Month: February 2014

Seed Funding for Baird on Australian Heritage Project

Seed Funding GrantsMelissa Baird, assistant professor of anthropology, social sciences, is part of an international group of scholars who received the 2013 Perth USAsia Centre Seed Funding Research Grant. The grant, “Western Resource Frontiers: How Indigenous people, mining and heritage in Australia and the US shape our nations” analyzes issues of heritage, rights, and sustainability on the Australian and US Western ‘resource frontiers’ to broaden our understanding of global heritage and environmental politics. The project includes Jane Lydon (UWA) the PI, Aileen Walsh, UWA; Alistair Paterson, UWA; and Lynn Meskell, Stanford University.

From Tech Today.

Tim Scarlett on Urban Exploration

Urban Exploration‘Urban explorers’ indulge a fascination for abandoned buildings

Even those who break in to derelict buildings “for generally benign purposes” can hurt efforts to preserve the properties if communities fear vandalism and dropping property values, said Timothy James Scarlett, associate professor and director of graduate studies in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology at Michigan Technological University.

“The local cops don’t know if the people breaking into a building are planning to ‘discover’ it or undertake illicit or dangerous activities there,” Scarlett said. “That practice of breaking in and visiting places exacerbates the fear in local communities.”

Read more at CNN Travel, by Jareen Imam.

SocSci Grad Students build Wall-E for Winter Carnival

SSGSS Winter Carnival construction crew

The SSGSS (Social Sciences Graduate Student Society) entered the All-Nighter statue-building contest for 2014 Winter Carnival with an entry that fused both the environmental and industrial themes of the department. They chose to build the beloved children’s film character Wall-E, from the film of the same name (2008), who roamed the earth cleaning up the waste from an industrial society that had ruined the planet, but who gave a generation renewed hope in environmental stewardship and the power of the human spirit to survive.

The students that participated came from both Environmental and Energy Policy and from Industrial Archaeology and Heritage.  From the EP side we had Sarkar Mokabbir, Myra Sanchez Gonzalez, Edward Louie, Hamza Raheel, Ronesha Strozier, Amanda Kreuze, and Maggie Morrison.  From IA/IAH we had Lee Presley, John Arnold, Carol Griskavich, Rob Anthony, Leonor Medeiros, and Dan Schneider, while Marc Henshaw and Stephen Sarich fired up the BBQ grill and kept everyone fed. They worked from 6pm on Wednesday through to 3am Thursday morning stamping snow into a 4ft. cube, and then sculpting it into Wall-E’s body.  They built the head and arms separately as well as freezing two clear ice discs for use as Wall-E’s eyes.  The sculpture is notable for being made accurately to scale thanks to John Arnold’s past life as an architect and his use of Sketch Up.

SSGSS is happy to cap off its inaugural year as a student organization with their participation in this event. Part of their mission is to foster collaborative and collegial relationships between the Social Sciences department’s graduate programs (this event is not quite as useful in their role for professional development, but it was great fun!). They are proud to have brought their members’ skills of engineering, architectural design, and archaeological excavation together to make Wall-E a success! They hope to make Winter Carnival All-Nighter statue building an annual tradition.

photo by Edward Louie
photo by Edward Louie
photo by Lee Presley
photo by Leonor A. P. de Medeiros
photo by Steve Walton
photo by Steve Walton
for some reason, we noticed on the Saturday when the public was wandering around campus, lots of little kids wanted their pictures taken nestled between Wall-E's feet. --photo by Alice Margerum

New Energy Boomtowns Discussed Monday

Richard Stedman, of Cornell University’s Department of Natural Resources, will give the talk: “’Game changers’: Analyzing the Emergence and Impacts of New Energy Boomtowns” Monday, Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. in the MUB Alumni Lounge B. It will cover his rural sociological work on emergent energy technologies and development, including the Marcellus Shale. All are welcome. Stedman’s talk is sponsored by the Department of Social Sciences, Environmental and Energy Policy Graduate Program, and School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science.

From Tech Today.

Norman and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian


Emma S. Norman, assistant professor of geography (SS/GLRC) has just been named a research associate with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. This affiliation will allow her direct access to Smithsonian materials for research and educational purposes and also provide her the opportunity to collaborate with Smithsonian employees. The first project she is undertaking is to work with their staff cartographer and senior geographer to create a series of maps that show the changing settlement patterns of indigenous peoples along the Canada-US border (pre- and post-contact) and how those patterns impact access to and governance of water. These maps will appear in her forthcoming book, Governing Transboundary Waters: Canada, the United States, and Indigenous Communities (Routledge) and will also also be made publicly available through the Smithsonian.

From Tech Today.

Alumnus Digs Deep into St. Thomas’s Past

St ThomasHe’s digging up the past—somewhere between 200 BC and 400 AD—in an unexpected archaeological excavation in downtown Charlotte Amalie on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands

David Hayes, who got his MS in Industrial Archaeology from Michigan Technological University in 2000, is principal investigator for a year-old dig that began when he noticed pottery popping out of a highway improvement site. The highway work was stopped, and the pieces have since been dated to early ceramic makers and farmers of the Saladoid era, 2000 to 1,400 years ago.

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Dennis Walikainen.

In the News

The Virgin Islands Source published a feature story about Michigan Tech alumnus David Hayes’ archaeological dig in Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas, VI.

From Tech Today.