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Teaching

I am an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Purdue University, and previously held teaching appointments at Dartmouth College, University of Massachusetts Boston, and The College of New Jersey. I teach several undergraduate and graduate courses in Biological Anthropology. Several of their descriptions are provided below.

 

Introduction to Biological Anthropology
What makes us human? Is it the use of language, the ability to manipulate material culture or the fact that we are bipedal? The purpose of this course is to explore and understand evolutionary theory in order to gain a better understanding of the past, the present and the future of the human species. The first part of this course introduces the foundations of evolutionary theory and natural selection. The second part of the course builds upon this theory while exploring the behavior and anatomy of non-human primates. The third section of the course explores the evolution of modern humans from our first primate ancestors. Hominin evolution is emphasized, particularly the transition to bipedal locomotion, the diversification of bipedal hominin species, rapid brain expansion in the genus Homo, and the emergence of anatomically modern humans. The final section of the course addresses contemporary human biological diversity and human behavioral ecology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Human Epidemiology
This course integrates anthropological perspectives (biological and cultural) with the principles and practice of epidemiology. The first part of the course addresses the history, principles and practice of epidemiology, including disease concepts and fundamentals of epidemiologic research design. Descriptive, analytic, and experimental epidemiologic research designs are introduced, and case studies from clinical and field-based epidemiologic investigations will be examined. The second part of the course will focus on epidemiologic transitions and modern global health patterns. Within the theoretical framework of bio-cultural anthropology, epidemiologic methods are used to understand contemporary trends in global health such as: infectious and chronic diseases, the rise of asthma and allergies, health and inequality, and the health status of the world's indigenous peoples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Pregnancy, Birth and Babies
The human reproductive strategy is characterized by subsidized reproduction, and intensive and prolonged parental investment, and high fertility. This course will examine both biological universals and cross-cultural variation in pregnancy, birth, and infant development and care. The first part of the course includes an introduction to life history theory, the energetics of pregnancy, and the evolution of assisted birth in humans. Students will study the expectations and systems surrounding pregnancy and birth in a cross-cultural context. In the second part of the course, students will study the developmental biology of infants and neonates. This is followed by examination of cross-cultural variation in: infant care strategies, infant feeding and weaning, and infant health outcomes. Throughout the course students will discuss current controversies surrounding medical models of childbirth, breastfeeding, and co-sleeping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Biocultural Dimensions of Child Development

Using a biocultural framework, this course examines child development from early childhood through adolescence, with an emphasis on small-scale societies. In the first part of the course, students will gain insight into human evolutionary ecology, cross-cultural perspectives on the construction of “childhood,” and variation in parenting strategies across cultures. In the second part of the course, students will discover the complex socio-ecologic factors that shape developmental processes in childhood, analyze the roles of children within family networks, and learn how subsistence ecology influences children’s activities cross-culturally. Finally, students will study the differential impacts of education on economically transitioning societies, and examine the effects of rapid culture change on children’s lives and child health in a global context.