Anthropology Professor Receives Prestigious Book Award

Robbie Ethridge

Robbie Ethridge. UM photo by Kevin Bain.

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi professor of anthropology has received the prestigious Mooney Award from the Southern Anthropological Society.

The society honored Robbie Ethridge for her book “From Chicaza to Chickasaw: The European Invasion and the Transformation of the Mississippian World, 1540-1715” (University of North Carolina Press, 2010). Using a new interpretive framework that Ethridge calls the “Mississippian shatter zone” to explicate these tumultuous times, “From Chicaza to Chickasaw” examines the European invasion and the collapse of the precontact Mississippian world and the restructuring of discrete chiefdoms into coalescent native societies in a colonial world.“I was absolutely thrilled to hear that I won,” Ethridge said. “Over the years, Mooney Award-winning books have profoundly shaped my intellectual life and scholarship, so to be included among this list of books was quite an honor.”

The purpose of the James Mooney Award is to recognize and thereby encourage distinguished anthropological scholarship on the South and Southerners. Presented annually, the award includes a $500 cash prize and certificate of recognition.

“Dr. Ethridge’s scholarship on Southeastern Indian groups is nationally and internationally recognized,” said Kirsten Dellinger, chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. “The Mooney award for her most recent book further confirms her continuing contributions to this field. We are so fortunate to have her as a member of the faculty at the University of Mississippi and we congratulate her on this well-deserved and distinguished honor.”

Ethridge’s areas of expertise are historical anthropology and environmental anthropology, with an area focus on the Indians of the Southern United States.

“I have been interested in American Indians for most of my life, but I did not discover anthropology until my freshman undergraduate year,” Ethridge said. “From that moment, I have been devoted to the study of American Indians and other indigenous people, and especially to the study of their colonial experiences.”

Ethridge was pleased that her work has been recognized.

“We often feel that we labor in obscurity or that only a select few professionals read our work, and it is good to know that what we do circulates to a wider audience,” she said.

Ethridge received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in anthropology from the University of Georgia and has taught at UM since 1997. She has co-edited three collections of essays and two monographs and is co-editor-in-chief of Native South, a journal launched in 2008 by the University of Nebraska Press.

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