The SRI Foundation will soon offer educational opportunities in historic preservation to graduate and undergraduate students across the country. These opportunities will include internships and scholarships. In addition, the Foundation is working with other organizations, such as the Society for American Archaeology, to provide resources for improving curricula within universities and colleges.
Educational Opportunities and Resources

Seventh Annual Dissertation Research Grants in Historic Preservation

SRI Foundation is pleased to announce that it again will award two $10,000 SRIF Dissertation Research Grants to advanced PhD candidates. Two classes of award will be considered. The first class of award will be given to students who expand the scholarly impact of one or more completed historic preservation projects. The second class of award will be given to students who advance the practice of historic preservation. Awards will be made to the top two proposals, regardless of class of award.

Applicants for the first class of award (e.g., in archaeology, cultural anthropology, historic architecture) must use information derived from one or more already completed historic preservation projects as their primary source of data (e.g., a series of compliance-driven cultural resource inventories, large-scale excavations, historic property recording projects). Applicants for the second class of award (e.g., in anthropology; history; architecture; historic preservation planning, law, and public policy) must undertake research directed primarily to understand and improve the practice of historic preservation (e.g., designing local historic preservation plans, developing Tribal historic preservation programs, investigating creative alternatives to standard mitigation for historic architectural resources and archaeological sites).

Applications will be accepted through Friday April 18, 2014. The SRIF Dissertation Research Grant Review Committee will evaluate all proposals and make funding recommendations to the SRIF Board of Directors who will make the final award decisions. Winning applicants will be notified during the week of May 12–16, 2014. Grant funds will be released within 45 days of award notification.

For more information, contact Dr. Carla Van West at 505-892-5587 or cvanwest@srifoundation.org

2014 SRIF Dissertation Research Grant Announcement (Download PDF)
2014 SRIF Dissertation Research Grant Application Form (Download PDF or Word document)
2014 SRIF Dissertation Research Grant Evaluation Form (Download PDF)

2012 SRI Foundation Research Grant Recipients

The SRI Foundation is pleased to announce that two Ph.D. candidates have been awarded $10,000 Research Grants. Ms. Chiao-Yen Yang of the Built Environment Program, University of Washington in Seattle and Mr. Terry Brock of the Department of Anthropology, Michigan State University in Lansing are the recipients of our sixth annual dissertation research grant competition. The purpose of the scholarship is to provide academic opportunities through which the potential of historic preservation projects can be realized. Scholars use data from one or more completed historic preservation projects to pursue a substantive research topic that forms the basis of doctoral dissertation. This research will result in: (1) new knowledge about the historic properties involved in the preservation projects, (2) new knowledge about the era, location, and people associated with these properties, (3) new knowledge that advances the practice of historic preservation policy and practice, and (4) public-oriented products that can enhance knowledge and appreciation of the past.

Chiao-Yen Yang is a doctoral candidate in the Built Environment Program at the University of Washington in Seattle. She writes the following:

I was born in Lashio, in Burma. As the suppression of Sino-Burmese intensified when the military government took power, my family finally left Burma when I was 11 years old. We moved to China-Burma border, Thailand and then Taiwan as refugees. I am interested in working on community empowerment movement to protect local communities and preserve their cultural landscape. I chose cultural heritage conservation in Lijiang, China as the topic for my graduate thesis. After finishing my graduate study, I worked as a legislative assistant in Taiwan’s National Legislature focusing on environmental legislation, which provided me with great opportunities to work with local community advocates, environmental groups and human rights organizations on important legislations. We had fought to pass many significant environmental laws. I began working on issues related to Burma when I began an internship at International Rivers, an environmental NGO, based in Berkeley, California. I translated and worked on documents opposing proposed hydropower plants in ethnic minority groups’ hometown along the Great Mekong River. Those projects involve human rights issues, politics of international investments, carbon emission, and geo-political issues in the region. I am now a PhD candidate in the Built Environment program at University of Washington. Currently, I am focusing on the resilience of cultural and religious practice in the ancient city of Bagan in Myanmar and Lijiang in China for my doctoral dissertation.

Summary of my Dissertation:

The conservation of historic heritage in Asia has been highly influenced by the discourse and economic success of heritage tourism and the international governance of heritage conservation under UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). My research represents an original attempt to apply the concept of resilience to the field of cultural preservation. The concept of resilience focuses on how system can persist over times by maintaining the same structure and functions, which is often desirable for local cultures. It is also about studying different scales of a system as defined by its networks. Holling (1996) explains that there are two kinds of definition of resilience: engineering and ecological resilience. Engineering resilience is rooted in the etymology of the word meaning to “leap back” to equilibrium. We can describe traditional historical preservation practice as engineering resilience. On the other hand, ecological resilience recognizes the changeability and unpredictability of system, and manages the survival or persistence of social unit. Berkes et al. (2003) identified five factors that strengthen resilience: strong institutions, cross-scale communication, political space for experimentation, equity and use of traditional knowledge. My research will focus on observations of resiliency in these five areas by examining existing policies, interactions between local society and governmental interventions, heritage management practices, and the transmission of traditional knowledge. In addition, this research will explore the relationship between cultural resiliency (including memories, oral history, rituals, festivals, traditional knowledge, and values) and changes in the physical realms (including buildings, sites, landscapes, and other material objects).

References Cited:

Berkes, Fikret, Johan Colding, and Carl Folke 2003 Navigating Social-Ecological Systems: Building Resilience for Complexity and Change. Biological Conservation Vol 119, No. 4. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Holling C.S., and G. K. Meffe 1996 Command and control and the pathology of natural resource management. Conservation Biology 10(2): 328–337.


Terry Peterkin Brock is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at Michigan State University, where he focuses on the historical archaeology of the 19th century, particularly African American slavery and emancipation. His dissertation chair is Dr. Kenneth Lewis, and he is working with Historic St. Mary's City and Dr. Henry Miller on his research project. Brock has received two B.A. degrees, the first from Kalamazoo College in Classical Studies in 2004, and the second from Michigan State University in History in 2006. He completed his M.A. from Michigan State University in 2010. Brock has a number of research interests, including African American archaeology, plantations, the archaeology of higher education and campus spaces, public archaeology, and the applications of digital social media for public archaeology.

Mr. Brock's proposal is entitled “We All Walked Together”: The Transition from Slavery to Freedom on a Nineteenth Century Maryland Plantation. The project is being conducted with materials excavated by the Historic St. Mary's City Commission (http://stmaryscity.org) over the past 20 years from a mid-19th century plantation. These materials tell the story of multiple African American households from the period of slavery, through the Civil War, and into the 20th century. One of these structures, a former duplex slave quarter and single family tenant home, still stands. Until recently, few historical archaeologists have examined post-slavery era plantation sites, particularly within the context of African American labor. In Maryland, this period has received even less attention, which is significant since the agricultural, political, and social context of Maryland as a Union border state indicates that the conditions for post-emancipation African American life differed greatly from those further south. By enquiring about the negotiation of space throughout the plantation and beyond its borders, Brock's research hopes to expand our understanding of how African American families and communities established their own free spaces before and after the Civil War.

Brock has built and curated the online digital exhibit entitled All of Us Will Walk Together. Hosted on the Historic St. Mary's City's website and built with support through the National Trust for Historic Preservation, this exhibit is composed of a static exhibit that tells the story of the site, as well as a blog and social media component that discusses the ongoing process of conducting archaeological research. The exhibit focuses on specific archaeological, architectural, and historical objects to build the historical narrative. The blog and social media components serve as a tool to discuss the way in which historical archaeology is conducted, acting as a "behind the scenes" look into the research process. Similarly, the blog serves as an arena for scholars, researchers, and community members to share research, interact, and build dialogue through a digital medium.


Update on Previous Research Scholarship Recipients

Mark A. Hill was the single recipient of the first SRI Foundation Research Scholarship in 2007. Mark defended his dissertation in April 2009 and is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and Director of its Archaeological Resource Management Program. His 2009 Washington State University dissertation is entitled, The Benefit of the Gift: Exchange and Social Interaction in the Late Archaic Western Great Lakes. Mark developed a sophisticated exchange model guided by evolutionary theory on cooperative behavior for Late Archaic foraging societies using data from multiple archaeological sites in the region. Mark is working on his public-oriented products, which include an interpretive plan for the Ottawa National Forest and a booklet that describes the Duck Lake Site and the copper trade in ancient North American societies. Mark published some of his dissertation research in a 2012 issue of the Society for American Archaeology’s journal, American Antiquity 77(2).

Mark Hill

Kojun “Jun” U. Sunseri and Amber N. Wiley were the recipients of the second SRI Foundation Research Scholarship in 2008. Jun defended his University of California at Santa Cruz dissertation in June 2009, held a post-doctoral position at the University of California (UC)–Berkeley between 2009 and 2011, and accepted an Assistant Professorship in the Department of Anthropology, UC-Berkeley beginning in August 2011. He is also co-director of the Mono Mills Archaeological Field School, which is a historic Gold Rush community south of Mono Lake, CA. His 2009 dissertation is entitled, Nowhere to Run, Everywhere to Hide: Multi-Scalar Identity Practices at Casitas Viejas. Jun used archaeological analyses of foodways and cultural landscape creation to explore how hidden dimensions of multiculturalism on the 18th-century northern frontier of Spanish Colonial New Mexico were expressed in the material remains. He was able to document that cultural heritage was not a fixed identity but rather a situational identity used to defuse dangerous situations or unstable conditions. Jun has spent time in northern New Mexico working with the Mesa Vista Consolidated District to undertake the educational projects he detailed in his proposal. These projects include the creation of learning modules with interactive computer components for use in the public schools. June published some of his dissertation research within a chapter of a 2010 Plenum book entitled, Archaeology and Preservation of Gendered Landscapes, edited by Sherene Baugher and Suzanne Spencer-Wood.

Kojun Sunseri
Amber Wiley successfully defended her dissertation research in March 2011. Her George Washington University dissertation was entitled, Concrete Solutions: Architecture of Public High Schools during the “Urban Crisis.” Amber documented the creation of fortified, yet innovative, high schools designed between 1960–1980 in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. The striking designs—avante-garde in materials, scale, and programming—are testaments to the ideals of reform in cities that were battling the damaging effects of suburbanization, unrest, and riots. She analyzed these public buildings within a larger context that considered educational policy, urban history, architectural traditions, and community politics in order to develop principles concerning the linked goals of school-building maintenance and heritage preservation. Amber is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Tulane School of Architecture in New Orleans. Amber teaches several architectural history and architectural preservation courses at Tulane, and she frequently delivers professional presentations and public lectures. Recently, she completed her public outreach project, which shares the results of her dissertation research. Amber’s site may be found at https://sites.google.com/site/concretesolutionsarch/ Amber Wiley  
Dorothy Larson and Tara A. Dudley were the recipients of the third SRI Foundation Research Scholarship in 2009. Dorothy continues to work on her University of New Mexico dissertation concerning Albuquerque, the Frontier: Exploring Interaction and Cultural Identity in the Albuquerque Area during the Late Developmental to Coalition Period Transition. She also has received funding from the National Science Foundation to fund her ceramic INAA and petrofacies studies. Dorothy has completed her analyses, has presented two professional papers on her preliminary results, and is writing her dissertation. In the summer of 2010 she developed and delivered one of her public outreach products—a six-week summer enrichment program for high school students in the Albuquerque public school system. Through hands-on learning, on-line curricula, analysis of archaeological materials, and other teaching methods, Dorothy created a context for a real-world application of science to inspire secondary school students and their teachers. She hopes to deliver additional programs for high school students from Acoma and Laguna in the future. Dorothy successfully defended her dissertation in Spring 2013. Dorothy Larson
Tara Dudley’s University of Texas at Austin dissertation research is entitled, Entrepreneurship, Ownership, and Identity: The Gens de Couleur Libres and the Architecture of Antebellum New Orleans, 1830–1850. She is examining the architectural activities of New Orleans's gens de couleur libres or free people of color, their influence on the physical growth of New Orleans, and the implications—historical, cultural, and economic—of their contributions to 19th-century American architecture as builders, developers, and property owners. Tara’s research has revealed that a unique group of people (the gens de couleur libres builders and their patrons), building in a specific time and place, set standards within and without predominantly black Creole communities. Their activities informed the types of economic endeavors suitable for black Creoles and allowed the persistence of Francophone culture in the wake of Americanization. Tara uses a case-study approach based on specific families to understand their professional motivations and their influence in creating a specific ethnic and architectural identity in antebellum New Orleans. Following her defense, Tara will design several self-guided architectural tours and a public lecture series that will accompany a traveling exhibit. In 2011, Tara was the recipient of the prestigious Carter Manny Award for dissertation writing from the Graham Foundation. Tara successfully defended her dissertation in November 2012. Tara Dudley
Kelly L. Jenks and Lori Lee were the recipients of the fourth SRI Foundation Research Scholarship in 2010. Kelly defended her University of Arizona dissertation in April 2011. It is entitled, Vecinos en la Frontera: Interaction, Adaptation, and Identity At San Miguel del Vado, New Mexico. Based on archaeological fieldwork and archival research, Kelly argued that identities are forged through interaction as people simultaneously seek to distinguish themselves from—and are influenced by—other populations. In the late 18th century, Hispanic New Mexicans began to self-identify as Vecinos (literally, “neighbors”). This term is a civic social category rather than an ethnic term, and it characterizes individuals as residents and members of a Hispanic corporate community. Kelly described how frontier interactions shaped Vecino identity and interpreted her understandings within a framework derived from theories of cultural contact, identity, and practice. Kelly currently is transforming her dissertation into a series of professional peer-reviewed articles and articles in public-oriented magazines and newspapers. The first article to be published is entitled, Vecinos en la Frontera: Colonial History and Archaeology at San Miguel del Vado, NM, and appeared in a 20011 issue of the Southwest Mission Research Center’s publication, Revista (44). She also is developing graphic media to share her research results with community members in San Miguel. Kelly is an Assistant Professor of Historical Archaeology in the Anthropology Department of Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado. Kelley Jenks
Lori Lee is making excellent progress with her Syracuse University dissertation research, Consumerism, Social Relations, and Slavery at Antebellum Popular Forest 1828–1865. Her goal is to understand how social, cultural, and economic changes impacted the lives of enslaved laborers during the antebellum period in rural Virginia using a historic archeology approach. The results of Lee’s research will be summarized and incorporated into printed booklets, a permanent display, and docent guidelines at one of Thomas Jefferson’s homes—Popular Forest—that is now a historic house museum. Lori already has written several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters concerning her topic. Most recently, she authored two chapters of a 2012 University Press of Florida book entitled, Jefferson’s Poplar Forest: Unearthing a Virginia Plantation, edited by Barbara Heath and Jack Gary. Lori will defend her dissertation research in 2014. Lori Lee
Elsbeth L. Dowd successfully defended her dissertation—The Mountain Fork Caddo: Subsistence and Sociopolitical Dynamics—in April of 2012. Immediately after her defense, she was hired as the Archaeological Collections Manager for Sam Noble Museum at the University of Oklahoma. Elsbeth’s dissertation research examined the archaeological history of communities living along the Mountain Fork River from A.D. 1200–1600 to better understand the relationships between sociopolitical dynamics, ceremonial practices, and maize production. Her research suggests that the Mountain Fork communities encompassed an integrated but non-hierarchial political entity characterized by decentralized leadership, in which maize was cultivated primarily for household consumption. Elsbeth is currently developing a traveling exhibit to increase public understanding of both Caddo heritage and of archaeological methods. It also will promote archaeological stewardship by emphasizing continuities between the past and present. The exhibit will focus on food, home, and social life. Community consultation, particularly with the Caddo, is an integral aspect of exhibit development. Elsbeth’s exhibit will be accompanied by public presentations, handouts, and pamphlets for local libraries and schools. The exhibit will be displayed at multiple locations in southeastern Oklahoma before heading to central Oklahoma, where it will find a permanent home with the Caddo Heritage Museum. Dowd
D. Shane Miller’s University of Arizona dissertation project, entitled, From Colonization to Domestication: A Behavioral Ecological Analysis of Paleoindian and Archaic Landscape Use in Central Tennessee, seeks to understand how prehistoric hunter-gatherers were able to successfully colonize this area and adapt to subsequent climate change during the late Pleistocene through mid-Holocene time periods. In particular, Shane will examine the trajectory in prehistoric subsistence that led to the domestication of indigenous plants, such as goosefoot and maygrass, roughly 5,000 calendar years ago. He has finished data collection and analysis and plans to defend his dissertation in Spring 2014. To data, Shane has used preliminary analyses of his research as the basis for three conference papers and plans to communicate his results through peer-reviewed journal articles, public lectures, and a publication written for a general audience. Miller


Teaching Archaeology in the 21st Century: Promoting a National Dialogue


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