University of Alabama
Associate Professor of Anthropology
I am an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alabama and director of the Human Behavioral Ecology Research Group. In addition to tattooing, I study biocultural medical anthropology, cognitive evolution, cooperation, and focused attention, which ranges from research on Pentecostal speaking in tongues to fireside relaxation. I also coordinate an outreach program called Anthropology is Elemental, which involves training undergraduates to teach anthropology and sending them out as volunteers to underrepresented schools.
I became interested in tattooing culture while living in New York City in the 1990s. Tattooing was illegal from 1961 until 1997, and tattoo studios sprang up like mushrooms after a storm when it became legal again. I played in punk rocks bands and worked in the music industry, so tattoos were all around (and on) me. The Inking of Immunity project began when a student approached me for a way to study tattooing from the perspective of medical anthropology. Various students in my lab have worked on the study over the years as it has developed.
I have two publications about our tattoo research (Lynn et al. 2016, Lynn & Medeiros 2017), have published a book on evolution education in the American South (Lynn et al. 2017) and articles on the role of campfires in cognitive evolution (Lynn 2014), the psychocultural influences of speaking in tongues among Pentecostals (Lynn et al. 2010, 2011, 2015; Lynn 2013), and several on my teaching and service (Funkhouser et al. 2016; James et al. 2015; Howells et al. 2017; Lynn et al. 2014; Spaulding et al. 2014; Stein et al. 2016). With Dr. Howells, I have an article in press about dual disease burden and Zika in American Samoa and articles in the works about structural impediments to intersectionality in Anthropology.
Finally, I am husband and proud father of three teenage boys.