Sharlotte Neely, Ph.D.|
Professor of Anthropology
Coordinator of Anthropology
Director of Native American Studies
The ancestry of Sharlotte's maternal grandmother is the best documented of all her Native American lines. That line goes back to the Coree Indians who lived on the Atlantic coast along the Virginia/North Carolina border. By the late 17th century, the Coree population had declined due to disease and war. During the Tuscarora War, some of the surviving Coree fled south seeking refuge among the Cheraws. Later some surviving Cheraws, remnants of other Indian groups, whites, and African Americans became the basis of the contemporary Lumbee Indians to whom Sharlotte traces her ancestry. (Her other ancestry is Irish, Scots, Scots-Irish, Welsh, English, French, and German.) Since the age of four, she has wanted to be an anthropologist who studies Native Americans. Most of her research has been with the North Carolina Cherokees.
Teaching and Research Interests
Top 13 Novels for Students of Anthropology
Top 13 Movies for Students of Anthropology
Top 13 TV Series for Students of Anthropology
You Know You're an Anthropologist When...
Top 13 Reasons for Becoming an Anthro
Favorite Dune Quotations
Thoughts on Chimpanzees
Site Awards Won
The purpose of anthropology is to make the
world safe for human differences. Ruth
Anthropology is the most humanistic of the sciences and
the most scientific of the humanities. Eric
The idea of an inferior or superior race has been
refuted by the best evidence of the science of anthropology....There is no
superior or inferior race. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Anthropology provides a scientific basis for dealing with
the crucial dilemma of the world today: how can peoples of different
appearance, mutually unintelligible languages, and dissimilar ways of life get
along peaceably together?...Anthropology holds us a great mirror to man and lets him
look at himself in this infinite variety. Clyde
Anthropologists are one kind of scientist, the kind that
insists that comparing different societies can be the key to a better
understanding of ourselves as well as others. Alice Beck Kehoe
Anthropology is the only discipline that can access
evidence about the entire human experience on this planet. Michael
Only anthropology seeks to understand the whole panorama--in
geographic space and evolutionary time--of human existence. Ghita Levine and Adele
Robey, American Anthropological Association
Anthopology made my world bigger, and I am so
glad I made the choice to study it. Ann
[Anthropology] is a comparative science that examines all
societies, ancient and modern, simple and complex. Conrad
A knowledge of anthropology enables us to look with greater
freedom at the problems confronting our civilization. Franz
The goal [of anthropology] is to grasp the native's
point of view. Bronislaw
We [anthropologists] have been the first to insist
we see the lives of others through lenses of our own grinding and that they
look back on ours through ones of their own. Clifford
Living in the cracks between these worlds comes with the
territory. It is our nature and strength. For as long as we are anthropologists...we
will retain the primary goal of understanding the human species, realizing that
multiple routes lead to that understanding. Gregory
[Anthropology demands] the open-mindedness with which one must
look and listen, record in astonishment and wonder that which one would not have been
able to guess. Margaret
Anthropology is the science which tells us that people are the
same the whole world over--except when they are different. Nancy
Anthropologists are a connecting link between poets and
scientists. Robert Graves
I have looked warily at anthropologists ever since the day when I
went to hear a great Greek scholar lecture on the Iliad, and listened for an hour
to talk about bull-roarers and leopard-societies. Katharine Fullerton Gerould
Anthropology is more than a career. It's a way of life. In
everything I do, I am an anthropologist. Sharlotte
If you want a job in applied anthropology, it pays to be
The great strength of anthropology, including applied
anthropology, lies in its potential to lead the way in bringing together humanistic and
scientific approaches for understanding humans. David
I had a linguistics professor who said that it's man's ability to
use language that makes him the dominant species on the planet. That may be. But I think
there's one other thing that separates us from animals. We aren't afraid of vacuum
One of the great strengths of biological anthropology is the
breadth of topics that we study....An evolutionary science of humanity is best served
by this diversity. John H. Relethford
Scientific archaeology includes more than the excavation of
ancient sites. Archaeology enables us to better understand ourselves and how we got
to be the way we are. George E. Stuart and Francis P. McManamon
The things [an archaeologist] finds are not his own
property, to treat as he pleases. They are a direct legacy from the past to the
present age. Howard Carter
This cave painting from Lascaux, France represents the phases of the moon over a month and is one of the oldest lunar calendars.
World Cultures, 12:15 pm, TR, 201 LA
Modern American Indians, 1:40 pm, TR, 201 LA
Native Australia & Oceania, 10:50 am, TR, 201 LA
Office hours: I'm flexible--usually at NKU in 230 Landrum on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons during the semester, but you can contact me for an appointment at a mutually convenient time and day. Note that all my courses are on NKU's Blackboard Online Study Hall.
Hello [O-si-yo]! I love being an anthropologist. Teaching (as in the photo above, at NKU) is fun, whether I'm running around the classroom with a cow femur demonstrating how three million years ago an australopithecine, armed only with the leg bone of an antelope, could defend itself from an attacking leopard, or I'm lecturing on the forced removal of Native Americans a century and a half ago and how more than a quarter of the Cherokee Nation died on the Trail of Tears. My main teaching and research interests include North American Indians (especially the Cherokee, Shawnee, and Navajo), Oceania and Native Australia (especially Native Hawaiians and Australian Arunta), and social organization . My course evaluations and my curriculm vitae (resume) are available for viewing. I use my research in my teaching and see the two areas as intertwined. One of my favorite teaching techniques is to demonstrate important concepts as illustrated by my own or other anthropologists' fieldwork stories. I love doing fieldwork (as in the photo below, with women of the Cherokee [Ani-Yun Wiya] Deer Clan [Anikawi]), whether my research takes me by horseback into remote areas of the Navajo Reservation, or I end up living in an isolated, "haunted" cabin on the Cherokee Reservation. For me anthropology is more than a career. It's a way of life. In everything I do, I am an anthropologist.
Both good and evil walk the earth. In 1838-39 more than a quarter of the Cherokee Nation died in detention camps or on the Trail of Tears when they were forcibly removed from their homeland to make way for non-Indian settlement. Evil exists when good people choose not to oppose evil.The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it. Albert Einstein
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. Nelson Mandela
Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Oscar Romero
We mean to live as long as we can--and at last, if we must die, to die game. Henry Berry Lowry (Lumbee)
Cowgirl--the only career other than anthropologist she ever considered.
Sharlotte's Top 13 Novels for Students of Anthropology
Anvil by Nicolas Van Pallandt
Dune by Frank Herbert (Some years ago two of my NKU anthro students insisted I read Dune.
Professors can learn a lot from their students--it's my favorite novel ever. A must for students of anthropology!)
The Edge of Forever by Chad Oliver
Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs
Kasker by Sharlotte Donnelly
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Kroeber Le Guin
Lost Worlds of 2001 by Arthur C. Clarke
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Murder in the Place of Anubis by Lynda S. Robinson
Seeing a Large Cat by Elizabeth Peters
Skeleton Dance by Aaron Elkins
A Thief of Time by Tony Hillerman
Thunderhead by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
Sharlotte's Top 13 Movies for Students of Anthropology
The Dark Wind
The Emerald Forest
Gorillas in the Mist
Last of the Dogmen
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Teahouse of the August Moon (This is the movie that got me to become an anthropologist--
every so often I talk a group of NKU anthro students into watching it with me.)
The 13th Warrior
Sharlotte's Top 13 TV Series of All Times for Students of Anthropology
Adventures in Paradise
Jimmy Stewart Show
Young Indiana Jones
Sharlotte's (Yes, I wrote most of these myself.) You Know You're an Anthropologist When...
...your parents still ask what you do for a living.
...you irritate those around you by how often you say, "That's very Navajo because..."
...you've lost count of how many times you've seen Last of the Dogmen.
...you feel the need to give a brief lesson on kinship terminology every time someone introduces a "second cousin."
...you experience withdrawal whenever you turn off the Discovery Channel.
...you get into arguments over how dogs were domesticated.
...you watch The X-Files for obscure references to the Anasazi.
...you can name every bone in the human body, but none of the muscles.
...you tell people at parties that you can predict the fall of civilization (Trust me, I'm an anthropologist!).
...you've read every one of Tony Hillerman's Navajo mysteries.
...you can name most of Jane Goodall's chimps.
...your car has an "Archaeologists Do It in the Dirt" bumper sticker.
...your car has a "Cultural Anthropologists Like to Watch" bumper sticker.
...your car has a "Physical Anthropologists Do It with Neanderthals" bumper sticker.
...your car has a "Linguists Do It Orally" bumper sticker.
...you've memorized the narration to The Hunters.
...you can say,"And what do you call the husband of the woman who gave birth to you?" in a language other than English.
...your sister joins a cult and your first thought is, "Fieldwork opportunity!"
Thanks to Jim Zion of the Navajo Nation Courts for the second item above, thanks to Tina Peebles, NKU anthropology student, for the fourth, and thanks to Britteny Howell, NKU anthropology professor, for the ninth. To submit more examples of "You know you're an anthropologist when..." email me at email@example.com. I can make the list as long as you like.
Sharlotte's Top 13 Reasons for Becoming an Anthropologist
#13 Sounds cooler than saying you're an accountant.
#12 You get to eat really strange foods.
#11 You get to travel the world--without joining the army!
#10 You can dig holes in the ground and get the same pay as the guys in the dress-for-success suits.
#9 Fieldwork--enough said!
#8 There are jobs--really!
#7 You can work on your tan "at the office."
#6 You get to learn exotic languages, even if you failed French in high school.
#5 Midnight calls from the police whenever they find a decomposing body.
#4 Offers to impersonate Neanderthals on National Geographic TV specials.
#3 The dress code--there is none!
#2 You can get away with a lot because no one is sure what you do for a living.
And the #1 reason for becoming an anthropologist..it's so much fun, it doesn't seem like work.
Thanks to NKU anthropology alumna Dana Hildebrand for #3. The other twelve are my originals. I need more. So keep those emails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Favorite Dune QuotationsRespect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality. Something cannot emerge from nothing. This is profound thinking if you understand how unstable "the truth" can be. I've always prided myself on seeing things the way they truly are. [The truth is out there.]
Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me, and through me. And when it has gone past me I will turn to see fear's path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. Frank Herbert, Dune
Thoughts on Chimpanzees
Suppose we found a population of previously unknown hominids who avoided contact with surface water. Not only did they not swim in lakes, paddle in ponds, or ford rivers, but they never waded across the shallowest and narrowest streams and even detoured around puddles on paths. If we perceived of these creatures as human-like, we might try to explain the act in terms of custom, tradition, ritual, or even symbolic taboo. If we perceived of them as ape-like, we might think of the behaviour as instinctive, hard-wired, species-typical, adaptive, etc. In fact, the chimpanzees of Gombe show just this reticence while the chimpanzees at Kasoje do not. W. C. McGrew, Chimpanzee Material Culture
Brief BiographyBorn in August on a Friday the 13th in Savannah, Georgia, Sharlotte Kathleen Bridgette Neely Donnelly is the only child of Kathleen Bell Neely and Joseph Bowden Neely. (That's them in the photo to your right on the beach at Georgia's Tybee Island --or in anthropological terminology, it's Sharlotte's nuclear family of orientation.) She decided at age four to become an anthropologist and has been trying to explain to family and friends ever since what exactly it is she does for a living. "Sharkey" was raised in Savannah and in Atlanta, where she attended Druid Hills High School.
A graduate of Georgia State University (B.A. degree in anthropology) in Atlanta and the University of North Carolina (M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology) in Chapel Hill, Sharlotte led a successful student revolt against the GSU administration in her sophomore year. (The GSU administration had decided to eliminate the university's anthropology program--they changed their minds.) She is the author of Snowbird Cherokees, co-author of This Land Was Theirs, author of Kasker (a novel of anthropological science fiction), and author of dozens of other publications. A past president of Anthropologists and Sociologists of Kentucky, Sharlotte is also a fellow of the American Anthropological Association. A Professor of Anthropology at Northern Kentucky University, she is the winner of the 1994 NKU Outstanding Professor Award, the 1996 NKU Strongest Influence Award, the 1998 NKU Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Award, and a four-time winner of the national Who's Who among America's Teachers Award, among others. She is in the 2003 and later editions of Who's Who in America and the 2004 and later editions of Who's Who in the World.
On a summer solstice at the Temple of Aphrodite in Mount Storm Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sharlotte married Kentucky native Thomas Christian Christopher Donnelly, an attorney, anthropologist, and athletic director. They have one daughter, Mary Kathleen Bridgette Elisabeth Donnelly, who has been Montessori educated and graduated from NKU in 2008. Tom, Sharlotte, and Bridgette attend Saint Monica-Saint George Roman Catholic Church in Cincinnati. For fun, Sharlotte writes anthropological science fiction, reads mysteries and sci-fi, shoots black-and-white photos, watches The X-Files, Lost, and V, does genealogical research (anthropologists are sooooo into kinship studies!), travels, rides horses, hikes, and hangs out with her family (humans, canines, and felines). She is a past president of the League for Animal Welfare.
Among Sharlotte's current projects is a Native American children's book co-authored with Bridgette. Tom, Sharlotte, and Bridgette all like to write. (That's them in the photo below with some horses in Wyoming's Grand Teton Mountains--or in anthropological terminology, it's Sharlotte's nuclear family of procreation.) Below that is Sharlotte's granddaughter Quinn and daughter Bridgette.
Visit Some of My Favorite Links
NKU Student Anthropology Society of NKU
First Nations Student Organization of NKU
Tuath an Ard Tíre Ardaí: The Celtic Studies Club of NKU
Northern Right to Life Student Group of NKU
Common Ground Student Group of NKU
St. Monica-St. George Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
Aborigines of Australia
Donnelly and Neely Family History
Thomas Christian Donnelly
The New School
Clark Montessori School
The Summit Country Day School
Jane Goodall Institute
Mountain Gorilla Protection
Orangutan Foundation International
The Great Ape Project
Humane Society of the United States
League for Animal Welfare
NKU Schedule of Classes
NKU Email Directory
NKU Web Mail
NKU Calendar of Events
NKU Alumni Connect
This web page was created by Sharlotte Neely with the help of Jill Diesman of Academic Computing, Joan Ferrante of Sociology, Rudy Garns of Philosophy, Dana Hildebrand of Anthropology, and Kristina Wegener of Anthropology. Thanks to Jim Thomas for the southwestern rock art clip art.
Human artists have created rock paintings from the Upper Paleolithic to the present. The above art is from, left to right, top row, France and Australia; middle row, Namibia and Brazil; and bottom row, India and the United States.
Sharlotte Neely (Sharlotte Ada Sarvis Neely),
the great-grandmother of NKU's
Sharlotte Neely (Sharlotte Kathleen Bridgette Neely Donnelly)
Site Awards Won
Awards are from the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Scotland, France, Italy, and Portugal.