anthro in the news 8/7/17

Credit: Canadian Liver Foundation/Google Images Commons.

undetected, untreated, deadly

The Washington Post published an article co-authored by medical anthropologist Paul Farmer, the Kolokotrones University Professor at Harvard University, an infectious-disease physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and co-founder of Partners in Health: “Three years ago, we wrote about the wide gap in access to hepatitis C treatment, hoping that mistakes made in the world’s response to AIDS would not be repeated in another epidemic of a lethal, blood-borne disease. Our worst fears have been realized. The World Health Organization now reports that 4 out of 5 people infected with hepatitis C aren’t even aware of it. Of those who do know, fewer than 1 in 50 have received treatment…This is a failure not of science but of delivery.”

Trump family honor code

Gillian Tett, social anthropologist and writer for The Financial Times, discusses the anthropological model of family honor cultures of the Mediterranean region versus rule of law cultures of northern Europe. She links Trump’s behavior to the Mediterranean model and cites Matthew Engelke, an anthropologist at the London School of Economics, who writes in his new book, Think Like an Anthropologist, that power and status in the Mediterranean region “were often made in the form of bravado and raw assertions of might.” [Blogger’s note: the Mediterranean model clearly has wider regional applicability. Think, for example, of the longstanding family feud between the Scot-Irish Hatfields and McCoys].


rethinking a curse word

Quartz published an article about “The C-word,” one of the harshest curse words in the English language. Camilla Power, senior lecturer in anthropology at East London University, illuminates the history of “The C-word” on the July 25 episode of Very Bad Words. While the taboo against using it is extremely strong, there may be reason for women to reclaim the word given its historic uses which include reference to a strong, powerful woman.

better suicide prevention messaging

As reported in The Indian Express, Elizabeth Morino, assistant professor of anthropology at Oregon State University Cascades, finds that suicide prevention messages may be more effective if they are tailored to specific groups. She says that to be effective, public messaging should not be culturally neutral: “Information by itself isn’t changing minds at all…But if the language in the message is sensitive and respects culturally specific values, then people are more open to the information and will maybe change their decisions.” Findings are published in the Archives of Suicide Research

Ainu skull comes home 

Japan Today reported on the repatriation of an Ainu skull, handed over by a German research group to representatives of the Ainu. A German took the skull secretly from a grave in Japan in 1879. Alexander Paschos, chairman of the Berlin Society of Anthropology, Ethnology and Prehistory, said the group decided to return the skull as a “goodwill gesture.” [Blogger’s note: “goodwill gesture” hardly seems the right term for a long overdue return of stolen cultural heritage.]

the anthropology of South Asia on display

An article in The Hindustan Times (India) covered an exhibit at the University of Cambridge of the many theories and ways of categorizing the people of India since the early days of the East India Company. The exhibit is part of the India Unboxed series marking 70 years of Indian independence and the U.K.-India Year of Culture. The curators are quoted as saying: “In the early nineteenth century, anthropologists tended to describe Indian castes and tribes in Romantic terms. But, as the British Empire continued to expand, anthropology was also used to support scientific racism and colonial violence.”

protesting professor

The Daily Star (Bangladesh) reported on a sit-in by Sayeed Ferdous, anthropology professor at Jahangirnagar University in Dhaka. He is demanding withdrawal of a vandalism case filed against 56 students. 

take that anthro degree and…

…become a market analyst and advisor. Johanna Faigelman is CEO and founding partner of Human Branding, a Toronto-based firm that advises businesses about developing and marketing new products that respond to multicultural consumers. She argues that traditional market analysis is too superficial and that businesses must develop an understanding of multiple cultures and values and the social context in which they operate. Faigelman has a B.A. in cultural anthropology from McGill University and an M.A. in cultural anthropology from York University.

submerged Buddhist site in China 

According to an article in The Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka), Chinese archaeologists are expected to start underwater exploration of a Buddha statue that has partially emerged from the water in a reservoir. After the head of the Buddha was seen in January at Hongmen Reservoir in the city of Fuzhou, in Jiangxi province, archaeologists conducted a brief underwater investigation. The new research will focus on the ruins of a temple and ancient town in the reservoir, according to Xu Changqing, head of the Jiangxi Provincial Research Institute of Archaeology.

archaeologist hosts TV show

According to an article in The Gainesville Sun, archaeologist Blue Nelson is co-hosting a show on the History Channel about found artifacts. He is a project archaeologist with SEARCH, a cultural resources company, in Jacksonville. The show follows Nelson and the other hosts as they travel the U.S. and meet with people who have artifacts, some that have been in families for generations and some that were found more recently outdoors. The hosts study the artifacts and try to provide context: Where did this come from? Who used it last? How did it get here? Nelson comments that “What we do not want to do with the show is promote people looting sites or picking up artifacts from national parks or state parks.”

digging Ottawa

CBC (Canada) reported on how Ottawa is marking Archaeology Month by inviting the public to help dig and sift through its history this August. On several weekends, archaeologist Ian Badgley is leading a team of researchers and volunteers to look for Indigenous artifacts on the shore of the Ottawa River at Lac Leamy Park. Badgley is quoted as saying: “We’re at the heart of a vast continent-sized communications and trade network because of the three river basins — the Gatineau, the Rideau and the Ottawa — and their tributaries.”

Archaeology Day at Cahokia

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch carried an article about the celebration of Archaeology Day, August 5, at the site of Cahokia. It quotes John Kelly, senior lecturer in Washington University’s department of anthropology, who started leading a team in 1998 to re-study structures found earlier and to expand on earlier research. Students and volunteers have been helping Kelly with the project every summer since then. On Archaeology Day, hundreds of tourists, families, and history buffs took part in activities such as spear-throwing and sieving through dirt from the excavation, as well as watching demonstrations on bow and arrow making, stone carving, and other Native American practices.

 

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