Student Awards in Sociology and Anthropology

Horton Award for Best Anthropology Essay

The Department offers an award for the best anthropology essay. Since 2014, we have been very pleased to be able to offer two (2) awards of $500 for the best essay on an anthropological topic.  In order to apply, students must be an undergraduate student majoring in Anthropology.  Please see the award flyer for more information.


2015 Award Winners

Samantha Harvey

She’s a Bitch, but she’s Bae: What Language Reveals about the Perception of Female Marshall Students

This project investigates referent terms and their implications based on linguistic and feminist theory. Feminist-linguistic theory combined with linguistic relativity theory helps inform the analysis of the qualitative data provided through focus group sessions and participant e-journals. Data from the 2015 Capstone Survey reveals the usage of thirty-five terms in regards to several other variable providing a sample of Marshall University as a whole. The combination of the qualitative data with the quantitative survey data aides in informing the researchers of the use of female reference term and how men and women construct conversations around referent terms. (Co-investigator: Jake Farley)

Jordan Lambert

The Interaction Between Culture and Technology in the U.S. and Japan

This study investigates the way U.S. and Japanese culture impacts use, interactions with, and perception of digital technologies among undergraduates at two universities, particularly in relation to social media and other online communication. Using mixed methods, data was gathered about participants’ attitudes toward technology, which were then reviewed as an effect of cultural values as described in Hofstede’s cultural model. Results indicate a relationship between high levels of collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term orientation, such as found in Japan, and decreased comfort with one’s online presence and the adoption of new tools. Of these, uncertainty avoidance was found to be particularly impactful in moderating one’s perception of and adaptation to technology.


2014 Award Winners

Kevin Morris

Minimalist Running: Is Less More?

Barefooted and minimalist runners make up a subculture within running. This subculture was formed as a reaction against the status quo of traditional running shoes which had been marketed and sold as a mechanism to prevent and reduce injuries. However, a significant amount of literature was published suggesting that a root cause of the numerous injuries runners received was due to the traditional running shoe. Some of the literature suggested that if people ran barefooted/ minimalist they would receive fewer injuries. To see if barefooted/minimalist runners have sustained fewer injuries than traditionalist runners, this study surveyed local runners of both running groups and analyzed the results. Next this study looked at the barefooted/ minimalist subculture and analyzed what other practices are done to reduce injuries. Surveys, interviews, and participant observation were utilized to collect data on runners from Huntington and Charleston, West Virginia. The study contributes to the data on running injuries, specifically injuries of barefooted/ minimalist runners and what is done by the barefooted/ minimalist subculture to prevent injuries in an overall attempt to help all runners reduce their number of injuries.

Martina Wilkinson

Doceology: A New Ethnographic Approach

This paper attempts to create a new approach to doing ethnographic work, titled doceology. The approach is similar to participant-observation, except that the authority to ask questions would be on the group under study, rather than the ethnographer. Participants would set-up a school environment and decide what they deem is most important to teach the ethnographer. This would allow the ethnographer to understand exactly what a culture believes is important and worthy of passing down through the generations.


Steve Winn Memorial Scholarship

The Steve Winn Memorial Scholarship states that “the recipient shall be a full time undergraduate or graduate student majoring in Sociology who has done outstanding work in the areas of sociological theory and social stratification.”  This scholarship is intended to support outstanding students in these areas while honoring the life and work of Dr. Stephen Winn who died tragically while on sabbatical in French Guiana on March 5, 1995.

Bibliographical Sketch

Dr. Stephen (‘Steve’) Winn was born on September 22, 1947, in the shadow of Mont Shasta, in Redding, northern California.  He earned his B.A. in 1969 and M.A. in 1971, both from the University of Chico.  His doctorate in Sociology was granted by Washington State University in 1976.  Steve also studied at the University of Bari, in Italy, the London School of Economics, the University of Lund and Stockholm University in Sweden, and in various French institutions, including the Sorbonne.  Dr. Winn was particularly interested in the relationship between class status and voting behavior.  His dissertation research examined electoral support for George Wallace in the years 1964-1972.  He later turned his attention to an examination of similar questions in Sweden and France where he spent considerable time doing research.

Steve was a strong advocate of proportional representation (PR) in elections, having studied the voting behavior in some American cities where PR had once been used.  The data he collected indicated that PR results in higher levels of political participation, greater representation for labor and minority groups, and greater governmental efficiency on the municipal level.  He was convinced that the political right and centrist defenders of the status-quo had no real desire to attain such democratic goals.  It was just this skepticism grounded in empirical research, coupled with a love for what democracy could be, that made Dr. Winn a much sought after and inspiring teacher.

Dr. Winn was the recipient of a number of Faculty Development grants from Marshall University and of a National Endowment for the Humanities Stipend in 1978.  His research was further supported by generous financial grants from the Institute for Social Research (Stockholm University), and from various French institutions, including the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, the Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, and the Centre Universitaire de Recherches Sociologiques d’Amiens.