Department of Anthropology

  • College of Arts and Sciences announces grant recipients

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s College of Arts and Sciences offers faculty a range of awards and grant opportunities to advance their research and scholarship and recognize their achievements.

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s College of Arts and Sciences offers faculty a range of awards and grant opportunities to advance their research and scholarship and recognize their achievements.

    In 2020, the College announced a new grants program aimed at supporting students’ diversity awareness and building their multicultural competence. Through the program - entitled Building a Multicultural Curriculum - faculty can access grants to develop new courses or revise existing courses. Faculty can use the funds to pay for instructional materials, professional development, student assistants, and salaries. Congratulations to the 2022-2023 grant recipients:

    • Aiqi Liu, Ph.D., Department of History: “Race and Power in U.S-Pacific Relations from 1776 to 1952”
    • Gabe H. Miller, Ph.D., Department of Sociology: “The -Isms and -Phobias: Intersectionality in the Social Sciences”
    • Samiksha Raut, Ph.D., Department of Biology: “Instructional Teaching Practicum BY 488-02A; BY 488- 02B (Honors)”
    • Michelle Wooten, Ph.D., Department of Physics: “Preserving Alabama’s Starry Skies”

    In 2021, the College launched a new grant mechanism -  Mid-Career Pivot Grants - to support tenured faculty seeking to “pivot to a new direction in their research scholarship or creative activity." The individual grants are for a maximum of $10,000 over a two-year period for the disciplinary project proposed by the tenured faculty. After a review conducted by the senior faculty members in CAS, the following three pivot grants were selected for funding for 2022-2023:

    • Aaron Catledge, Ph.D., Department of Physics, “From Super-Hard to High-Entropy:
      A Novel Approach in Materials Development”
    • Stephen Merritt, Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, “Social Science Research in Cellular Agriculture”
    • Gregory Mumford, Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, “Coring in Lisht’s floodplain to locate the ‘lost’ Middle Kingdom Itj-tawy, Egypt”

    The College organizes monthly innovation forums to focus on some of the world's biggest problems where interdisciplinary innovations could have a significant impact and where UAB has existing strengths/interests.

    In addition to the forums, the College issues an annual call for interdisciplinary team proposals.

    Jeffrey Morris, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biology, was selected for a FY 2023 CAS Interdisciplinary Team Award of $30,000 for his proposal entitled “Alternative antimicrobials and ecology of therapeutic treatment.” This interdisciplinary team award represents a collaboration led by Morris between CAS and the UAB School of Engineering. This interdisciplinary team proposal was selected after an external review of the all the proposals that were submitted to the College in November 2022.

  • Faculty, student interest drives expansion of sustainability curriculum

    This summer, more faculty than ever took part in the Red Mountain Project, a UAB Sustainability initiative demonstrating how to incorporate the topic into new or existing courses. Students want to know more about sustainability, participants say, and their cohort offered “a base of people to connect with and brainstorm ideas.”

  • Gezon selected to lead Department of Anthropology

    Lisa Gezon, Ph.D., has been named the chair of the Department of Anthropology in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s College of Arts and Sciences.

    Lisa Gezon, Ph.D., has been named the chair of the Department of Anthropology in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s College of Arts and Sciences.

    Lisa Gezon, Ph.D.Dr. Gezon received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Albion College and a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

    Dr. Gezon has been a faculty member in the Anthropology Department at the University of West Georgia for 25 years and has served as chair of the department for a total of 13 years.

    Dr. Gezon specializes in cultural anthropology, and her areas of research are in health and environment, with a focus on sustainability and social justice. She has done research in Madagascar, Guatemala, and the United States. Generally, she has been interested in topics related to health and wellness. Theoretically, she has written on political ecology, degrowth, and critical medical anthropology. In her current research and scholarship, she is analyzing local responses to COVID-19, and she plans to return to Madagascar to study pluralistic approaches to health.

    “I am excited about joining the UAB Anthropology Department,” said Gezon. “I look forward to working with faculty and staff in order to promote professional growth and meet ever-changing student needs through innovative programming in an inclusive and collaborative environment.”

    In addition to publishing numerous peer-reviewed articles and edited volumes, Dr. Gezon has published two monographs: Global Visions, Local Landscapes: A Political Ecology of Conservation, Conflict, and Control in Northern Madagascar (AltaMira Press, 2006) and Drug Effects: Khat in Biocultural and Socioeconomic Perspective (Left Coast Press, 2012). She is currently under contract to co-author a book to be called Anthropology of Drugs.

    She has been funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship, and the National Geographic Society.

    “We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Gezon to UAB and to Birmingham,” said Kecia M. Thomas, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Lisa is an experienced and excellent leader who will support the Department of Anthropology's growth and create new collaborations and partnerships across the campus and community. We are very fortunate to have recruited her.”

    “The College also appreciates Dr. Chris Kyle’s effective leadership during his extended time as interim chair of the department,” said Dean Thomas.

  • Kacey Keith pursuing justice and peace in her career

    Kacey Keith often encounters conflict when addressing structural and cultural harm through her work as a consultant, and she has an appreciation for people who are willing and prepared to face disputes head-on.

    Photo courtesy of Kacey KeithKacey Keith often encounters conflict when addressing structural and cultural harm through her work as a consultant with Honeycomb Justice Consulting. Given her personal, academic, and professional experiences growing up in the South, she has an appreciation for people who are willing and prepared to face disputes head-on.

    “I don’t think I would understand [how] to approach conflict in a straight-forward way if it wasn’t for being from Alabama,” said Keith. “Conflict lives in unison with peace—so, how do we handle conflict with peaceful solutions?”

    During her early years in Birmingham, Keith developed a deep connection to the city’s civil and human rights history. At the same time, she wanted to learn more about cultures outside of her hometown. This interest prompted her to consider colleges that offered dynamic international studies programs, eventually leading her to the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

    She enrolled at UAB in 2012 and sought out an array of classes to complement her international studies major. That curiosity steered her to a peace studies course which exposed her to peace on a global scale. The experience inspired her to continue seeking out peace studies courses at UAB, and, eventually, she enrolled in a class with Douglas Fry, Ph.D., former chair of the Department of Anthropology. Fry’s teaching had a profound impact on Keith, influencing her future academic and career pathways.

    “I was hooked,” said Keith. “It was very much in alignment with my world view… So, I applied to the Anthropology of Peace and Human Rights graduate program [at UAB].”

    The Anthropology of Peace and Human Rights (APHR) program is a two-year master’s program focusing on peace as behavioral process at multiple levels including at the level of individuals, families, groups, communities, cultures, and nations.

    Soon after starting the program, Keith met another influential faculty member in the Department of Anthropology: Peter Verbeek, Ph.D. Keith took several of Verbeek’s classes, and, throughout those experiences, she learned that peace ethology is a measurable science with actionable steps.

    “I loved the courses,” said Keith. “They were very influential—specifically in understanding what it takes to make a culture shift for the understanding of peace.”

    Verbeek’s mentorship and scholarly work proved to be valuable to Keith as she concluded her graduate studies and transitioned into her career. Soon after completing the APHR program, Keith started working for the City of Birmingham and was immediately given an opportunity to apply her knowledge of peace and human rights.

    “I was an intern with [Mayor Randall Woodfin’s] social justice transition team,” said Keith. “I helped develop the Office of Peace and Policy and supported the creation of a peace plan for the City of Birmingham.”

    During her time with the city, Keith formed an enduring bond with a co-worker, Jasmyn Story. Together, Keith and Story began working on nonviolence, restorative justice, and reentry-focused programs for Birmingham. Keith connected with the strategic planning side of the work, while Story served as an effective practitioner. For Keith, it was powerful to further apply the knowledge and skills she attained through the APHR program.

    “I’m interested in the neurobiology of empathy,” said Keith. “Understanding that empathy is one of the most powerful tools for peace is what led me to restorative justice.”

    Keith’s interest in restorative justice continued to grow, as did her collaborative relationship with Story. Eventually, they both transitioned into roles with Honeycomb Justice Consulting, a collective of consultants that helps institutions and companies implement restorative justice practices and navigate instances of harm. Honeycomb also supports its clients with strategic planning and training. Keith—who now lives in Denver, Colorado—serves as a core team member for the consultancy and continues to work alongside Story, her long-time collaborator and mentor. As she helps expand the impact of Honeycomb across the country, she looks back on her time at UAB and Birmingham fondly.

    “I’m grateful for UAB, and I’m grateful for [its] international focus,” said Keith. “The wisdom that came from the professors plus the legacy of the city, together, really created the space for the learning that I needed to be able to root myself in this work.”

    Verbeek celebrates Keith’s accomplishments and believes her work will have a lasting impact.

    "During her time in the APHR program, Kacey was both a scholar and practitioner of peace. Her work and insights have benefited APHR as well as our Birmingham community,” said Verbeek. “We will follow Kacey’s career on peace with great interest in the knowledge that she will excel at it.”

  • 2022 Padma Award recipients named

    The Padma Award recognizes UAB faculty, staff and students who go the extra mile in support of underrepresented populations.

  • I am Arts and Sciences: Charles Scribner

    Charles Scribner exemplifies school pride when he reflects on his time at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

    Charles Scribner addresses the crowd at a Black Warrior Riverkeeper event.Charles Scribner exemplifies school pride when he reflects on his time at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

    “UAB is very important to me and my family,” said Scribner. “I’m proud that UAB is such an engine for the state [of Alabama].”

    Scribner, born and raised in New York City, credits his wife and his career for bringing him to Birmingham. While earning his Bachelor of Arts in History and a Certificate in Environmental Studies at Princeton University, Scribner met his future wife Elizabeth Yates—a native of Birmingham and UAB Mathematics Ph.D. now named Dr. Elizabeth Scribner—who envisioned returning home after Princeton. As their relationship flourished, Scribner was also developing a passion for the international Waterkeeper movement and authoring a 100-page senior thesis about the history and effectiveness of Waterkeeper Alliance. Through his research, he met the team at the Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a Birmingham-based nonprofit that is “dedicated to promoting clean water for the sake of public health, recreation, and wildlife habitat throughout [its] patrol area, the Black Warrior River watershed.”

    “I interviewed the staff, and, in the process, they offered me the job of director of development,” said Scribner.

    So, after graduating in 2005, Scribner—and Elizabeth—moved to Birmingham, and he began his journey with the Black Warrior Riverkeeper. According to Scribner, it is especially exciting and important to support the waterkeeper effort in Alabama.

    “We’re number one in freshwater biodiversity,” said Scribner. “And, beyond that, we have a very… outdoorsy population that loves to cool off in our rivers and lakes and go fishing—it’s a great American tradition, particularly a great Alabama tradition.”

    After working in his role as director of development for a few years, Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s Board of Directors promoted Scribner to executive director. Scribner was determined to build new skills and knowledge so he could further support the mission of the organization. He researched programs that focused on nonprofit leadership and management and found a graduate certificate program available through UAB’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration. When he reviewed the course offerings, he discovered that every course was applicable to his work at the Black Warrior Riverkeeper.

    “I realized a background in environmental studies and a great passion for protecting the environment are not the same as being trained to run an organization,” said Scribner. “I knew what I wanted to do, and I wanted to do it better.”

    Scribner enrolled in UAB’s Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management program in 2010, and, soon after completing it, he decided to pursue his Master of Public Administration.

    During Scribner’s time in graduate school, he uncovered opportunities to apply his new knowledge at Black Warrior Riverkeeper. As the organization celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, Scribner acknowledges the numerous legal and advocacy victories his team has achieved along the way. That said, he is particularly energized about an emerging volunteer cleanup program. The program is prompting meaningful, hands-on participation from the public, and, to top it off, the outreach coordinator who is facilitating the effort, Katie Fagan, is an alumna of UAB’s Department of Anthropology. This enduring UAB connection—and many others—is particularly important to Scribner (Learn more about Fagan and her journey at UAB).

    “The networking that takes place [at UAB] creates incredible connections that have been as valuable to my career as the classes I took in the MPA program,” said Scribner.

    Although he finished his graduate degree in 2015, Scribner still finds plenty of opportunities to stay connected to UAB and the MPA program. In 2017, he won the College’s Alumni Service Award, and, in 2018, he became president of the UAB National Alumni Society’s MPA Chapter.

    “I really enjoyed the process of working with other board members to turn the alumni society into something really organized and impactful,” said Scribner. “That’s easy to do when you’re working with other MPAs.”

    As he looks to the future, it’s clear that he will continue to find ways to collaborate with his fellow UAB alumni and give back to the MPA program. Also, if you attend a UAB football game at Protective Stadium, you’re likely to see Scribner with his wife and four children cheering on his beloved Blazers.

  • College of Arts and Sciences offering two new minors

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) College of Arts and Science is offering two new minors for undergraduate students.

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) College of Arts and Science is offering two new minors for undergraduate students.

    The Department of Political Science and Public Administration recently launched the Public Management and Policy Minor. According to Rob Blanton, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration (PSPA), “The department’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) program has a long history of providing graduate and professional students some of the necessary skills to succeed in the management of public and nonprofit organizations, two large and vibrant sectors within our economy.” PSPA faculty reflected on the MPA program’s successes and established a clear goal for the new minor: to build some of the same key skills and competencies for undergraduate students. The minor can thus provide a strong foundation for future graduate work in public management or give students valuable skills to help them in their career journeys.

    The College is also excited to announce the new Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies Minor. This minor is focused on material, intellectual, sociopolitical, literary, and linguistic approaches to the Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance periods. According to Walter Ward, Ph.D., professor in the Department of History, “Students will learn current theories and methods for working with a range of source materials and objects, from archaeological finds and architecture to historical documents and poetry.” The interdisciplinary program combines the fields of history, literature, archaeology, anthropology, art history, philosophy, cultural studies, economics, and more to understand the premodern world. All courses are taught by faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences.

    You can learn more about both programs by visiting the Undergraduate Course Catalog Addenda. Also, for more information about the Public Management and Policy Minor, you can email Dr. Blanton at For more information about the Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies Minor, you can contact Dr. Ward ( or Dr. Clements (

  • UAB panel dives into the Ukraine crisis

    A panel including experts from across UAB will discuss the Ukraine crisis and its implications for geopolitics and human rights.

  • I am Arts and Sciences: Rosie O’Beirne

    Pursuing what you love doing can lead you in unlikely directions in your career.

    For Rosie O’Beirne, her background in anthropology informs her work as University of Alabama at Birmingham’s chief digital strategy and marketing officer every day—a somewhat surprising (and valuable) connection.

    Pursuing what you love doing can lead you in unlikely directions in your career.

    For Rosie O’Beirne, her background in anthropology informs her work as University of Alabama at Birmingham’s chief digital strategy and marketing officer every day—a somewhat surprising (and valuable) connection.

    Rosie O’BeirneO’Beirne always knew she would go to college. According to O’Beirne, coming from a multicultural household—her parents are from Japan and Southern America—higher education was not a question. “Culturally, education is… so important in Japanese culture, so all my life I knew I was going to go to college,” said O’Beirne. She describes UAB as a place where “you could work and hold a job. Scrappy people came to UAB.” She wanted to be a part of this environment of like-minded individuals and get her foot in the door—that said, she had no idea what she was going to study.

    When O’Beirne was sitting in one of her first college classrooms listening to Dr. Bruce Wheatley—a professor in the Department of Anthropology at the time—discuss his discipline, everything clicked. “Everything this professor is talking about relates to my upbringing, to growing up in a multicultural household,” said O’Beirne. “Everything, suddenly, about me growing up in this home, made sense sitting in the Intro to Cultural Anthropology class.”

    That moment inspired O’Beirne to declare anthropology as her major, and she went on to earn both her B.A. and M.A. (through a joint program with UAB and the University of Alabama) in the discipline.

    She still uses the skills she honed and developed in the College of Arts and Sciences—including a keen understanding of cultural relativism—in her current role. “I am an anthropologist by training and a marketer by trade,” says O’Beirne. “In my job as a marketer, I use the anthropology toolkit every day… seeing the world through other people’s eyes or walking the world in someone else’s shoes. [U]nderstanding the diversity of [UAB’s] student body and the diversity of needs is critical.”

    After receiving her M.A., O’Beirne worked as the co-director of the Media Studies Program at UAB, alongside colleague Michele Forman. The duo created the Media Lab, which gave students access to professional-grade technology to create media. Through the lab, O’Beirne also created the innovative Digital Media Fellows program. The program acted as a creative agency staffed by 12 UAB students who created original digital storytelling content for clients ranging from UAB academic departments to nonprofits in the Birmingham community. Media Fellows gave students work experience before graduating, which allowed most of the students to be hired soon after their graduation.

    “This program acted almost as an apprenticeship where we were able to pay students and give them work. These students were getting hired right out of the gate… there were employers that wanted them,” said O’Beirne.

    After directing the Digital Media Fellows Program for three years, O’Beirne received an unexpected invitation to join UAB's central marketing team, which eventually led to the role of chief digital strategy and marketing officer.

    “Long-story short, I’m running marketing for the university. Many of the thoughts and skills I learned as an anthropology student are translatable to the marketing industry. It is also why I enjoy promoting the value of a liberal arts education. A good college education prepares you to think—no matter the industry. And that’s what I received at UAB,” said O’Beirne.

    She views her career path as atypical, and, as a result, she encourages students to explore their options during their college career. “What do you love doing? [I]f you can figure out how to tap into things you love doing and translate that over into a career, then you win. The best is when you like what you’re doing,” said O’Beirne.

  • I am Arts and Sciences: Joshua L. Baker

    When speaking with Joshua L. Baker, Principal Owner and Managing Director of Baker Camp Arnold Capital Management, you cannot overlook his passion for history. In fact, most of the artifacts and framed items on his office walls are testaments to his deep interest in the discipline.

    When speaking with Joshua L. Baker, Principal Owner and Managing Director of Baker Camp Arnold Capital Management, you cannot overlook his passion for history. In fact, most of the artifacts and framed items on his office walls are testaments to his deep interest in the discipline.

    “I think history is well-rounded,” said Baker. “It gives us a different lens to look through.”

    The term “well-rounded” also applies nicely to Baker—a historian, former international soccer player, collegiate baseball player, and successful entrepreneur.

    Baker grew up in Cropwell, Alabama. As a young and talented multi-sport athlete, he sought opportunities to further develop his skills on the field, eventually leading him to Coosa Valley Academy his junior year of high school to play baseball, then to Bullock Memorial School his senior year after a family move to south Alabama. After graduation, he earned a slot as a designated hitter on the Huntingdon College baseball team.

    At Huntingdon, Baker studied history and met his future wife, Audrey. After getting engaged, they decided to relocate to Birmingham so she could pursue a career in the medical field. Determined to continue his academic journey, Baker looked to the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

    “UAB covers the whole gamut… I had a different professor for every single discipline,” said Baker. “It allowed for a more creative focus on the subject matter.”

    While at UAB, Baker decided to major in history with a minor in anthropology and archaeology. Also, he participated in the United States Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program. Between his studies and ROTC, Baker’s vision for his future began to materialize.

    “I knew I was good with numbers... I realized quickly that I didn’t want to work for anyone [though],” said Baker.

    By studying history, Baker believes he further developed his analytical mindset, which, in his opinion, complements his inherent talent with numbers. Through this intersection, Baker uncovered a key differentiator for his future business in financial services and capital management—specifically, to analyze every client’s unique situation and “connect every piece of the puzzle” in a consultative manner.

    The road to owning his own business was long, though. After graduating from UAB, Baker worked for several banks, then explored a career with a captive broker-dealer. Those experiences proved to be challenging (and occasionally disappointing), but his passion for financial services and capital management while helping people achieve their goals remained firm. Eventually, he knew he needed to build his own business to fully realize his vision.

    “We started with zero,” said Baker. “I cast a vision and figured it out.”

    Baker took the leap in May of 2017—“after incessantly looking at the pros and cons and praying over the decision for over two years prior to that,” he says—and launched Baker Camp Arnold Capital Management, a full-service financial advisory firm located in Hoover, Alabama. In less than five years, the company has grown substantially and received numerous acknowledgements and awards, including:

    Along with growing his business and team, Baker and his wife Audrey also find many ways to give back to the community—including a newly-established endowed scholarship for the UAB Department of History.

    “We wanted to focus on something very specific,” said Baker. “We’re the first to establish an endowed scholarship for graduate students [in the Department of History].

    The Joshua L. and Audrey D. Baker Endowed Scholarship will help future graduate students in history overcome financial barriers, so they can focus on their studies. Baker’s appreciation for graduate studies is a personal commitment too—one day, he hopes to earn his master’s degree in the discipline of military history. In the meantime, between reading several World War II books a month and traveling the country to watch his kids play hockey and hunting whatever is in season, Baker is finding plenty of opportunities to stay busy outside of the office.


  • 1850s horror Twitter, recursive propaganda, mapping mutations: Faculty grants seed new projects and nurture careers

    Projects selected for the UAB Faculty Development Grants Program offer an intriguing look into the creativity and range of research and scholarship on campus.

  • Uncovering the power of human rights education at UAB

    Although both of her parents graduated from UAB’s School of Medicine, attending the university was not part of Katie Fagan’s long-term plan — at least not at first.

  • Uncovering the power of human rights

    While growing up in Birmingham, Katie Fagan lived a few blocks away from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Although both of her parents graduated from UAB’s School of Medicine, attending the university was not part of Fagan’s long-term plan. At least not at first.

    While growing up in Birmingham, Katie Fagan lived a few blocks away from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Although both of her parents graduated from UAB’s School of Medicine, attending the university was not part of Fagan’s long-term plan. At least not at first.

    “I wanted a bit more distance,” said Fagan, AmeriCorps VISTA and volunteer engagement member for the Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting clean water for the sake of public health, recreation, and wildlife habitat throughout the Black Warrior River watershed.

    Fagan’s academic journey helped her achieve that desired distance. After studying sociology at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, she made her way across the Atlantic Ocean to the University of Manchester where she earned her Master of Science in Environmental Governance. That’s also where she met Elliot Nicholson-Cox.

    Fagan and Nicholson-Cox connected quickly and uncovered a shared interest in human rights and peace studies. Nicholson-Cox, an alumnus of the University of Bradford’s Peace and Development Studies program, was teaching full-time and planning his next academic step. While crafting his vision for the future and exploring his evolving interest in anthropology, he decided to visit Fagan while she was back in Birmingham spending time with her family.

    During his trip to Birmingham, Nicholson-Cox was determined to meet Douglas P. Fry, Ph.D., a prominent anthropologist and former chair of the UAB Department of Anthropology.

    “Dr. Fry was instrumental in establishing the Anthropology of Peace and Human Rights program [at UAB],” said Nicholson-Cox. “We chatted and stayed in touch, and he invited me to apply for the program.”

    Nicholson-Cox followed Fry’s recommendation and was accepted into the graduate program. Fagan also started exploring the possibility of returning home, given her burgeoning relationship with Nicholson-Cox and deepening interest in peace studies.

    “All of my research led me to focus on issues of justice and environmental justice,” said Fagan. “I had been around Elliot and his friends who had all done peace studies in undergrad and had been immersed in it. I thought it [UAB’s Anthropology of Peace and Human Rights graduate program] was another master’s that would really help push my research.”

    Within a year, both Nicholson-Cox and Fagan had moved from England to Alabama and enrolled in the APHR program. Although they shared several foundational classes, they uncovered their own specific interests within the program.

    Fagan embraced her return to Alabama and sought opportunities to ground her research and work in her home state through interdisciplinary courses in public policy and public health and internship opportunities with the Jefferson County Memorial Project and the Institute for Human Rights. As Fagan developed her Birmingham network and continued to refine her focus on public participation in environmental justice cases (with a focus on clean water issues in North Birmingham), Nicholson-Cox found ways to pursue his specific interest in the ways education systems work in relation to peace and conflict in local communities.

    “Katie was able to spend lots of time doing research that was specific to Birmingham,” said Nicholson-Cox. “While I was doing more classically academic work.”

    Both Nicholson-Cox and Fagan graduated from the APHR program in 2020, and, now, their specific interests are informing their respective post-graduation paths. At the moment, Nicholson-Cox is exploring Ph.D. programs that will allow him to further build on his master’s thesis, which focuses on the way education was used as a tool of colonial Spain in Mexico from the 16th century up to today. He will also teach the Intro to Peace Studies course at UAB in Fall 2021.

    Fagan, on the other hand, is working with the Black Warrior Riverkeeper and serving on junior boards for both the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and the Alabama Rivers Alliance. Throughout her daily work and volunteer activities, Fagan draws on her knowledge and skills from the APHR program, including conflict resolution and conflict transformation.

    “I’m still using all of my research. [The APHR program] is very multidisciplinary,” said Fagan. “I’m currently on junior boards for the Botanical Gardens and the Alabama Rivers Alliance and discussions about equity and justice are definitely a part of that work. I’ve been able to bring a lot of theories from the program out to these groups, which has really helped me.”

    According to Peter Verbeek, Ph.D., associate professor and program director in the Department of Anthropology, both students made a lasting impact on the APHR program. “Access to a healthy and sustainable environment and to age-appropriate education are not privileges but rights that are integral to the basic human rights framework that much of the world has pledged to uphold,” said Verbeek. “Katie Fagan and Elliott Nicholson-Cox, two distinguished alumni of the APHR program, have dedicated much of their work in APHR on studying these basic rights and how working to advance them equals working for positive peace. Their contributions to APHR have been multifold and much appreciated, and all of us in the UAB Department of Anthropology have great expectations for their future careers as scholars and activists of peace.”

    It’s clear that both Fagan and Nicholson-Cox will carry their knowledge and networks with them throughout their careers and future academic pursuits. It’s also clear that the APHR program profoundly influenced the ways in which both alumni see the world.

    When prompted to reflect on and consider the importance of the APHR program and human rights education more broadly, Nicholson-Cox offered a powerful insight: “Rather than talking about abstract political ideas… using human rights as a frame grounds everything in human needs that just makes sense to people. We all have a right to a safe and clean house, good food, drinking water, to have our voice heard when we choose to speak. These are all very common-sense ideas that people have for what would make a just and peaceful society.”

    Fagan agrees. “It’s collaborative. Peace is a lot more holistic and something to reach for than I think people realize. It impacts everything. There’s nothing outside of the discussion of peace and human rights,” said Fagan.

  • UAB announces new Master of Arts degree in cultural heritage studies

    The only graduate program of its kind in the state, the degree provides students with the theoretical background and practical skills necessary to enter a career in the emerging fields of cultural heritage practice, policy and management.

  • Social Justice Café examines rise of anti-Asian hate amid the pandemic March 31

    Social Justice Café will host a virtual conversation March 31 to discuss the rise of violence and discrimination against Asian Americans during the pandemic.

  • Social Justice Café examines U.S. Capitol insurrection Feb. 23

    Social Justice Café will host a virtual conversation on Feb. 16 to discuss motivators and facilitators of the attack of the U.S. Capitol.

  • Faculty fellows to foster education-abroad experiences for students

    Nine faculty and staff selected for the 2020-21 Faculty Fellows in Education Abroad program will develop courses to promote active and ethical citizenship, cultural immersion and community engagement.

  • UAB’s Sarah Parcak awarded John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation 2020 Fellowship

    A UAB professor and author has made history as the first recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship from UAB and the state of Alabama.

  • New coronavirus symptom tracker launches to improve disease tracking in rural communities across Deep South is a new symptom tracker for people around the Southeast that provides insight into hot spots and community spread of COVID-19.  

  • Catch up on your reading with one of these 13 books authored by CAS faculty

    Do you have more time on your hands while social-distancing? Faculty and staff in the College of Arts and Sciences published 13 books in 2019 on subjects ranging from lifestyles and aging to advancements in satellite archaeology.