Sydney Yeager is a Ph.D. student in the cultural anthropology program, specializing in the intersection of medical anthropology and the anthropology of religion within digital contexts. She entered the Southern Methodist University’s cultural anthropology program in the fall of 2010. In 2012, she graduated with her Masters in Medical Anthropology from SMU. She is also an honors graduate of the University of Central Arkansas where she received her BS in History with minors in Anthropology and Interdisciplinary in December of 2009.
Her primary research interests include digital anthropology, the anthropology of religion, and medical anthropology. Sydney’s medical interests are in the areas of neuroanthropology, consciousness, biocultural medical anthropology, emotions, and social well-being. More broadly speaking, she interested in the anthropological study of folk beliefs and practices, friendship, community, intimacy, communitias, identity, and the impact of our increasingly digitalized social lives on these key issues.
In particular, Sydney’s Ph.D. dissertation research is focused on the practice of sharing grief and related emotions on Facebook in response to the death of a loved. It will examine the messages, images, and videos posted to Facebook are part of contemporary grieving practices in the United States. She is exploring the how death and grief are dealt with on Facebook. She is investigating how people talk about death, remember the dead, and talk to the dead on Facebook. She is examining these practices within the larger context of grief experience and support seeking behaviors in the Southern United States.
You can follow the progress of her dissertation project on the project’s blog.
Sydney was recently re-elected to the Executive Board of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness. She is SAC’s first Media & Social Media Chair. She manages SAC’s Twitter account SAC_Tweets, Facebook Fan Page, and recently established an official blog for SAC.
She is also a founding member of the American Anthropological Association’s new Digital Anthropology Interest Group, fondly known as DANG. In 2015, she took over the responsibility of convener (a strange title, currently the only leadership position) for DANG. She also occasionally writes for their blog and manage DANG’s G+ and Facebook accounts.
Region of Study:
Online Global Communities: current emphasis Facebook
Honors and Awards:
Travel Abroad Grant – Tanzania Study Abroad
Travel Abroad Grant – Baltic States Study Abroad
Travel Abroad Grant – Greece Archaeological Dig
SURF Grant – Student Undergraduate Research Grant for her Honors College Thesis researching Traditional Healers in the Ozarks Region