Dr. Zachary Hruby: Life at Georgia State University

Submitted by Zachary Hruby (Georgia State University)

I have been loving my time at Georgia State University, I think it is a great place for giving power to the people through education. We have such a diverse student body that it seems to inspire me. As a product of a middle-class family, I appreciate an institution that does not discriminate.

Before coming to Atlanta, I read a news article about Atlanta being the second most dangerous city in the country. It is crazy; I was mugged two weeks ago, so I understand the anger and desperation that can occur on the streets. I think education is the best way to get past our differences and become aware of social inequality, especially in anthropology, which teaches that racial prejudice is a social ill, and that through education about ethnic origin comes personal power; the power to make life better.

I personally teach about archaeology of the Western US and Mesoamerica, in particular the Maya. I do archaeological research in the Maya area (Guatemala) with one of my goals as educating the local Maya living in my study area. The Maya today still practice their religion in much the same way as they did 2000 years ago. I hope to show through archaeology that the Maya are still here, that they still practice indigenous rituals, and that recognizing these historical and cultural factors will empower them to protect their cultural patrimony.

I love the GSU faculty in the Anthropology Department, they are collegial and among the best practicing anthropologists I have met. Everyone gets along and it is a real familial vibe. It is exciting for me to work in a department that wants to expand, and create a PhD degree program. With Dr. Jeffrey Glover, we have the chance of bringing one of the top Maya archaeological programs in the nation to Atlanta, Georgia.

Editor’s note: Dr. Zachary Hruby is a visiting lecturer in the Anthropology department at Georgia State University. His research foci are lithic technology, epigraphy, and iconography of the Ancient Maya and Mesoamerica in general. He has conducted field work and lithic analysis at the sites of Piedras Negras, Kaminaljuyu, El Zotz, Salama, Quirigua, and Eastern Guatemala, and Holmul. Dr. Hruby also works on hunters and gathers and complex hunters and gatherers from the western United States and the Pacific Northwest.