Posted on Nov 23, 2004

Prof. Sharon Gmelch lectures as an albino wallabee comes in for a look

Visitors to the second-floor
Social Sciences Gallery can get a feel for Tasmania, through the eyes of students and
faculty who did a field study term abroad there last winter.

Photographs from the anthropology term
will be on display through March 18.

After about 10 days traveling
through New South Wales and Victoria,
the group made the 15-hour ferry crossing of the Bass Straits from Melbourne to Tasmania.
Soon after, each student moved into the home of a Tasmanian family in
communities near the capital of Hobart.

Kyla Rudnick at the Pennyroyal cattle ranch, Tasmania

During the term, students learned
anthropological research techniques while studying the ecology and culture of Tasmania. Each student
also carried out an independent research project with topics ranging from the
political controversy over aboriginal history to artists who have chosen an
alternative lifestyle known as “voluntary downward mobility.”

Students were Chris Berk, Mike
Carey, Rose Chowallur, Morgan Gmelch, Cara Kantrowitz, Andrew McCord, Chris
Neal, Mike Pascucci, Kaitlyn Richards, Kyla Rudnick and Sarah Tidman. The term
was co-directed by George Gmelch and Sharon Gmelch, with the assistance of
fellow anthropologist Richard K. Nelson.

only island state, was home to an aboriginal population of about 4,000 in 1803
when British colonization began and it was used as a penal colony. By the
mid-1800's, Tasmania's
aboriginal population had been wiped out. Today, 477,000 people have an economy
based on agriculture, mining, logging, fishing, shipbuilding and tourism.