The Department of Anthropology is pleased to announce that Associate Professor and the Director of the MSU Campus Archaeology Program, Dr. Stacey Camp is our new Graduate Program Director. Dr. Camp sees this as an excellent opportunity to get to know incoming students and help graduate students navigate their academic programs. Dr. Camp has been in administrative roles since 2013. She enjoys solving problems and finding solutions for her colleagues, staff, and students and the opportunity to promote what her students and colleagues are doing to the wider university audience.
Dr. Camp joined MSU as an associate professor of anthropology in 2017, but she was already familiar with the department before being hired. She was a visiting National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fellow at MSU in the summers of 2015 and 2016. During those two summers, she got to know Dr. Ethan Watrall and Dr. Lynne Goldstein, who were directing the NEH institute on digital archaeology that she was attending. One of Dr. Camp’s favorite things about the anthropology department is the great staff who care deeply about our students and faculty. She says, “we are really lucky to have them on our team.” She also appreciates the collegiality and sense that everyone works together for a common purpose. She said, “Everyone has been so kind to me since coming here.”
Before coming to MSU, Dr. Camp spent nine years as a faculty member, administrator, and director of a federal archaeological repository at the University of Idaho. She says, “Moving from rural Idaho to suburban East Lansing was definitely a big cultural shift, but my MSU colleagues made the transition easier for my family.” In Idaho, she worked in a department comprised of multiple academic fields – criminology, sociology, and anthropology. She says, “there were not a lot of anthropologists in my department. At MSU, I really appreciate being in a large anthropology department with anthropologists from all sub-disciplines in a college dedicated to the social sciences.”
Dr. Camp first learned about anthropology in high school while volunteering at a museum. She says, “I really enjoyed working with the public, so I took anthropology courses my first semester at Occidental College (“Oxy”) in Los Angeles. I was immediately hooked”. She lovingly remembers her fantastic professors and mentors at Oxy, including Dr. Elizabeth Chin (now editor-in-chief of American Anthropologist), Dr. Robin Sewell, and Dr. Jeff Tobin. While at Oxy, she attended her first archaeological field school in Ireland, directed by Illinois State University’s Dr. Charles E. Orser. She says, “I was fascinated by his community-based approach to archaeology, which is why I decided to pursue the sub-discipline of historical archaeology.”
Dr. Camp’s archaeological research explores what citizenship and national belonging mean to communities who have been actively denied and/or dispossessed of legal and/or cultural citizenship. She looks at how these communities respond to exclusion and racism through archaeology. “Archaeology can reveal what people consumed in the past, such as what they ate or purchased. Historically dispossessed or disenfranchised communities have used consumerism to claim citizenship and national identity,” says Dr. Camp. Dr. Camp’s research has also investigated the politics of the past and what it means to preserve, curate, and present artifacts. Early in her career, she studied how government-run museums in Ireland privileged the country’s prehistory to the neglect of more contested, difficult histories, such as the Great Famine and British colonization. She continues to write about the silences and absences in museums and history books. She has a book chapter coming out next year that reviews an exhibit on civil rights and racism in American history at The Henry Ford.
Outside of academia, Dr. Camp loves spending time outdoors, hiking, cross-country skiing, kayaking, and skiing here in Michigan with her husband and two children. She said, “I was a figure skater for most of my young life and coached on the side for many years up until moving to Michigan. I still figure-skate over at the Munn Ice Arena on the weekends”.
On the horizon, Dr. Camp is working on a collaborative project that explores the materiality and artwork of the COVID-19 pandemic that involves two archaeologists besides her and a cultural anthropologist. They recently published in the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology last year an article titled “Private Struggles in Public Spaces: Documenting COVID-19 Material Culture and Landscapes”. The team is currently working on two articles related to this project. One examines what it means to curate and preserve materiality associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the other looks at how archaeological and ethnographic methods shifted to accommodate the ephemeral nature of materiality and artwork displayed during the COVID-19 pandemic.