In the next four Student Spotlight Series, we’ll meet the Museum’s 2018 cohort of students earning their Ph.D. in archaeology.
Hannah Hoover joins us from Tulane University, where she received a bachelor’s degree with a double major in anthropology and classics. Though she’s new to the U-M campus, she has been part of the Exploring Joara Project since 2015, working at the Berry site under the co-direction of Robin Beck, associate professor and curator of North America archaeology at the Museum.
Hoover brings with her conceptual and methodological expertise. Much like the research at the Berry site, her thesis on sixteenth-century Spanish forts centered on how indigenous communities experienced colonialism and how they constructed their landscapes in the face of culture change. This involved not only archaeological data, but also a thorough examination of historic records from the period. Outside her work in the American Southeast, she spent last summer as a field surveyor with the Contrada Agnese Project at the Morgantina site in Aidone, Sicily, where she worked alongside two students from the University of Michigan’s Interdepartmental Program in Classical Art and Archaeology program (IPCAA).
Both the American Southeast and the Mediterranean preserve a unique record of colonialism, whether by early Spanish explorers or Bronze Age Greeks. This is where Hoover sees her research heading, both geographically and conceptually. She plans to work at sites of culture contact and colonialism, investigating the frontiers and barriers that result from these processes. In her own words, she is most interested in “how people memorialize these big moments in the community, and how they choose to continue certain practices or change [others] based off of these new encounters… and the identities they’re choosing to hold on to and really fight for. I think there is a lot of relevance for that today, as well.”
After almost a semester on campus, Hoover says her favorite part of being at UMMAA is how intellectually provoking the classes are and the breadth of materials she is expected to learn. She also enjoys the historical qualities of UMMAA and the collaborative environment among graduate students.