Timothy Murtha, a practicing anthropologist and design educator, joined the faculty at Charlotte as a professor of anthropology in 2023. For two decades, his research and practice have been focused on leveraging geospatial tools for anthropological and archaeological research and planning, design, and preservation at a landscape scale. Before joining the faculty at Charlotte, Murtha was jointly appointed to the College of Design, Construction, and Planning and the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida, with affiliate appointments in anthropology and urban and regional planning. At UF, Murtha was recognized as a University Foundation Research Professor in 2023 and was a founding faculty member of the Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience. Before joining the University of Florida faculty, he taught at SUNY Westchester and for over a decade in the Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Penn State, where he directed the Hamer Center for Community Design. His research investigates the coupled natural human systems dynamics of settlement and land use, relying on advanced geospatial tools. He has conducted over 20 years of research in the lowlands of Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize, as well as in Northern Europe and North America. 

Murtha graduated from Valencia Community College with an AA in Behavioral and Social Sciences, the University of Central Florida with a BA in Anthropology before completing his MA and Ph.D. in Anthropology from Penn State. 

Luca Lai


Luca Lai is an archaeologist specializing in stable isotopes, Western Mediterranean prehistory and particularly Sardinia, and human-environment interactions. He has conducted research on paleodiet and paleoclimate in prehistoric Sardinia from the 5th through the 1st millennium BC, focusing on long-term continuity and change, and on differential access to resources based on social status and gender. He grew up in Sardinia, and lived also in Ireland, the US, England, and Lesotho. He has worked on favoring the dissemination of archaeology, culture and current events awareness with special attention to the perspectives of minorities, also with political engagement in Sardinian independentist initiatives.

Among his side research interests are medieval through contemporary archival studies, the archaeology of American pre-contact complex societies, obsidian provenance studies, Ancient Mediterranean cultures and languages, and Sardinian linguistics and toponomastics.


  • PhD, Applied Anthropology, University of South Florida, 2008
  • MA, Sardinian Studies, University of Cagliari, Italy, 2001
  • BA, Classics, University of Cagliari, Italy, 1998


  • stable isotopes
  • Western Mediterranean prehistory
  • human-environment interactions
  • paleodiet and paleoclimate


  • Anthropology
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Human Osteology
  • Archaeological Methods
  • Mediterranean Archaeology
  • Italian and Latin Literature

Erin Eldridge

PROFILE: Dr. Erin R. Eldridge is an Assistant Teaching Professor of anthropology at UNC Charlotte. She is a cultural and environmental anthropologist, with a background in botany and wildlife and fisheries science. Her research focuses on political ecological concerns, structural violence, bureaucracy, the intersections of development and disasters, and occasionally, ethnomusicology. Dr. Eldridge has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in West Africa, Central America, and the Appalachian South. More recent research focuses on disaster preparedness, relief, and recovery in the Southeastern United States.


  • PhD, University of Tennessee, Knoxville – Department of Anthropology 2013
  • MA, University of Tennessee, Knoxville – Department of Anthropology 2005
  • BS, Tennessee Technological University – Department of Biology 1998


  • Introduction to Anthropology
  • Critical Thinking and Communication
  • Environmental Justice and Disasters
  • Environmental Anthropology
  • Cultural Anthropology topics courses


  • Weather Ready Research Grant, Natural Hazards Center, 2021
  • Teacher of the Year, Sociology Department, Fayetteville State University 2019
  • Outstanding Online Course Design Award, Fayetteville State University 2017
  • W.K. McClure Fund for the Study of World Affairs, University of Tennessee, Knoxville 2003

PUBLICATIONS AND REPORTS: (Also See Google Scholar Profile)

  • Kim, Jaymelee J., Erin R. Eldridge, Amanda J. Reinke, and Sierra Williams. 2021. “Digitally-Shaped Ethnographic Relationships During a Global Pandemic and Beyond.” Qualitative Research 0(0):1-16. https://doi.org/10.1177/14687941211052275
  • Kim, Jaymelee J., Amanda J. Reinke, Erin R. Eldridge, and Maya Grant. 2020. “Between Georgia and Ohio: Constructing the Covid-19 Disaster in the United States.” Anthropology Today 36(4): 17-19. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8322.12591
  • Reinke, Amanda J. and Erin R. Eldridge. 2020. “Navigating the ‘Bureaucratic Beast’ in North Carolina Hurricane Recovery.” Human Organization 79(2): 107-116. https://doi.org/10.17730/1938-3525.79.2.107
  • Eldridge, Erin R. 2018. “Administrating Violence Through Coal Ash Policies and Practices.” Conflict and Society 4(1):99-115. DOI https://doi.org/10.3167/arcs.2018.040109
  • Eldridge, Erin R. and Amanda J. Reinke. 2018. “Ethnographic Engagement with Bureaucratic Violence: Introduction.” Conflict and Society 4(1):94-98. DOI https://doi.org/10.3167/arcs.2018.040108
  • Button, Gregory V. and Erin R. Eldridge. 2016. “A Poison Runs Through It: The Elk River Chemical Spill in West Virginia.” In Contextualizing Disaster, edited by Gregory V. Button and Mark Schuller. Vol. 1 of Catastrophes in Context, edited by Gregory V. Button, Anthony Oliver-Smith, and Mark Schuller. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books. http://www.berghahnbooks.com/title/ButtonContextualizing
  • Eldridge, Erin R. 2015. “The Continuum of Coal Violence and Post-Coal Possibilities in the Appalachian South.” Journal of Political Ecology 22: 279-298. https://journals.uair.arizona.edu/index.php/JPE/article/view/21109

Sharon Watson

PROFILE: Sharon Elizabeth Watson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UNC Charlotte. She is an applied anthropologist and public health professional. She has nearly 20 years of experience in academic and applied work in domestic and international settings. She has employed her toolset in ethics, epidemiology, qualitative and quantitative methods on collaborative private and public projects.

Most broadly Dr. Watson’s research examines how what we know, through scientific research, makes its way into real life changes and policies. Her work contributes to the goals of implementation and dissemination research in exploring how we can improve the translation of research into practice. Her recent research looked specifically at the long-term benefits of exposure to qualitative research methods, ethics and field experience on a group of young people in Lesotho. Lesotho having one of the world’s highest HIV prevalence rates, she investigated how the practice of conducting interviews and focus group discussions about social and cultural aspects of HIV became a form of prevention itself. She evaluated how HIV sexual, social, and behavioral prevention research results made their way (or not) to organizations and the general population. She also studies the interactions between the pharmaceutical industry, financial stakeholders and individual approaches to accessing medicines.

Dr. Watson is currently investigating the role of work in health and well-being and what this means in a growing global economy with a decreasing need for human labor. She is also planning a new project on how scientific studies on social mobility and the social determinants of health inform individual and policy level decisions on housing and school choice.

She embraces anthropology as a key to understanding human differences, having lived on an island with more sheep than people to the second largest banking center in America, anthropology is therapy. She has lived in the USA, Uganda, India, Lesotho, South Africa, and Sardinia.

Watson Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D., University of South Florida-Department of Anthropology 2017
  • MPH, University of South Florida-College of Public Health 2006
  • B.A., University of Notre Dame- Anthropology and Arts and Letters Pre-Professional 2002


  • Money, Health, and Happiness: Ethical and Cultural Critique (Issues of Health and Quality of Life)
  • Action, justice and change: An Introduction to Engaged and Applied Anthropology
  • Cross-Cultural Health Issues
  • Introduction to Anthropology


Applied anthropology, development studies, medical anthropology, implementation & dissemination, HIV/AIDS, food insecurity, cultural aspects of health, participatory action research, community health, program planning and evaluation, health policy and management, health systems, work, social mobility, and racism


  • Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions, Travel Grant 2007
  • Introduced Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai sponsored by the Earth Charter Communities USA, the USF Lecture Series and the Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions at USF 2006
  • University of South Florida Graduate Education Opportunity Grant 2003-2005
  • Grant Recipient from the Institute for Scholarship in Liberal Arts 2001-2002
  • Lambda Alpha National Honors Society for Anthropology 2002
  • Presented with John Joyce Award by the Higgins Labor Research Center 2002
  • University of Notre Dame Sankofa Scholar 1998-2002


  • Watson, S.E. (2019). “AIDS is everyone’s business”: Pharmaceuticals, international power plays, TRIPS, and the Fast-Track. In Baxerres, C. Marquis, C. (coord.) Régulations, Marchés, Santé : interroger les enjeux actuels du médicament en Afrique / Regulations, Markets, Health : questioning current stakes of pharmaceuticals in Africa, Mar 2018, Ouidah, Bénin. 2018. https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01988227
  • MacQueen, KM., S. Dlamini, B. Perry, E. Okumu, S. Sortijas, C. Singh, D. Pillay, A. Majors, S. Jerome, S. Watson, SA. Karim, QA, Karim, and LE. Mansoor (2016) Social Context of Adherence in an Open-Label 1% Tenofovir Gel Trial: Gender Dynamics and Disclosure in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. AIDS and Behavior, November 2016, 20 (11): 2682-2691.
  • Hildebrand, M., C. Ahumada, and S. Watson (2013) CrowdOutAIDS: crowdsourcing youth perspectives for action. Reproductive Health Matters, 21 (41):57-68.
  • Watson Lai, S., R. Mpemi, N. Romero-Daza, D. Himmelgreen and I. Okello-Uma. (2008) Ethical but Unfunded? Planning HIV Mitigation in Lesotho. Practicing Anthropology 30(4):13-16.
  • Davis-Salazar, K. and S. Watson (2005). “The Group Research Poster as a Method of Student Inquiry in Large Classes”. In Strategies in Teaching Anthropology 3rd Edition. Rice, P and Mcurdy, D (eds). NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Lydia Light

PROFILE: Dr. Lydia Light is aan assistant professor of Anthropology at UNC Charlotte, teaching courses in general anthropology and biological anthropology with specific interests in primatology, conservation, and human evolution. Her research interests focus on the behavioral ecology of living primates, examining the ecological and biological factors that may have influenced life in our own deep evolutionary past. She is interested in exploring ecological explanations for within-species behavioral and dietary variation as well as the evolution of pair-bonds and pair-living social systems. For her dissertation, Dr. Light combined behavioral data collection techniques with remote sensing and GIS methods to examine how gibbons, small endangered apes living in Southeast Asia, cope with challenging ecological conditions through modifications in ranging behavior, diet, and social behavior. Earlier work has examined nutritional stress during pregnancy and lactation and mother-infant interactions in captive baboons.

Light Curriculum Vitae


  • PhD, University of Texas at San Antonio – Department of Anthropology, 2016
  • MA, University of Texas at San Antonio – Department of Anthropology, 2011
  • BA, University of Miami – Department of Cinema and Interactive Media, 2001


  • Introduction to Anthropology
  • Principles of Biological Anthropology & Lab
  • Primate Behavioral Ecology
  • Primate Conservation
  • Field Biology of the Primates
  • Neanderthals & Us
  • Climate Change & Human Health
  • Human-Animal Disease Transfer
  • Graduate Seminar in Evolutionary and Biological Anthropology


  • Primate Behavioral Ecology
  • Spatial Ecology
  • GIS and Remote Sensing
  • Primate Conservation
  • Biological Anthropology
  • Human Evolution
  • Biocultural Anthropology


  • The University of Texas at San Antonio University Life Awards, Most Outstanding Graduate Student in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts, 2016
  • American Association of University Women, American Dissertation Fellowship, 2015-2016
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio Ready, Set, Research! Competition, First Place Doctoral Students, 2015
  • National Science Foundation, Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, 2012-2013
  • Fulbright Foundation, US Department of State, Institute of International Education, U.S. Student Program Fellowship, 2011-2012
  • American Society of Primatologists, Small Research Grant, 2011
  • University of Texas at San Antonio, COLFA Malú and Carlos Alvarez Graduate Research Fellowship, 2010-2011


  • Butaric LN, Light LEO, Juengst SL. 2017 A Call for Action: Why Anthropologists Can (and Should) Join the Discussion on Climate Change through Education. American Journal of Human Biology.
  • Bartlett TQ, Light LEO, Brockelman WY. 2015 Long-Term Home Range Stability In Wild White-Handed Gibbons in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand. American Journal of Primatology. 78(2):192-203.

Personal website

Sara Juengst


Dr. Sara Juengst is an assistant professor at UNC Charlotte. She specializes in bioarchaeology and Andean archaeology. She has conducted research in Bolivia and Peru and plans to begin a project in Ecuador in Summer 2017. She has also worked locally, assisting with field projects in the Southeastern United States when possible. Dr. Juengst is particularly interested in using human skeletal remains to investigates people’s identities and social structures in the past. She has also worked with human remains to evaluate past medical practices (trepanation or skull surgery) and violence levels within past Andean populations.

Juengst Curriculum Vitae


  • PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Department of Anthropology 2015
  • BA, Vanderbilt University – Department of Anthropology 2008


  • Introduction to Anthropology
  • Fossil Evidence for Human Evolution
  • Food, Nutrition, and Culture
  • Human Osteology
  • Race and Anthropology
  • Bioarchaeology topics courses


  • Bioarchaeology
  • Paleopathology
  • Andean archaeology
  • Archaeology of community and identity


  • Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research
  • Mellon Funding for Latin American Studies
  • Timothy P. Mooney Fellowship
  • National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration Young Explorer’s Grant
  • Tinker Improvement Grant


  • Juengst, Sara L. and Becker, Sara K. 2017 The Bioarchaeology of Community. Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association (AP3A), Volume 28, in press.
  • Juengst, Sara L., Sergio J. Chávez, Dale Hutchinson, and Stanislava Chávez. 2016 Late Preceramic Forager-Herders from the Copacabana Peninsula in the Titicaca Basin of Bolivia: a Bioarchaeological Analysis. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. doi: 10.1002/oa.2566.
  • Juengst, Sara L. and Maeve Skidmore 2016 Health at the Edge of the Wari Empire: Skeletal Analyses from Hatun Cotuyoc, Peru. Andean Past Vol. 12:101-131.
  • Juengst, Sara L., Sergio J. Chávez, Dale Hutchinson, and Karen Mohr Chávez. 2015 Trauma in the Titicaca Basin, Bolivia, during the Late Intermediate Period (AD 1000 – 1450). International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. doi: 10.1002/oa.2469.
  • Juengst, Sara L. and Sergio J. Chávez 2015 Three Trepanned Skulls from the Copacabana Peninsula in the Titicaca Basin (200 BC – AD 1000). International Journal of Paleopathology Vol. 9: 20-27.

Steve Falconer


Falconer Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Steven Falconer joined the department as Chair in January, 2015. He holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Arizona, and taught for many years at Arizona State University. He has most recently been the head of the Department of Archaeology at Latrobe University in Australia. Dr. Falconer is an archaeologist who works in the eastern Mediterranean and adjacent areas of the Levant, including Jordan and Cyprus. He is interested in the development and decline of early cities, and the interrelationships of urban populations with environment and landscape. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Geographic Society. https://clas-pages.charlotte.edu/steven-falconer/

Elise Berman


I am a linguistic, cultural, and psychological anthropologist with a broad range of interests in linguistic diversity and change, migration and climate change migration, children’s languages and cultures, racialization, socialization and education, and Pacific Islanders. I am broadly interested in the sociolinguistic construction of difference—be it age, race, or gender. My current work focuses on climate change migration and migration to the New South particularly among Marshallese communities. I am working on several projects including the reasons for climate change migration, processes of racialization that take place in rapidly changing multiethnic and multilingual schools, sociolinguistic reasons for educational inequity, English Learner status assignments in schools and their implications, linguistic change and the analysis of an emerging variety of American English among Marshallese children, and neocolonialism as well as changing definitions of indigeneity. My past research focused on child cultures and language use in the Marshall Islands itself, as well as the production of immaturity, children’s roles as economic agents, corporal discipline, and adoption. I have also done some work on Marshallese experiences of remote learning during Covid-19. My work has been supported by the National Geographic Foundation, National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Society for Psychological Anthropology, the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study, the University of Chicago, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Students: I am interested in working with students on any of the following topics: migration (including climate change migration), anthropology of education, any area of linguistic anthropology including, children’s cultures, cultural influences on human development. I am also interested in MA/MPH students interested in child health.

Berman faculty website

Berman Curriculum Vitae


  • PhD University of Chicago 2012
  • MA University of Chicago 2008
  • BA Dartmouth College 2003


  • Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Language and Culture: Fundamental Issues in Linguistic Anthropology
  • Anthropology of Childhood
  • Introduction to Anthropology


  • Linguistic anthropology
  • Anthropology of Childhood
  • Cross-cultural human development and the life course
  • Age and race
  • Language socialization
  • Immigration and education
  • Deception and truth
  • Violence against children across cultures
  • The politics of language and exchange
  • Adoption, kinship, and families


  • Wenner-Gren Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2015-2016
  • Distinguished Guest Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, Univ. of Notre Dame, 2013
  • William Henry Award for best dissertation in the Department of Comparative Human Development in 2012, University of Chicago, 2013
  • Faculty Research Grant, UNC Charlotte, 2013
  • Provost Dissertation-Year Fellowship, University of Chicago, 2011-2012
  • Bernice Neugarten Prize Lectureship, University of Chicago, 2011
  • Bernice Neugarten Prize (Research), University of Chicago, 2011
  • Research Travel Grant (Orin Williams Fund), University of Chicago, 2011
  • Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, 2009-2010
  • NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, 2009-2010
  • Lemelson Fellowship, Society for Psychological Anthropology, 2008
  • Century Doctoral Fellowship, University of Chicago, 2005-2009
  • Title IV FLAS summer language fellowship (Guatemala), University of Chicago, 2006
  • Claire Garber Goodman Grant for Anthropological Research, Dartmouth College, 2002


  • Berman, Elise 2014 Negotiating Age: Direct Speech and the Sociolinguistic Production of Childhood in the Marshall Islands. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. 24(2).
  • Berman, Elise 2014 Holding on: Adoption, Kinship Tensions, and Pregnancy in the Marshall Islands. American Anthropologist. 116(3).
  • Berman, Elise 2013 Passive First-Person Recordings: A New Way to Study Children. Anthropology of Childhood and Youth Interest Group (ACYIG) Newsletter, February 15.
  • Berman, Elise 2011 The Irony of Immaturity: K’iche’ Children as Mediators and Buffers in Adult Social Interactions. Childhood 18(2):274-288.
  • Berman, Elise 2009 Voices of Outreach: The Construction of Identity and Maintenance of Social Ties among Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 48(1):69-85.


  • Berman, Elise 2016 Aged Culture. Life Course Blog. Life Course Collaborative Research Network, February 8. https://anthropologyandgerontology.com/aged-culture/ http://clas-pages.uncc.edu/elise-berman/

Coral Wayland

PROFILE: Dr. Coral Wayland is an Associate Dean in the Office of Undergraduate Education at UNC Charlotte. She specializes in medical anthropology and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She has worked in Brazil and Charlotte. Her early research looked the politics of medicinal plant use in the urban Amazon. It also explored contested understandings of primary health care in Brazil. Her more recent research explores team based learning in large undergraduate classes. One research project examines the ways that gender and race shape the peer evaluation process. Another documents the effectiveness of team based learning for different groups of students.

Wayland Curriculum Vitae


  • PhD, University of Pittsburgh – Department of Anthropology, 1998
  • Certificate in Latin American Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 1997
  • B.A. in Anthropology with a Certificate Minor in Environmental Studies, University of Florida, 1990


  • Introduction to Anthropology
  • Western Cultural and Historical Awareness (Epidemics in History)
  • World Population Problems
  • Women in Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • Culture, Health and Disease
  • Food, Nutrition and Culture
  • Ethnographic Methods
  • Culture, Pregnancy and Birth
  • Theoretical Approaches to Gender


  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Race and Gender


  • Junior Faculty Summer Fellowship Grant, UNCC, 1999
    Inter-American Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Grant, 1996
  • Wenner Gren Doctoral Dissertation Grant, 1996
  • National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, 1995-1996
  • Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research, 1995
  • Foreign Language Areas Studies Fellowship, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 1994
  • Summer Research Grant, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 1994
  • Tinker Summer Research Award, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 1991


  • Bates, Tonya, Tuan Cao and Coral Wayland 2015 “Methods to Help Students Create Original Work”, in Students’ Pathway to Success: A Faculty Guide. UNC Charlotte: Charlotte, NC.
  • Wayland, Coral and Lisa Slattery Walker 2014 Length of Residence, Age and Patterns of Medicinal Plant Knowledge and Use among Women in the Urban Amazon. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 10:25 doi:10.1186/1746-4269-10-25
  • Wayland, Coral 2011 Home Remedies and Child Health in the Urban Periphery of Rio Branco (ACRE, Brazil). In Etnobotânica e Botânica Econômica do Acre. Amauri Siviero, Lin Chau Ming, Marcos Silveira, Douglas Daly, and Richard Wallace, eds. Rio Branco, Brazil: Universidade Federal do Acre.
  • Wayland, Coral 2004 Infant Agency and its Implications for Breastfeeding Promotion in Brazil. Human Organization 63(3):277-288.
  • Wayland, Coral 2004 The Failure of Pharmaceuticals and the Power of Plants: Medicinal Discourse as a Critique of Modernity in the Amazon. Social Science and Medicine 58(12):2409-2419.
  • Wayland, Coral 2003 Contextualizing the Politics of Knowledge: Physicians’ Attitudes toward Medicinal Plants. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 17(4):483-501.
  • Coral Wayland and Jerome Crowder 2002 Disparate Views of Community in PHC: How Perceptions Influence Success. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 16(2):230-247.
  • Wayland, Coral 2001 Gendering Local Knowledge: Medicinal Plant Use and Primary Health Care in the Amazon. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 15(2):25-42. http://clas-pages.uncc.edu/coral-wayland

Gregory Starrett


Gregory Starrett is Professor of Anthropology in the College of Humanities & Earth and Social Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has conducted field research in Egypt and the United States on the cultural politics of Islamic education and popular culture, and he teaches courses on religion, the Middle East, the history of anthropology, and the development of anthropological theory. He has served as the editor of the Middle East Studies Association’s journal Review of Middle East Studies, and as the President of the Faculty at UNC Charlotte. His research has appeared in some of anthropology’s most important journals, including American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist, Cultural Anthropology, and the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

EDUCATION: Ph.D. From: Stanford University Specialty: Anthropology of Religion, Anthropological Theory, History of Anthropology, Middle East.