anthro in the news 7/27/15

  • The past as present in the Greek referendum

Cultural anthropologist Daniel M. Knight published an article in the Huffington Post describing how people in Greece at the time of the referendum vote discussed “discussed their fears and aspirations for the future through extensive reference to poignant pasts.” Knight, an Addison Wheeler Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at Durham University and Visiting Fellow at the Hellenic Observatory, London School of Economics and Political Science, stated:

“I have written at length about the significance of the past in the way Greeks experience the current economic turmoil. As I argue in my recent book, History, Time, and Economic Crisis in Central Greece, the cultural and temporal ‘proximity’ of selective moments of the past help people understand dramatic social change. By embodying moments of the past, locals discuss their fears of returning to previous epochs of hardship while drawing courage that even the worst crises can be overcome.”

  • Rihanna and David Graeber: Connect the dots

An article in the Financial Times reviews Rihanna’s latest video, Bitch Better Have My Money, noting that the video’s fictional events are thought to be connected to Rihanna’s personal fury at a former accountant: “In the song’s seven-minute video, the Barbadian singer is depicted kidnapping the beautiful wife of a character called The Accountant. Torture and unpleasantness ensue. On failing to secure a ransom for the bound and gagged blonde, Rihanna kills (spoiler): him.”

The article points out that accountants, like lawyers, “are adepts of a system of codes and regulations that the rest of us are bound by but do not understand. In his book, Debt, anthropologist David Graeber traces the history of accountancy to Sumerian temple administrators in 3500BC. From its inception the practice of weighing up people’s debts and credits was infused with religion. The financialisation of morality, Graeber argues, is the root meaning of money.”

  • Proposed ban on smoking in U.K. prisons: And the winners are

The Independent carried an article about the effects of the proposed ban on smoking in U.K. jails written by Charlie Gilmour, a recent Cambridge University graduate in history who spent four months in jail for behavior during a student demonstration. Gilmour describes the tobacco economy inside the prison where he stayed. He acknowledges this insight from Alex Cavendish, an anthropologist and former inmate who served two-and-a-half years in various establishments, who wrote on his blog Prison UK: “The real winners will be the smugglers.”

  • Girlfriend allowances in South Africa

An article in All Africa describes the rise of “girlfriend allowances” being asked of boyfriends by young women, often students, in cities in South Africa. Girlfriends feel that because they perform “wifely duties” there should be a form of remuneration for their efforts. The article includes insights from Joey Serekoane, an anthropology lecturer at the University of the Free State. He asks: “Why would you be a 21st century woman and still subscribe to this submission?” Serekoane says that a girlfriend allowance is a form of control over the girlfriend: “Your no becomes a yes.”

  • Take that anthro degree and…

..become a researcher and activist. Sunagawa Hideki is a research professional and gay rights activist, living in Okinawa. He has a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology and gay studies from the University of Tokyo. Hideki founded Pink Dot Okinawa and helped found Tokyo Pride of which he is past president.

…become a university dean. Daniel Schwartz is the newly appointed dean of the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. After graduating from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in philosophy and anthropology, Schwartz received an emergency teaching credential, which certifies student teachers to teach in school districts that are experiencing staffing problems. After teaching in Los Angeles and Alaska, he received a master’s in computers and education and a Ph.D. in human cognition and learning from Columbia University. Schwartz has researched the role of computers in education, human cognition and education itself. He is writing a book called The ABCs of How We Learn: 26 Scientifically Proven Approaches, How They Work and When to Use Them.

…become a tech entrepreneur and philanthropist. Lore Harp McGovern was a co-founder of Vector Graphic, one of the earliest PC companies and was president and CEO of the educational publishing company Good Morning Teacher! She was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 1983 by Women Business Owners of New York and has been awarded the Distinguished Immigrant Award by the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco. She is Chair Emerita of the Board of Associates of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. She has a B.A. degree in anthropology from Cal State, Los Angeles.

…become a professional photographer. David Soliday is a commercial and advertising photographer based in Charleston, South Carolina. An exhibit featuring his work is at City Gallery in Charleston through August. Remnants of the Rice Culture — Agricultural History As Art provides aerial views of intertidal marshland in South Carolina that, along with African slaves, supported the plantation economy. Soliday studied anthropology at Amherst College, so he became fascinated when he encountered the remnants of the rice culture in the Southeast U.S.: “The rice fields are magnificent structures on the surface of the Earth, and that’s what I try to document, the monumental human effort. And it’s all disappearing.”

…become a doctor. Yasmin Khawja is joining the Mount Sinai Hospital’s clinic, the Family Health Associates, in Queens, N.Y., where she will be a primary care physician. She has a B.A. in Medical Anthropology from Swarthmore College. Following her graduation from Swarthmore College, Khawja worked under Dr. Paul Farmer and Dr. Arachu Castro at Partners In Health at Harvard University in Boston. She traveled for one year to serve as project coordinator of a national clinical study with HIV/AIDS patients in Havana. Khawja then attended the Einstein Medical School in Bronx, N.Y., where she received her Doctorate of Medicine degree. While in medical school, she partook in research and clinical rotations in India and Ethiopia via the Einstein Global Health Program. She went on to complete a three-year residency in general internal medicine at Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital.

…become a college chancellor and writer. Dallas Browne is Chancellor at Consular College and Academy of the USA and Honorary Consul for Tanzania at the Consulate for Tanzania in St. Louis, Missouri. He is emeritus associate professor of cultural anthropology at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, where he taught anthropology from 2000-2015. Browne published Culture: The Soul of Africa and the Coming Gold Rush. He believes his book is a good roadmap for business people or state departments who want to have a rudimentary understanding of Africa’s countries and cultures in order to conduct business.

…become a financial advisor and a fundraiser for epilepsy research. Amy Biviano is a business consulting professional who lives in the Spokane, Washington, area. She provides financial consulting, business planning, compliance audits and tax filings for the profit and nonprofit community. She is a lecturer at Gonzaga Law School and for the Washington State Nonprofit Coalition on financial statement preparation and compliance and fraud prevention and fundraises for the Epilepsy Foundation. Biviano has a B.A. in anthropology from Yale University and an M.B.A. in accounting from Gonzaga University.

  • Claim to fame: Largest Maya pyramid in Mexico

The Yucatan Times reported on the discovery, dating from over five years ago, of an enormous pyramid of the Maya civilization in Toniná, Chiapas. The pyramid had remained concealed under what was thought to be a natural hill for around 1,700 years. It is now confirmed to be the largest pyramid in Mexico, taller than Teotihuacan’s enormous Pyramid of the Sun. The pyramid, which measures 75 meters (246 feet) in height, was first excavated by archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in 2010.

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