Alyssa Crittenden and William Dressler Honored with the 2021 Conrad M. Arensberg award - Connect with AAA
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A photo of the 2018 AAA Executive Board.
A photo of the 2018 AAA Executive Board.

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Alyssa Crittenden and William Dressler Honored with the 2021 Conrad M. Arensberg award

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Alyssa Crittenden and William Dressler have been selected as co-recipients of the 2021 Conrad M. Arensberg award. This honor recognizes individuals who have furthered anthropology as a natural science.  

Alyssa Crittenden’s research combines methods of evolutionary anthropology, human behavioral ecology, and cultural anthropology to address fundamental questions about relationships between human behavior and environment – ecological, political, and social. Specifically, her work on the diets of Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania has transformed our understandings of human reproduction, growth and development, child and maternal health, family formation, and cooperative breeding. Crittenden’s work was the first to sequence the gut microbiome of a non-industrialized small-scale population, and she has pioneered non-invasive methods for measuring oral health.   

William Dressler’s work is focused on understanding the links between culture, the individual, and health outcomes. He is perhaps best known for his theory of cultural consonance, arguably one of the most important biocultural theories of the last several decades. Dressler’s theory provides researchers with a methodology to understand behaviors in the context of culture while measuring the degree that individuals, in their own beliefs and behaviors, approximate the values held by their cultural community. Cultural consonance has revolutionized medical anthropological thinking by allowing researchers to understand how culture, and one’s positionality within a “web” of meaning, directly impacts health outcomes. 



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