• Too soon to celebrate in Haiti
Mark Schuller, professor of cultural anthropology at CUNY, published an article in the Huffington Post reminding us that nearly 400,000 people in Haiti are still living in tattered tents: “For those who haven’t been to Haiti for a while, or for those who have never been but have seen the hell on earth portrayed in the media, the fact that Champs-de-Mars and other plazas in Port-au-Prince are no longer home to thousands of people is a symbol of progress. Celebrating this “liberation” of public spaces, President Martelly is planning a Carnival des Fleurs, a tradition under Duvalier, scheduled to begin July 29, a day after the anniversary of the 1915 U.S. invasion.” Schuller has conducted fieldwork in several tent camps.
• Putting global finance in perspective
The Guardian published an interview with Gillian Tett, U.S. managing editor of the Financial Times and a social/cultural anthropologist with a PhD. from Cambridge University. It reports that the banking world ignored Tett when she predicted the credit crisis two years ago. The interview probes how Tett’s training in social anthropology alerted her to the danger. She is quoted as saying, “I happen to think anthropology is a brilliant background for looking at finance…Firstly, you’re trained to look at how societies or cultures operate holistically, so you look at how all the bits move together. ..one of the reasons we got into the mess we are in is because they were all so busy looking at their own little bit that they totally failed to understand how it interacted with the rest of society.”
• The invisible anthropologist leading the World Ban
The New York Times reported on Jim Yong Kim‘s statement that the World Bank may have more to offer to struggling countries in terms of its expertise than monetary loans. His background as a social/medical anthropologist was not mentioned. [Blogger’s note: before Kim’s appointment, my sense is that the media wishing to damn him mentioned him being an anthropologist — this part of Kim’s education and experience was rarely brought up as a positive factor. Now that he has taken over the directorship, let’s watch to see how often his anthropological expertise is mentioned in the media — as a positive or negative factor.]
• Scandinavian buns and more
The Times (London) carried a playful article about Signe Johansen , “the Nordic Nigella, or the Stieg Larsson of Scandi baking,” connected to her forthcoming cookbook, Scandilicious. AW mentions this coverage because Johansen, at age 18 years, left Norway for Cambridge where she did a B.A. degree in social anthropology and then an M.A. in food anthropology.
• Oldest cave art in Wales
Dr. George Nash, from Bristol University’s Department of Archaeology and Anthropology discovered a cave engraving by chance. He found 14,505-year-old cave art while taking students on a field trip in Cathole, South Wales. What looks like a child’s stick drawing of a stag or a reindeer can be seen in scratched red lines on the limestone wall of the cave. He said: “…I was just very lucky and I think that’s what all discoveries are..I had been going there for 20 years and never seen this engraving.”
• Very old skeleton in Sri Lanka
Colombo welcomes archeologist Jay Stock who will conduct studies on a pre-historic human skeleton recently discovered at Pahiyangala in Kalutara district of Western Province. Stock is professor in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology of the University of Cambridge. He will lead the research on the skeleton which is believed to be 37,000 years old, along with a team of Sri Lankan archaeologists led by Dr. Shiran Daraniyagala. The skeleton is considered as the oldest human skeleton found in South Asia. It is believed to be of a woman aged between 18 to 30 years.
• Archaeology Institute may be cut
As stated in the Birmingham Evening Mail, the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity (IAA), based at the University of Birmingham, is facing closure. The world-renowned center which played a key role in the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found, and also played a leading role in recent discoveries at Stonehenge. The University and College Union (UCU) said closing the institution would have a “devastating impact” on U.K. archaeology, and claimed the university had failed to give staff any “proper explanation” of why the institute was being considered for closure. A 90-day consultation with staff and students is under way. A university spokesman said that no final decision hast been made.
• Gombe chimps maul anthropology graduate student
Many media sources [SOURCE here is the NZHerald, below] covered the news that chimpanzees at a sanctuary founded by Jane Goodall pulled a graduate student into their fenced-off enclosure, seriously injuring him. Andrew F. Oberle was giving a lecture to tourists at the Chimp Eden sanctuary when two chimpanzees grabbed his feet and pulled him under a fence into their enclosure. An update from South Africa reports on the accident and Oberle’s transfer to a hospital in Johannesburg where he is out of critical condition. [Texas graduate student who was mauled by chimpanzees ]
• In memoriam
Michel-Rolph Trouillot died at the age of 63 years. He was professor of anthropology at the University of Chicago and noted scholar of Haiti and author of many important books about Haiti as well as other publications. For more information, see posts at Anthropology Report and Savage Minds.