Anthropology-Sociology Students Present Research at Conference

May 15, 2013

Eva Marley '13 and Megan Beney '13

by Laura Pochodylo '14

Two Knox College anthropology and sociology students, seniors Megan Beney and Eva Marley, recently presented their research at the Central States Anthropology Society (CSAS) conference in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo above: Eva Marley, at left, and Megan Beney at the conference.)

While this was the first time either student has made a presentation to an external audience, each of them participated earlier this year in Knox's research showcase, Horizons: A Celebration of Student Inquiry, Imagination and Creativity.

"I think [Horizons] provided an excellent opportunity to rehearse and refine my presentation before heading to the conference," Marley said.Eva Marley '13

Marley, who is from Madison, Wisconsin, conducted research on the role that social media sites like Twitter and Facebook play in the organization, mobilization, and dissemination of information in modern social movements. She is looking specifically at how these mediums involve young adults in movements like Occupy Wall Street and the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill protests.

"Overall, young adults play a really pivotal role in determining how these movements shape our political, economic, and cultural discussions and how we view what's going on in our world today," Marley said.

The musical nature of the way people talk to infants in the focus of Beney's research. Beney, who is from Florissant, Missouri, is a double major in anthropology and sociology and music, and she combined her two fields to explore the musical qualities of infant-directed speech.

Megan Beney '13"I am looking at the way prosodic intentionality, which is whether a speaker is trying to convey a certain type of emotion or produce a certain type of behavior from the listener, is musically constructed," Beney said.

Both Beney and Marley prepared their presentations with Knox faculty members Nancy Eberhardt, professor and chair of anthropology and sociology, and Jon Wagner, professor of anthropology.

"[They] were extremely helpful in getting me acquainted with the conference atmosphere and procedure," Marley said.

More than 100 presenters, both undergraduate and graduate students, shared their work at the CSAS conference. Beney and Marley fielded questions about their research from attendees after their presentations.

"It went really well," Beney said. "People asked some good questions, even some that challenged my research."

"I was pleasantly surprised at just how supportive the other conference attendees were," Marley said. "During question-and-answer sessions, the focus was always on brainstorming new ideas and approaches to methodology, rather than critiquing or breaking down presenters' overall research. That camaraderie and continued encouragement and enthusiasm was reciprocated throughout the entire conference, which was really reassuring."