UNM professor wins national anthropology award

Screen Shot 2017-02-05 at 3.15.21 PMUNM Assistant Professor of Anthropology Siobhán Mattison won a New Investigator award from the Evolutionary Anthropology Section of the American Anthropological Association after she presented at an American Anthropological Association conference.

Mattison was awarded for her research in 2015 on the preference of having a son or a daughter among the Mosuo, an ethnic minority group in Southwestern China. Specifically, Mattison wanted to see if the gender of existing children changed the likelihood of having more children.

“I am grateful and humbled to be recognized by the Evolutionary Anthropology Society with this award,” Mattison said. “There has never been a more important time to spotlight issues related to son and daughter preference and the award has helped to promote our work in this area.”

Through her research, Mattison discovered that most families seemed to prefer one daughter and one son.

After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Cornell in 2003, Mattison received a Master’s and Doctorate degree in Anthropology in 2007 and 2010 before becoming an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico in 2015.

“I don’t think there is a better place to be an anthropologist than at UNM,” Mattison said. “I am fortunate to be surrounded by pioneering colleagues who have supported my research and teaching.”

With the support of her UNM colleagues, Mattison has started National Science Foundation funded research in China that aims to understand how economic developments affect the health and wealth of individuals. The NSF and UNM have also provided support for a new project being spearheaded by Mattison where she was able to mentor a student in Vanuatu as he did socio-demographic fieldwork.

Mattison also was a 2016 UNM Women in STEM award winner. She received funding in part to produce a workshop on campus.

“I am especially grateful for the award I received from the Advance (at UNM) team,” Mattison said.

“We are using it to host a workshop that will bring together world experts in the anthropology of kinship to understand how women obtain and maintain central positions within their families.