SIUE student wins Anthropology award

Graduate student Susannah Oettle has won an award for her contribution to Illinois anthropological studies.

Oettle, a graduate student in the Geography department, won an award for research conducted during her undergraduate studies. While in undergrad, Oettle was a double major in Anthropology and Geography. Though now solely in the Geography department, the research was conducted under the Anthropology department.

Oettle’s research that led to the award was centered around cemeteries, more specifically gravestones, in the town of Jacksonville, Illinois, of Morgan County. Oettle’s research endeavored to examine gravestones from the 1800’s to the early 19 century, analyzing the relationship between gravestones between husband and wife.

She explains that her aim was to unearth family connections, family history, and equality between husband and wife in regard to size and price of the tombstones. Her research found that in some cases – with variables such as who died first or the length of time between when the other spouse died – could increase the chance of having more equal sized and priced tombstones, though the norm was typically that the husband had the bigger, more elaborate tombstone.

To pursue this research, Oettle conducted field work, taking pictures of the gravestones, writing down the inscriptions, and using a GPS – organized in spreadsheets – to map out the cemeteries. In all, the study took about two semesters to complete. Photographing the engravings on the tombstones helped, she said, as some of the inscriptions were later defaced with graffiti, or weathered by the elements.

Oettle explains that she was inspired by the lack of literature for small town cemeteries, with most of the literature focusing on colonial era or the cemeteries of larger cities.

The presentation she gave was based off of her senior project, a 56-page paper, which she then had to reduce to 10 pages to submit her research for a conference. After the research project was accepted, she presented her findings at a conference with Dr. Julie Zimmerman of the Anthropology department.

Oettle endeavors to pursue a Ph. D after completing her Master’s studies.wordle-anthropology-3

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed Under: Uncategorized


Comments are closed.

Switch to our mobile site