• Speaking the g-word on the Hill
Cultural anthropologist, medical doctor, charismatic social justice activist, and co-founder of Partners in Health, Paul Farmer came to DC last week and testified at a hearing on Capitol Hill of the Congressional Black Caucus. He argued that donors need to strengthen Haiti’s public sector: “How can there be public health and public education without a strong government at the national and local levels?”
• Out of gas, we hope
The Australian Magazine carried an article about the heroic work of Andrew Stojanovski who lived for over a decade in a desert Australian Aboriginal community fighting the deadly habit of petrol sniffing among young people. Over time, thanks to his efforts and the support of local elders, youth gave up sniffing and others no longer started. Stojanovski has a degree in anthropology and is the author of Dog Ear Cafe, a book documenting his work and the community’s recovery. He will present the book to the Warlpiri elders, and all royalties will go to the program he helped establish.
• The silence of the bears
In an article in the Los Angeles Times, cultural anthropology professor at U.C. Berkeley, Laura Nader comments that “Berkeley is not a very progressive campus anymore.” This comment was made in relation to the absence of protest on the campus against the $500-million, 10-year deal to establish the Energy Biosciences Institute.
• Prince Charles creams the French
Watch out crème brûlée: here comes Cambridge burnt cream staking a claim to its place in culinary history long before the French created crème brûlée. A happy coincidence is that the English dessert was apparently first created at Trinity College, Cambridge, where the Prince of Wales studied. Note: Prince Charles read archaeology and anthropology, and it is he who is promoting Cambridge burnt cream in his new supermarket product line, Duchy Originals. See what you can do with anthropology!
• Not a typical career option for an anthropologist
Fiona Graham, with a PhD in anthropology, works full time in Japan as a geisha.
• Nighty night
James McKenna, a biological anthropology professor at Notre Dame University, was mentioned in an article about getting children to sleep in their own beds. He is an expert on infant sleeping patterns.
• Scents and non-scents
Christina Drea, associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University, is a member of a research group that has documented how hormonal birth control alters scent communication in lemurs. Contracepted lemur females tend to lose their scent. Since lemurs and other nonhuman primates identify kin through scent, contracepted females are at a social disadvantage. Does this finding apply to humans? One can’t leap from lemurs to humans, so stay tuned.
• In memoriam
Professor Celestin Misago Kanimba, president of the National Commission against Genocide (CNLG), died on July 20. He graduated with a degree in anthropology from Lubumbashi University in the Democratic Republic of Congo and then obtained a PhD in Hamburg, Germany. Before his appointment as president of the CNLG, he served as Director of the National Museum of Rwanda.