Fiona Jensen-Hitch

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20182019 Forum on Stuff

Fiona Jensen-Hitch

Chair, Executive Board, Wolf Undergraduate Humanities Forum

Anthropology, English

CAS, 2019

Fiona is a senior from Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is studying Anthropology and English (with a concentration in Creative Writing), and minoring in Archaeological Science. On campus she can usually be found at the Penn Museum, a wonderful building where she spends far too much time. She is also involved in creative and artistic pursuits, as member of Penn Dance Company and Penn V-Day. Her present academic interests largely lie in the various and interdisciplinary applications of anthropology, creative writing, and dance to the relationship between humans and their environment. She is currently working on her anthropology senior thesis (and WUHF project), as well as a senior thesis in Creative Writing. 

Politics, identity, and ethics: an integrated approach to a bioarchaeological collection

The Penn Museum contains a set of unstudied skeletal remains from a site called Gibeon, located near the modern Palestinian village, al-Jib; I analyzed these remains over a year and a half period. My first goal in this project is to use an anthropological lens to discuss how contemporary politics in the Middle East are undeniably connected to interpretations of the past, through identity formation, religion, nationalism, and ethnicity. Second, I explore the excavation and collection of the bones and subsequent history within the Penn Museum; why they were brought here and why they were never analyzed or catalogued, and what evidence of them exists in the Museum Archives. I also aim to understand and discuss how human remains come to be considered and treated as objects--“stuff"--in museums, and the implications this has on how they are catalogued, stored, and used.