Society for Anthropological Sciences Spring 2023 Annual Meeting Agenda

For more information about the upcoming SAS meetings with the Society of Applied Anthropology in Cincinnati from Tuesday March 28 through Saturday April 1, please visit

Also, please be aware that many SAS members are presenting within Society for Applied Anthropology and other co-sponsored sessions!

Thursday, March 30th

(TH-09) Cultural Models of Illness and Health (SAS)

9:00 AM – 10:45 AM, Caprice 1 & 4

CHAIR: PLACEK, Caitlyn (Ball State U)

KELLY, Eilish, WILLIAMS, Cecil, PECK, Micah, and PLACEK, Caitlyn (Ball State U) Gender-Based Barriers in Treatment for Substance Use Disorders. Substance misuse among reproductive-aged women is on the rise in high, middle, and low-income countries; however, women face numerous obstacles in receiving care. This qualitative study compares women’s experiences in communities within the United States and India to understand how experienced stigma shapes their treatment experiences. In-depth interviews were conducted with women receiving treatment for addiction. Interviews were coded iteratively by three individuals using the social-ecological model to generate themes. Results indicated that women in both locations experience gender-based barriers including limited treatment options and stigma. Women expressed a need for more gender-specific addiction treatment and community awareness.

PLACEK, Caitlyn, KELLY, Eilish, and PECK, Micah (Ball State U), PHADKE, Vandana and SINGH, Maninder (Indian Spinal Injuries Ctr) The Impact of Cultural Models of Addiction among Reproductive Aged-Women in India. This study explores how cultural models of drug addiction impact well-being among two “hidden populations” in Delhi, India: reproductive-aged women who use drugs recreationally and those seeking addiction treatment. This mixed-methods study took place from August 2021 to May 2022 at recovery centers in Delhi and nearby universities. A total n=76 women participated in semi-structured interviews, quantitative surveys, and provided biomarkers. Findings revealed that self-medication and pleasure were the most salient addiction models. The outcomes of these models varied according to treatment status and religion. Implications of these findings are discussed concerning growing illicit drug use among women in LMICs.

SHENKMAN, Julia, GANESH, Krithika, and JONES, Eric C. (UTH TMC) The Influence of Political Governance on Perceptions of Menstruation: A Cross-Cultural Examination. This paper explores the role that political governance strategies play in cultural approaches to menstruation. Cultural perceptions of menstruation are heavily influenced by political leadership and leaders’ perceptions of women, which can differ based on leadership along an exclusionary- or corporate continuum. By analyzing ethnographic data from the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample, we evaluate leadership practices in ideological, political, and economic domains and the relationship between these factors and the existence of menstrual taboos, rituals, and practices towards those menstruating. This helps frame conversations on societal perceptions of menstruation and the menstrual hygiene movement today.

OTHS, Kathryn (U Alabama) Resilience and Health in the Northern Peruvian Andes. The highland hamlet of Chugurpampa in northern Peru has undergone dramatic environmental and cultural shifts, largely due to increased mobility and climate change, which has resulted in a mass exodus to coastal cities. An ongoing restudy has documented three health related changes over the past 30 years in medicinal herb use, infant size, and general health status. Previously unseen health problems like the metabolic syndrome have emerged. Furthermore, people are farmers first and healers on the side. Thus, with farming increasingly unpredictable, healing traditions are increasingly difficult to maintain. Despite this, resourcefulness is evident in responses to these novel challenges.

(TH-72) Cognitive Explorations of Subjective States (SAS)

1:30 PM – 3:15 PM, Salon B & C


SAAD, Summar (Wayne State U) A Cognitive Ethnography of the Brain Death Debates. Debates around brain death are often characterized in the media as unresolvable tensions between science and religion, whereby objections to brain death are framed as irrational and distorted outcomes of a passive cognitive process. Contrary to Western models that treat religious beliefs as thoughtless, fatalistic, or active manipulation (Hamdy, 2009), I argue that the role of beliefs in decision-making is complex and cannot be reduced to the utterances people make. Exploring the narrative of Muslim resistance to brain death, I highlight how understanding human cognitive processes can help explain the hesitations around brain death while providing a framework for analyzing complex bioethical dilemmas and decision-making.

DRESSLER, William (U Alabama) You Owe Yourself Another Drunk: A Secondary Analysis of Spradley’s Study of Urban Nomads. James P. Spradley carried out ground-breaking work on homeless men in the late 1960s. His research employed a then-innovative cognitive theoretical orientation, describing the men’s lives from an emic perspective. Spradley used the classic methods of ethnoscience: taxonomic analysis and componential analysis. The cultural domains salient for these men were, however, too unwieldy for these methods. Here I re-analyze his main results using contemporary methods of cultural domain analysis. This analysis reinforces and clarifies his original findings.

NORDIN, Andreas (U Gothenburg) The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Dreaming: Report from a Case Study in Nepal. A less recognized adverse effect of the global COVID-19 pandemic is its consequences in the form of rampant nightmares, bizarre dreams, parasomnia, and worsened sleep quality. Dreaming influences waking life, both by providing resilience and by causing post-traumatic scars. Dreaming is both a coping mechanism and an additional source and function of distress. This may be amplified or hampered by the communicative resources and conventions that exist in local cultural environments and social media. With these considerations in mind, this presentation aims to present preliminary data from 55 interviews conducted in Nepal about dream experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SCHENSUL, Jean (ICR), JADOVICH, Elizabeth (Yale U), and OLIVIERA, Lillian (UConn) Collaborating With Youth to Measure Sleep Patterns Pre and During Covid Isolation.. Young people are challenged to obtain sufficient sleep for socioeconomic, situational, and personal reasons, including crowding, scheduling pressures, and nighttime technology use. Covid restrictions interrupted regular sleep patterns as young people became dependent on devices to communicate with friends. This presentation discusses an approach to engage young working-class adults in participatory documentation of their sleep-related patterns, using their cell phone recordings, an electronic sleep diary and phone recorded and transcribed indepth interviews collected before and during the early months of COVID in spring, 2020. The methodology has implications for conducting sleep studies and interventions with youth using easily-implemented and analyzed digital technology.

(TH-104) Ethnographic Field and Data Analysis Methods: One-on-one Mentoring (SAS)

3:45 PM – 5:30 PM, Salon G

CHAIRS: PLACEK, Caitlyn (Ball State U) and HUME, Douglas (NKY)

PANELISTS: GATEWOOD, John (Lehigh U), LOWE, John (Cultural Analysis), LYON, Stephen (Aga Khan U), KNISELY, Denise (NKU), SCHENSUL, Jean (ICR), SCHENSUL, Stephen (UConn Sch of Med), CHRISOMALIS, Stephen (Wayne State U), SKOGGARD, Ian (Yale U), DRESSLER, William and OTHS, Kathryn (U Alabama)

PLACEK, Caitlyn (Ball State U) and HUME, Douglas (NKY) Ethnographic Field and Data Analysis Methods: One-on-one Mentoring. Anthropology students and professionals are expected to learn ethnographic research and analytical methods and may not have an expert available with whom to consult. SAS therefore invites students and professionals to engage directly with experts about their research and analysis questions. Experts will be available to discuss research design and both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. In addition, experts will be available to discuss dissemination and career paths. Before the meetings, each expert will post materials within the context of a case study on the SAS website (

SAS Business Meeting - All Welcome!

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm, Caprice 2 & 3

To join online, please pre-register at

SAS Reception - All Welcome!

7:30 pm – 9:00 pm, Rue Reolon

Friday, March 31st

(F-19) Explorations in Cultural Evolution (SAS)

9:00 AM – 10:45 AM, Rosewood


SKOGGARD, Ian (Yale U) The Submissive Gene: Deference and the Evolution of Human Sociality and Morality. Studies of hierarchical organized female troops of monkeys reveal that rank order does not confer reproductive advantage to dominant females. Submissive females are just as fit. Rather ranking ensures less in-group conflict permitting larger group size, which ensures group survival. Humans have made a virtue of submissiveness calling it deference. In this paper I survey the ethnographic literature for the different kinds of deference behavior found across cultures and come up with some preliminary frequencies of group size by types and degree of deference behavior. My thesis is that submissive/deference behavior is a possible mechanism for the evolution of human sociality and morality.

BERNARD, H. Russell (ASU) Completing the Gutenberg Revolution: The Power of Print in Reversing Language Death and Why We Should All Care about This? It is widely agreed that the reduction of biodiversity threatens all of us. With the extinction of indigenous languages, we are conducting a reckless experiment to find out if the same is true for cultural diversity. If we don’t like the way it turns out, there’s no going back. Colonized people everywhere abandon their ancestral language for economic reasons. One way, then, to preserve ancestral languages is to make those languages economically and/or politically paying operations, even if only for a few people, like indigenous authors.

CHRISOMALIS, Stephen (Wayne State U) Everyday Mathematics and the Encultured Brain. Although it is generally regarded as an abstract activity, mathematics is embodied in the hands, extended onto paper and calculating devices, and embedded in socially shared norms. We have known this since the pioneering work of Piaget, Vygotsky, and Lave. Cognitive anthropology adds to this a set of contemporary approaches from the cognitive sciences, while remaining focused on lived experience as a complement to experimental numerical cognition. By paying attention to the daily mathematical practices such as using an analog clock, counting objects by rote, or cutting a cake, we can develop better ethnographic tools to study how mental models shape everyday mathematical experiences.

SOLANKAR, Saish (Purdue U) Towards a Multispecies beyond the Utilitarian. Through the course of human evolution, our lineage was shaped by - and shaped - the environment around us. This includes how interactions with other species form multispecies entanglements and relatedness. While these multispecies interactions have long been studied by anthropologists, ecologists, and biologists, a majority of the literature on human relatedness with non-humans revolves around mammals and other domesticated species. Drawing on my fieldwork with human-amphibian relatedness and using existing scholarship on relatedness with insects, fungi, and the more-than-human, I argue the merits of pursuing multispecies entanglements as an arena for anthropological inquiry outside the utilitarian, domesticated context.

(F-45) Cultural Consensus Analysis (SAS Workshop, Fee $50)

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM, Salon H

ORGANIZERS: GATEWOOD, John (Lehigh U) and LOWE, John (Cultural Analysis)

GATEWOOD, John (Lehigh U) and LOWE, John (Cultural Analysis) Cultural Consensus Analysis. This five-hour workshop is an introduction to cultural consensus analysis and how to use it to study the social organization of knowledge. Topics include: the original problem that consensus analysis addresses; the “formal” versus “informal” methods and the kinds of data collections appropriate for each; the need to counter-balance items when using the informal method; using consensus analysis to study sub-cultural variation; how different distributional patterns of knowledge affect the key indicators of consensus; and number of questions needed for reliable assessments of respondent-by-respondent similarity. Discussion of recent developments with CCA and issues in participants’ own research, as time allows.

Saturday, April 1st

(S-07) New Knowledge, New Selves (SAS)

9:00 AM – 10:45 AM, Julep


OSTLER, Elizabeth (Fordham U) Cultural Master Narratives and Latter-day Saint Women. The purpose of this study was to identify Latter-day Saint (LDS) cultural master narratives that emerge from LDS women’s experiences. This study further explored the potential of using cultural consensus analysis (CCA), in conjunction with the master narrative framework, to identify cultural master narratives. The findings showed cultural consensus of LDS female archetypes and how LDS women think about the characteristics of an ideal LDS woman. These findings provided the bases for identifying some LDS cultural master narratives. It appears that CCA may be an advantageous method for cultural master narrative identification.

CARSON, Sarah (U Penn) Shaping Women Leaders: Technologies of Self and Metarepresentations of Political Leadership. Nonprofit organizations that train women to run for office are an effective lens through which to explore questions related to gender and political representation because they make semiotic processes explicit that may otherwise remain opaque, illuminating sociocultural norms at play in how women political actors are understood. Drawing on ethnographic research with U.S.-based training programs, I examine how trainers shape trainees into legible political candidates and the skills programs seek to impart. Trainers struggle to balance pragmatic advice that reinforces patriarchal norms with ideals that women should have the freedom to present themselves and their candidacy however they wish.

KNISELY, Denise (NKU) What Do You Mean You Don’t Know the Handshake? Attaining the rank of faculty in higher education is much like being inducted into a secret society. Institutional and professional knowledge are shared like secret passwords and handshakes…to new tenure-track faculty. How then do contingent faculty – most especially those who are part-time – discover the secrets of success? What do seasoned veterans believe are the most important details that should be passed to new hires? This is a presentation of a project that focused on the relationships between part-time faculty at a regional university and their sources of information. Data was analyzed and reported utilizing a social network analysis framework.

JONES, Eric (UTH TMC), CORIN, Elysa and MEIER, David (Inst for Learning Innovation) Social Networks, Identity, and Local Resources Used by Hobby Gardeners. An online survey using pre-made lists plus free listing collected information about places, people and groups engaged by an economically and ethnically diverse sample of 300+ adults interested in plants and gardening in Alameda County, California, United States. Plant Nursery, one’s home, park and another person’s home were the locations most highly visited by those with high plant identity. Some gardening enthusiasts, though they have high science expertise and engage in science practice, did not identify their activities with science or as scientific. Some differences in resources used were apparent, based on ethnicity, gender, and income.

(S-37) Cultural Models across Borders (SAS)

11:15 AM – 1:00 PM, Julep


BINGHAM THOMAS, Elizabeth (SMU) Cultural Consonance and Chronic Stress among Latinx Latter-day Saint Immigrants. Consonance with local cultural models is known to ameliorate some of the stressors of migration. However, more research is needed to understand cultural consonance’s relationship with biological stress levels among immigrants. The research described in this paper seeks to address this gap by 1) examining religious cultural models of social support among immigrants, as social support is an essential part of the migration process, and 2) utilizing hair cortisol concentrations as a marker of chronic stress. Using a case study of Latinx immigrant and non-immigrant Latter-day Saints (LDS, Mormon) in Texas, this paper explores differing stressors for immigrant and non-immigrant Latter-day Saints.

THOMAS, Michael (Wayne State U) Critical Axis of Design: Cultural Models of Progress and Design. This paper discusses a comparison of cultural models of design in North America and China and concludes that while shared cultural models facilitate collaboration, the normative structure of Western design theory is problematic in the Chinese context due to adjacent models of progress that provide templates of goal directed activity. Through an ethnographic account this paper explores the ways values which inform design are manifest in everyday practice through decision making in context. Through this analysis of decision making it is clear that while cross-cultural differences exist, binary “West and the Rest” analysis is insufficient to understand these differences.

ALUM, Roland (U Pittsburgh & DeVry U) Legal Ideology Vs. Praxis in a Pluralistic Society: Haitians in Dominican Republic Rural Courts. The Dominican Republic [D.R.] and Haiti —the two countries sharing the Antillean island of Hispaniola— have a long history of military conflicts, border disputes, massacres, inter-ethnic rivalries, racism, etc. Despite this calamitous background, there is a seemingly surprising key conclusion emerging from my 4.5 decade longitudinal/diachronic ethnographic field-research in the D.R.: That the Haitian immigrant cane-plantation workers who appeared (as defendants or plaintiffs) before the lower-level rural courts that I studied, were generally NOT treated any worse by the justice system’s personnel than Dominican natives. I explore various ethnological explanations, while drawing selected cross-cultural comparisons with applied legal-anthropological implications.