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Department of Sociology and Anthropology

University of Mississippi

Two department faculty nominated by the University for 2018 NEH awards

September 8, 2017

Carolyn Freiwald, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, and JT Thomas, Assistant Professor of Sociology, have been selected as the University of Mississippi’s two nominees for the 2018 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipends competition. The competition requires a university nomination, and universities can only nominate up to two applicants from their institution.

Dr. Freiwald’s proposal is entitled, “Understanding Life and Death Among the Ancient Maya: The Bioarchaeology and Isotope Geochemistry of Xunantunich, Belize.” As a bioarchaeologist, Freiwald analyzes burials and bones from ancient Maya cities to understand people’s lives, from what they ate, to their health and migration histories. This project brings together an international team of experts in ancient DNA, isotope geoemistry, and osteology to find out how closely related Maya rulers were, what diseases were endemic in the region, and basic questions about height, health, handedness, and diet that interest local Belizeans and tourists to the region.

Dr. Thomas’ proposal is entitled, “The Souls of Jews: DuBois, Double Consciousness, and the Jewish Question.” The principle aim of Thomas’ project is to examine how and to what degree the specter of 19th century Western Europe’s ‘Jewish question’ haunts W.E.B. Du Bois’s concept of black double consciousness. His research aims focuses on two key ways in which this specter manifests: first, vis-à-vis a 19th century medical model of double consciousness with firm roots in a larger racialist discourse on Jews and madness; and second, by way of Du Bois’s personal encounters and subsequent considerations of Western European antisemitism while a student at the University of Berlin from 1892 to 1894.