Meet our Faculty
Dr. Angèle Smith
Associate Professor and Department Chair
BA Hons (Toronto), MA (McMaster), PhD (Massachusetts)
Office: 3057 Charles McCaffray Hall
• Landscapes place and space
• The construction of negotiation of cultural identities and the politics of representation
Dr. Smith's research focuses on landscapes, place and space, the construction and negotiation of cultural identities, and the politics of representation. She explores these concepts primarily in Ireland, in both historic and contemporary time periods. Spatial relations and material culture are central to her research, thus her work bridges many sub-disciplines: cultural anthropology, ethnohistory, and historical archaeology and reaches out to a broader audience that includes geographers and historians.
Her PhD dissertation entitled "Mapping Meanings: Representing Landscapes and Pasts in 19th Century Ireland", focused on the representation of social landscapes and the construction of competing identities on the colonial maps. Her research explores how the landscape and the past have been shaped by and help to shape the social meanings and social relations of power at the local level.
In keeping with these issues of place and identity, Dr. Smith's current research project, funded by the Social Sciences Research Council of Canada (SSHRD), deals with contemporary concerns of changing identity in Ireland within the European Union, and the results of the new urbanization process in Dublin, Ireland. Her interest is in the spatial marginalization of the new influx of refugees and asylum seekers and their experience with racism in Ireland. Specifically, she focuses on how the Irish State spatially engineers the social experiences of asylum seekers in Direct Provision Accommodation Centres, where they are housed for as long as 3-5 years as they await a decision on their refugee status.
Her teaching, like her research, crosses sub-disciplinary boundaries. She has taught widely across all fields of Anthropology: Introductory courses, theory courses and upper level thematic courses, including "Social Inequality", "Feminist Anthropology" and "Landscape, Place and Culture". In all of these she has emphasized the integrated and holistic nature of anthropological material. She is committed to teaching and mentoring both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Social/Spatial Mapping of Asylum Seeker Centres in Ireland
As part of the larger project "Articulating Place and Identity: Social and Spatial Exclusion/Inclusion of Asylum Seekers in Ireland" this research maps the location of the State controlled asylum seeker Direct Provision Accommodation Centres across Ireland.
For details click here.
Dr. Shauna LaTosky
BA (Victoria), MA (Victoria), PhD (Mainz)
Office: ADM 3070
Dr. LaTosky is a cultural anthropologist interested in gender, pastoralism and indigenous cultural heritage in East Africa. As a qualitative methodologist, she uses ethnography, visual and material analysis and indigenous methodologies as modes of inquiry to pursue theoretically informed empirical studies in Ethiopia and beyond. She has conducted extensive ethnographic research in Southern Ethiopia since 2003, publishing on the interaction of gender, rhetoric, material cultural heritage and development on practices of relatedness and processes of social change in the Lower Omo Valley. Her most recent publication Rhetoric and Social Relations: dialectics of bonding and contestation Abbink and LaTosky, 2021) explores the constitutive role of rhetoric in socio cultural relations. She conducts most of her research with Mun (Mursi) agro pastoralists on themes that are of contemporary relevance to the communities with whom she works, from conservation and tourism, to indigenous education, food sovereignty and customary land use practices.
She is currently working on an ethnobotanical film project (together with Olisarali Olibui )): Milking the marula ( chobo y)y): How the Mun agro pastoralists relish the foods of the forest for the Guardians of Productive Landscapes (GPL) project and film series . She is also currently involved in an international project with SOAS (University of London) and the South Omo Theatre Company (SOT), which she cofounded in 2019. The outcome of this project is a play and film about the the first ever Mun (Mursi) indigenous theatre performance Tirainy ko Koisani (Playing the Mediator), performed July 31 st , 2022, at the National Theatre in Addis Ababa. Both applied projects animate new arenas of political mobilization and representation for the Mun in Ethiopia.
Her recent interest in visual anthropology focuses on how visual ethnography can not only be applied and participatory, but also rhetorical and interventional. Her future research will look at endangered indigenous heritage and UNESCO heritage sites in the Horn of Africa through multiple lenses. She is also planning a handbook of Mun edible plants and a language app for young Mun who are now being schooled in outsider languages.
For details click here.
Dr. Michel Bouchard<
BA (Toronto), MA (Laval), PhD (Alberta)
Office: 3061 Charles McCaffray Hall
- Russian-speaking diaspora
- Russian Federation and its constituent populations
- French North America
- Nationalism and ethnicity
- Religion and Community
- Sociolinguistics and ethnolinguistics
- Language and education
- Métis Historical Communities, Métis ethnogenesis, Continental Métis and [French-]Canadien Communities
Dr. Bouchard has been conducting research on the history of North America’s Métis and [French-]Canadien historical communities. Working with a multidisciplinary team of scholars, his recent work includes a detailed analysis of the Bois-Brûlé or Métis community of Maniwaki in western Québec’s Ottawa region. This work with Dr. Sébastien Malette (Carleton University) and Guillaume Marcotte argues for the existence of a historical Métis community and builds upon prior scholarship arguing for a continental and rhizomatic Métis ethnogenesis. One book, Les Bois-Brûlés de l’Outaouais. Une étude ethnoculturelle des Métis de la Gatineau Les Bois-Brûlés de l’Outaouais. Une étude ethnoculturelle des Métis de la Gatineau (https://www.pulaval.com/produit/les-bois-brules-de-l-outaouais-etude-ethnoculturelle-et-juridique-des-metis-de-la-gatineau) is currently in press and an expanded English version of this work has been accepted for publication pending funding. These books build upon the 2016 co-authored book Songs Upon the Rivers: The Buried History of the French-Speaking Canadiens and Métis from the Great Lakes and the Mississippi across to the Pacific (co-authored with Robert Foxcurran and Sébastien Malette, https://www.barakabooks.com/catalogue/songs-upon-the-rivers/). Dr. Bouchard is currently working on the history of the Canadien and Métis of British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.
This research on Métis ethnogenesis builds upon past research examining issues of nationhood among Russian-speakers in Estonia as well as that of the Komi and other ethnonational populations in Russia. At the outset, the research he conducted took for granted the recent invention of nations. However, as new lines of inquiry emerge, he has developed a new theoretical framework for understanding nationhood and other forms of community. Rather than accepting the easy premise that states create nations, he is proposing that other institutions are equally (if not more) important than states in the emergence of national communities. Currently, he is examining the role of the Orthodox Church in the rise of the concept of 'narod' or 'people' in Russian. Other highlights of his research include an examination of graves and the ways in which they are a focus for community among Russians, the concept of the Russian soul and the ways in which this metaphor defines not only Russian nationhood but many others and finally the significance of memorials and museums in defining identity.
Dr. Bouchard states that given his range of interests, he would entertain proposals from students interested in conducting various research topics around the world and in Canada. This would include: ethnohistorical research into Métis and Canadien historical communities as well as contemporary communities, an examination of Canada's Russian-speaking populations (Old Believers, Dukhobors, recent immigrants); a study of the Russian-speaking populations anywhere in the world, whether in Israel, Europe or elsewhere; or any research proposal examining one of North America's French-speaking.
Dr. Richard Lazenby
BA, MA (Simon Fraser), PhD (McMaster)
Office: 3012 Charles McCaffray Hall
- Biological anthropology
- Skeletal Biology
- Forensic anthropology
- Human adaptability
- Nutritional anthropology
Prior to joining UNBC in 1994, Richard Lazenby was an NSERC post-docoral fellow at the University of Guelph, School of Human Biology. His NSERC-funded research areas include primate functional skeletal biology, forensic anthropology, and human ecology and adaptability.
Dr. Lazenby has authored a number of articles in journals, including the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, the American Journal of Human Biology, the Journal of Theoretical Biology, The Anatomical Record, the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, Current Anthropology, Investigative Radiology and the Journal of Forensic Sciences. Dr. Lazenby's current research program addresses the origins of human handedness through a comparative study of geometric morphometric variation in the hand skeleton of human and non-human primates.
He is past-President of the Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology, and is a consulting forensic anthropologist for the Office of the Regional Coroner for northern British Columbia, and with the RCMP 'E' Division, attached to the Missing Women's Task Force in Vancouver.
"Man is a wolf to man." Boris Pasternak 'Dr. Zhivago'
Dr. Farid Rahemtulla
BA (Alberta), MA (Toronto), PhD (SFU)
Office: 3008 Charles McCaffray Hall
• Archaeological theory, technology and subsistence
• Complex foragers
• Archaeology of human origins
• First Nations and archaeology
• Northwestern North America
• Northeast Asia, Eastern Africa
Dr. Rahemtulla is an archaeologist with a wide range of research interests. He has been involved in several archaeological projects throughout the coast and interior of British Columbia, and in Eastern Africa. His current geographic foci are the North Pacific Rim, specifically, British Columbia and Siberia. Topical interests include: archaeological theory; lithic and bone technology; zooarchaeology; complex societies; household archaeology; archaeology of human origins; archaeological resource management; Indigenous Peoples and archaeology; and public archaeology.
- Ancestral First Nations land-use and settlement patterns between 11,000-5,000 years ago on the central coast of British Columbia. Using newly developed techniques and theoretical frameworks, Farid is examining the stone tool technology at the site of Namu, which is located in Heiltsuk Traditional Territory.
- Use of terrestrial mammal bone in coastal archaeological communities. An examination of the way in which land mammal remains in coastal sites are conceptualised by archaeologists.
- Pebble tools and fish processing. Experimental projects to assess the potential of using pebble tool technology to process salmon.The development of early hominid cognition during the Lower Palaeolithic, based on palaeoenvironmental and archaeologic evidence from Eastern Africa.
Dr. Erin Gibson
BA (SFU), MPhil, PhD (Glasgow, Scotland)
University of Glasgow School of Humanities (Affiliate Reasearcher)
Stirling University Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy (Associate Member)
• Heritage in contested landscapes
• Heritage as social action
• Community-based research
• The anthropology of momement and social interaction
I am an anthropological archaeologist whose research focusses on heritage and movement in contested colonial landscapes (Canada and Cyprus). My previous research in Canada with the indigenous Stl’atl’imx people of the Lower Lillooet River Valley (SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow 2011-2013) highlighted the relationship among heritage, identity and movement.
I have recently completed a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellowship at the University of Glasgow, Scotland where my research (PATH: Pathways to Heritage (2016-2018) explored heritage formation and its articulation in a rural village in Cyprus. Like many rural villages around the world, Nikitari faces depopulation as young people move to the city for employment. I worked with the local Women’s Group, Youth Group and other community volunteers to document the places and practices in the village that are meaningful to them.
I continue to explore the role of participatory techniques and community-based approaches in the formation of community identity and empowerment and reflect on my own role in the process of heritage formation.
Brenda Guernsey, PhD Candidate (University of Alberta)
BA, MA (UNBC)
Brenda Guernsey is an applied anthropologist who lives and works in northwest British Columbia. After obtaining her MA in Anthropology from the University of Northern BC in 2010, Brenda started a heritage consulting business, Cedarwood Heritage Consulting based in Terrace, BC. Firmly grounded in community based research methods, Brenda employed her anthropological training to work with various communities and community organizations on projects with a culture and heritage aspect. These projects have been diverse, including researching and producing a brochure for tourism, working with local museums to create signage and assist with collections management, working with the Regional District and the City of Terrace to obtain official provincial heritage status for various cultural sites and heritage structures in the region, coordinating projects for local non-profit agencies, one of which included working with the Gila Kyew Nluulk Headstart and Daycare, and Success by Six Northwest to edit and produce seven children’s books based on the heritage of the Kitsumkalum people, with each story adapted from primary archival sources. These and many other projects over the years demonstrate the wide applicability of anthropological research methods and core concepts.
More recently, Brenda’s applied work has been primarily focussed on heritage research with Kitsumkalum First Nation, a Tsimshian community that she has worked with in a variety of research capacities since 2002. This work has involved overseeing the social history research for the community – research projects that are guided by the community hereditary and Band leadership. These projects are both grounded in the ethnographic record and in contemporary concerns and community needs.
Brenda is currently pursuing a PhD in Anthropology through the University of Alberta. Building on her MA research which focussed on exploring multiple perceptions of the wilderness landscapes of northern British Columbia through ethnographic research with Kitsumkalum community members, she is researching the societal impacts that result from threats to the security of land and ocean foods that are essential components to the diets and economies of Indigenous people.
Brenda’s research interests include: the maintenance of societal structures in times of environmental stress; ‘on the ground’ impacts of institutional policies that alter access to land and ocean foods; changing economic landscapes; disruptions resulting from the industrialization of the land and resources; and contemporary ethnographies and complexities of community based research in a digital world. Her research has been supported through various grants including a SSHRC grant. Brenda has a number of publications including a chapter in an edited volume and is a co-author on a recent paper published in American Anthropologist.
Earl Henderson (Cree/Métis) is a respected Elder, Knowledge Holder/Keeper of the Cree and the Métis cultures and traditions, and a Veteran in Prince George. A pipe carrier, Earl walks in both contemporary and traditional approaches to health and wellbeing. He has led training on traditional cultural practices & cultural competency based on the Aboriginal holistic approach to wellness, which includes the medicine wheel, sweat lodge, pipe ceremony, circles, traditional health & healing, loss/grief, traditional medicines, ethics & confidentiality, impact of residential schools and connection between past/future (Aboriginal worldview).
In thirty years as a counselor, Earl worked with both Aboriginal & non-Aboriginal clients, including as an Aboriginal Therapist at Apehtaw Kosisan Métis Child & Family Support Society; Orman Lake Healing Camp; & the Aboriginal Child &Youth Wellness team at Prince George Native Friendship Center. In addition, Earl has been actively involved in cultural healing for adult & youth in corrections since the 1990’s. He currently works with youth & staff at the Prince George Youth Custody Center to integrate Aboriginal culture, ceremonies, & protocols into programs. He has held sweats, pipe ceremonies, talking circles, & feasts for youth in corrections. For some this is the first time they have connected with their culture & felt pride in their First Nations identity. Earl has been involved in gang prevention for Aboriginal youth by facilitating cultural workshops for the Walk Tall Program. In 2011, he facilitated two Tipi teaching workshops for youth at risk. The workshops focused on the values attached to each pole & the Tipi structure in relation to individuals, families & communities.
Earl is also an Elder with the Cedar Project to advise & guide the study’s direction. He has held regular sweats with community, Cedar staff & study participants. Earl has attained a Social Service Foundation Diploma, a Bachelor of Arts (double major in Anthropology & First Nations Studies) & a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies (Anthropology, Education & First Nations Studies). Earl currently teaches Métis Studies & Educational Counseling (Aboriginal/ Indigenous counseling). Cultural teachings & ways of knowing are woven through all Earl’s work including in the academic setting. He continues to offer university courses based on teachings of the tipi & the medicine wheel as well as related to medicinal plants.
Research and Teaching Interests:
- Plains Native Culture and Traditions
- Métis Culture and Traditions
- Plains/Métis Spirituality, Systems and Medicines
- Traditional Knowledge and Values
- Métis/Cree Oral History
- Traditional Education
- First Nations Dis eases, Pre-Contact and Post-Contact Medical Anthropology
- Language- Fluent in English and Learning Cree
Dr. Tara Joly
BAS (Guelph), PhD (Aberdeen)
- Environmental Anthropology
- Indigenous Rights & Sovereignty
- Extractive Landscapes
- Community-Based Research
- Environmental Monitoring
- Ways of Knowing
Dr. Joly is an environmental anthropologist specializing in applied and community-based research with Indigenous peoples in northern Canada.
Dr. Joly’s research interests include Indigenous rights, extractive industries, disturbed landscapes, settler colonialism, human-animal and human-plant relations, history of science, and interdisciplinary studies. Her work examines Métis and other Indigenous responses to Alberta oil sands development, with an emphasis on (wet)land reclamation and encounters between different ways of knowing and using the environment. She is particularly interested in documenting how Indigenous land in settler colonial states is remade as extractive territory or settler home, and her research examines and supports processes by which Indigenous peoples assert sovereignty and renew relationships to place.
Prior to joining the Anthropology Department, Dr. Joly was a Research Director with Willow Springs Strategic Solutions, Inc., a social science research consulting firm based in Cochrane, Alberta. As a consultant, she conducted applied research projects in Alberta, including community-based research, traditional land use impact assessments, technical reviews, environmental monitoring research, and oral history research.
Previously, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Saskatchewan, working with Dr. Clinton Westman and associated with the School of Environment and Sustainability, under a SSHRC-funded project, Cultural Politics of Energy – with which she remains affiliated. She received her PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen in 2017 (supervised by Drs. Rob Wishart and Nancy Wachowich, examined by Drs. David G. Anderson and Colin Samson).
Dr. Alex Oehler
BA (UNBC), MA (UNBC), PhD (University of Aberdeen)
Office: 3088 Charles McCaffray Hall
- Human-animal relations
- Sentient and sacred landscapes
- Hunting and herding societies
- Ancestral language revitalization and identity
- Circumpolar ethnography, Inuit Studies
- Siberian & Inner Asian Studies
Between 2012-2016 Dr. Oehler worked with Oka-Soiot herder-hunters of the Eastern Saian Mountains of South Central Siberia, where he conducted ethnographic and ethnohistorical research on human-animal relations. His PhD dissertation, entitled “Being Between Beings: Soiot Herder-Hunters in a Sacred Landscape,” explored local notions of the household and its multi-species members, emplaced in a landscape seen as sacred from both shamanist and Buddhist perspectives. His work on human-reindeer, horse, yak, dog, sheep, fish, and wolf relations problematizes conventional notions of 'wild' and 'tame' in the context of a posthumanist anthropology.
From 2009-2012 he conducted community-based research with the Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre, the Beaufort-Delta Education Council, and Aurora College. The project focused on the role of human-landscape-language relations in maintaining Inuvialuit (Inuit) cultural identity in the Western Canadian Arctic. His Master's thesis, entitled “Inuvialuit Language and Identity,” explored Inuvialuit language history, its contemporary symbolic meaning, as well as linguistic ideologies that continue to influence the state of ancestral language revitalization in the northern Northwest Territories. He also has an ongoing interest in the material culture of the north.
His teaching spans the four sub-fields of the discipline, ranging from introductory courses in social and medical anthropology to theory courses and special topics and upper division courses, including “Museums, Archives, and Source Communities,” “Environmental Anthropology,” and “Animals in Anthropology.”
Dr. Oehler is currently affiliated with Arctic Domus, a five-year project headed by Prof. David G. Anderson (University of Aberdeen) and funded by the European Research Council (ERC), which investigates “how people and animals today, and in the past, build sustainable communities around the circumpolar Arctic” (www.arcticdomus.org). Previously he was part of the “Northern Colonialism” research program, headed by Prof. Tim Ingold's “The North” theme at the University of Aberdeen, UK (http://www.abdn.ac.uk/the-north/research/).
Dr. James A. McDonald
BA Hons (Manitoba), MA (Alberta), PhD (UBC)
December 10, 1951 - February 20, 2015
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our friend and colleague.