anthro in the news 8/10/15

  • Politics and dirty water: A recipe for poor health

An article in the Mail and Guardian (South Africa) describes the role of politics in the mishandling of water treatment in South Africa  It is includes comments from Mary Galvin, associate professor in the department of anthropology and development studies at the University of Johannesburg. She says municipalities ignore both directives and incentives to improve their treatment works.

  • The life of flags
House in Memphis, Tennessee. Credit: Thomas R. Machnitzki.

Robin Conley, assistant professor of anthropology at Marshall University in West Virginia, is lead author of an article in the Huffington Post about the Confederate flag controversy in the U.S.: “Recent challenges to displays of the Confederate flag have created an ironic outcome; its presence is in fact more ubiquitous than before the challenges began. This resurgence is not just found among those championing the Confederate flag as a symbol of state’s rights, or a symbol of a southern identity (that may or may not include an overtly racist agenda). Every time the use of the flag is questioned or criticized, for example when a picture of two white men waving the flag proudly is recirculated as a reminder of the hatred that potentially drives their actions, it appears again. Thus, in efforts to assure its invisibility, it has in fact become even more visible.”

  • Redesigning the US $10 bill

The Register-Star (Hudson, N.Y.) reported on the role of cultural anthropologist Bill Maurer as part of advisory group providing expertise to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury on who will be the woman to appear on the new ten dollar bill. Maurer, professor of anthropology at the University of California at Irvine, is an internationally recognized expert on the anthropology of money, finance, and law.

  • Reaching out: The Islamic State

The Los Angeles Times carried an article about how Southeast Asia is emerging as a new recruiting area for the Islamic State, or ISIS. Rough estimates are that hundreds of Indonesians, 150 or more Malaysians, and a few young men from Singapore have joined Islamic State. The article includes insights from Al Chaidar, a doctoral candidate in the anthropology of terrorism at the University of Indonesia in Depok, near Jakarta. He said that many Indonesians are drawn to the Islamic State for reasons other than ideology, including the promise of good living conditions, the thrill of warfare, the lure of foreign women, and the “desire to fight back against authority, against secularism, against the Christian, Western world.”

  • Graeber the radical anarchist

An article in The Economist mentioned cultural anthropologist David Graeber, of the London School of Economics, describing him as a radical anarchist. [Blogger’s note: How about also mentioning that he is an incisive social analyst? Too much to ask of the Economist].

  • On the move: Ghanaian hiplife music

The New York Times reported on the arrival in New York City of Ghanaian hiplife music.  The article draws on commentary from Jesse Weaver Shipley, professor of anthropology at Haverford College: “The Apollo is really like a test in an exciting way for the Ghanaian artists to reach out to broader audiences and to enter into the American mainstream musical consciousness.”

  • Crowdfunding works

According to an article in the San Diego Union tribute, San Diego State University (SDSU) has joined a growing number of schools that have turned to online crowdfunding to raise money for projects, and the results have been encouraging in its first month. Two projects reached their fundraising goals on Wednesday, and another closed out almost immediately after the crowdfunding site went live on July 21. The SDSU Library and anthropology professor Seth Mallios launched the effort to save a mural created in 1976.

  • Anthropology at high levels: Paul Farmer

As reported in All Africa, President Ellen Sirleaf of Liberia received in audience medical anthropologist Paul Farmer and a colleague of his at Partners in Health. According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader thanked Dr. Farmer and Partners in Health for working in Liberia, particularly during the most difficult period of the Ebola outbreak and for the services they have rendered Liberians, especially rural dwellers in southeastern Liberia where their operations are focused.

  • Take that anthro degree and…

…do community social improvement work with an NGO.  DeBorah Ahmed works for Better Family Life in St. Louis, Missouri. She has a B.A. in anthropology. She was recently nominated as a member of the St. Louis Civilian Review Board which is being formed to judge complaints made against St. Louis city police.

…become a film producer and entrepreneur. Emily Best founded Seed&Spark which won the 2015 IVY award for contributions to the film industry. Its mission is sustainability for filmmakers and diversity of content for audiences. Her business has generated $2.7 million for 175 independent creators. In 2010 she produced the film Like the Water. Best has a B.A. in anthropology and American Studies from Haverford College.

…become an account manager. Ashley Arnold is an account managed for the Health Science Global Business Unit at Oracle America, Inc. At Lafayette College, she double majored in biology and anthropology/sociology.

…work in higher education sports administration. Oregon State University has appointed Kimya Massey as senior associate athletic director for student-athlete development. Massey will lead OSU’s student-athlete development team. Among other responsibilities, he will oversee the Beavers’ Everyday Champions program, run the Leadership Institute and serve as a liaison for student-athlete welfare initiatives. Massey has B.A. degrees in anthropology and sociology at Oregon State University and went on to earn a master’s in kinesiology with an emphasis on sports administration from Michigan State University.

…become a writer and analyst. Sarah Kendzior is a writer for Al Jazeera English and other outlets on politics, economy, and media and a researcher on Central Asia and Middle America.  Her latest piece appeared in Foreign Policy. She is based in St. Louis, Missouri. She has a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis. [Blogger’s note: the blog Savage Minds carried an interview with Kendzior in 2013].

  • Recovering the bodies

The Daily Beast carried an article about ongoing excavations in Medellin, Colombia, especially in one district of the city which was targeted by former President Alvaro Uribe as requiring military intervention to pacify it. The teams will have to move 24,000m of rubble and earth with heavy machinery for two months before even studying the debris. Karina Gerdau Radonic, lecturer in biological anthropology at Bournemouth University in the U.K. is quoted:

“No one can really know what they will find and what the state of preservation of the remains will be unless they attempt to excavate and recover the remains. Paleontology and Archaeology teach us that human remains (in particular bones) can survive at great depths, for hundreds of thousands of years, and that sometimes even soft tissue and clothing survive, and DNA can also be extracted. I would like to reiterate that the preservation will depend on the type of soil and whatever was dumped on the remains.”

  • The biology of break-ups

The Daily Mail (U.K.) reported on a survey study of emotional responses following a relationship break-up. Results show that women feel more pain than men after break-ups but they recover faster and move on. Craig Morris, professor of anthropology at Binghamton University (U.S.) and lead author of the study, said women overcame their problems by relying on their social support network. Findings were published in the journal Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences.

  • Beware of men wearing red shirts?

The Ledger (Florida) reported on a study conducted by Diana Wiedermann, a Ph.D. student in evolutionary anthropology at the University of Durham (U.K.). Her research suggests that men who wear red are sending a message they may not have intended. Volunteers of both sexes, 50 male and 50 female, rated men wearing red as more aggressive and angry than the men wearing blue or gray.

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