UMass Amherst Anthropologist Named Distinguished Visiting Professor at Canadian University

AMHERST, Mass. - University of Massachusetts anthropology professor Alan Swedlund traveled to McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, during January as a Hooker Distinguished Visiting Professor. Swedlund was nominated by the department of anthropology at McMaster this past year and selected by a university-wide committee at McMaster. His professorship was co-sponsored by the McMaster departments of anthropology, economics, and labor studies. The award is named after the late Dr. Harry Lyman Hooker, who endowed the professorship fund and a university scholarship fund at McMaster.

From January 18 to 25, Swedlund participated in a number of campus activities which included offering seminars for graduate students, attending an undergraduate student conference, and providing two public lectures. The main focus of Swedlund’s presentations was his research on the history and epidemiology of mortality transitions in the U.S. in the 19th century.

Current research includes a collaboration with UMass sociology professor Douglas Anderton, director of the Social and Demographic Research Institute (SADRI), and graduate students Susan Hautaniemi (anthropology) and Alison Donta (public health). This collaborative research has concentrated on mortality in the cities of Northampton and Holyoke during periods of rapid commercialization and industrialization of the regional economy. In his public lectures, Swedlund addressed "Failure to Thrive: Social and Epidemiological Representations of Infant Mortality in Nineteenth Century North America."

Swedlund has been a professor at the University since 1973. He has received numerous grants from professional agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, among others. He is a past chair of the advisory council of the Wenner-Gren Foundation and a past chair of the department of anthropology at UMass.