2010 Altshuler Scholars

Elena CareyECarey

I intend to study the significance of zoning in the past, present, and future in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Zoning has become ubiquitous in the United States and Bethlehem's use of the practice presents a conforming to the norm in methods of urban spatial structuring across the United States.  Yet every city's zoning practices manifest its unique characteristics in geographical terms.  Thus, Bethlehem's zoning reflects the layout of the original Moravian settlement on the North side of the Lehigh River, the numerous small communities initially created by Eastern European immigrants on the South side of the river, and a plethora of other pieces of history and revisions of spatial patterns strewn throughout the city.
    A glance at Bethlehem's geographical chronology shows that the residents of Bethlehem imbue the spatial organization with meaning.  This significance of geographic pattern exemplifies the "Architectonic Space" paradigm, which posits that people and the environment act in ways to mutually form and reinforce identities for one another.  People create metaphors for these identities by projecting them into space through the design of settlement plans.  As zoning provides an encoded and powerful form of spatial organization, I plan to use it as a mode of examining architectonic space.  I will study the distinct zoning in Bethlehem and answer the questions of why the city has its current zonal organization, how residents perceive the current zoning, and how the residents would ideally zone the city.  I have thus titled my project: "A Grid of Meaning: The Significance of Zoning in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania."

One applicable contribution includes an assessment of what the current aim of zoning is in Bethlehem, and how well this objective has been achieved.  In the arena of theoretical benefits, this research will also relay information on what the spaces created by zoning and land use policies mean to the people who inhabit those spaces.  Furthermore, I hope to delineate and explain the reciprocal relationship between people and the environment in giving meaning to space.  The achievement of basic understandings of the zoning philosophy, as well as its significance to the people, could even help in recommendations for more effective or fair use of space in the city of Bethlehem and elsewhere.

Lindsey CarverLCarver

    My honors thesis will involve researching the community of Guinea in Gloucester, Virginia.  Watermen from Guinea have fished the waters of the Chesapeake Bay, a major source of oysters and blue crabs, for centuries.  However, the bay has seen a decline in oysters and crabs in recent decades.  Over-harvesting in the past, decline in water quality, and the spread of oyster diseases have contributed to this decrease.  Maryland and Virginia have instituted regulations to protect the populations of oysters and blue crabs, affecting the fishermen's ability to make a livelihood on the water as they did in the past.
    This summer, I hope to build on the work of anthropologists who have used cognitive anthropology to study the intersection of environmental beliefs of Chesapeake Bay fishing communities and the intentions of environmental regulatory agencies.  My study of this dialogue will be expanded to include issues surrounding education in Guinea, Virginia, particularly representations of the Guinea community in the local education system.  I am also very interested in how the members of the community pass along community knowledge.  I hope to conduct working life histories of the Guinea community, and then share this information in venues such as public libraries in Gloucester to increase awareness of these issues.  I also plan on hosting some sort of Guinea Heritage Day in the local school system.

Brittany FallonBFallon


My research involves the practice of primate enrichment, a method of bettering the psychological and physical needs of nonhuman primates in captivity. The importance of enrichment for captive primates is well-documented in a wealth of literature; the benefits of enrichment include decreased aggression, increased social activity, and a general improvement in welfare. Despite the prominence of enrichment studies, in practice enrichment is often overlooked, or viewed by caretakers as being of secondary importance.
Thus, my research addresses the disregard for enrichment by conducting research to examine the best types of enrichment for nonhuman primates, as well as examining the major factors deterring institutions from enrichment practices. This project melds two areas of anthropological study, contextualism - or the theory of the 'natural context' of chimpanzees as integral to understanding behavior - and community studies, with its emphasis on service-learning theories.
This project will be enacted during a seven-week study period measuring the behavioral ecology of chimpanzees in the Kasokwa Forest, Uganda; based on the data collected there, I will select enrichment options most appropriate for chimpanzees given their natural activity. Following my return, I intend to integrate my findings with service-learning by reaching out to institutions with captive primates via surveys to determine the best enrichment practices for employees, such as enrichment that is simple to make or easy to clean-up. Combining the results of each part of my study - determining the best enrichment for chimpanzees and employees - I will then reach out to institutions through conferences and a website detailing affordable enrichment opportunities. It is my hope to empower smaller zoos, sanctuaries, and research laboratories by proposing enrichment programs that best suit their needs.

Alison MickelAMickel

Archaeologists have traditionally labored under the illusions that they can draw objective conclusions from the data they analyze.  This assumption has been challenged recently by the the recognition of many problems within the field of archaeology. Many archaeologists have called for a more inclusive practice of archaeology, incorporating a more diverse array of contributors and participants. Moreover, they have recognized the need for analysis of the author's subjective perspective in archaeological writing, as the conclusions archaeologists present as fact are impossible to understand without transparency in the process of how those conclusions were reached.

In response to these concerns, I propose that writing fiction, which has been broached but largely unexplored in the field of archaeology, offers a great deal in the way of ameliorating problems which face archaeologists grappling with all of these problems. In order to demonstrate this assertion, I will not only conduct a survey of the literature on archaeological theory, writing, and the precedents for fiction’s appearance in site reporting, but will also perform my own case study where I will write a fictionalized account of this season’s excavations at Bir Madhkur, a caravan station along the ancient Spice Route between Petra and Gaza, where I will be a team member this summer. In this way, I will illustrate by example how fiction is an effective way to explore the intertwined nature of knowledge and its creation.