Sunday, November 15, 2020

Above Ground Archaeology of Chicago’s Historic Cemeteries

 Speaker: Jane Eva Baxter, PhD
December 6, 2020 • 3:30pm • Zoom!

Dr.  Jane Eva Baxter, Associate Professor of Anthropology at DePaul University in Chicago, will be our featured speaker on Sunday, December 6.

She notes that there are over 200 cemeteries in the City of Chicago and the surrounding areas of Cook County. As she observes, we pass these cemeteries as part of our daily routines, perhaps attend a funeral or memorial event there, or visit out of historical or genealogical interest. We rarely stop to consider these sites as particular cultural institutions with their own unique history. 

This talk will begin by offering a brief overview to the history of American cemeteries as well as giving a bit of background about the origins of cemeteries in and around the city of Chicago.

Dr. Baxter will also be discussing how she approaches cemeteries as archaeological sites in her research: how the same kinds of material analyses conducted on excavated remains by other archaeologists can be applied to the above ground monuments encountered in cemeteries. The talk will conclude with a brief example of her work on the study of children’s burials in two of Chicago’s historic cemeteries (Rosehill and Oak Woods).

Dr. Baxter’s educational background certainly informs this topic.  
She received her BA from Boston University with a dual major in Archaeological Studies and Anthropology, and holds an MA and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Michigan. The dissertation topic for her PhD was An Archaeology of Childhood: Children and Material Culture in 19th Century America.

While archaeology has taken her around the globe, her research interests are centered on historical archaeology in the United States and The Bahamas, where she studies issues of childhood, gender, labor, and identity in the recent past.

Since arriving at DePaul in 2000, Dr. Baxter has written three books, edited three peer-reviewed volumes, authored over 30 peer-reviewed articles, and presented over 70 conference papers as well as writing many technical reports, book reviews, and articles for newsletters and magazines. At DePaul, she has been the recipient of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award and teaches a class on Chicago’s Historic Cemeteries.

Cemeteries have become the next big research project in Dr. Baxter’s research agenda, building on her work that combines an interest in cemeteries and her research on the archaeology of childhood.  Dr. Baxter offers classes in prehistoric and historical archaeology, material culture studies, and archaeological methods. 

“Usually there’s a lively Q and A afterwards, so we’ll make sure there’s time for that, too,” she promises.

Be sure to join us for the lecture beginning at 3:30pm.  Members who would like to spend a little informal time re-creating our traditional “social period” before the lecture are invited to arrive earlier, at 3:15pm.  

Open to the public and free of charge.
Zoom Link:
Topic: Dr. Jane Baxter
Time: Dec 6, 2020 03:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 919 0586 5025
Passcode: 225015
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