Local News: Cold Anthropology Lesson Begins in Autumn Semester (4/15/22)

Anthropology students learn about human osteology with fake bones. According to anthropology professor Jennifer Bengston, understanding the location and structure of bones is an important part of forensic anthropology research.

Photo by Jennifer Bangston

Southeast will introduce a new class of online anthropology in the fall called AN355 Cold State Anthropology. During an online class, a full semester, students learn the basics of forensic anthropology while learning methods and techniques for collecting data on cold cases.

In the course, students will learn how to identify the body of a skeletonized person and investigate cases of missing long-term individuals. Students also learn about the prospects of social justice and how the media contributes to litigation. They will also create a draft final report of the case, focusing on a specific case of their choice.

Cold weather is attracting the attention of many around the world. Students enrolled in this course will be introduced to the nearest procedures for identifying the bodies of missing persons.

The class is a special course on a subject taught by Associate Professor of History and Anthropology Jennifer Bengtson. Bengston took an interest in the Southeast Facebook page on Facebook before the fall registration. She said the class will be full in a few days.

“I know we have some psychology students in the class, some criminal justice students and some journalism students, even and I think all of these subjects contribute to this cold world in their own unique ways,” Bangston said. “I’m really interested in working with students from other majors to see how other students feel about the same cases.”

Bengston is building a course at Canvas and will continue it throughout the summer.

Participating students can work at their own pace and adapt their learning experience due to the variety of majors among enrolled students.

Bengston plans to have different modules for different levels of student knowledge in the course.

Alex Meyer is a senior student of advanced anthropology who hopes to become a forensic anthropologist. They have taken many courses with Bengston in previous semesters and want to work with students of other majors in a collaborative effort.

“As a high-level anthropology student with an interest in criminology and bio-anthropology, I am interested in working in cold cases on forensic science,” Mayer said. “In fact, cold cases aren’t solved because there isn’t enough time, resources or funding for them and it leaves them sitting on the shelves.”

Bangston said he hopes the new class will succeed and be included in the future anthropology curriculum, but with a different course number.

Dominica Bowles is a dual student in criminal justice and psychology. Bowles has always been interested in cold situations and wanted to expand his knowledge on the subject. Bowles ’goal is to become a forensic detective, and he believes the anthropological background will be useful in achieving this.

“I love to dive deeper into cases when trying to figure out information about cold situations or mysteries,” Bowles said. “I really hope the class will help me understand more people about reviewing cases and learning the responses and responses to such cases.”

Bangston said he is also interested in setting up a cool club and leading it as a faculty advisor. To start the club, she said, they first need a group of motivated and enthusiastic students.

For more information on anthropology-specific courses, visit CoursesSEMO and head to AN355.

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