Founded in 1921 as the Central Section of the American Anthropological Association, the Central States Anthropological Society (CSAS) is a friendly, four-field professional society that welcomes students and anyone keen on promoting anthropology in the heartland and beyond.
This year Fred Smith (Illinois State University) gave the Distinguished Lecture at our Annual Meeting April 6–8, 2017 in Lincoln, NE. His talk titled “There are Neandertals Among Us! Understanding an Aboriginal People of Eurasia,” focused on what we know about the role of Neandertals in the emergence of modern people and how that role is reflected in aspects other than genetics and genomics.
Attendees were also treated to a special plenary address by Richard Lee (University of Toronto). This talk focused on the question of violence in human nature and presented a critique of the “bellicose school.”
Throughout the conference scholars at a variety of career stages from undergraduate to prominent scholars presented their work and engaged in lively discussion. Nobuko Adachi (Illinois State University) was installed as president of the CSAS and presented her research about Japanese-heritage people in Brazil.
AAA past president Virginia Dominguez and distinguished lecturer Fred Smith offered their expertise in formal and informal venues throughout the conference. Members presented scholarly work on a range of topics from identity to new trends in archaeology. CSAS welcomes scholars who are based in the Midwest and/or do research in the Midwest. Exciting and ongoing research highlighted at the conference included issues of religion, food landscapes, gender, midwifery, structural violence, ethics, and body image. Members also presented a variety of work from farther afield including research on behaviorist ethics in Polynesia, tourism in Indonesia and Oman, immigrants in Mexico, whiteness in Korea, Japanese commune residents in Brazil, neoliberalism in South Africa, and Catholicism in Senegal.
Our Annual Meeting also features a fun competition known as AnthroBowl, in which anthropology students form teams and compete to answer questions from all four fields of anthropology. Winners are awarded both bragging rights and free conference registration! Hannah Marsh and Amber Clifford-Napoleone (both of the University of Central Missouri) hosted this year. Congratulations to the winning team of Ethan Ingram, Jaclyn Weier, and Laura Fredenhagen from Illinois State University!
Central States prides itself on being a welcoming, friendly organization that provides an opportunity for rigorous engagement for scholars at many stages in their career path. To illustrate that commitment, we offer two student paper prizes: the Leslie A. White Award and the Beth Wilder Dillingham Award, specifically for students with dependent children. Additionally, in the past we have tried to limit the financial burden on participation by providing free membership for new student members.
This is an exciting time to be living, studying, and doing research in the Central States! We’d love for you to join us!
Cite as: Ortiz, Cristina, and Carrie Hough. 2017. “From Neanderthals to AnthroBowl.” Anthropology News website, August 4, 2017. doi: 10.1111/AN.545