Teacher chosen to go to seminar

By Michelle Landrum

An NIU assistant professor of anthropology has been selected to attend a three-week seminar on research methods in cultural anthropology sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Susan Russell was chosen to be one of 12 participants selected from 109 anthropology professors and researchers nationwide. The seminar, to be held at the University of Florida in June, will expose scholars to state-of-the-art research techniques and their application in teaching, Russell said.

“I’m trying to evaluate the causes of land fragmentation, loss and consolidation (in the Philippines),” she said, explaining her personal interest in the institute. Ecological practices, selling off land due to debt and bilateral inheritance are a few of Russell’s theories on the matter. Economic anthropology and Southeast Asian studies are the areas of Russell’s expertise.

The three-page proposal on the Philippines deals with “causes of social and economic change and the impact on social stratification in rural communities,” Russell said. She has spent four years gathering field research in the uplands of the Philippines. Although she consulted records, Russell mainly relied on interviews with the Philippine people.

All candidates had to submit an application to the University of Florida and were chosen by the quality of the proposal and the credentials of the applicant, she said.

Russell has been at NIU since 1985 and teaches classes in economic anthropology and Southeast Asian peasant societies. She earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in anthropology at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.