Stephen Chrisomalis

Contact Information Department of Anthropology
Wayne State University
3054 FAB, 656 Reuther Mall
Detroit, MI 48202

313-577-9922


Research Interests Current Appointments Previous Appointments Education Funded Research Awards Publications
Teaching Research Employment Scholarly Presentations Service Languages Other Experience Professional Associations
Research Interests cognitive anthropology; linguistic anthropology; numerals and numeration; cross-cultural studies; writing systems and literacy; ethnomathematics; evolution and prehistory of language; history of anthropology and archaeology
Current Appointments Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology, Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan)
(Cross-Appointment in Linguistics Program)
2008 -

Associate Scholar
Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
University of Toronto (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
2004 -

Previous Appointments Faculty Lecturer and Research Associate
Department of Anthropology
McGill University (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
2006 - 2008

Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer
Department of Anthropology
University of Toronto (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
2003-2006

Education Ph.D, Anthropology (2003)
McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The Comparative History of Numerical Notation
Advisor: Prof. Bruce G. Trigger
Dean's Honours List


B.A., Anthropology (1996)
McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Major in Anthropology, minor in International Justice and Human Rights; magna cum laude
Funded Research Research Associateship ($15,000 CDN)
Department of Anthropology, McGill University
2007-2008
Funding for research in cross-cultural anthropology

Dean's Development Fund Grant ($900 CDN)
Faculty of Arts, McGill University
2007-2008
Funding awarded for curation, cataloguing, initial start-up costs, 'Bruce Trigger Memorial Collection'

SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship ($75,000 CDN)
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
University of Toronto
2004-2006
Funding for postdoctoral project, Linguistic and graphic representations of number


Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Fellowship ($5000 CDN)
McGill University
2001
Funding awarded for doctoral thesis writing

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship ($68,000 CDN)
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
1997-2001
Funding awarded for doctoral thesis research and writing

Max Stern Recruitment Fellowship ($14,000 CDN)
McGill University
1996-1997
Entry fellowship awarded to undertake Ph.D. coursework
Awards AUS Excellence in Teaching Award
McGill University, Arts Undergraduate Society
2008

Prix d'Excellence de l'ADESAQ
Association des doyens des Etudes Sup�rieures au Qu�bec
2004
Award for the most distinguished 2003 Quebec dissertation in all humanities, social sciences and fine arts disciplines

Publications (2010) Numerical Notation: A Comparative History. New York: Cambridge University Press.


(2009) Beyond teleology: Ancient mathematics and social history. Antiquity 83(321): 849-851.

(2009) The cognitive and cultural foundations of numbers, in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Mathematics, Eleanor Robson and Jacqueline Stedall, eds, pp. 495-517. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

(2008) The origins and co-evolution of literacy and numeracy, in The Cambridge Handbook of Literacy, David R. Olson and Nancy Torrance, eds, pp. 59-74. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

(2008) (Jess Beck and Stephen Chrisomalis) Landscape archaeology, paganism, and the interpretation of megaliths. The Pomegranate: Journal of Pagan Studies 10(2): 142-162.

(2007) The perils of pseudo-Orwellianism. Antiquity 81(311): 204-207.

(2006) Comparing cultures and comparing processes: diachronic methods in cross-cultural anthropology. Cross-Cultural Research 40(3): 1-28.


(2006) Comparative archaeology: an unheralded cross-cultural method. In The Archaeology of Bruce G. Trigger: Theoretical Empiricism, Ronald Williamson and Michael Bisson, eds., pp. 36-51. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.


(2004) A cognitive typology for numerical notation. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 14(1): 37-52.


(2004) (with Bruce G. Trigger) Reconstructing prehistoric ethnicity: problems and possibilities, in A Passion for the Past: Papers in Honour of James F. Pendergast, James V. Wright and Jean-Luc Pilon, eds., pp. 419-433. Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Civilization.


(2003) The Egyptian origin of the Greek alphabetic numerals. Antiquity 77(297): 485-496.
BBC News report on this paper.


(forthcoming) Social and graphic aspects of number symbols, in The Shape of Script: How and Why Writing Systems Change, Stephen Houston, ed. Santa Fe: School of Advanced Research Press.


Teaching Wayne State University, Department of Anthropology
2008 -
Courses taught:
Language and Culture (intermediate / senior course)
Language and Societies (senior / graduate course)

McGill University, Department of Anthropology
2006 - 2008
Courses taught:
History of Archaeological Theory (honors core program requirement)
Evolutionary Anthropology (introductory four-field course)
Current Issues in Archaeology (senior honours seminar)
Writing and Literacy (senior special topics seminar)
Pseudoarchaeology (senior special topics seminar)
Prehistoric Archaeology (intensive introductory course)
Archaeological Methods (honors core program requirement)
Supervision of honors student projects and graduate theses

University of Toronto, Department of Anthropology
2003 - 2006
Courses taught:
Comparative Civilizations (senior special topics seminar)
Introductory Anthropology (intensive introductory course)
Advanced Archaeological Theory (senior core theory seminar)

McGill University, Dept. of Anthropology
2001-2002
Comparative Cultures (intensive introductory course)

Research Employment Research Assistant, Prof. Bruce G. Trigger
May - August 2003
Reading, note-taking and research of literature in the history and sociology of archaeology for B.G. Trigger, A History of Archaeological Thought, 2nd ed. (in preparation).

Research Assistant, Prof. Bruce G. Trigger
July - August 2002
Proofreading, editing and indexing of manuscript of Artifacts and Ideas (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 2003).

Research Assistant, Prof. Bruce G. Trigger
January - April 2002
Research and data collection on the topic of prehistoric ethnicity and the 'race-language-culture' polemic, leading to the co-authored paper, 'Reconstructing prehistoric ethnicity' (see above)
Scholarly Presentations (2009) "Numbering by the Books: The Transition from Roman to Hindu-Arabic Numerals in Late Medieval Book Technologies"
International Medieval Congress (Kalamazoo, MI)

(2009) "Frequency dependent biases and the transmission of communication technologies"
Society for Anthropological Sciences 5th annual meeting (Las Vegas, NV)

(2009) "Linking graphic and lexical representations of numbers"
Linguistics Colloquium, Wayne State University

2008 "What language is STOP?: Language ideology and identity in Montreal's signscape"
Humanities Center Brownbag series, Wayne State University

(2008) "What language is 'STOP'?"
Michigan Linguistics Society 38th Annual Meeting (Detroit, MI)

(2007) "Trends and Transformations: A Social History of Numeral Symbols"
School of Advanced Research (Santa Fe, NM), Advanced Seminar, "The Shape of Script: How and Why Writing Systems Change"

(2006) (with Andre Costopoulos): "Is Anthropology Ready for Ultimate Questions? A Reply to Boas"
McGill University Department of Anthropology Speaker Series

(2005) "Outnumbered: A Sociocultural Analysis of the Decline and Fall of Numeral Systems"
University of Toronto, Dept. of Anthropology Colloquium Series


(2005) "Evaluating Ancient Numeracy: Social versus Developmental Perspectives on Ancient Mesopotamian Numeration"
June 2005
Jean Piaget Society (Vancouver, British Columbia)


(2004) "Diachronic Comparison: An Archaeological Method for Cross-Cultural Research"
Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting (Montreal, Quebec)


(2004) "Rethinking the Typology of Numerical Notation"
York University Seminar in History and Philosophy of Mathematics and Mathematics Education (Toronto, Ontario)


(2004) "Reckoning, Recording, and 'Rithmetic: Rethinking the Spurious Functional Linkage between Numeration and Mathematical Efficiency"
University of Toronto, Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology Colloquium Series (Toronto, Ontario)


(2002) "Zero is No Hero: Misgivings on Progressivism in Numeration"
McGill University Department of Anthropology Speaker Series (Montreal, Quebec)

(1999) "Why 2K? Millennial Observations on Numerical Notation"
McGill University Archaeology Colloquium (Montreal, Quebec)
Service 2007-08: Supervisor, Bruce Trigger Memorial Collection
Duties include collection and curation of materials, overseeing graduate student cataloguers, grant application and purchasing

2006-07: Co-chair, McGill Anthropology Visiting Speakers Series
Duties include arranging speakers and topics for regular departmental seminar series, advertising and managing speaker visits

Languages English (fluent - native speaker)
French (high proficiency reading, writing and speaking)
German, Latin (read for research purposes)
Other Experience (2008) A biography of the ampersand. Introduction, The Ampersand: Journal of the Bachelor of Arts and Science, vol. 1, pp. 1-2.

2008-present: Glossographia: Essays and informal writings on the intersection of linguistics, literacy studies, archaeology, and anthropology.

2008-present: Stop: Toutes Directions: A student-driven online research project into spatial and linguistic aspects of stop signs in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

2008 - present: The Dollarware Project: A student-driven research project on aspects of discount ceramic drinking vessels in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

2007-present: Editor, Pseudo-Archaeology Research Archive (PARA): An online archive of student scholarship and other essays critically analyzing fringe and cult ideas in archaeology and related aspects of anthropology.

1996 - present: Webmaster, The Phrontistery
A web site oriented around the study of obscure English words and lexicography, as well as topics related to my academic research in numeration.
Professional Associations American Anthropological Association
Society for Anthropological Sciences
Linguistic Society of America
History of Science Society
Society for Cross-Cultural Research
Jean Piaget Society
International Study Group on Ethnomathematics
References Available upon request