Anna Willow: No Such Thing as Distant Objectivity

Dr. Anna Willow, professor and engaged environmental anthropologist, focuses on human-environment relationships and resource conflicts. She joins David Staley to discuss her work on anti-clearcutting activism among the Anishinaabe people and her broader studies on industrial development impacts. She describes her publications on extractivism and alternative futures, emphasizing the role of anthropologists in envisioning and driving positive social and environmental change.

Anna Dobritsa: Pollen – It’s More than Just an Allergen

Anna Dobritsa, Associate Professor of Molecular Genetics at the Ohio State University, discusses with David Staley the intricacies of pollen development, focusing on the unique cell walls called exine. She explains the structures, functions, and variations in exine patterns among different plant species and addresses the role of pollen in plant reproduction. She also describes the technological advances that have enabled recent discoveries in this field, along with insights into the potential agricultural applications of manipulating pollen characteristics.

Sean Downey: The Significance of Indigenous Knowledge

Sean Downey headshot

Sean Downey, associate professor of anthropology at The Ohio State University, discusses his research on the social and environmental dynamics of farming and foraging societies. Dr. Downey talks about his Human Complexity Lab and its work on swidden agriculture in Belize, highlights the significance of indigenous knowledge, and advocates for interdisciplinary approaches to understanding ecological patterns. He also shares his journey into anthropology, his passion for fieldwork, and the future direction of his research in supporting indigenous rights and addressing climate change.

Cynthia Young: Making Universities Accountable, Accessible, and Relevant

Cynthia Young, associate professor and chair of the Ohio State University Department of African American and African Studies, discusses her vision for the department and the future of higher education. She emphasizes the importance of rethinking universities to be more accountable and relevant in the 21st century. Young creates courses that help students think critically about social issues and discusses the need for graduate programs to adapt to the evolving job landscape by equipping students with skills applicable beyond academia. Young and host David Staley conclude by discussing her journey into academia administration, emphasizing her delight in problem-solving and intellectual work, and how she has found administration to be a creative and collaborative field.