Anthro in the news 7/28/14

Flooding on the Marshall Islands. Source: Getty Images.
  • Climate change, blame, and moving on

National Public Radio provided commentary by anthropologist Barbara J. King of William and Mary on “the blame game” about climate change. After reading an article by anthropologist Peter Rudiak-Gould in the August issue of Current Anthropology, “Climate Change and Accusation: Global Warming and Local Blame in a Small Island State“, she gained an appreciation for the scale of the problem of climate change faced by people in the Marshall Islands. Rudiak-Gould seeks to understand how the Marshallese Islanders think about who is responsible for climate change: Do they engage in industrial blame, in which Western, developed and industrialized countries are held to be at fault? Or do they adopt a perspective of universal blame that puts blame on all of us collectively, even Marshall Islanders?

King and Rudiak-Gould have been communicating by email, exploring several questions related to his article. You can read about their exchanges in her piece. The upshot is: talk to the people and move on from there to considering ways to make positive change. King is inspired to talk to people in Norfolk.

  • A migrant who died on the way: Documentary film

The Independent (U.K.) covered a new film documenting illegal immigration into the United States along its southern border with Mexico.  The film, made by the Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, tells the story of Dilcy Martinez, a Honduran who died 20 minutes’ drive from a new life in Tucson. It highlights the work of the Missing Migrant Project, based at the office of the Pima County medical examiner in Tucson, which identified his remains. The story of the fatal journey is the subject of Who Is Dayani Cristal?, released in the U.K. this weekend.

The Missing Migrant Project is led by cultural anthropology doctoral student Robin Reineke of the University of Arizona. It compiles information on migrants last seen heading for the border. Working with families, forensic investigators and consulates, they try to find the missing among the unidentified bodies.

  • Community ties in Georgia, U.S.

The Missoulian quoted cultural anthropologist Bradd Shorr, of Emory University, in an article about the annual Salem Camp Meeting in Covington, Georgia. This year marked the 186th camp meeting. People come back year after year for the preaching, praying, singing and fellowship. Services, which attract more than 1,300 a day, are open to all. Although started by the Methodist church, Salem is not officially connected to the Methodist church, but run independently by a board of trustees.

“It’s one of the oldest, distinctly American family religious traditions,” said Shore, a professor of cultural anthropology at and the maker of a documentary about the Salem Camp Meeting. “I don’t know of any other tradition in the United States that has such a long history of binding families. There are plenty of other religious revival traditions, but they don’t have the aspect of residency for a week or so in a tent or cabin.”

  • Take that anthro degree and…

…become a science instructor at a camp for indigenous youths in Australia.  Heathyr Francis, a Trent University graduate with a degree in biology and anthropology, is back for her second season at The Trent Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge and Science Youth Program TRACKS as a senior science instructor. TRACKS offers Aboriginal children and youths the chance to explore the natural world from multiple perspectives. Francis says: “I bring my understanding of science to the workshops and educational experiences, always hoping to trade some of my knowledge for other ways of knowing, looking at things from different ways that will lead to new experiences.

…become a public health provider, institution builder, and health advocate in Kenya. When doing research in 1995 on HIV/AIDS for her master’s degree in medical anthropology and sociology, Marianne Darwinke first went to Kenya. She has subsequently worked on several projects there, including the founding of North Coast Medical Training College in Kilifi. There are currently 118 students from as far as Nairobi, Bungoma, Busia and even Ethiopia. The institution has about 40 refugees from the Dadaab refugee camp who are studying at the college and are sponsored by the UNHCR. Since 2009, Darwinke has been Director of Community Health Promotion Kenya which was initiated in early 2009 by a group of dedicated people in medical training and health care in Kenya who seek to contribute to better healthcare for Kenyans.

…become outreach director of the Somali Artifact and Cultural Museum and a Slavic singer. Sarah Larsson works with the newly established museum in Minneapolis and also sings with the Nightingale Trio, a group that specializes in Eastern European folk music (the group met at Yale).

…become a doctor and chief medical officer at a major hospital. Stephen J. Turkovich, M.D., has been named vice president and chief medical officer at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. Turkovich received his Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology as well as his medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo.  He completed his pediatric residency at the University of Rochester, Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong. He currently serves as a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics for the University of Buffalo.

  • Word out: More on study of sexual harassment in fieldwork

The Huffington Post carried an article by the co-authors of a study by four authors documenting the extent of sexual harassment and assault during fieldwork in anthropology and other sciences:

“We, like many other scientists, had heard the stories, shared via email, on blogs, whispered in the corners of hotel conference rooms. Harrowing stories of sexual harassment and assault during one of the most important stages of professionalization in the sciences: fieldwork. Fieldwork is critical to learning the ropes and gathering the data that makes possible the expansion of knowledge in anthropology, archaeology, astronomy, biology, ecology, geology, oceanography, sociology, and many, many other fields of inquiry. We set out to explore more deeply the pervasiveness of these experiences and the results we published in PLOS ONE on July 16, 2014 are a sobering wake-up call.”

  • Mammoths and mastodons happy hanging out in Ohio

The Daily Mail (U.K.) reported on a study based on tooth analysis of mammoths and mastodons of the Cincinnati region in Ohio, U.S. Findings indicate that mammoths and mastodons, the ancient Ice Age relatives of elephants, weren’t the nomadic beasts that people previously believed. The creatures were home bodies, enjoying their time in the area. They even had their own preferred hangouts, with the research suggesting that each species of mammoth and mastodon kept to separate areas based the types of food available. The study was led by Brooke Crowley, assistant professor of geology and anthropology at the University of Cincinnati. She states that learning more about the different behavior of these prehistoric creatures could benefit their modern-day cousins, African and Asian elephants, who are both on the World Wildlife Fund’s endangered species list.

Crowley’s research with co-author and University of Cincinnati graduate Eric Baumann, was published in Boreas.

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