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A Relational Approach to Social Change

Are you interested in learning how to make social change that is meaningful, effective, and fosters solidarity rather than division?

The Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) has an 80-year track record of creating political change for the common good through institutional organizing and civic leader development.

In this seminar hosted by TU’s Department of Anthropology, IAF-trained community organizers will demonstrate foundational principles and practices of their network’s model of grassroots social work through a local Tulsa lens.

Working For Black Ancestors

The Tulsa community and TU students are invited to join Lambda Alpha to hear from Dr. Aja Lans, a bioarchaeologist from Johns Hopkins University, who will be presenting a talk about the use of Black bodies in anthropological skeletal curations, as well as the impact of her identity as a Black Anthropologist on her work.

Hear from Dr. Aja Lans:

“My identity as a Black anthropologist both influences and strengthens my work as a bioarchaeologist, but I have faced many obstacles in developing my scholarship. My research focuses on the histories of African descended peoples whose bodies have been curated in anthropological skeletal collections. Such studies require understanding the ethical implications of working with human remains and descendant communities in ways that are rarely sufficiently addressed in anthropology. I argue that the skeletal remains of Black people should only be studied in limited circumstances, including efforts to repatriate or lay Ancestors to rest, when burial sites are at risk, and when relevant questions posed by a descendant community can only be answered by considering the skeletal body. Therefore, I propose a liberatory bioarchaeological practice informed by Black feminism and critical race theory.”

The George Odell Lambda Alpha Lecture Series: Prof. April Nowell

TU community join the Department of Anthropology for The George Odell Lambda Alpha Lecture Series with Prof. April Nowell from the University of Victoria, BC.


Whether around a campfire, in a café, or in a sold-out theater, storytelling is ubiquitous in human culture. The universality of storytelling suggests that this behavior has deep roots. It also begs the question of why we as humans find stories so compelling and what the evolutionary context for this behavior might be. How children learn in foraging societies differs from the classroom-based learning and teaching style typical of industrialized societies in the West. This difference, however, has often been mischaracterized by anthropologists as an absence or rarity of direct teaching in foraging societies. In this talk, following the work of Scalise Sugiyama, I argue that oral storytelling is a form of pedagogy in foraging societies that share many of the features of direct teaching. Building on ethnographic data, I explore the evolutionary context, adaptive features, and cognitive underpinnings of storytelling. I then present archaeological evidence for storytelling and narrative in the Upper Paleolithic. Finally, arguing that storytelling is a vehicle for cumulative culture, I consider the implications of this form of teaching for skill acquisition and knowledge transmission among Upper Paleolithic children and adolescents and for their role as drivers of human cultural evolution.

Why study the classics today?

Join Jennifer Frey and Kyle Harper for a robust inter-collegiate discussion on the Greco-Roman world. From sex, slavery, war, and plagues to religion, culture, and imperial power; why would we study such a foreign culture today? Nothing is off the table as these two discuss the ancient world and its relevance for our own time!

Venue information forthcoming.

Senior Seminar presentations

Anthropology senior students will present their research from the current semester. Join them to learn more about the department, hear about interesting topics and enjoy free food!

“More Than Shelter From the Storm” book launch

Join the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities at the Zarrow Center for a conversation with TU’s Danielle Macdonald and Brian Andrews (Rogers State University) as they discuss their recently edited book, More Than Shelter From the Storm: Hunter-Gatherer Houses and the Built Environment.

This book launch will be introduced by Anna Goldfield of The Dirt Podcast, and the authors will address the diversity of hunter-gatherer dwellings from the Neandertals to modern communities.

Haunted Harwell Hall

The TU community is invited to experience Lambda Alpha’s annual haunted house at Harwell Hall. Drop in any time from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. for candy and a spooky walk-through of Haunted Harwell!

Anthropology student summer experiences

Hear students in the Anthropology Department discuss their summer fieldwork experience, and learn more about fulfilling a practicum and the opportunities that are available to students in the practical application of anthropology! Refreshments will be provided.

Open House for the Department of Anthropology and Sociology

We invite you to join us for an open house to meet our faculty and students and tour our world-class labs, collections and instruments. Please join us for light refreshments and lively discussions about potential collaborations and analytical services.