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Welcoming New Faculty, Staff, and Postdocs

Karim Alizadeh received his PhD in anthropology from Harvard University. He is an anthropological archaeologist who uses excavation and survey, geographic information system methods, and texts as tools for recovering human experiences in the past. He focuses his research on the rise of complex societies in the southwest Asian highlands, particularly the Caucasus; the formation and collapse of ancient empires; the integration of the imperial heartland with dependent provinces; and the effects of imperial rule on both these elements. Karim directed survey and excavations at an Early Bronze Age site, Köhne Shahar, in northwestern Iran (Iranian Azerbaijan). This project investigates the rise of social inequality, craft production and specialization, and the development of social complexity at the site. His academic interests also include landscape archaeology; heritage and nationalism; ethnicity; borderlands/political borders; and forced migration.

Alemayehu Jorgo is a graduate of Martin Luther University, Halle/Saale, Germany, majoring in sociocultural anthropology. His PhD focuses on understanding the structuration of the Gadaa system (a UNESCO-registered world heritage), an indigenous democratic institution of the Oromo of East Africa. He joined the department in the fall of 2022 as a lecturer in cultural anthropology. Previously he was a lecturer of social anthropology at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, and a lecturer of sociology at Jimma University, Ethiopia. Besides teaching, he has a passion for research. He has conducted multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork among a pastoralist society, an agriculturalist society, and a hunter-gatherer society with a population of about a thousand people. His research interests include indigenous institutions, the Ethiopian diaspora, the Gadaa system, indigenous democracy, pastoralism, ethnicity and nationalism, oral history, identity politics, and political and legal anthropology.

Ehsan Lor Afshar is a cultural anthropologist working on international borders and informal economy. His research explores the impact of economic sanctions on local economies in Baluchistan, southeastern Iran. Ehsan has earned an MA in anthropology at the University of Tehran in 2002 and another at the New School, New York in 2014.  He received a PhD in anthropology from Binghamton University, State University of New York in 2022. In 2017 the Wenner-Gren Foundation awarded him the Wadsworth International Fellowship. The National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation supported his dissertation fieldwork. Ehsan served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Iranian Society of Anthropology. He has authored several peer-reviewed journals in Persian and English and has taught anthropology in Iran and the US. 

Amanda Williams is a new lecturer in biological anthropology and forensic sciences with the Anthropology department. She received her BA in anthropology and sociology from UT in 2010, and her MA (2013) and PhD (2020) in biological anthropology from the University of Montana. Amanda has an extensive background in cultural resource management, where she has previously served as an osteological consultant for several firms and federal agencies in Nevada and California. Her primary research interests include forensic anthropology, taphonomy, and burned human remains. 

Lucia Elgerud is a UT Graduate School SEC Emerging Scholar’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology. She received her PhD from the UT Department of Anthropology in 2022 with a specialization in biological anthropology. She is engaged in casework and research through the Forensic Anthropology Center and teaches in the department. Lucia uses a community-engaged approach in forensic anthropology within a human rights framework. She has worked with mass grave exhumations in Somaliland in the horn of Africa, and in her dissertation research she engaged with families of the dead through ethnographic methods. Her research focused on understanding family needs as related to the recovery of those who were killed during the 1980s Siad Barre regime. 

Terrie Yeatts is an accounting coordinator in the Department of Anthropology, where she assists faculty and graduate students with grant development and submissions. She has worked for UT for more than 20 years. Before transferring to anthropology in August 2022, she held an administrative coordinator position in Genome Science & Technology (GST) responsible for the department’s finances as well as the academics. Terrie is a native of Knoxville and earned her BFA at UT in 2006. In her leisure time, she loves to paint and enjoys traveling, knitting and spending time with family.