The Department of Anthropology is pleased to introduce our new Associate Professor in archaeology and Campus Archaeology Program (CAP) Director, Dr. Stacey Camp. Dr. Camp’s research centers around an interest in how social inequality is manifested and expressed through material culture and the built environment. More specifically, she employs critical race theory to understand how marginalized groups respond to social isolation and discrimination through their consumption patterns. In her first book, The Archaeology of Citizenship, she examined how different marginalized groups, especially migrants, in the United States made claims to nationality and citizenship via material culture. Through this work, she hopes to diversify the stories we tell about the Western U.S., and bring to light elements of its neglected or forgotten past.
In Idaho, Dr. Camp directed a public archaeological repository, where she began to admire CAP’s creative and unique approach to public outreach. Projects such as CAP’s “MSU dinner”, performed in partnership with Campus Culinary Services and MSU Bakers as well as CAP’s partnership with the MSU Paranormal Society to offer historic haunted tours are just some of distinctive styles of public engagement she admired from afar. Dr. Camp appreciates how CAP facilitates interdisciplinary collaborations between archaeologists and the campus community at large while also demonstrating the continued relevance of archaeology to the modern world. In her opinion, one of the most important features about the Campus Archaeology program is that it gives students who can’t attend field schools outside of the state or abroad an opportunity to gain vital archaeological field school experience at a minimal cost and provides students a very unique opportunity to connect with the history literally underneath their feet.
Her love for historical archaeology began after attending a field school in Ireland as an undergraduate with Dr. Charles Orser, Jr. of Illinois State University. Orser emphasized doing archaeology for the public good, which is what attracted her to historical archaeology. Camp ended up returning to Ireland to study the representation of the past and archaeological data at government-run museums and heritage sites in 2001, allowing her passions for ethnography, cultural anthropology, and archaeology to merge.
Growing up in Southern California, Dr. Camp loved studying geology and identifying rocks, an interest that eventually morphed into a love of artifacts and history. Having the opportunity to volunteer at a museum in high school made her decision to pursue Anthropology an easy one. When she’s not at work, she loves hiking, reading and reviewing fiction, and spending time with her two children, husband, and their dog. Before MSU, Dr. Camp was at a small land grant institution in rural Idaho for 9 years so there has been a bit of a welcome adjustment being back around an urban center. She and her family are excited to be at a university with so many resources and events taking place and to be near water and ice rinks again.
Dr. Camp says that the best part of her job is she gets paid to continually learn new information as well as to adapt to the changing needs of students in the classroom. She has taught thirteen different courses over the last 10 years as a professor, and learned much about human behavior, the past, and different cultures through her various course preps. She enjoys the challenge of learning and integrating new technologies and pedagogies into her classes to keep content fresh and relevant to today’s students.
Dr. Stacey Camp’s current research project involves archaeological and archival research on a World War II internment camp in Idaho, the Kooskia Internment Camp, where first generation Japanese migrants were imprisoned as enemy aliens by the United States government. This project uses material culture to examine how these Japanese migrants coped with incarceration. After two field seasons at the Kooskia Internment Camp, she is working on cataloging and analyzing her data, and has hopes to finish the cataloging process this year, which will allow her to publish her findings. The raw (and published) data can be found on www.internmentarchaeology.org.
Currently, she is writing an article on race and public health in World War II internment camps and has a commentary on an edited volume of the journal Historical Archaeology concerning World War II internment coming out next year. Also coming out in the next year is a book chapter on databases in historical archaeology.