Anthro in the news 7/19/10

• Toward an anthropology of the anti-burqa
Sean Carey asks: is there an anthropological explanation for the high-level of disapproval for a garment worn by so few? In France, approximately 2000 women out of a total Muslim population of 5 million wear a burqa, or full-body covering. He turns to examining the opposition within the context of advanced capitalist culture values such as individuality and the importance of face-to-face encounters. Carey studied both sociology and cultural anthropology and is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Multiculturalism (CRONEM) at Roehampton University.

• In the Navy now
Since 1993, cultural anthropologist Clementine Fujimura has been the sole anthropologist on that faculty of the US Naval Academy, which is largely an engineering school. Hired to teach about the psychology of foreign cultures, she finally introduced her first course with the word anthropology in the title in 2000. Recently, the Naval Academy’s Department of Language Studies changed its name to the Department of Language and Cultures. Fujimura sees a sign of hope in this change, that the Navy recognizes the need for teaching about culture

• Fifty  years on
July 14, 2010 marked fifty years from the day in 1960 that primatologist Jane Goodall began her field research with the chimpanzees of the Gombe Stream Reserve, Tanzania. Since then, she has gone on to support primate conservation as well as community development. The Washington Post carried an interview with her in which she comments: “”It seems hard to believe it’s been half a century. And yet it doesn’t seem like yesterday, either.”

• Maritime archaeology in Manhattan
Excavations on the site of the new World Trade Center unearthed part of an eighteenth century ship. The New York Times quoted A. Michael Pappalardo, a professional archaeologist working at the site, as saying that the timbers found “…were so perfectly contoured that they were clearly part of a ship.”

• Married
Congratulations! A double cultural anthro marriage was listed in the New York Times: Natilee Harren, BA Rice University, and Michael Powell, PhD, Rice University, were married in Minneapolis. The couple met at Rice. Ms. Harren is pursuing a doctoral degree in art history. Dr. Powell is a brand strategist with a design agency in Los Angeles where he studies shopping habits and how consumers respond to the retail environment.

• Appointments
The San Diego Museum of Man has hired Micah Parzen, a San Diego lawyer as its executive director. In addition to being trained in the law, Parzen received his PhD in anthropology from Case Western University with a dissertation on therapy programs for Navajo teens. This job will allow him to combine his passions for anthropology and nonprofit leadership. Parzen says that the Museum needs to reinvent itself because it has no Mona Lisa to attract people: “If it’s about people, then it’s about us. And what’s more interesting than us?”

• In memoriam
George de Vos died at the age of 87 years in Oakland, California. DeVos was a pioneer in psychological anthropology, ethnic identity (a term he coined), migration, and cross-cultural comparision using psychological tests such as the TAT. His passing prompted a passionate statement from cultural anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes of the University of California at Berkeley and Marcelo Suarez-Orozco who juxtapose his generosity of mind and spirit to much of what goes on in academia today.

Robert Paine died at the age of 84 years in St. John’s, Newfoundland. A British-Canadian cultural anthropologist with M.Phil and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology from Oxford University, his ethnographic interests were wide-ranging including West Bank Jews, speech patterns of elected officials in Newfoundland, and Saami herding.

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