Pioneer Stories: Chris Begley
“The tradition at Transylvania of creatively combining the resources of the university is long, and demonstrated in very concrete terms the value of collaboration. I hope to demonstrate to a new generation of Transylvania students that you must take initiative—that no envelope is going to arrive in the mail with everything you need. The creative folks around you provide the key, and it is important to recognize the value that different disciplines and perspectives bring to your work and life.”
Chris Begley is Transylvania’s own Indiana Jones, navigating Central American jungles and searching for ancient cities lost to time. The anthropology professor spends a lot of his time in Honduras working on a range of projects, from documenting artifacts with a 3-D scanner to his latest venture, a National Geographic documentary titled “The Lost City of the Mosquito Coast: A Modern Struggle for the Past.”
Transylvania was essential to Begley’s work today. He learned not only the science of anthropology and archaeology, but how to incorporate other disciplines to tell the story of people and civilizations.
“My current research is interdisciplinary and resulted from initiatives taken by me and other members of the team,” he says. “My Transylvania education influenced both of these factors. My principal influences were not only anthropologists, but English professors, art professors, and biologists.”
Now he uses that influence to educate today’s Transylvania students, teaching courses like Latin America and the Natural World, where he collaborated with a Spanish professor and a history professor to tell the story of Latin America’s natural history from distinct but interconnected angles.