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Office of Undergraduate Research

Congratulations 2013 Circumnavigator Travel-Study Grant WINNER Catherine Althaus

Huge congratulations to this year's Circumnavigator Travel-Study Grant WINNER, Catherine Althaus!

Catherine will be traveling the world this summer, working on her project entitled “The Treatment of Human Remains in Museums: Scientific Specimens or Human Beings? Navigating the Gap Between Science and Ethics.”

Jointly funded by Northwestern University and the Circumnavigators Club Foundation, the Circumnavigators Travel-Study Grant Program offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  The winner receives a $9,000 award to spend the summer traveling to at least five different countries (excluding the U.S. and Canada) on at least three different continents.

Catherine will travel to seven countries across the globe this summer to pursue her project. She aims to examine the complicated intersection between science and ethics that infiltrates the study of human remains and the role museums play in strengthening or straining such a relationship through their treatment and display techniques. Across seven countries – England, France, Germany, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, and Peru – she will seek an understanding of museum procedures concerning how the human specimens are distinctly treated, how competing factors (religious, scientific, financial, etc.) affect each institution’s implementation of human remains policies, and how these practices vary between countries.

Catherine hopes to discover ways in which museums effectively balance (or do not balance) scientific interests with potentially competing claims of ownership, cultural practices of indigenous groups, and practical concerns of funds and space. She also hopes to address the inherent complexity concerning treatment discrepancies between different types of remains depending on how and when they were collected (prehistoric vs. modern, foreign vs. indigenous, acquired during conquest vs. discovered on local land). She will observe the implementation of these policies in museums to investigate first-hand how complex and conflicting relationships directly affect the exhibition and storage methods employed by each institution.

Will you be a junior next year? Learn more about applying to the Circumnavigators Travel-Study Grant. There is one winner per year.