; and Cultures of East Asia.

Personal History: Dr. Brownell grew up in Virginia.  She traces her interest in China back to the stories told by her grandmother, whose father was governor of Mississippi, a civil rights proponent, and lawyer for the Mississippi Chinese Association in the 1910s and 20s.  Her love of anthropology began as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, where she took Victor Turner's famous seminar, in which the participants reenacted different rituals from around the world.

She was also a nationally-ranked track and field athlete in the U.S. before she joined the track team at Beijing University in 1985-86 while she was there for a year of Chinese language studies.  She represented Beijing in the 1986 Chinese National College Games and set a national record in the heptathlon.  In 1987-88 she returned to the Beijing Sport University for a year of dissertation research.

She has taught at Middlebury College, the University of Washington, and Yale University.

Professional Activities: Dr. Brownell is the author of Training the Body for China: Sports in the Moral Order of the People's Republic (University of Chicago Press, 1995). This is the first book on Chinese sports based on fieldwork in China by a Westerner.  She is also the author of Beijing’s Games: What the Olympics Mean to China (Rowman and Littlefield, 2008).

She is co-editor, with Jeffrey N.Wasserstrom, of Chinese Femininities/Chinese Masculinities: A Reader (University of California Press, 2002) and editor of The 1904 Anthropology Days and Olympic Games: Race, Sport, and American Imperialism (University of Nebraska Press, forthcoming 2008).  

Sheilah Clarke-Ekong, PhD Founders Professor of Anthropology

Phone: (314) 516-6782sheilah clark ekong

Education: Dr. Clarke-Ekong received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1992.  She joined the department in fall, 1992.

Reseach and Teaching: Dr. Clarke-Ekong has done fieldwork in West Africa (Nigeria and Ghana); in Capetown, South Africa; and in the African diaspora in St. Louis.  She is interested in change and continuity in contemporary West African cultures, African organizational structures, women's participation in the informal economies of the urban United States and South Africa, and African geography and cultural education. At UMSL, she teaches Introduction to Cultural Anthropology; Cultures of Africa; Women in Sub-Saharan Africa; Cultural Continuity and Change in Sub-Saharan Africa; and Senior Seminar.

Personal History: : Dr. Clarke-Ekong is a native of Philadelphia.  After she received her B.A. from Florida International University, she moved to Nigeria and received her M.Phil. there in 1979.  Her three daughters Jennifer, Mfon and  Ime  were born while she lived in Nigeria.  In 1979, she assumed a faculty position in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of  Ife  in  Ife - Ife , Nigeria, where she taught until 1984.  From 1989-92, Dr. Clarke-Ekong was Assistant Director at the  UCLA  James S. Coleman African Studies Center.

Professional Activities: Dr. Clarke-Ekong is currently working with Dr. Tamar Wilson on a co-edited volume on The Native in Us: Anthropologists Speak from Experience.  She is a fellow in the Center for International Studies and has been a chief liaison in establishing the Center's study abroad program with the University of Ghana,  Legon.  Her links with the Gender Equity Unit at the University of Western Cape, South Africa, have further strengthened relations between the two institutions.  She also participates in the Institute for Women's and Gender Studies at The University of Missouri - St. Louis.

Dr. Clarke-Ekong was one of the first co-directors of the Center for Human Origin and Cultural Diversity.  She acts as a content consultant for the  McGraw-Hill/ MacMillan  Education Division, K-12.  She is also active in the Mentor Dropout Prevention Project and Role Model Experiences Program within the St. Louis City School District.  She is an advisory board member for Community Women Against Hardship organization, and the Westend Academy.

Dr. Clarke-Ekong's publications include "Out of Sight: Working Women Who Stay Invisible" in The Informal Sector: Case Studies and Theoretical Approaches, Judith Marti and T. Wilson (ed.) from  SUNY  Press, and "Power, Place, and  Queenmothers  in Ghana's Ritual Community," in Redefining Women's Roles: Developing New Social Communities in Societies in Transition, P.  Delaney  and C.  Senturia  (ed.) from the  University of Iowa Press.

Dr. Clarke-Ekong is the Advising Coordinator for the department.


Michael Cosmopoulos, PhD. Professor of Greek History and Archaeology

 The Hellenic Government-Karakas Foundation Chair of Greek Studiesmike cosmopoulos
Fellow, Academy of Science, St. Louis

Phone: (314) 516-6241

Professor Cosmopoulos specializes in Greek Culture, with particular emphasis on archaeology and history.  He has studied Greek Archaeology, Ancient History, and Classical Languages at the University of Athens (B.A., summa cum laude, 1981), the University of Sorbonne-Paris IV (D.E.U.G., 1983), and Washington University in St. Louis (M.A. 1986, Ph.D. 1989). He also holds a Diploma in Underwater Archaeology from the Council of Europe (1984).

His  research interests are the social, political, and cultural history of ancient Greece, about which he has published fifteen books and more than one hundred articles and scholarly papers in international journals. He has excavated at several ancient sites in Greece and Ukraine, including Mycenae, Pylos, Epidauros, Ancient Corinth, Ithaca, Oropos, and Olbia.

Currently, he directs two major excavations in Greece.  At the Sanctuary of Demeter at Eleusis he is researching the famous Eleusinian Mysteries.  At the Mycenaean palace of Iklaina, near Pylos, he is investigating the origins of states and social complexity in Greece.   Both projects have had a significant impact on the field.  More recently, the discovery at Iklaina of the earliest bureaucratic record in Europe was  included in the top ten archaeological discoveries in Greece and was covered extensively by the national and international press.  Cosmopoulos is a featured Explorer of the National Geographic Society and for his research has been awarded the Canada Rh Award for Outstanding Contributions to Scholarship and Research in the Humanities.

At UMSL Professor Cosmopoulos teaches courses on Greek history, culture, religion, technology, archaeology, art, language, and mythology.   His teaching extends beyond the classroom and into the field, where he has trained several hundred undergraduate and tens of graduate students. In recognition of his teaching, the University of Manitoba has awarded him a Merit Award for Teaching (1991) and the prestigious Olive Beatrice Stanton Award for Excellence in Teaching (1999). In 2001 he was nominated for the national “Canadian Professor of the Year Award” and in 2003 he was awarded the Archaeological Institute of America Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Dr. Cosmopoulos serves or has served as an Academic Trustee of the Archaeological Institute of America; Chairman of the Gennadeion Library Committee and member of the Managing Committee of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens; and a life member of the Archaeological Society of Athens. At the University of Manitoba he served as Vice-Provost of University College and founding Director of the Centre for Hellenic Civilization. Also he has served as President of the Winnipeg Society of the Archaeological Institute of America and of the Classical Association of Manitoba, and Vice-President of the Archaeological Institute of Canada.

Dr. Cosmopoulos has worked intensely for the promotion of Greek Studies in North America. In 1993, in close cooperation with the Consulate General of Greece in Toronto and the Pan-Macedonian Association of Ontario he founded the Pan-Macedonian Association of Manitoba, of which he served as first president. In 1995 he founded the Centre for Hellenic Civilization of the University of Manitoba, the only university center in Canada, dedicated to the study of ancient, medieval, and modern Greece. In 1998, he established the Canadian Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles.  At the UM-St. Louis he established the “Matsakis Greek Culture Center”, the Certificate in Greek Studies, two Study-in-Greece programs, an Oral History Project, and a variety of other activities aiming at preserving and promoting Hellenic Studies and the local Greek Community.  He has been nominated by the Greek Embassy in Ottawa to receive the Order of Phoenix Decoration by the President of Greece.

Margo Hurwicz, PhD, Associate Professor Emerita of Anthropology

Phone: (314) 516-6025margo-lea hurwicz

Education: Dr. Margo-Lea Hurwicz received her Ph.D. in Behavioral Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1982. In 1985-86, she had postdoctoral training at the University of Southern California in Social Gerontology. She joined UMSL in fall, 1990, and has a joint appointment in the Anthropology department and the Gerontology Program.

Research and Teaching: Dr. Hurwicz has done fieldwork in Mexico, Guatemala, the United States (Los Angeles and Chicago), Hong Kong, and Beijing. She is interested in culture, health, and aging; qualitative and quantitative research methods; and Hispanic and Chinese cultures. At UMSL, she teaches the Practicum in Cultural Research Methods, Growing Old in Other Cultures, and Medical Anthropology. She also teaches two graduate courses in Gerontology: Cultural Aspects of Aging and Aging and Health Behavior, which are open to advanced undergraduates with the consent of the instructor.

Personal History: Dr. Hurwicz was born in Ames, Iowa, the daughter of a culturally-mixed marriage that occurred when her parents met in graduate school. Her father, a Jewish survivor of a World War II labor camp in Russia, had the chance to come to college in the U.S. after the war. Her mother is the daughter of immigrants from Czechoslovakia. Dr. Hurwicz's interest in cultural relativism as a world view comes from trying to figure out why her grandparents all saw the world in such different ways. She majored in anthropology at Bryn Mawr because she was impressed by the work of the anthropology professors there, including Frederica de Laguna, a former student of Franz Boas, the founder of American anthropology. She continued her graduate studies at UCLA with the guidance of Walter Goldschmidt, Robert Edgerton, Allan Johnson and Clyde Woods.

Professional Activities: In 1992, she received a 2-year Shannon Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute on Aging (NIA). This grant was for the development of her cutting-edge idea of applying techniques from cognitive anthropology to understanding the healthcare behavior of the elderly. In 1993, she received a 5-year FIRST award, a major NIH award to support early career development. In 1995, she expanded her research program to include the Chinese elderly. She has conducted health decision research in Los Angeles among elders of different ethnic groups and in Chicago with elderly Mexican and Puerto Rican immigrants, and in Hong Kong and Beijing with Chinese elders. Her goal is to build cognitive models of health and illness and decision models of treatment choices. In 1998 she received a grant from the Eastern Missouri Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation to apply these techniques to the study of "Older Adults, Ordinary Aches and Osteoarthritis." She has also become active in the local fundraising activities of the foundation.

Ethnographic Decision Model of Medical Choice

Jennifer Nolan, MA, Assistant Teaching Professor of Anthropology

Phone: (314) 516-6380jen nolan

Jennifer J. Nolan’s primary teaching interests include gender studies, popular culture, archaeology and museum studies. Prior to assuming this professorship in 2014, Nolan taught anthropology for seven years at McKendree University and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and created and taught educational programming at the Saint Louis Science Center. An avid collector since childhood, she has been recognized for her rare historical collections of books, art, Vincent Price artifacts, and vast knowledge of antiques. Nolan is a resident of South City St. Louis and is active in community programming, outreach, and historic preservation. She is currently working on applied anthropological research in urban and rural environments and is involved in co-creating and implementing cultural events including the Off Russell Art Fair and the Krampus Research Association of St. Louis. In her spare time, Nolan is restoring an 1880 Victorian home, writes poetry and short stories, gardens, and plays piano.

    Jay Rounds, PhD. Associate Professor Emeritusrounds-faculty-photo.jpg of Anthropology


Patti Wright, PhD Department Chair and Associate Professor of Anthropology

Phone: (314) 516-6648patti wright

EDUCATION: Ph.D., Washington University, St. Louis, 1998

RESEARCH INTERESTS: My research focuses on past interrelationships between people and plants or what is called “paleoethnobotany.”  I am particularly interested in the development of agriculture in the Midwest.  What kinds of plants did people grow?   What techniques did they use to grow the crops?  How did they process them?  How did the growth of these plants influence social identity, economic and political organization, or other aspects of human culture? To these ends, I have analyzed archaeological plant assemblages from the Lower Missouri and Middle Mississippi River valleys and recently shifted my attention to the analysis of a series of plant assemblages from northeastern Arkansas

In addition, I am fascinated by how ancient plant remains are preserved and recovered from archaeological contexts and how cultural and natural processes influence our abilities to interpret archaeologically derived plant remains. As a result, I have conducted experiments, documented observations in the field, and contributed to discussions of paleoethnobotanical methods.

I am also interested in applied or public archaeology and museums. I recently returned from two years working at the Springs Preserve in Southern Nevada and spent six years serving as the Curator of Native American Ethnology at the Missouri History Museum. At both institutions, I curated exhibits and organized and presented public programming to make archaeology more accessible to the public. With the same objective in mind, I continue to work with individuals and organizations in the greater St. Louis area.


  • Introduction to Archaeology (Anth 1019),
  • Archaeological Methods (Anth 4310),
  • Native Peoples of North America (Anth 2120),
  • Archaeological Field School (Anth 2109/4309),
  • Human Ecology, Cultural Collapse, and Sustainable Development (Anth 3270),
  • Internship in Archaeology (Anth 4326)


2010   On Methodological Issues in Paleoethnobotany.  In Integrating Zooarchaeology and Paleoethnobotany: A Consideration of Issues, Methods, and Cases, edited by Amber M. VanDerwarker and Tanya M. Peres, pp. 37-64.  Springer, NY.

2008   Understanding the Carbonization and Preservation of Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) and Sumpweed (Iva annua) Remains.  Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology33:137-152.

2007   (with F. Braadbaart). The Reconstruction of the Original Dimensions of Carbonized Sunflower Achenes Recovered from the Archaeological Record.  Economic Botany  64:137-153.

2007   (with F. Braadbaart, J. van der Horst, J.J. Boon, and J.W. de Leeuw).  Laboratory Simulations of the Physical and Chemical Transformation of Sunflower Achenes as a Result of Heating.  Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis  78:316-327.

2007   Early Mississippian Plant Use along the Lower Missouri River.  Missouri Archaeologist 68:1-12.

2005   Flotation Samples and Some Paleoethnobotanical Implications.  Journal of Archaeological Science 32:19-26.

2003   Preservation of Destruction of Plant Remains by Carbonization? Journal of Archaeological Science 30:577-583.

2003   Paleoethnobotanical Analysis in the Stauffer Site, 23CO499: A Late Archaic Campsite and Late Woodland Residential Site in Central Missouri.  Memoir of the Journal of the Plains Anthropological Society, Vol. 48, Memoir 35, pp. 51-57.

laura millerLaura Miller, PhD, Professor of History 

Eiichi Shibusawa-Seigo Arai Endowed Professor of Japanese Studies
in History and International Studies & Programs