Undergraduate Honours Papers (Anthropology)

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    Source of the Stone: Lithic Procurement and Provisioning at a Desert Refugium in the Azraq Basin, Jordan
    (2023-07-04) Skead, Colton D.
    Changes in mobility patterns by hunter-gatherers in water-stressed regions of the world has long been viewed as a risk mitigation strategy. Tied into these decisions are the ways in which they provision themselves and procure resources. Foragers of the distant past are no exception, but the nature of their survival is not fully understood. The Middle Pleistocene site of C-Spring in the Azraq Basin, Jordan, is an appropriate case study at which to investigate such issues. C-Spring, excavated by Dr. Andrew Garrard, is located directly adjacent to the only stable water source in the region, the Azraq wetlands, and has yielded an impressive cache of Acheulean remains. In order to reconstruct the mobility patterns, a provenance analysis is conducted to reveal the catchment areas most frequently utilized by the hominins. This was performed with data collected by Individual Attribute Analysis (IAA) and Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) of both the known sources in the region and the lithic artifacts. The results show that the majority of raw material was procured locally (5-10 km). This suggests hominins tethered themselves to water in the region for resource security, yet still ventured among the surrounding landscape, remaining within a day’s range to the secure resources offered by the Azraq wetlands. As such, C-Spring offers unique insight into how hominins of the Middle Pleistocene survived in marginalized desert environments.
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    “Not Just a Forum, but a Community”: Incel Forums as Sites of Validation, Belonging, and Empowerment
    (2023-07-04) Leslie, Paige
    There are few places where the forces of misogyny, violence, and the patriarchy are so shamelessly endorsed than in online incel communities. Made up of men who claim to be involuntarily celibate (hence the name “incel”), incel forums are hubs of hateful and violent rhetorics about women and society. To understand why some celibate men find solace in such a disturbing community, I studied one incel forum using non-participant observation and thematic analysis. My research suggests that incel forums constitute a community of practice (CoP) (Neufeld, Fang, and Wan 2013), participation in which structures incels’ lives in validating and empowering ways. Incels may choose to join the community because it provides them with a meaningful source of identity, gives them a sense of power within the community that they do not believe they possess in the broader society, and offers self-affirming mindsets which blame a misandrist society for their problems. Overall, the incel community is a double-edged sword, providing its members with individual benefits but ultimately further isolating them from the rest of the world. Understanding how to meet incels’ needs for belonging and validation is crucial if we aim to counter their hateful narratives and provide celibate men with healthier alternatives to incel forums that reconnect them to mainstream society.
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    Coastal Collaboration: Exploring Emerging Frameworks to Equitably Tackle Marine Debris on the BC Coast
    (2023-07-04) Smy, Oriana
    Anthropogenic marine debris is plaguing the British Columbia (BC) Coast and it will take a collaborative approach to equitably tackle this issue. Outdated top-down conservation efforts do not historically provide equitable solutions to communities that are most impacted by environmental issues. A community-based lens can better reflect the disproportionate socioeconomic, cultural, and environmental burdens of marine debris. My research examines the BC Government's Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative and the Coastal Marine Strategy as case studies to represent current and future State funding streams that support marine protection and Indigenous-led conservation. My qualitative methodology is based on participant observation, literature review, and interviews with important actors from the Province and the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation. The declared Indigenous-led Marine Protected Area of Gitdisdzu Lukyeks/Kitasu Bay provides an example of asserting inherent stewardship rights in accordance with Kitasoo/Xai’xais Indigenous laws and protocols. My research questions the impacts of marine debris on biodiversity and food security, and how State policy can better support Indigenous stewardship priorities beyond recognition and remediation efforts. Co-design and co-governance strategies for Marine Protected Areas may be an indication of a shifting tide of intergovernmental relations in Canada. But only time will tell if this pivot in policy creation can provide the long-term mechanisms to equitably address the issue of marine debris on the BC Coast.
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    Peering into the Past: Species Identification of Archaeological Pacific Salmon on Southwest Vancouver Island
    (2023-07-04) Harrison, Freya
    With anthropogenic climate change accelerating, environmental scientists, historical ecologists, and fisheries scientists alike have been asking questions about the future of our oceans. Understanding Pacific salmonid species composition at archaeological sites through very long-time horizons could provide answers to some of those questions. Archaeological studies of five species of northeast Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha, O. nerka, O. keta, O. tshawytscha, and O. kisutch) on the Northwest Coast have become increasingly important for understanding the historical distribution and exploitation of these significant cultural and ecological species. This is a regionally grounded study utilising archaeological salmon vertebrae collected from the Tseshaht village site of Kakmakimih on the southwest coast of British Columbia. Vertebral morphometric analysis has been proposed as an inexpensive, non-destructive supplementary method to other more established methods of identification (ancient DNA testing, and collagen peptide analysis [ZooMS] to infer or identify salmon species in archaeological assemblages. I apply the method of vertebral morphometric measurements to characterise and identify archaeological salmon species from vertebrae. I also investigate morphometric variability throughout the vertebral column and apply the morphometric measurements method to anatomically ordered vertebrae from modern salmonid specimens. Through data exploration and statistical analysis, I find that vertebral morphometric analysis has the potential to refine salmon species identifications in archaeological assemblages. This methodological approach contributes to the broader theme of evolution and ecology in anthropology by providing insight into human-non-human relationships in the past and present, and by reconstructing salmon populations that are so crucial to Indigenous fisheries.
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    Navigating Anthropogenic Landscapes: Behavioural Adaptations by Great Apes in Disturbed Habitats
    (2023-07-04) Gilbert, Miranda
    Industrial expansion has brought humans and wildlife into closer contact, and increased conflict. The great apes (chimpanzee, orangutan, gorilla, bonobo), the closest extant relatives to humans, have experienced substantial population declines as a result of anthropogenic activities. However, the effects of human activity on ape behavioural ecology have been minimally considered. Using the literature review method, I address the question: how is human activity influencing great ape behaviour in anthropogenic landscapes? I found that the strongest drivers of documented behaviour change were croplands, signs of human activity, and logging. The most frequently documented adaptations to these activities were crop raiding, changing nesting practices, and biassed and fragmented range use. Analysis of human-primate relationships showed that some adaptations like crop raiding are worsening relationships between people and primates, resulting in the trapping and harassment of wild apes. Interestingly, regions where apes and humans had previously maintained a positive or neutral relationship were found to be experiencing shifts towards negative relationships. This invites investigation into tolerance thresholds for behaviour change in sympatric species, and timely mitigation strategies. This research provides a big picture of how human activities and ape behavioural ecology interact and demonstrates that the inclusion of human perspectives is critical to developing locally supported, holistic conservation strategies.
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    The Sounds of míqәn: An Embodied Inquiry of Place, Space, and Perception in Beacon Hill Park
    (2023-07-04) Dubé, Caitlyn
    Vision is often considered the most important and necessary sense; but what do we miss when we tune out our other senses? Advertised as the crowing jewel of Victoria’s park system, míqәn (Beacon Hill Park) is a major attraction for those visiting the capital city of the Canadian province of British Columbia, each of whom form unique senses of place through their personal experiences and become part of the area’s entangled Indigenous and colonial histories. Experiences with, and senses of, place cannot be separated from the place’s sensorial elements, which each person perceives and understands differently. With a focus on (beyond) the five senses, the anthropology of the senses can provide unique insights into the formation and maintenance of histories, epistemologies, identities, and places while simultaneously exploring sensory configurations that disrupt the colonial prioritization of sight and seeing. Drawing from sensory ethnography, sonic anthropology, and place-based studies, this project focuses on the acts of being, sensing, and audio recording and asks the following questions: How do sounds and other sensorial stimuli (sight, smell, etc.) interact with one another to create a sense of place? How can engaging in embodied studies of perception disrupt colonial and hegemonic ways of knowing and being? This project also explores sound mapping as an embodied, decolonial method of representing the temporal transformations place and experience. In response to these questions, I argue that sound and time play a major role in forming senses of place and contribute to decolonizing places and the discipline of anthropology. I also argue that recording further attunes one to a place and can create new connections with and senses of place(s).
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    The Influence of Feng Shui on Cemetery Design: A Spatial Analysis of the Chinese Cemetery in Victoria, BC
    (2022-07-18) Dagg, Lyndsay
    The Chinese Cemetery at Harling Point in Victoria, BC is the oldest Chinese Cemetery in Canada and has been recognized as a National Historic Site since 1994. However, despite the cemetery’s huge cultural and historic importance, it is poorly documented and has been the site of very little research. What is known about the cemetery is that the site was chosen because of its feng shui – the Chinese philosophy of wind and water which guided the organization of Chinese people in life and death. However, despite studies on other Chinese Cemeteries in North America discussing the feng shui of graves within each cemetery, no mention is made of the role feng shui may have played in guiding the layout of the graves at the Chinese Cemetery at Harling Point. Thus, the goal of this research is twofold: one, to analyze the layout of the cemetery using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from a spatial archaeology viewpoint; and two, to produce a digital map of the cemetery that can be made accessible to the public, as currently no map of the cemetery is available that can act as a resource for further preservation and research.
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    Charitable and Community Food Access in Greater Victoria: Understanding the Lived Experience of Mothers and Caregivers
    (2022-07-18) Strom Trudel, Katherine
    Food insecurity affects 9.6% of Canadians, meaning that individuals and families are unable to access or consume a sufficient or adequate diet quality in socially acceptable ways. Previous research has shown that in Canada, mothers and caregivers are more likely to experience food insecurity, which has negative effects on mental and physical health outcomes, social positionality, and wellbeing for them and their families. As a response to increasing food insecurity in the global North, food access services have been emerging since the 1980s in attempts to remediate the experience of food insecurity; however, there has been debate surrounding the efficacy of food access services. This research analyzes the experience of mothers and caregivers with dependents in Victoria BC who use food access services, including food banks, community food models, or food hamper services. This research argues that food access services can be improved by adopting a community-focused right to food approach in Greater Victoria to further assist mothers and caregivers in need. From the interview data of five participants, results showed that three main themes emerged with regards to experience with food insecurity in Victoria, and 15 suggestions were provided for food access organizations based on results.
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    Middle Helladic Children’s Burials: Challenges Associated with Reconstructing Lived Experiences from Mortuary Contexts
    (2022-07-18) Martin-Damman, Sally
    While the sub-field of childhood archaeology continues to grow and make progress, the children of Greece during the Middle Helladic period (2,100-1,600 B.C.) remain understudied. The goal of this research was to use mortuary contexts from the intramural cemetery at Ancient Asine in the Argolid province in Greece to gain a better understanding of the lived experiences of children. Using mortuary data including age of the deceased, grave type, spatial arrangements and grave items from the excavation reports of Asine from the 1920’s I was unable to make any firm conclusions about why certain grave types may have been chosen or what their burial location might mean. This speaks to the way in which children were treated in archaeological excavations of the past and to the challenges that childhood archaeologists are facing now while having to use this older data to gain any perspectives from the lives of the children.
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    A search for meaningful place: Lifestyle migrations and mobilities in Tofino, British Columbia
    (2022-07-18) Mara, Gabriel
    This paper focuses on the social phenomenon of lifestyle migration in connection to individuals living in Tofino, British Columbia. Based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Tofino, this paper asks the question of how participants create narratives around their lifestyle choices of neonomadic mobility. To help explore this question, three modes of analyses are applied: (1) looking to the figure of the nomad in history and as metaphor, (2) looking to contemporary forces and perceptions of being in postmodern landscapes as motivations to participate, and (3) how the embodied experience of place is felt. The study concludes that the social imaginaries of places such as Tofino both attract neonomadic travelers while also helping to perpetuating the nomadic state due to its empirical realities.
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    Exploring Intertidal Stone Elements at ȾEL ̧IȽĆE/ c̓əl̓íɫč
    (2022-07-18) Hooton, Rachel
    W̱SÁNEĆ and lək̓ʷəŋən First Nations territories span throughout the southern part of Vancouver Island, where their connection to space and place has never diminished. Significant places throughout the landscape of their territories have been sustained and managed by their families since time immemorial. This project aims to support the work of Dr. Brian Thom and the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations in recognizing ancient intertidal stone elements at ȾEL ̧IȽĆE / c̓əl̓íɫc (Cordova Bay, Victoria, British Columbia) as part of an integrated sea garden. Although the South Saanich Treaty of 1852 resulted in the movement of lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ ancestors to new locations, the living remnants of their fishing technologies and lasting legacy on the land is still present. Through the lens of sociocultural anthropology and archaeology, this project aims to substantiate the physical remains of intertidal stone elements and their connection to lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ sea garden and fishing technologies.
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    Weaving threads and painting bodies: Huasteca women, clothing, and embodiment during the Late Classic to Postclassic
    (2021-09-27) Sanchez Balderas, Adriana Fabiola
    This is an emerging analysis of the use of a cape type garment, the dhayemlaab in the Teenek language, also known as the quexquemitl in Nahuatl language, among modern Huasteca women as an analogy to an illustrative group of feminine imagery, including ceramics and sculpture, from the Huasteca region. Huasteca is located in the northeast of Mexico along the Gulf coast, and this paper will explore evidence for practices of embodiment at a time of social change in the Late Classic and Postclassic periods. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that elite women used the dhayemlaab /quexquemitl to negotiate their social position. An integrated application of perspectives on embodiment, ethnohistorical sources, ethnography, and material culture illuminate the visible role for women as active participants in ritual practices among the Huasteca. This paper seeks to understand the relationship between body and embodiment through the dhayemlaab/quexquemitl dress used by elite women in the Huasteca to negotiate their social status during the Late Classic to Postclassic period (600-1521 CE).
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    Handheld Mobile LiDAR: Investigating its Viability as a Mapping Tool for Improving the Archaeological Mapping Process
    (2021-06-13) Holshuijsen, Folkert
    Archaeological maps are central to the archaeological process; however, issues regarding their perception and representation are undertheorized and have direct effects on the archaeological outcomes. Mapping technologies such as Handheld Mobile LiDAR (HML) (portable mobile mapping systems) are a viable technology for improving maps, but their use brings new ethical challenges. This research paper focuses on HML applications in archaeology and is guided by two research questions: (1) How can we understand archaeological maps with the goal of making the process, and therefore the outcomes, better?; and (2) Is HML viable and practical for widespread archaeological site mapping? This research project uses a case study into the events surrounding Grace Islet, British Columbia to contextualize the mapping problem. I discuss methods for understanding and improving the archaeological mapping process, following a model of production, circulation, and consumption from Lister and Wells (2004), and embedding ethics as outlined by Meskell and Pels (2005). This research then takes an Action Research approach conducting a case study into the production process of HML maps to investigate its viability as an archaeological mapping tool. I discuss where researchers should practice extra care and hold ethical considerations, and make a case for how this technology can be practiced in the field in a manner that thinks “ethics first,” not “answers first.” This research contributes to the wider conversation of archaeological mapping with its identified approaches and study on the application of HML to foster an approach to archaeological mapping that promotes representation and objectivity, and embeds ethics in every stage.
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    The Influence of Developmental Parameters on Body Size and Composition: An Analysis of Sex Differences in Life History Trajectories
    (2021-06-13) Morpak, Danika
    Previous research has indicated that markers of early life development (birth weight, age at first menstruation (menarche), and relative leg length) are predictors of adult body size and composition (adiposity and lean mass). The life history theory states that an individual distributes metabolic energy between four functions: reproduction, growth, maintenance, and immunity. The pace of growth and development and the way metabolic energy is allocated is significantly impacted by the markers of early life development. Females tend to allocate more energy into adiposity (fat mass) while males tend to allocate more into lean mass. My research looks at a sample of ultramarathon runners (n=71), including both males and females. I aim to determine (1) if there are relationships between markers of early life development and adult body size and composition; (2) if these relationships appear in ways predicted by the life history model; and (3) if males invest more or less into lean mass. I ran partial Pearson’s correlation analyses and linear regression analyses to investigate any relationships. Furthermore, I assess the impact that early life predictors of adult body size and composition may have in predicting individuals who are at a heightened risk of developing metabolic and/or cardiovascular diseases. I also consider the influence that socioeconomic status has on an individual’s access to preventative care and treatments.
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    Museums in British Columbia During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Continuing to Engage the Public Online
    (2021-06-13) Gribbon, Eva
    The COVID-19 pandemic forced British Columbia museums to close to the public for a period of time in 2020. As traditional museum engagement takes place in person at museums, many B.C. museums transferred some engagement to be delivered virtually. This research paper explores past literature that has statistically analyzed museums’ use of Instagram as an engagement tool and discusses four surveys of museums’ experiences during the pandemic. Three case studies of B.C. museum professionals’ experience doing online engagement during the pandemic were conducted and found that a key success to online engagement is trying and learning as you go. The quantitative analysis determined that B.C. museums increased the number of Instagram posts published during the pandemic; however, medium/large museums increased their Instagram activity when compared to small museums. Further, in the quantitative analysis types of Instagram posts were analyzed to determine that Call to Action posts gain more engagement than Promotional posts. Call to Action posts were further analyzed through speech act theory to find that these posts require a deeper level of consideration and targeting to have an effective perlocutionary response from the audience. This research concludes that online engagement is important for museums to continue to connect with their audiences and that consideration of the type of Instagram posts published is needed to ensure they foster meaningful engagement.
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    Connecting Open Science and Archaeology: The University of Victoria Zooarchaeology Lab Comparative Collection: An Essential Cultural and Ecological Resource
    (2021-05-25) McKenzie, Kathryn
    Comparative collections are fundamentally important for the zooarchaeological identification of archaeological animal remains. The University of Victoria Zooarchaeology Lab has an extensive regional skeletal reference collection widely used and known by researchers across the Northwest Coast. Accessibility of collections such as this can be improved through Open Science practices. These practices work to improve the discipline of archaeology, advance knowledge discovery, uphold ethics, and strengthen collaborative strategies. This paper uses best practices of data management to create a citable database to enhance accessibility of the UVic collection and provide guidance for open method standards and practices in zooarchaeology. By linking open data resources to the collection, contemporary and deep-time biodiversity data can be shared by researchers to broaden awareness of the collection, inspire data reuse and sharing, create novel research, and foster interdisciplinary collaboration. Educational opportunities and community-based research will connect educators, students, Indigenous communities and heritage specialists to collection resources. The UVic Zooarchaeology Lab will build capacity to become a significant source of anthropological, ecological, and ethnobiological knowledge.
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    Gaelic Sports, Home and Away: Building Community and Identity through Sport
    (2021-05-25) Nagy, Adam
    This research is concerned with Gaelic sports participation in Victoria BC. Through interviews with members of the local Gaelic sports club, the Van Isle Rovers, this research examines the motivations for playing these sports and the club as a community of practice and site of situated learning where, through mutual participation and practice, members learn and share knowledge of these sports and construct team identities. The materiality of these sports is also examined, focusing on the way in which participation and engagement with the uniquely Irish materials of these sports lead to person-thing entanglement and connect people not only to the team and these sports but also to the sporting history, traditions, and land of Ireland. Lastly, this paper focuses on dynamic performances of identity through the playing of these sports and engaging with Irish language and culture within the club, as well as the formation and celebration of hybrid Canadian Irish and other identities. In the end, it is determined that Gaelic sports can serve as a vehicle through which Irish culture can be mobilized to build community, form social bonds, celebrate, teach, and preserve Irish culture.
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    Shape in the Proximal Femoral Metaphyseal Region During Growth: Age or Activity Related Change?
    (2021-05-25) Rutherford, Isabelle
    The metaphyseal regions of long bones have been largely overlooked by biological anthropologists, despite these regions being highly biologically active during growth and development. Further, while the levels of plasticity and constraint in response to biomechanical loading in the epiphyses and diaphysis of long bones have received attention, levels in the developing metaphyseal region are less well understood. In response to this gap in understanding, this project seeks to describe shape variation in the proximal femoral metaphyseal region during ontogeny and develop possible plasticity through the relationship of shape and activity by applying approaches from 3D Geometric Morphometrics and Cross-Sectional Geometry to scans of archaeologically derived highly active forager populations. The results of the study will summarize ontogenetic shape change in the metaphyseal region and suggest that this region exhibits limited plasticity in response to biomechanical loading. However, it is also suggested that further research should be conducted concerning the metaphyseal surface, and that culturally mediated factors impacting habitual activity should be firmly integrated via a biocultural approach to provide a more nuanced view of the relationship of shape to age and activity.
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    Shared Landscapes: A Biosocial Analysis for Primate Conservation
    (2021-05-25) Warshawski, Lindsey
    Currently, 66% of primate species are facing threats of extinction, and 74% are experiencing declining populations. Many primate populations inhabit increasingly anthropogenic environments. Therefore, effects such as habitat loss and proximity to humans and human settlements are being studied in an effort to understand the ways in which primates cope with changing environments. As primate-human relationships intensify, understanding the anthropogenic modifications primate habitats are facing, how primates respond to these modifications, and how humans might alleviate or exacerbate anthropogenic effects is a prerequisite to designing and implementing conservation strategies. My research aims to contribute to the conservation of primates and primate habitats by focusing on the interrelatedness of primate-human relationships that emerge in shared landscapes. My study concentrates on two geographically and phylogenetically distant, yet socio-ecologically similar taxa: spider monkeys (genus Ateles) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). I analyse primatological field studies and integrate literature from historical ecology and ethnoprimatology to present a more nuanced understanding of underlying human social and cultural factors that contribute to anthropogenic modifications in primate habitats. I argue the value of primatological field studies can be enriched by historical, ecological, and ethnographic literature, as these concepts take into account past and present interactions between primates and humans, and the landscapes in which they live. My analysis reveals that spider monkeys and chimpanzees are remarkable in their abilities to adapt to their behaviour to anthropogenic modifications. However, colonial pressures, population growth and density, global demand for forest resources, and the subsequent commercialization these resources, as well as locals’ varying and changing perceptions toward primates and primate-inhabited forests can both encourage and inhibit behavioural adaptations.
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    Immature pelvic growth and obesity: A biocultural analysis of risks associated with adolescent pregnancy in the U.S.
    (2020-10-30) Ronayne, Emma
    Adolescent pregnancy in women aged 10-19 years is associated with higher rates of adverse outcomes for both the mother and infant than adult pregnancy. Health conditions and immaturities such as obesity and immature pelvic growth compound the associated risks of adolescent pregnancy. Black and Indigenous women in the U.S. experience disproportionately high rates of adolescent pregnancy and obesity. This research project aims to answer two questions: (1) What are the contributing risks of pelvic immaturity and obesity on adverse outcomes in adolescent pregnancy, especially in the U.S.?; and (2) Why are Black and Indigenous women at particular risk of adolescent pregnancy and obesity in the U.S.? In this research project, I have conducted statistical analyses of the biological and social factors associated with adolescent pregnancy using the CDC WONDER database, and I have used case studies and ethnographic accounts to understand Black and Indigenous women’s experiences with adolescent pregnancy. In this essay, I examine the racial disparities in rates of adolescent pregnancy, obesity and adverse outcomes in the U.S. I focus on biological risks associated with adolescent pregnancy and the social factors associated with the most at-risk groups for adolescent pregnancy and obesity. My essay will detail how this research contributes to a current public health issue using an integrative biocultural approach.
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