Associate Professor of Anthropology
Chair of Anthropology
Joined Connecticut College: 2010
Anthony P. Graesch is an anthropologist whose research and teaching focus on the archaeology of North America, including the study of aboriginal and colonizing societies in both past and present settings, as well as anthropological studies of modern material culture. He is an ardent supporter of cross-disciplinary and mixed-methods approaches in the social sciences, particularly those that illuminate the roles of objects and built space in the shaping of everyday experience.
"Archaeological theory and method stand to be improved - and even made relevant to the study of present-day society - with a renewed attention to the intersection of material culture, language, and social interaction. Similarly, research in other anthropology subfields and social sciences stands to be enriched when the socially mediating roles of objects are taken into consideration. To this end, I teach students how to pursue methodologically rigorous archaeology but also how and why we can apply ethnographic and distinctly mixed-methods approaches to the study of the relationship of material culture to recent and contemporary human behavior."
Professor Graesch is the 2013 recipient of the Helen Mulvey Faculty Award, presented to an assistant professor who regularly offers classes that challenge students to work harder than they thought they could and to reach unanticipated levels of academic achievement. At Connecticut College, Graesch offers courses addressing the practice and theory of archaeological anthropology as well as intensive seminars that explore the relationship of contemporary urbanites to their material worlds. He is firmly committed to the idea that undergraduates should achieve demonstrable research literacy at the time of graduation. To this end, he crafts student-faculty research opportunities in tandem with ongoing, anthropologically substantive research programs in New London and abroad. His success is evident in a growing number of professional presentations and publications with undergraduate students. In 2014, he collaborated with Timothy Hartshorn '14 on a TEDx talk highlighting the importance of research-immersive experiences in the liberal arts tradition.
Graesch is also a Member of the Board of Directors for the Institute for Field Research (IFR), a non-profit academic entity dedicated to hosting rigorous programs in research-centered, field-based learning. The IFR is founded on the premise that there is no cognitive substitute for applied, field-based learning and that the most meaningful instruction emerges when students participate in fieldwork pursued within an active research program, are guaranteed one-on-one time with instructors, and have confidence that pedagogy is a priority.
One of Professor Graesch's current lines of research (2002-present) is situated in western North America and addresses the organization of Stó:lô-Coast Salish settlements and households during the last 600 years. Much of this research has focused on Welqámex, a large, island-based settlement in the upper Fraser Valley of southwestern British Columbia. Welqámex was home to upwards of 250-300 people in the mid-nineteenth century and fluoresced into a regional center of aboriginal political and economic activities following early British settlement in the Pacific Northwest. Current and recent studies of archaeological materials are/have focused on variability in residential and non-residential architecture, the organization of ancient cooking techniques, tool-making traditions, and the methods by which archaeologists generate and interpret household-level data. This project represents a direct collaboration with Chawathil First Nation and the Stó:lô Research and Resource Management Centre.
Professor Graesch is also currently collaborating with Professor Christine Chung and students of the Computer Science Department at Connecticut College in the development of a browser-based application for smartphones that allows communities to freely dissiminate cultural and natural heritage on their own terms and in their own voices. Labeled CamelTours, this project is intended to help decolonize heritage management and create a medium for local communities to selectively share information about landscapes, sites, and features, among other tangible and intangible attributes of culture.
Some of Professor Graesch’s other lines of research blur traditional scholarly boundaries in anthropology, archaeology, and other disciplines. For example, working with a team of interdisciplinary scholars on a project addressing dual-income families in Los Angeles, he has examined how the built spaces of contemporary family homes reflect historical changes in American middle-class household economy and simultaneously affect daily social interaction among family members. This research, originally based in the Center on Everyday Lives of Families at UCLA, has been highlighted in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, in radio interviews, and in video, among numerous other media outlets. More recently, Graesch has turned his attention to the study of material culture in the public spaces of cities, with an emphasis on how everyday trash indexes or refracts socially performed identity on the urban landscape. Graesch is currently directing an ethnoarchaeological investigation into the ways that variability in assemblages of cigarettes smoked and discarded at drinking establishments reflects differences in the social character of bar spaces found in New London, Connecticut.
Some Recent Publications in Archaeological Anthropology and Ethnoarchaeology
- ** Graesch, A.P., S. Shankel '14, and D. M. Schaepe. (2015). The pocket penetrometer: an on- site method for discerning the presence of earthen house floors and other trampled surfaces. Advances in Archaeological Practice 3(2).
- ** Graesch, A. P., T. DiMare '15, G. Schachner, D. M. Schaepe, and J. Dallen. (2014). Thermally modified rock: the experimental study of "fire-cracked" byproducts of hot rock cooking. North American Archaeologist 35(2): 167-200.
- Arnold, J. E., A. P. Graesch, E. Ragazzini, and E. Ochs. (2012). Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, Los Angeles.
- Graesch, A. P., J. Bernard, and A. Noah. (2010). A cross-cultural study of colonialism and Indigenous foodways in western North America. In Across the Great Divide: Continuity and Change in Native North American Societies, A.D. 1400-1900, edited by L. Scheiber and M. Mitchell, pp. 212-238. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.
- Graesch, A. P. (2009). Fieldworker experience and single-episode screening as sources of data recovery bias in archaeology: A case study from the Central Pacific Northwest Coast. American Antiquity 74(4):759-779.
- Graesch, A. P. (2009). British colonization of the Northwest Coast and interior drainages. In Archaeology in America: An Encyclopedia, Volume 4: West Coast and Arctic/Subarctic, edited by F. McManamon, L. Cordell, K. Lightfoot, and G. Milner, pp. 180-184. Greenwood Publishing, Westport, CT.
- Lepofsky, D., D. M. Schaepe, A. P. Graesch, M. Lenert, P. Ormerod, K. Carlson, J. E. Arnold, M. Blake, P. Moore, and J. Clague. (2009). Exploring Stó:lô-Coast Salish interactions and identity in ancient houses and settlements in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia. American Antiquity 74(4):595-626.
Some Recent Publications in Mixed-Methods Social Science Research
- Graesch, A. P. (2013). At Home. In Fast-Forward Families: Home, Work, and Relationships in Middle-Class America, edited by E. Ochs and T. Kremer-Sadlik, pp. 27-47. University of California Press.
- Saxbe, D. E., A. P. Graesch, and M. Alvik. (2011). Television as a social or solo activity: Understanding families' everyday television viewing patterns. Communication Research Reports 28(2):180-189.
- Saxbe, D. E., R. Repetti, and A. P. Graesch. (2011). Time spent in housework and leisure: Links with parents' physiological recovery from work. Journal of Family Psychology 25(2):271-281.
- Graesch, A. P. (2009). Material indicators of family busyness. Social Indicators Research 93(1):85-94.
- Klein, W., A. P. Graesch, C. Izquierdo. (2009). Children and chores: A mixed methods study of children’s household work in Los Angeles dual-earner families. Anthropology of Work Review 30(3):98-109.
- Campos, B., A. P. Graesch, R. Repetti, T. Bradbury, and E. Ochs. (2009). Opportunity for interaction? A naturalistic observation study of dual-earner families after work and school. Journal of Family Psychology 23(6):798-807.
Some Recent Conference Presentations
- ** 2015 (w/T. Hartshorn '14) Identity Performance and Material Culture: Exploring the Limits of Archaeological Inquiry into Social Group Identity with a Massive Assemblage of Bar-Associated Trash from Urban America. Invited paper, presented at the Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meetings, San Francisco, April 15-19.
- ** 2015 (w/J. Proft '16, V. Gresham '17, and C. Chung) Camel Tours: Sharing Natural and Cultural Heritage on Mobile Devices. Poster presented at the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges – Northeastern Region (CCSNE) Annual Meetings, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA, April 17-18.
- ** 2015 (w/K. Kasper, K. Hess '15, and D.M. Schaepe) The Complexity of (Un)charred Seeds: Unearthing the Taphonomic and Cultural Processes at a Stó:l?-Coast Salish Settlement in the Upper Fraser Valley. Poster presented at the Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meetings, San Francisco, April 15-19.
- 2015 An Archaeology of the Modern Urban Landscape: Bars, Social Identity Performance, and Discard Behavior. Keynote Presentation, Awards Banquet, Society for California Archaeology Annual Meetings, Redding, March 12-15.
- 2015 Discussant. Crossing Borders and Erasing Boundaries: An Overview of the First Five Years of the Undocumented Migration Project. Symposium organized by J. De León, C. Gokee, and H. Stewart. SHA 2015 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Seattle, January 6-11.
- ** 2014 (w/T. Hartshorn '14) Cigarette as Artifact: An Archaeological Ethnography of Bars, Smoking, and Social Identity on the Urban Landscape. Poster presented at the Society for American Archaeology 79th Annual Meetings, Austin, April 23-27.
- ** 2014 (w/S. Shankel '14, T. DiMare '15, and David Schaepe) Methods for Detecting Living Surfaces in Residential Architecture: Penetrometer Readings and other Archaeological Indicators of House Floors at Welqámex (DiRi-15). Poster presented at the Society for American Archaeology 79th Annual Meetings, Austin, April 23-27.
- ** 2013 (w/(w/J. Blagg '13, C. Chung, A. Kinha '14, D. Kerr '15, and J. Proft '16) Exploring Cultural Heritage with Digital Strata: An Application of Open-Source Mediated Reality (MR) in Southwestern British Columbia, Canada. Poster presented at the Society for American Archaeology 78th Annual Meetings, Honolulu, April 3-7.
- ** 2013 (w/T. DiMare '15) Fire-Affected Rock: Advances in Household and Experimental Archaeological Approaches to the Study of Indirect Cooking and Foodways. Poster presented at the Society for American Archaeology 78th Annual Meetings, Honolulu, April 3-7.
** publications & presentations with Connecticut College students
To learn more about research and learning opportunities in the Department of Anthropology at Connecticut College, see here.
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