Skip Messenger is a professor in the Department of Anthropology and also listed on the faculty of Environmental Studies. While he defines himself as an archaeologist, he clearly is foremost a four-field anthropologist with interests beyond. He holds a BA degree in History from Hiram College in Ohio, an MA in Anthropology from the Universidad de las Américas in Cholula, Puebla, México, and a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota. He has done archaeological fieldwork in the heart of the Maya region - southern Mexico and Belize; in the southern Mesoamerican Periphery - central Honduras; in the Mexican Highlands - Puebla; and in Minnesota. Much of his research has focused on the complex interplay between humans, their environment, climatic, and ecological change, from ancient times and into the future. Of particular interest has been how these factors have related to the emergence, sustainability, and stressing of complex societies in tropical environments. This has led to an expansion of his geographic focus to include Southeast Asia, South America, and Oceania.
Skip Messenger’s research interests have been integrated into his Hamline pedagogy. CADGAP - Every year since the early 1990s he has done student collaborative class projects researching historical climatological data and developing trend analyses to apply to both archaeological and predictive climate-change questions. BACAB CAAS – He has also developed writing assignments in his archaeological survey classes that enable students to confront the details of the major disciplinary epistemological questions - what do we know about the lives of ancient peoples in the past? - while at the same time emphasizing the vicarious experience of personhood of those in the past. This is done through rigorous researching to produce archaeologically trustworthy fictional scenarios for times and places in the ancient past.
Professor Messenger’s education and research has taken him to many places around the world. He has personal, on-the-ground familiarity with most of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, coastal and Andean Peru, portions of China, most of mainland Southeast Asia (including Burma), Indonesia, the UK (England and Scotland), parts of western Europe, and the American Southwest. This means that he has a wealth of anecdotal information available, that he indeed utilizes in all of his classes. He tends to be very active in front of the class and moves a lot.
“I am passionate about my subject(s), teaching and working with students. If you show sincere interest and I detect a "flame" of potential, I am the kind of person who will try to fan that "fire" and help you develop your interests as best I can. My goal is to try to use whatever knowledge and resources I have to help you to recognize and achieve your life and career goals. I believe strongly in the idea of mentorship and the idea that I can help you to become knowledgeable and passionate colleagues – people who become personally engaged in the subject matter of this class and who then carry their interests beyond the classroom. Expect to be involved a lot in one-on-one discussions with me in my office, on the sidewalk, in the lobby – wherever. You by no means have to come alone. I enjoy working with groups! I will expect you to advise me, either in class or at times out of class, of interests and concerns you have. Remember that I sincerely consider myself a student advocate, but I am not clairvoyant (i.e. I don't read minds). I find it easy to lecture and will easily "talk your ears off." At the same time, I appreciate interruptions and expect that you will occasionally do so to get clarification, to add examples, to disagree, etc. I have a teaching agenda that involves a progression toward understanding the subject matter, that may not initially appear cumulative. I don't like to present a train of packages of information, but rather, a process towards comprehension.”
Selected Publications and Presentations