Dr. Peter Whiteley is Curator of North American Ethnology. He studies the cultures, social structures, social histories, and environmental relations in Native North America from the 17th century to the present. He is currently engaged in an extensive comparison of the cross-cultural evolution of kinship systems, especially of Crow-Omaha type. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation.
Dr. Alex de Voogt is Curator of African Ethnology. His research interests are diverse but concentrate on the dispersal of board games and expertise of master players, as well as on the development and history of scripts. The complexity and adaptive ability of scripts is his central topic.
Dr. Laurel Kendall is Curator of Asian Ethnology and Chair of the Anthropology Division. Her long acquaintance with South Korean life began in 1970 as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer where a chance encounter with female shamans led her to subsequent anthropological fieldwork. In 2007 the International Society for Shamanic research gave Kendall a lifetime achievement award.
Dr. Jennifer Newell is curator of Pacific Ethnology. Her particular interests are in material culture and the relationship between Pacific Islanders and their environments. Her major research project explores climate change and cultural change in the Pacific and also investigates how museums might usefully provide places for diaspora communities to meet and reconnect with their heritage.
Dr. David Thomas is Curator of North American Archaeology. Over the past 40 years, his research interests have focused on aspects of Americanist archaeology. He has worked to understand human adaptations to the relatively harsh Great Basin area of the western U.S., concentrating geographically on the state of Nevada and on the Holocene post-glacial period.
Dr. Charles Spencer is Curator of Mexican and Central American Archaeology. His ongoing research focuses on the development of pre-Columbian complex societies in Mexico and Venezuela. He is also interested in addressing general issues in ecological anthropology and cultural evolution.
Dr. Ian Tattersall is Curator Emeritus of Biological Anthropology. He carried out both primatological and paleontological fieldwork in Madagascar, Vietnam, Surinam, Yemen and Mauritius. His current research interest lies in systematics within the genus Homo and in the origin of modern human cognition.