Anne E. Pfister, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of anthropology and recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award. She teaches Introduction to Anthropology, Principles of Physical Anthropology, Principles of Socio-cultural Anthropology, Health, Illness and Culture, and an honors seminar called “Introduction to Anthropology from the perspective of Human Health and Healing.” Her research investigates the experience of deafness among deaf children and their families in Mexico City. Pfister said that she integrates the analytical lens of medical anthropology with sociocultural-linguistic theoretical approaches to address the interrelatedness of human biology, culture, and language among deaf participants.
Get to Know Dr. Anne E. Pfister
What’s one thing in your field of study that people might not know?
There are many misconceptions surrounding deafness — for example, many people think that deaf people can understand other deaf people through a universal sign language, but sign languages (like spoken languages) evolve and change regionally. My participants and I use Lengua de Señas Mexicana (Mexican Sign Language) which is quite different from American Sign Language — the two languages are not mutually intelligible, despite the relative geographical proximity of Mexico and the United States.
What brought you to UNF?
I was excited about the four-field approach of the department and interdisciplinary opportunities in working with colleagues from sociology and social work.
What’s the most rewarding academic experience you’ve had at UNF in or out of the classroom?
Mentoring students to develop research projects based on their interests is immensely rewarding.
What do you like most about UNF?
I like the balance of teaching and research responsibilities for UNF faculty. Students tell us that they feel anthropology (and other) faculty are accessible and express their gratitude for the one-on-one conversations and working relationships with faculty.
Do you have a favorite spot on campus?
I like spending time on the trails near the Eco Center, though I don’t go there often enough.
How do you recharge?
My favorite way to relax is going camping with my family and spending time outdoors with family and friends.