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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Women honored for their research


Courtesy of Joseph Diaz

A Women in Anthropology table is set up in the UA Main Library. Four women in the program are being honored today at 6 p.m. for their accomplishments.

Several panelists will discuss the hardships of being women in anthropology, their research and experiences in the field, as well as balancing family and work, today in the UA Main Library at 6 p.m.

Among the panelists is Mary Voyatzis, a UA professor with a focus in archeology, whose research focuses on Ancient Greek classics.

“When I first started at [the University of Pennsylvania], I was at the College for Women” Voyatzis said, “so it was something kind of new. … So, if I would have wanted to go to any of these places to study archeology, I couldn’t have.”

Voyatzis described the difficulty of being a mother and archeologist.

“It’s not always been easy,” she said. “… Going out into the field with your children is very difficult … especially when they were little. … That can be a strain on a family.”

Jennifer Roth-Gordon, a linguistics and cultural anthropology professor, has been studying the use of language amongst the lower- and upper-class in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Gordon is working on a book project about “how people use language to interpret social and racial messages about others, and how this then contributes to a larger social and … racial hierarchy.”

Gordon also emphasized that her interest for anthropology stems from how “you can choose to study any aspect of daily life and through attention to very small, seemingly ‘normal’ daily practices you can contribute to answering … much bigger questions and problems.”

She said she based her study for her second research project on where her kids were, a private school in the wealthy South Zone of Rio de Janeiro.

According to Gordon, she was able to combine her roles of being an anthropologist and a mother. She said this project could be referred to as “native anthropology,” which is when the researcher shares several similarities with their subjects.

“My perspective as a mother was helpful,” Gordon said. “My research topic helped facilitate my needing to combine work and parenting duties — which is a constant struggle, not only for female academics with children but especially for anthropologists.”

Stacey Tecot, a UA professor who specializes in biological anthropology, has conducted research in Madagascar since 2000.

Tecot’s research aims to understand the evolution of humans by comparing primate behavior.

Tecot said this research will allow us to “understand whether our traits are unique to us or can be traced back to earlier ancestors that we have in common with other species. For example, the human language can be seen in components of communications in other species. We can understand how modern human language has evolved.”

In addition to studying primates and working on several research projects, Tecot is the director of the Laboratory for the Evolutionary Endocrinology of Primates. LEEP recruits undergraduate and graduate students and provides training in analyzing research findings.

The panel discussion will celebrate the achievements and contributions of these four women to the anthropology field.


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