Sonya Atalay :: Faculty
|Assistant Professor, Anthropology
Assistant Adjunct Professor, American Studies
Adjunct Professor, Central Eurasian Studies Department
Office: Student Building 052
Phone: (812) 856-2638
EducationPh.D. in Anthropology, University of California-Berkeley (2003)
M.A. in Anthropology, University of California-Berkeley (1998)
B.A. in Anthropology and Classical Archaeology, University of Michigan (1991)
- Indigenous and community archaeology
- Postcolonial/decolonizing research
- Collaborative methodologies
- Clay/ceramics analysis
- Anthropology of food and cooking
- Comparative ethics
- Cultural and intellectual property
I am an archaeologist with active fieldwork projects in the Middle East and the Great Lakes region of the U.S. My research has two primary aspects. The first relates to Indigenous archaeology - particularly the use of community-based participatory research designs, Indigenous forms of heritage management and stewardship, and the ethics of community and public collaboration. I view Indigenous archaeology as being solidly grounded within a community-based research methodology, and my work in this area involves development of a participatory research program at the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük, Turkey and collaborative research with Anishinaabek communities in the Great Lakes region of North America. In both these projects I am primarily concerned with investigating the application of participatory research methods in the fields of archaeology and heritage management.
The second involves clay and ceramic analysis and an interest in foodways and cooking technologies. My current research in this area involves analysis of several thousand clay objects excavated at the 9,000 year-old Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük, Turkey. This work brings together my interests in household archaeology, ceramic analysis, pyrotechnology, and food preparation. As the clay object specialist at Çatalhöyük I have been investigating the production and use of clay cooking devices such as clay balls, hearths, and ovens through both laboratory analysis and excavation, as well as using a series of experimental and ethno-archaeology investigations. I am particularly interested in the way food was prepared and the role of pyrotechnology and clay-working skills during early plant and animal domestication at Çatalhöyük, and more generally in the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods throughout the Middle East.
Courses Recently Taught
- Goddesses, Bulls and Mounds: Archaeology of the Middle East
- Community Based Research Methods
- Archaeology Graduate Proseminar
Atalay, Sonya and C. Hastorf. 2006. "Food, Meals, and Daily Activities: The Habitus of Food Practices at Neolithic, Çatalhöyük" American Antiquity 71(2): 283-319.
Atalay, Sonya. 2005. "Domesticating Clay: the Role of Clay Balls, Mini Balls, and Geometric Objects in Daily Life at Çatalhöyük." In Changing Materialities at Çatalhöyük: reports from the 1995-99 seasons. Ian Hodder (ed.), Chapter 6, p. 139-168. Çatalhöyük Project Volume 5. McDonald Institute Monographs/British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara.
Atalay, Sonya and Christine Hastorf. 2005. "Foodways at Çatalhöyük." In Çatalhöyük Perspectives: themes from the 1995-99 seasons. Ian Hodder (ed.), Chapter 8, p.109-124. Çatalhöyük Project Volume 6. McDonald Institute Monographs/British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara.