The Collegian
Thursday, February 22, 2024

Academic Alcoves photo series: Dr. Nourse's treasures


The Collegian will be publishing a photo series in the last week of classes showcasing various professors' offices around the University of Richmond. This is the fourth installment of seven.

Anthropology professor Jennifer Nourse’s office is practically sprawling with various gifts and keepsakes from all over the world. Initially intending to become a forensic anthropologist, Nourse studied under the renowned anthropologist, Victor Turner.

For her dissertation, Nourse conducted research in Sulawesi, Indonesia, on the local politics, economics and religion. Two special items from her work in Sulawesi sit in her office. On her bookshelf are ironwood sculptures of coconuts from the villagers she worked with. The wood has since been completely cut down by the Japanese forestry department. 

Next to an assortment of human skulls sits an award that Tadulako University in Sulawesi gave to her for her work in educating local students. The award has a banyan tree on it, which is a holy tree that symbolizes the commonality of all people.

Nourse also has a passion for women’s health and women’s rights, as evidenced by other objects in her office. A picture of the Hagia Sophia in Turkey, a country historically known for its recognition of women’s rights, hangs on her wall. A wooden figure given to her by a Ghanaian student, which was traditionally held by local women during childbirth, stands on top of the bookshelf.

She also owns a set of wooden camels gifted to her by a Jordanian anthropologist and women's rights activist who gave a guest lecture on campus.

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