• Once upon a time: an anthropological exploration of Gwich'in stories (Man in the moon; The old woman and the brushman)

      Frey, Monika; Tuttle, Siri; Plattet, Patrick; Koskey, Michael (2015-08)
      This MA thesis research focuses on Gwich'in stories. It seeks to better understand how similar the versions of two stories are when each is parsed into units representing themes within the stories. Drawing in part on Lévi-Strauss's structural study of myth and applying aspects of it to the Gwich'in stories discussed in this research, I will demonstrate that several versions of a story contain identical themes, though levels of detail vary. This occurs when (1) a story is told by the same storyteller at different times, and (2) when a story is told by two or more storytellers. While each version of a particular story may differ in the amount of detail, resulting in shorter and longer versions, my research shows that the main themes of a story are identical even when several storytellers narrate the same story or when the same storyteller tells a story more than once, but several years apart. There is a gap in the academic literature pertaining to Gwich'in stories. Recent projects have been conducted including Gwich'in stories focused on documenting narratives, but no one has investigated whether the content of those tales is actually identical. My research complements these projects by shedding light on a less studied aspect of Gwich'in storytelling.
    • One large steppe for Russian authorship: Gogol's troika of settings

      Fleharty, Ryan; Carr, Richard; Burleson, Derick; Mamoon, Trina (2011-08)
      This exploration of Gogol's works focuses on the three major setting-related phases of his writing career: the Ukrainian beginnings, his Petersburg tales, and the provincial Russian towns that populated his final works. His choice and execution of settings is correlated to the development of a sophisticated Russian readership clamoring for a national literature, and in attempting to generate one through his works, Gogol joins the other canonical Russian authors by tackling the central problem of 19th century Russian literature: the identity and future of the Russian nation.
    • Organizational communication and culture in female predominated workplaces

      Comstock, Sarah Rush (2000-05)
      While equality of the sexes has still not been achieved, the ongoing struggle for parity has paved the way for an influx of females into workplaces. In many organizations this increase has resulted in a higher ratio of females to males. Offices that are predominated by on sex or the other create communication problems, attitudes, and ways of dealing with co-workers on an interpersonal level that organizations with a balance between males and females do not face. This study will explore the perspective of females working in gender predominant organizations, and also observations on organizational culture; intra-organizational communication; communicated support among organizational members; and the overall uniqueness of the organization.
    • Organizational culture and meanings in tension: an analysis of the Alaska Volcano Observatory

      Worley, Shelly Lisa (2000-05)
      The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) is an organization that is responsible for observing volcanic activity in Alaska and surrounding regions. This organization has a great impact on the public and agencies in Alaska because it is responsible for ensuring the safety of many Alaskans, and to many people who live in neighboring regions. AVO is not only responsible for saving lives, but also responsible for notifying agencies that depend on this organization for volcanic crisis notification. This study is an ethnography of the Alaska Volcano Observatory and through interpretation of my data as research too, I provide a sense of place for this organization. Detailed journals of my experience as a member of this organization have been analyzed to understand the culture of the place.
    • Osteological stress markers and habitual behaviors: analyzing the connection at Hierakonpolis, Egypt

      Denton, Nora Lee Cross (2005-05)
      The current project identifies skeletal patterns that indicate habitual behavior using muscle attachment sites, osteoarthritic changes and long-bone robusticity. Using a sample from HK43, a cemetery used by the Naqada II A-C working class (circa 3,800-3,400 B.C.), patterns were determined with respect to sex, and by age group. Those patterns were then compared to hypothesized models of skeletal markers predicted to occur with habitual use of an Egyptian hoe, an ox-drawn ard-style plow, a shaduf (a simple machine used in irrigation), and grinding grain using a saddle quern and grinding stone. The patterns displayed in the sample population correspond to predicted patterns created by habitual activity. Results were determined twice; first by sex, then by age. Females and males were grouped regardless of age, and vice versa. If divided by both, the resulting groups were too small to be compared. Females demonstrated a pattern that was most consistent with grinding grain. Males were determined to have a pattern most consistent with hoeing and using a shaduf The middle adult age group, composed of both males and females, showed a range of skeletal markers that is most consistent with that predicted for plowing. Not all patterns were easily explained, however. The young adult, or 17-24 year old age group displayed a pattern of muscle attachment very similar to the old adult group,>45 years of age. The source of that apparent similarity will have to be addressed by further research at Hierakonpolis, Egypt.
    • Paleoethnobotany in Interior Alaska

      Holloway, Caitlin R.; Potter, Ben A.; Bigelow, Nancy H.; Reuther, Joshua D.; Clark, Jamie L. (2016-05)
      Vegetation and plant resources can impact forager mobility and subsistence strategies. However, misconceptions about the preservation of organics in subarctic archaeological contexts and underestimations of the importance of plant resources to foraging societies limit paleoethnobotanical research in high-latitude environments. This research draws upon concepts from human behavioral ecology to address questions relating to site seasonality, plant resource use, land use, and deposition and taphonomy. The model developed in this thesis outlines expectations of seasonal archaeobotanical assemblages for Late Pleistocene and Holocene sites in interior Alaska. I consider these expectations in light of plant macroremains found in anthropogenic features from Components 1 and 3 (approximately 13,300 and 11,500 cal yr BP, respectively) at the Upward Sun River site, located in central Alaska. Site-specific methods include bulk sampling of feature matrix in the field and wet-sieving matrix in the laboratory to collect organic remains. Analytical measures of density, diversity, and ubiquity tie together the model expectations and the results from Upward Sun River. The dominance of common bearberry in the Component 1 archaeobotanical assemblage meets the expectations of a late summer or fall occupation. This suggests that site occupants may have focused on mitigating the risk of starvation in winter months by foraging for seasonally predictable and storable resources. The variability in results from the Component 3 features could relate to longer-term occupations that extended from mid-summer to early fall, in which site occupants foraged for locally available and predictable plant resources such as blueberry or low-bush cranberry species. In this thesis, I argue that large mammal resources were a key component in Late Pleistocene and Holocene subsistence strategies. However, foragers were flexible in their behavior and also targeted small mammals, fish, waterfowl, and plant resources in response to environmental conditions and cultural preferences. The results illustrate the long-standing use of culturally and economically important plant resources in interior Alaska and draw attention to aspects of human behavior that are under-conceptualized in northern archaeology, such as the gender division of labor, domestic behavior, and potential impacts of plant resource exploitation on mobility and land use.
    • Pandering to glory: Sheldon Jackson's path to Alaska

      Craddick, Jordan Lee; Heaton, John; James, Elizabeth; Mangusso, Mary (2013-08)
      Presbyterian missionary Sheldon Jackson is a celebrated figure in Alaska history. He is known predominantly for his efforts facilitating the establishment of public schools for Alaska Native people during the late nineteenth century. Jackson's methods have been historically overlooked as being reform-minded initiatives characteristic of Indian assimilation. As a result, historians have concluded that Jackson was a humanitarian with benevolent intentions. Unfortunately, such assessments ignore Jackson's educational platform, which was built upon fictitious slander against indigenous people and the manipulation of Christian women. In addition to speaking tours, Jackson published many editorials, articles, and books alleging that Alaska Native people were barbarous monsters. The propaganda Jackson employed in Alaska was no different from the propaganda he used against Mormons and Native Americans. However, Jackson was maligned for his strategy in the continental United States, whereas in Alaska he was celebrated as a reformer and an authority figure due to ignorance about the northern territory. Alaska captured the public imagination, and Jackson lied about Alaska Native culture for the remainder of his career in order to maintain his Christian enterprise.
    • Parasites and skeletal indicators of anemia in the eastern United States

      Dinneen, Erin; Clark, Jamie; Hemphill, Brian; Halffman, Carrin (2014-12)
      The goal of this research is to examine the influence of parasitic infection and diet in the etiology of anemia in prehistoric human populations of the eastern United States. Prehistorically, anemia is often attributed to a nutrient-deficient diet, while parasite infection is discussed as a secondary cause if at all. However, parasite infection is a leading cause of anemia in the developing world today. Modern epidemiological studies have demonstrated that parasites thrive or perish under particular environmental conditions, and risk for parasite infection can be predicted based on environment using GIS. Here I apply this method to see whether environmental conditions, acting as a proxy for parasite infection risk, can predict prehistoric skeletal lesion rates for porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitalia, lesions thought to reflect acquired anemia. Rates of porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitalia in the skeletal remains of children and adults were collected from published data for 22 sites in the eastern United States. GIS was used to gather comparable environmental data. Soil drainage, elevation, precipitation, temperature and the surface area of bodies of water were recorded within a 15 km radius of each site. Carbon isotope data deriving from bone collagen and historic hookworm infection rates were also collected when available. Multiple linear regression was used to test how well environmental variables could predict lesion rates. Statistically significant correlations were found for both adults and children, but the strength and direction of relationships with environmental variables were inconsistent. It is possible that the correlations were related to parasite infection, but it is also possible that the skeletal 'lesions' may result from post-mortem bone degeneration rather than anemia. The correlations for porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitalia were stronger when examined separately than when examined together, suggesting that the two conditions may have separate etiologies; however, the sample sizes were too small to provide the statistical power required for drawing strong conclusions. Comparison of children and adults showed stronger correlation for children, though when observing the lesions separately this pattern was not consistent. Collagen carbon values and historic hookworm infection rates correlated with lesion rates in children but not adults, perhaps because of differential healing in adults. These results demonstrate that environmental conditions and skeletal lesions are correlated, but the underlying mechanism for this remains unclear. Larger sample sizes would allow for more robust statistical analyses of the trends observed here. Nevertheless, these results do confirm that porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitalia cannot be assumed to be the result of nutrient-deficient diets. Interpretation of skeletal data for assessing health in the past must also consider the natural and social context in which individuals lived.
    • Parental perceptions of play: the influences of parent gender, gender role attitudes, and parenting styles on parent attitudes toward child play

      Horwath-Oliver, Courtney; Campbell, Kendra; Rivkin, Inna; Webster, David; McGee, Jocelyn (2015-08)
      The literature overwhelmingly demonstrates that play supports healthy social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. Efforts to understand parents' support of child play seek to identify parent attitudes toward play, ways in which parents facilitate play for their children, and how they participate in play. Previous findings indicate parent valuation of play is an important factor for childhood play time and finds differences between mothers and fathers in parent-child play. While much research has been done to understand how mothers and fathers play with their sons and daughters, few studies have investigated what factors influence parent valuation of play or facilitate certain types of play. This study used a moderated mediation model to explore how parental attitudes about gender roles influence perceptions of play through parenting style and how this effect may be different for fathers and mothers. Analyses were also performed to understand the relationships between parent attitudes and parent play behaviors. The findings suggested egalitarian gender role attitudes predicted a higher valuation of play and more permissive mindsets toward cross-gender play for both mothers and fathers. Conversely, traditional gender role attitudes were predictive of less permissive mindsets toward cross-gender play for both mothers and fathers. A moderated mediation was found for fathers with traditional gender role attitudes and a permissive or authoritarian parenting style. Fathers with traditional gender role attitudes and a permissive parenting style were less likely to value play for child development. Fathers with traditional attitudes and an authoritarian parenting style had less permissive mindsets toward cross-gender play. Additionally for both mothers and fathers, authoritative parenting was correlated with increased parent play behaviors, while authoritarian parenting was correlated with decreased parent play behaviors. These findings support previous literature in that parent gender and gender role attitudes do appear to influence parent attitudes toward play. They also contribute to our understanding of parent gender differences and the way that parenting style influence this relationship. In addition, parenting style was found to be a facilitator of parent-child play. These findings contribute to an understanding of what kind of parents value play and can be used to inform family psychotherapy and parent education about play.
    • Pathway to Alaskan statehood: the historical narratives of Jack Coghill, Vic Fischer, Katie Hurley, and D.A. Bartlett, and their presence at the Alaska Constitutional Convention

      Drumhiller, Leslie; Barnhardt, Ray; Parson, Sean; Hardy, Cindy (2016-05)
      The aim of this thesis is to compare the commonalities and differences in the oral narratives of four participants of the Alaska Constitutional Convention, John B. “Jack” Coghill, Victor “Vic” Fischer, Katherine “Katie” Hurley, and Doris Ann “D.A.” Bartlett. Applying thematic analysis to the interviews, themes, or codes were extracted from the interviews and unified into code families: “family,” “work,” “Alaska Constitutional Convention,” and “Alaska Constitution,” with other code families supporting these four. The “Alaska Constitutional Convention” becomes the super code, or main theme of this thesis. The research explores three themes: non-partisan politics at the Alaska Constitutional Convention, the camaraderie among the delegates and staff at the Alaska Constitutional Convention, and gender differences among Coghill, Fischer, Hurley, and Bartlett.
    • Pedagogy for reading in rural Alaska: the effect of culturally relevant reading materials on student reading achievement in Chevak, Alaska

      Geiges, Beth J.; Leonard, Beth; Topkok, Sean; John, Theresa; Adams, Barbara (2017-12)
      This study used Culturally Relevant Reading materials (CRRM) with a proprietary, culturally relevant pedagogy for Reading. It was focused on results in Reading Achievement, both reading fluency and comprehension, involving 7th and 8th grade students in a twelve (12)-week program of Reading Language Arts. It was an exploratory sequential mixed methods study using a quasi-experimental design, with two student groups, A and B, experimental and control respectively. The results are situated within cultural expert views of Native perspectives on reading from the community as well as student surveys on motivation. Results from the study indicate that student achievement in Reading using the CRRM program, as measured by standardized tests, namely Edformation's AIMSweb® (2002) tests of both R-CBM and MAZE, met with similar results in student Reading achievement using a Western curricular program. Both control and experimental groups in the quasi-experimental, exploratory sequential mixed methods study showed significant growth in Reading achievement in both fluency and comprehension, on standardized tests over a 12-week interval. Results from the study showed students in the CRRM program showed no significantly greater growth in reading comprehension or fluency during the study, as measured by AIMSweb® tests of MAZE and R-CBM. Student survey results showed increases in student motivation to read, enjoyment of reading class, and desire to read CRRM. Written questionnaires from community members outlined criteria for student success in reading. The results indicate that Alaska Native culturally relevant materials and teaching techniques can be used interchangeably with Western curricular materials in Alaska Native village schools with expectation of similar success in student Reading achievement. Students are eager to have CRRM in Language Arts classes, and the community is encouraged by the promising results.
    • People in Alaska's sex trade: their lived experiences and policy recommendations

      Burns, Tara; DeCaro, Peter; Richey, Jean; Sunwood, Kayt; Jarrett, Brian (2015-05)
      Much policy has been created in the last several years regarding people in Alaska's sex trade. Although researchers and government agencies have called attention to the need for evidence based policy about prostitution and sex trafficking, there had been no research about the characteristics of people in Alaska's sex trade or the effects of policy on those people. This research filled that hole. As action research, this study provided a means for the voices of a hidden, criminalized population to reach policy-makers. This research was grounded in a participatory worldview and triangulated data from surveys, interviews, and public records. Emergent themes and participant recommendations were organized to inform public policy.
    • People's experiences of gossiping: a narrative analysis

      Nekrassova, Dina V. (2002-12)
      This study employs narrative methodology to develop an understanding of meanings people make of their gossiping experiences. Four theoretical approaches are identified in the review of literature: functionalistic approach, gossip as information management, and gossip as a social form of discreet indiscretion which extended as a basis for examining gossiping as a communication experience. Four themes emerged from six narrative interviews, regarding the co-researchers' interpretations of their gossiping experiences: secrecy as a gossiping experience, gossiping as a negative experience, gossiping as a positive experience, and gossiping as being connected. The equivocal nature of gossiping stems from the participants' engagement in two distinct sets of practices out of single set of resources.
    • Perceived parental drinking patterns among adult alcoholics in residential treatment

      Behling, Victor John (2000-05)
      Drinking in Alaska has almost reached epidemic proportions in some subcultures. Alaska Natives have the highest number of FAS cases as compared to non-Natives. Nationally, youth drinking has been correlated to parental drinking. This study addressed the issue of whether there is a difference between the perceived drinking of people in treatment by gender, age, and ethnicity. The parental drinking of one hundred and thirty-four people diagnosed as alcohol dependent or alcohol abusers and in treatment was examined. Significant differences were found between the perceived parental drinking by age, gender, and ethnicity. In addition, many of the subjects did not have a parental drinking model, which could indicate that parental problematic drinking is not a significant causation factor in adult alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse.
    • Perceptions and barriers to welfare reform

      Weaver, Patricia Joan (2003-12)
      The current study examined the barriers and perceptions of Welfare Reform of welfare recipients answering questions through a survey in Alaska's Northern Regional area (Appendix A). The areas covered in the survey concerned family health and well-being, barriers to getting a job, and how they are managing on and off welfare. An area of central concern was to understand how families reported that they were managing after closure. The major problem identified was the ability to pay monthly bills and purchase food. Families were also concerned with finding an appropriate childcare provider and their inability to obtain health care coverage. Most individuals worked part-time jobs with little or no benefits and had problems obtaining health care for their families. Areas for further research were identified. Doubts are raised about how states are administering their welfare programs and how much information clients now about their entitlements. The current study is consistent with other studies that show families lack many of the important resources that are essential for self-sufficiency; i.e., well-paying jobs for low skilled workers, transportation, childcare, health services, support networks, and the financial means to meet basic needs.
    • Perceptual mismatches in a university English as a second language classroom

      Adams, Kristine A. L. (2012-08)
      This study investigates perceptual mismatches in a university English as a second language classroom. Perceptual Mismatches in the classroom are a failure on the part of teachers and students to understand or interpret something the same way. These mismatches can lead to missed learning opportunities that impede teaching and learning. The purpose of this teacher research was to identify mismatches in a university ESL classroom in the U.S. This course was designed for Chinese degree completion students. Data was collected via questionnaires, interviews, dialogue journals, and observations. The results of this study show a tendency in mismatches between teachers and students dealing with perceptions of teacher centered classrooms and learner centered classrooms, and communicative interactions. These mismatches may occur due to previous learning experiences and expectations. This study also shows there is a tendency towards mismatches between teachers, and there is much room in this field for further studies.
    • The perimeters of familial affection: examples with the metamorphosis, the Sooterkin, and "A very old man with enormous wings"

      Dorr, Summer; Carr, Richard; Schell, Jennifer; Kamerling, Leonard (2017-12)
      This literary analysis--of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis, Tom Gilling's The Sooterkin, and Gabriel García Márquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings"-- asserts that unconditional love is not possible without a supernatural impartation, because all humans have their limitations. To further this claim, I dissect the most sacred of interpersonal dynamics, society's subgroups--the family. The four guiding perimeters of affection are societal influence--its opinion of a person; money, financial prospect; communication aptitude, whether verbal and physical speech that is understood or enjoyed; and, lastly, aesthetics: are they nondescript or pleasant to the eye? These variables determine how long a person will stay in a family's domestic space or their proverbial rolodex. These three texts have numerous similarities, most apparent is their each having a weird character interrupt a family's domestic life: hyperbolic contingencies that highlight the causes of limited or temporal affection.
    • Perspectives on sexual assault and domestic violence in rural Alaskan communities

      Hayden, Katheryn S.; Ehrlander, Mary F.; McCartney, Leslie; Charles, Walkie (2018-05)
      Alaska's rate of reported sexual assault is nearly three times the national average, and underreporting may be as high as 70 percent. In rural communities, the rates of both sexual and domestic violence are higher still. Through oral history methodology my research explores how survivors, elders, and professionals view the issues surrounding this violence in remote communities. My findings highlight the interconnectedness of social problems, and the conditions within rural Alaskan communities that hinder reducing these problems. The variables associated with sexual and domestic violence that my respondents highlighted include: alcohol abuse, multigenerational trauma, lack of funding for services, isolation, and normalization of sexual assault and domestic violence. Based on my analysis of the interviews, I have suggested recommendations that I believe are attainable for professional offices in rural Alaska, and that may help them provide better quality services to their communities. These recommendations include: 1) social abuse and crisis training for rural paraprofessionals; 2) socio-cultural training for frontline professional workers, to educate them not only on the history of the region in which they work, but also on the interconnected and long-lasting effects of sexual and domestic violence; and 3) improved communication between rural Alaskan communities and the state agencies that serve them, possibly via a cultural liaison. I also urge public and rural education initiatives, both in schools and to the public at large, regarding the long term, complex, and multigenerational effects of sexual and domestic violence and alcohol abuse.
    • A phenomenology of women and aging: a communication perspective

      Pedersen, Grace F. (2006-12)
      This qualitative study examines the female experience of aging in late-midlife. It involves women between 49 and 70 years of age, who characterize late-midlife years through narratives of lived experience. Their stories provide description of events that introduced or reinforced their sense of self-as-aging, and relate insights gained socially and relationally in the aging process. Conversational interviews, with participant observation of nonverbal communication, were conducted and recorded as my method of data collection, and phenomenological methodology was used in description, analysis, and interpretation of the resulting capta.
    • Pit-fired in St. Michael

      Lease, Tracy René (2003-12)
      'Pit-Fired in St. Michael' is a collection of essays exploring human landscapes inside the geography of place. Reflecting on the influences family, instinct, language, memory, community and nature have on the narrator, the essays move from the west coast of Alaska to the interior White Mountains, from hospital nurseries and grocery store lines to remote dog-sled trails and cabins. Essays about raising a child sit beside pieces that journey back through the narrator's early experiences in Alaska, college years in Oregon and childhood in the deserts and suburbs of Utah. These essays range in style from tight-knit anecdote to memoir to idea-based explorations. Utilizing story-telling techniques, dialogue, section breaks, and over-arching metaphor, these pieces borrow strategies from both fiction and poetry. Though the essays are diverse in both content and technique, they all center on the narrator's attempts to better understand self inside human and natural worlds.