Lawrence University anthropologist Peter Peregrine will join a team of Yale University researchers on a project designed to better understand how cultures facing regular but unpredictable natural disasters develop resilient strategies.
Supported by a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the four-year project begins this fall. It will be worldwide in scope and encompass contemporary countries, traditional societies of the recent past and ancient societies in prehistory.
The grant also will provide funding for 2-4 Lawrence students per year to work as research assistants with Peregrine, whose role in the project will focus on ancient societies.
With scientists predicting greater impacts of extreme climate events (droughts, floods), such “hazards” are more likely to create serious social consequences, including famine, displacement and increased violence.
The project will explore how human societies with varying livelihoods and vulnerabilities have responded to and invented solutions to natural hazards and resulting disasters both past and the present. Among the questions the research will look are: how often do events have to occur for humans to plan for them?; do unpredictable hazards lead to different cultural transformations than do more predictable hazards?; and under what conditions are contingency plans overwhelmed in the face of natural hazards that are more severe or more frequent than normal?
“If we’re going to find solutions to lessen the consequences of extreme events, we need to understand the methods humans have developed over decades, centuries or millennia,” said Peregrine. “We assume most societies that have survived for long periods of time did so by employing some resilient solutions, particularly when these types of natural hazards were recurrent.
“This project also will provide valuable opportunities for some of our students to gain hands-on training in interdisciplinary comparative research,” Peregrine added.
An archaeologist specializing in the evolution of complex societies, Peregrine joined the Lawrence faculty in 1995. He was elected in 2011 a Fellow of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science, which recognizes “meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications,” becoming just the second Lawrence faculty member elected an AAAS Fellow.
He is a member of the External Faculty of the Santa Fe Institute, an accomplished group of scholars that includes a Nobel Laureate, numerous National Academy members and two Pulitzer Prize winning authors.
The author of numerous books and scholarly articles, Peregrine was a 2012 recipient of Lawrence’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship, which honors a faculty member who has demonstrated sustained scholarly excellence for a number of years and whose work exemplifies the ideals of the teacher-scholar.
AboutLawrenceUniversity Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.
Lawrence University recognized five faculty members Sunday, June 10 for teaching excellence, scholarship and creative activity at the college’s 163rd commencement.
Thomas Ryckman, professor of philosophy, received Lawrence’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, which recognizes outstanding performance in the teaching process, including the quest to ensure students reach their full development as individuals, human beings and future leaders of society.
A member of the faculty since 1984, Ryckman previously was recognized with the college’s Young Teacher Award (1986). He is only the 10th faculty member to receive both teaching honors in the history of the awards.
During his Lawrence career, he has taught everything from introductory philosophy to courses in epistemology, logic and the philosophy of art. He has served as director of the Freshman Studies program (1989-91) as well as contributing to it as an instructor. He also was instrumental in launching Lawrence’s Senior Experience, directing the program from 2008-10.
In presenting Ryckman his award, Lawrence President Jill Beck praised him for employing humor, direct but appropriate prodding and thoughtful personal attention to ensure “students not only learn the material you present to them, but also become skillful independent learners capable of mastering anything new.”
“In all of your activities, you have remained dedicated to the ideal of liberal education. That dedication has benefitted our students for over 25 years,” said Beck.
Ryckman earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy at the University of Michigan and his master’s and doctorate degrees in philosophy at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Peter Peregrine, professor of anthropology, received the Award for Excellence in Scholarship, which honors a faculty member who has demonstrated sustained scholarly excellence for a number of years and whose work exemplifies the ideals of the teacher-scholar.
An archaeologist specializing in the evolution of complex societies, Peregrine joined the Lawrence faculty in 1995.
Last fall, he was elected a Fellow of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science, which recognizes “meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications.” He is one of only two Lawrence anthropologists ever elected an AAAS Fellow. Earlier this month, Peregrine was named a member of the External Faculty of the Santa Fe Institute, joining an accomplished group of scholars that includes a Nobel Laureate, numerous National Academy members and two Pulitzer Prize winning authors.
In addition to an extensive list of book chapters and journal articles, Peregrine is the author of the book “Archaeology of the Mississippian Culture: A Research Guide.”
“The range of interests represented by your work is remarkable. You have published on physical anthropology and archeology, and also on cultural anthropology,” Beck said. “These areas are so diverse that you are virtually a one-person interdisciplinary program. But it is not primarily the quantity or your achievements that is so impressive. It is their excellence.”
Peregrine, who taught for five years in the anthropology department of Juniata College preior to Lawrence, earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from Purdue University.
Associate Professors of Art Julie Lindemann and John Shimon received the Award for Excellence in Creative Activity. Established in 2006, the award recognizes outstanding creative work for advancing Lawrence’s mission.
Collaborating photographers since the mid-1980s, Lindemann and Shimon have focused their cameras on the remote corners of the Midwest, particularly Wisconsin’s Manitowoc County. Among their photographic projects are “Animal Husbandry,” “Midwestern Rebellion,” “Real Photo Postcard Survey,” “Go-Go Girls” and “Pictures of Non-Famous People.” Their 2004 boutique art book, “Season’s Gleamings: The Art of the Aluminum Christmas Tree,” a tribute to the 1960s shimmering holiday decoration, received national media attention, including a segment on “CBS Sunday Morning.”
Provost and Dean of the Faculty David Burrows cited Lindemann and Shimon’s work for creating photographs “that help us appreciate the complexities of human nature.”
“In addition to your brilliant use of photographic technology and your ability to relate to your subjects, one of the remarkable aspects of your work is its highly collaborative nature,” said Burrows. “You have worked together for many years, and clearly gain strength from each other. To experience your visual representations is to be inspired and intrigued. Your art transforms our understanding of human existence, and for that we are all grateful.”
Lindemann and Shimon joined the faculty in 2000 as part-time instructors before receiving a joint assistant professor appointment in 2005. They both earned bachelor’s degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and master’s degrees from Illinois State University.
Violinist Samantha George, associate professor of music, received the Young Teacher Award in recognition of demonstrated excellence in the classroom and the promise of continued growth.
George was the associate concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra for nine years before joining the Lawrence conservatory of music faculty in 2008. Other previous appointments include assistant concertmaster of the Colorado Symphony, core concertmaster of the Hartford Symphony, and guest concertmaster posts with the Charleston Symphony and the Oregon Symphony.
Her solo career includes concert performances with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra, Raleigh Symphony, Idaho State Civic Symphony, Hartford Symphony and the United States Coast Guard Band.
In presenting her award, Burrows praised George as “an inspiring, brilliant and thoughtful teacher.”
“A key part of your success is your ability to create a unique learning experience for each student,” said Burrows. “You are able to understand how each individual thinks and feels and you work to develop just the right lesson to bring out the best in that individual. Your experience as a soloist and associate concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra allows you to give excellent advice on solo repertoire and orchestral music. Simply put, your teaching is outstanding.”
George earned bachelor and master’s degrees as well as a Performer’s Certificate degree from the Eastman School of Music. She also earned a doctorate in violin performance and music theory from the University of Connecticut.
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.
Election as an AAAS Fellow recognizes “meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications” and is an honor bestowed on AAAS members by their peers. Peregrine was cited for his “research and theoretical contributions to American and Old World archaeology.”
Peregrine is just the second Lawrence anthropologist elected an AAAS Fellow, joining professor emeritus Ron Mason, who taught at Lawrence from 1961-95.
“This is an amazing honor. I see it as the second highest honor an anthropologist can receive, right behind election to the National Academy of Sciences,” said Peregrine. The people who elected me are the most respected scholars in my discipline and the fact they think enough of my work to have me join them as a Fellow is both humbling and inspiring.”
The AAAS has approximately 125,000 individual members and only about 500 are elected Fellows each year.
“We are pleased that Professor Peregrine has been recognized with this honor,” said Provost David Burrows. “He is a creative, intelligent scholar, a fine teacher and a great contributor to the science of anthropology.”
An archaeologist, Peregrine joined the Lawrence faculty in 1995 after spending five years in the anthropology department of Juniata College in Pennsylvania.
Specializing in the evolution of complex societies, Peregrine’s scholarship interests include how ancient people first came to live together in large communities with powerful political leaders and how people from different cultures and speaking different languages interact and sometimes merge.
He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from Purdue University.
Founded in 1848, the AAAS is an international organization dedicated to advancing science around the world and serves more than 260 affiliated societies and academies of science and 10 million individuals. Its flagship publication, Science, has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world.
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.