Valley College celebrates Anthropology Day

Updated: Feb 18

Valley’s Anthropological Society to host a zoom event discussing the pandemic’s impact on human nature.

By Isaac Dektor, Managing Editor

In celebration of Anthropology Day, Valley College's Anthropological Society plans to host a zoom discussion centered on the impacts of COVID-19. (Graphic Illustration by Isaac Dektor/The Valley Star)

The Anthropological Society at Valley College will hold a discussion about societal ramifications of COVID-19 on Thursday at 2 p.m. in celebration of the seventh annual Anthropology Day.

The club has hosted events with interactive activities such as the “diversity wall” in 2016, where students wrote their parents’ country of origin on a card which was then pinned onto a world map - a graphic illustration of Valley’s diversity. The club celebrated the day in 2017 with a multimedia presentation that utilized posters, photographs, cartoons, videos and artifacts to demonstrate the various fields of Anthropology. Most recently, a mock excavation was assembled in front of the Student Center. While this year’s event will be hosted online, Eugene Scott, professor of anthropology and advisor to Valley’s Anthropological Society, wants to make it as interactive as possible.

“I’m going to open up a space [zoom] for any members, or anyone who is curious, to have an open house - to share any reflections that people might have on what living under a coronavirus has to say about human nature,” said Scott.

Originally called International Anthropology Day, the holiday falls on the third Thursday of February each year and is sponsored by the American Anthropological Association. The holiday’s name was changed in order to accurately represent anthropology as a field of study without borders.

This year’s event is more interactive than the careers in anthropology presentation that took place on Anthropology Day last year. Scott hopes to emcee an in-depth discussion that tackles some of the issues fueled by COVID-19.

“In anthropology, as far as evolution goes, things are always changing whether we like it or not, '' said Scott. “To me, when we go back to what is normal, that’s back to crime and back to overcrowding and back to violence and back to racism. I kind of thought - and this is where I’m going to maybe try to guide the sharing (or the open house) - normal is always changing."

Anthropology is the study of human beings at all times and in all places. This broad definition is why the discipline of anthropology is broken into four main subfields: physical, cultural, archeological and linguistic.

Duke Feldmeier, professor of anthropology and co-advisor to the Anthropological Society, explained what drew him to anthropology as a young man.

“When I was a kid, I was always curious about why some people believe in god and other people don’t,” said Feldmeier. “Why is it that I listen to this type of music and my friends listen to something different? Anthropology has been that tool to understand the critical questions about what makes us who we are.”