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CCU anthropology and geography professor and chair Carolyn Dillian, Ph.D., earns 2020 HTC Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Lecture Award

January 21, 2020

Coastal Carolina University anthropology and geography professor and department chair Carolyn Dillian, Ph.D., has earned the 2020 HTC Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Lecture Award in recognition of her student mentoring, passionate and dedicated teaching practices, and intensive local and international scholarly research. Dillian's lecture is scheduled for April 6 at 7 p.m. in Johnson Auditorium, located in the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration building.

Dillian joined CCU nearly a decade ago, beginning as an assistant professor of anthropology in the Department of History in 2010. In collaboration with her colleagues, Dillian established the Department of Anthropology and Geography in 2014, and launched the program's major in 2016. Dillian earned a B.A. and M.S. from the University of Pennsylvania in anthropology, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. Since joining CCU, Dillian published two edited books and also published nearly 20 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, many resulting from projects that involved her students in research and field work.

She has presented at numerous conferences including three annual meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, and an international conference co-sponsored by the University of Aegean and the International Association for Obsidian Studies in Melos, Greece. She has earned many prestigious awards, and most recently won an exhibition award at the Southeastern Museums Conference for "Printing the Past: SC in 3D" in 2019. This same project has also garnered Dillian a 2020 nomination for the Award for Excellence in Public Education. Dillian has directed the Waties Island Archaeological Project that includes an experiential field school for CCU students. Additionally, Dillan conducts the Prehistoric Archaeological Field School, which is a course providing students the opportunity to participate in archaeological excavations. Dillian also teaches courses in prehistory, human evolution, North America and Africa archaeological methods, and culture resource management. Her research includes North American prehistory, hunter-gatherers in East Africa, geochemical characterization of archaeological materials, and trade/exchange.

"Dr. Dillian is actively pursuing her scholarship and she brings her research back into the classroom," said Claudia Bornholdt, Ph.D., dean of the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts. "Her students are actively involved in her research projects, in field schools, and in conference presentations and scholarly publications. Her scholarship informs her teaching and vice versa."

As the 2020 HTC Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Lecturer, made possible through a generous donation from HTC, Dillian will present a public lecture on her recent research titled, "Misadventures in Archeology: Charles Conrad Abbott and the Evolution of a Discipline." She will examine the life and career of Charles Conrad Abbott across the transition in archaeology from an amateur hobby to professional science through the lens of debate about human evolution in the 19th century. Dillian said her lecture will pull together various strands of knowledge and research from the late 19th century about the origins of humans in the New World. Throughout the late 1800s, debates erupted about the credibility of Abbott's work due to contradictory beliefs from William Henry Holmes.

"Abbott was a prolific writer, leaving behind personal diaries covering much of his adult life, as well as extensive correspondence and published works that document the rise and fall of his career. Abbott's story is one of a developing understanding of human evolution and the professionalization of a discipline," said Dillian. "This presentation will touch on these elements of the Abbott’s work and provide a unique insight into the life and legacy of a publicly discredited 19th century archaeologist.”

Recent HTC Distinguished Teacher Scholar Lecturers include Eliza Glaze, Ph.D. (history 2019); Jen Boyle, Ph.D. (English, 2018); John Hutchens, Ph.D. (biology, 2017); Rob Young, Ph.D. (marine science, 2016); Pamela Martin, Ph.D. (politics, 2015); and Terry Pettijohn II, Ph.D. (psychology, 2014). The honor has been awarded annually since 1996.