BARA Student Kacy Hollenback Receives Haury Dissertation Fellowship

Dissertation research explores the social impacts of disaster

May 2011 - Congratulations to Kacy Hollenback, who was selected to receive a Haury Dissertation Fellowship to enable her to complete her dissertation during AY 2011-12. Kacy, who has been a graduate research assistant on several of Dr. Zedeño's projects, is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Anthropology. The committee found her proposal and sample chapter to be excellent. She will receive $15,000 plus tuition. Her dissertation is titled "Disaster, Technology, and Community: Measuring Responses to Smallpox Epidemics in Historic Hidatsa Villages, North Dakota."

Abstract: Disasters are prevalent phenomena in the human experience, having played a formative role in shaping world cultures. The anthropology of disaster recognizes that these processes have the potential to affect every facet of human life, including biological, technological, ritual, political, social, and economic aspects of a society. How groups react to and cope with these processes dramatically shapes their cultural histories. Using theoretical assumptions from the anthropology of technology, this research explores the social impacts of disaster at the household and community levels by drawing on method, theory, and information from across subdisciplinary boundaries to incorporate archaeological, ethnohistoric, and ethnographic datasets. Specifically, this dissertation research explores how Hidatsa potters located near the Knife River of North Dakota responded to the smallpox epidemics of the 18th and 19th centuries and how these women maintained or modified their daily practice in light of these catastrophic events. The objective of this research is to contribute new theory to the anthropology of disaster by examining catastrophes at a finer scale and by exploring the role of materiality and technology in coping strategies.

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