CMB Network member Dietz Stout is currently Associate Director of the CMBC and an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Emory University. In August 2022, he will assume his new role as Director of the Center for a five-year term.
Dietz received his PhD in Paleoanthropology in 2003 from Indiana University, Bloomington, where he studied with Nicholas Toth and Kathy Schick. He served as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Anthropology at George Washington University for one year and as a Lecturer (equivalent U.S. Asst. Prof.) in Paleolithic Archaeology at the University College London Institute of Archaeology for four years before relocating to Emory in 2009.
His research focus on Paleolithic stone tool-making and human brain evolution integrates methods ranging from archaeological survey, excavation, and artifact analysis to experimental tool replication, psychometric testing, and brain imaging. Most recently, his work has been addressing broader issues in the cognitive science of technology, human cultural evolution, and the role of learning and developmental plasticity in human brain evolution. Dietz has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed publications including articles in journals ranging from Science to Current Anthropology, The Journal of Human Evolution, The Journal of Neuroscience, and Trends in Cognitive Sciences.
Congratulations, Dietz, on the new job! How long have you been involved with Emory's Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture, and what drew you to it in the first place?
I have been involved with the CMBC in one way or another since I arrived at Emory in 2009. The mission of the center “to promote research at the intersection of mind, brain, and culture” so closely aligns with my own interests and ambitions that I think this was inevitable. In fact, the strong interdisciplinary profile and tradition at Emory was a big part of what drew me here in the first place.
What does the Center do, exactly?
To date, our main activity has been running various forms of “programming” including visiting lectures, informal discussion lunches, “Public Conversations” aimed at a broader audience, and the occasional workshop or conference. We also have a successful Graduate Certificate Program to provide structured interdisciplinary training and a formal qualification for interested students. Most recently we have added an Undergraduate Fellows program to involve a select group of research-active undergraduates in the life of the Center.
Any "lessons learned" from your involvement with the CMB Network that may carry over to your new role as Director?
Most immediately and concretely, my CMB network involvement has helped me identify exciting speakers and topics for CMBC events! In the bigger picture, the kinds of networking, focused discussion, prolonged interaction, and concrete support enabled by the CMB network provide a model for the CMBC as we increase our focus on the cultivation of novel research collaborations and directions.
What are your objectives for the Center?
My central ambition in taking on the Directorship is to renew and strengthen our emphasis on research incubation. One path forward, again inspired in part by my experiences with the CMB network, would be to start by convening a series of thematic workshops emphasizing close interaction and concrete products (e.g., journal special issue publication). This would be one path to initiating new research collaborations and laying the groundwork to go after additional external funding for the Center.
Can researchers outside of Emory become an affiliate of the Center?
Yes! Currently, external researchers can be added to our listserv so that they receive notification of our events, many of which will continue to be hybrid so that non-locals can attend. I would laos direct everyone to our ever-growing podcast and video library, which includes presentations from field-leading researchers across a wide array of topics and can be very useful for teaching (as well as personal enrichment). One of my priorities as Director will be to enhance our connections with individuals and organizations outside of Emory, so watch this space!