Departmental News

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Call for Applications: Osaka RESPECT Fellowship for International Graduate Seminar and Workshop

Call for Applications – Osaka RESPECT Workshop Fellowship 2019

Osaka RESPECT Fellowship for International Graduate Seminar and Workshop
Landscapes of Cohabitation: Diversity and Divergence in More-Than-Human Entanglements of the Anthropocene

Date: April 29 – May 6, 2019 (Travel date: April 27-May 7, 2019)
Location: Osaka, Japan

Eligibility: Graduate students or prospective graduate students finishing a BA at the
University of Toronto. Priority will be given to PhD students whose dissertation research fits the seminar-workshop theme.

Tania Li presented with SSHRC Insight Award

Professor Tania Li has been presented with an SSHRC Insight Award. This is a national award that recognizes outstanding achievement arising from a research project funded partially or completely by SSHRC. It is given to an individual (or team) in mid-peak career whose project has resulted in a significant contribution to knowledge and understanding about people, societies and the world. The project’s research outcomes must have led to demonstrable impact within and/or beyond the academic community. Read more here. Congratulations Tania!!!

Bence Viola’s research on a Neanderthal-Denisovan hybrid

New developments in the extraction and analysis of ancient DNA have transformed our understanding of the interactions between modern humans and some of their archaic relatives. We know now that these groups exchanged genes when they met, as we find small pieces of Neanderthal DNA in present day humans. Another surprising discovery was that Asia was inhabited by a previously unknown group related to Neanderthals, named the Denisovans after the site of Denisova in the Russian Altai.

Dr. Viola has been involved in this research for more than 10 years, and this summer he and his colleagues made another unexpected discovery. Among the tens of thousands of unidentifiable bone fragments from Denisova cave, collagen fingerprinting identified a piece that seemed to be human. DNA analyses at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig showed that this individual was neither a Denisovan, nor a Neanderthal, but carried DNA from both groups in roughly equal proportions. We knew before that both Neanderthals and Denisovans lived in the region, but we had no direct evidence for contacts. This individual, the daughter of a Neanderthal mother and Denisovan father shows that these populations interacted. Many questions remain though: how did these contacts look? Were they peaceful, or not? Were we just unbelievably lucky to have found this individual, or are there many hybrids out there? Hopefully the continuing research will allow us to answer at least some of these questions.

Read the full article in the CBC News

Susan Pfeiffer and recent PhD graduate Elizabeth Sawchuk’s research on pillar sites near Lake Turkana

Researchers at Stony Brook U, the home of the Turkana Basin Institute, anticipated that their excavation of a “pilar site” might encounter human remains. They recruited Pfeiffer to the 2012 field team. She, in turn, recruited Sawchuk who had just completed her Masters degree at U Alberta. This began a program of exploration that now includes a huge swath of eastern Africa, exploring mid-Holocene communities. The extent and complexity of “monumentality” among these apparent pastoralists is both impressive and unexpected.

Read the full article on the


Max Friesen’s Project to Preserve Traditional Knowledge

In late July, a group of 10 people with ties to Bathurst Inlet travelled there to collect oral history stories, traditional knowledge, myths, legends, and Inuinnaqtun phrases. This is part of a five-year traditional knowledge preservation project spearheaded by the Kitikmeot Heritage Society and Professor Max Friesen. The team also includes PhD student Taylor Thornton, whose research will link archaeological sites to traditional knowledge in a publicly-accessible online mapping application.

Read the full article in the CBC News.

Diverse Exchanges: Osaka Respect Summer School in Multicultural Studies

Earlier this spring, the Osaka University RESPECT (Revitalizing And Enriching Society Through Pluralism, Equity And Cultural Transformation) Summer School in Multicultural Studies was held in Toronto, sponsored by the Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs and the Department of Anthropology.

This year, the fifth and final year, twelve graduate students came for the intensive week-long program from April 26th to May 4th. While the program evolved over the five years, its core focus was on teaching the visiting students the possibilities, challenges, and realities of multiculturalism as a national policy in Canada and an everyday practice of living in Toronto. It was divided into three core clusters combining seminars and field trips around the city. The program culminated each year in a joint-graduate student workshop, which brought together presentations from the Osaka University graduate students with students from the University of Toronto. While the program in Toronto has come to an end, there are plans for Osaka University to invite UofT students in 2019.

Read the full report.

2018-19 Anthropology Graduate dates and deadlines

September 17, 2018 Independent Reading Course requests for Fall 2018 due in ANT Graduate Office – details at:
September 19, 2018 2019-20 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) application deadline – notice circulated via Graduate Student listserv on July 6, 2018
September 21, 2018 Department Program Statements due in Anthropology Graduate Office – further details are described at
October 2, 2018 2019-20  NSERC CGS and PGS Doctoral Competition doctoral applications department deadline – please refer to SGS Award announcement circulated August 27, 2018 through the Graduate Student List Serve.

2019-20 Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships –As per the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation’s website, the Trudeau Doctoral Scholarships program is currently undergoing significant changes and will not be launched by the Foundation this year as usual. Information about the 2019 competition’s programming and deadlines will be provided to us in the coming months.  We will continue to keep you informed as we receive further details.


October 9, 2018 2019-20 SSHRC Doctoral Scholarships department deadline – please refer to the SGS Award Announcement circulated through the Graduate Student List Serve on August 28, 2018
November 26, 2018

Ontario Women’s Health Scholars – please refer to award notice circulated on October 25, 2018 through the Anthropology Graduate ListServe

The Ontario Women’s Health Scholars Awards Program is administered by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) and was established with the support of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to ensure that Ontario attracts and retains pre-eminent women’s health scholars. The Ontario Women’s Health Scholars Awards Program aims to establish a research community that meets or exceeds internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence in its creation of new knowledge about women’s health and its translation into improved health for women, more effective health services and products for women, and a strengthened health care system.

December 3, 2018

2019-20 Canada Graduate Scholarships- Master’s Program (CGS M):CIHR – Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarships NSERC – Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships SSHRC – Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships—circulated on Graduate Student List Serve on October 25, 2018

Applicants must complete and submit an online application using the Research Portal. Students should refer to the CGS M application instructions (for all applicants) housed on NSERC’s website to locate details on how to complete their application. Additionally a Canadian Common CV (CCV) must be completed and the confirmation number uploaded into the CGS M application on Research Portal.

January 8, 2019, 4:00 pm

SELECT LANGUAGES  Formerly Study Elsewhere of Less Commonly Taught Languages for Research Purposes – notice circulated through the Graduate Student ListServe on October 25, 2018

January 11, 2019 Graduate course grades to be submitted by instructors of Anthropology Graduate Courses. Most grades are submitted through E-marks with the exception of Independent Study courses grades, which are submitted directly to the ANT Graduate Office, in paper copy.
January 14, 2019 Independent Reading Course requests for Winter 2019 due in ANT Graduate Office – details at:
January 18, 2019 2019-20 Ontario Graduate Scholarship award department deadline 
TBA Anthropology research and conference funds for 2019-20
 March 15, 2019

Scholarships Awarded by the Faculty of Arts and Science Student Awards Committee –

Note that to be considered for the Vivienne Poy Chancellor’s Fellowship in the Humanities and Social Sciences, applicants should complete and submit the application to Natalia Krencil by March 1, 2019


2019-20 SGS University-Wide Awards

 May 10, 2019 Graduate course grades to be submitted by instructors of Anthropology Graduate Courses. Most grades are submitted through E-marks with the exception of Independent Study courses grades, which are submitted directly to the ANT Graduate Office, in paper copy.
TBA Subsequent appointments – deadline to respond to department regarding intent to take up subsequent appointment
TBA Substitution funding application deadline – please see details regarding substitution funding on our website about Teaching Assistantships –
 TBA Doctoral Completion Award application deadline

Susan Pfeiffer Receives JJ Berry Smith Supervision Award

We are thrilled to announce Dr. Susan Pfeiffer is the recipient of the JJ Berry Smith Supervision Award. Susan has taught in the Department of Anthropology since 1999. During that time, she has supervised 12 PhD and 21 Master’s students. A “strong advocate for graduate students,” Susan has been praised for being an academic “known for her integrity” whose own work with human remains and the sensitive intersections between history and identity affirm “her commitment to the interwoven concerns of both science and humanism.” In the words of twelve former students, “Susan has had a profound impact on her advisees by fostering a strong, collaborative, and challenging academic community; setting high standards and pushing [her students] to address important questions; and demonstrating impeccable ethics in a field fraught with political implications.”

Recipients received a JJ Berry Smith Supervisory Award Certificate, their name on a plaque housed at the School of Graduate Studies, as well as a SGS Conference or Travel Grant to be awarded by the recipient to support a current doctoral student.

Congratulations, Susan!

Victoria Sheldon & Aleksa Alaica receive 2017-18 TA Award

Congratulations to Victoria Sheldon and Aleksa Alaica, whose nominations for the 2017-18 departmental TA Award were both successful.

In recognition of her contributions to the STEP program, Aleksa helped undergraduate students pursue their academic and career goals, connecting them with professional archaeologists and anthropologists.

Victoria designed realizable goals, provided superior feedback on essays and assignments, and nurtured enthusiasm to try new things in the classroom. She achieved high standards while being a TA in an astonishing six courses.