anthro in the news 11/27/17

Grassy Narrows, Ontario, 2006. Credit: Howl Arts Collective/Creative Commons

a crime against humanity

Scales of justice. Credit: Pixabay

The Toronto Star published commentary co-authored by Stephen Bede Scharper, associate professor of environment and anthropology at the University of Toronto at Mississauga and Annamaria Enenajor, a criminal defense and constitutional lawyer. They argue that mercury poisoning at Grassy Narrows by the Canadian government and industry is a crime against humanity and is part of the legacy of decades of mistreatment of Canada’s indigenous people. Ninety percent of the community suffers from some form of mercury poisoning and it is intergenerational. They write: “One of the international crimes against humanity is persecution. A crime against humanity requires that a perpetrating state know that its conduct is part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population. To be guilty, the government of Canada would have to know that what is happening in Grassy Narrows is happening by design and not by tragic accident.”

the costs of war crimes tribunals

An article in U.S. News & World Report reported on the end of the special Yugoslav tribunal of The Hague and considered its accomplishments and costs. The war crimes tribunal [for Yugoslavia] has been expensive to maintain. Just since 2010, more than $700 million has been spent to fund the activity of the tribunal. The article quotes Richard Wilson, Gladstein Chair and professor of anthropology and law at the University of Connecticut: “Their budget dwarfs in comparison to even the state criminal justice budgets of most American states…I believe [the special tribunal] cost over $1 billion. But it’s been running for 20 years and its budget is extremely small when comparing to national criminal justice budgets. And it had to undertake the very arduous work of examining crimes that took place almost 20 years ago.”

Mead on sexual taboos in the workplace

Slate published a piece about sexual harassment in the workplace today, drawing on an article Margaret Mead wrote in Redbook magazine in 1978 called, A Proposal: We Need Taboos on Sex At Work. Mead wrote:  What we need, in fact, are new taboos that are appropriate to the new society we are struggling to create—taboos that will operate within the work setting as once they operated within the household. Neither men nor women should expect that sex can be used either to victimize women who need to keep their jobs or to keep women from advancement or to help men advance their own careers. A taboo enjoins. We need one that saves clearly and unequivocally, ‘You don’t make passes at or sleep with the people you work with.’” 

U.S. plans to deport Haitians 

The Valley News (New Hampshire/Vermont) reported on local reactions to Donald Trump’s plan to end the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 60,000 Haitians affected by the 2010 earthquake who have been living and working in the U.S. since then. The article includes a comment by Chelsey Kivland, assistant professor of anthropology at Dartmouth College, whose research focuses on street politics and violence in Port-au-Prince. She expressed deep concerns about the announcement, “mainly because the effects of the earthquake are not temporary…I do understand that TPS is something that’s not supposed to last forever, but at the same time, it’s supposed to expire when the effects of the disaster have expired, and that is not the case in Haiti. Conditions are such there that the country should continue to qualify for TPS.”   

take that anthro degree and…

…work in digital marketing and research. Farzin Andrew Espahani is vice president of growth & marketing with Solution21 in Orange County, California. His experience is in online performance marketing, web publishing, search engine marketing, and business development, which he combines with research on human behavioral ecology and human decision making. Espahani has a B.A. in sociology and an M.A. in biocultural anthropology from California State University at Fullerton.

shipwrecks found off the coast of Egypt

The Daily Mail reported on the discovery of three sunken Roman ships in Abu Qir Bay during excavations by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities’ Underwater Archaeology Department and the European Institute of Underwater Archaeology.  A head carved from crystal is thought to portray Marcus Antonius, and three gold coins date to Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, who ruled from 27 BCE to 14 CE. Mostafa Waziri, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said: ‘The excavations indicate that a fourth vessel is likely to be found during the coming working season.” 

thermal imaging advances archaeology

An article in The Valley News (New Hampshire/Vermont) described the use of advanced technology in archaeological research being carried out in a field that once housed a late 18th century Shaker village in New Hampshire. In searching for the foundations of stone buildings, forgotten roadways, and other remains of the community. Jesse Casana, associate professor of anthropology at Dartmouth College, and Chad Hill, research associate and lecturer in the anthropology department at Dartmouth College, are using a drone equipped with a thermal imaging camera and mapping instruments. The camera can identify remnants of buildings and other structures up to several feet below the surface. By using the drone, the researchers can survey an area in minutes that might take months with traditional methods. “If you look, you see a flat field but below it there are big stone walls. There are cellars. There is a big old well, all kinds of stuff you can’t see on the ground,” Casana. “Those things have different thermal properties. If you capture an image at the right moment, you can see it — which is amazing.” 

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