anthro in the news 3/5/18

A view of the U.S Congress building from Garfield Circle. Credit: 
Matthew Straubmuller/Flickr

speaking truth to power

STAT interviewed Kathryn Clancy, professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois, about her activist work in addressing sexual harassment in science in the U.S. Last week, she took her findings to the U.S. Congress. Clancy has studied the many ways sexual harassment pervades science, from university research labs to field sites. She has surveyed researchers about their experiences of sexual harassment and assault during scientific field work. She has called out universities, which she says have not done enough to create change in research labs, to her thousands of Twitter followers. In the interview, she comments: “I have some thoughts I’m sharing in terms of things that I think we need more funding for and mandates that Congress could think about to improve the situation. We don’t need more unfunded mandates. Universities, if they’re going to start doing things right, they need money to do it right. If Congress really wants to eliminate sexual harassment, they have to figure out how to fund science better. [That] means creating some targeted funding initiatives toward empirically looking at how to reduce sexual harassment in the workplace. That would allow us to do a better job thinking about designing interventions.”

keep your eyes on guns

Credit: meketrefe/Pixabay

The Tri-City Herald (Washington State) published a commentary by Mark Mansperger, associate professor of anthropology and world civilizations at Washington State University-Tri-Cities. He writes: “Instead of taking a long-term strategy of turning our schools and other public places into fortresses, or implementing measures as senseless as arming teachers, let’s face the obvious and travel the path that rational people have done in most other advanced nations: Take meaningful steps to reduce the availability of guns.”

take that anthro degree and…

…work in higher education leadership. Charles R. Hale has been appointed dean of social sciences at the University of California at Santa Barbara. An anthropologist, he has done fieldwork in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras.  As the SAGE Sara Miller McCune Dean of Social Sciences, Hale oversees 12 academic departments and programs with more than 6,500 undergraduate and 400 graduate students. Previously a professor of African and African Diaspora studies and anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin, he comes to his new position primed to embrace UCSB’s interdisciplinary approach to academics:  “I’ve always been an interdisciplinary scholar…I believe that social sciences need to strengthen core areas of excellence that traditionally have been discipline-specific, while constantly crossing boundaries and collaborating beyond our comfort zone.” He is known for his extensive work with the Miskitu, Creole and Garifuna peoples of Central America, on how societies transition from mono-ethnic governance toward the recognition of rights to autonomy, territory and other forms of multicultural citizenship. Hale’s research has been supported by funds from the National Science Foundation and the Ford, Wenner-Gren, MacArthur, and Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundations. At Texas, he was director of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) and led the LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections, which joined LLILAS with the renowned Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection. At UCSB, Hale wants to emphasize the potential of social science to address issues of equity, sustainability, and democratic voice: “I’m keen on seeing how social science research can, first of all, be communicated effectively across broad publics so that people understand the importance of what we do, and that we are clear that our research is both excellent in scholarly terms and oriented addressing key social problems that need critical thinking…I’m interested in initiatives that are oriented toward problem-solving in society to take on those big questions, ideally from interdisciplinary perspectives…Often there’s a perception that the biggest problems of our society are resolved through technological advancements…I think that’s always part of the equation. But the stumbling blocks often end up being the socio-political conditions that make the hypothetical solutions actually work. That’s where social science research becomes absolutely essential.”

…be an elementary school teacher. Erin Thesing is an American elementary school teacher who worked for several years at schools in Philadelphia and the District of Columbia before moving to France. Last summer, she applied for a dream job at an international school in Paris, where she had long wanted to live. She had no expectation of being chosen, but in a big surprise, she was hired as a fourth-grade teacher and started there last fall. She is blogging about her experiences in Paris for The Washington Post. Thesing has a B.A. in anthropology from the University of New Hampshire and an M.A. in urban education from the University of Pennsylvania.

prehistoric burial site off Florida’s coast 

The Miami Herald reported on the discovery of a prehistoric Native American burial site found underwater off the Florida coast, the first discovery of underwater preservation from the Archaic Period in the Americas. Through sea level rise in the last ice age, the area was a pond that was 9 feet above sea level. Researchers intend to reconstruct the landscape of the area to learn how it was able to survive rising tides. The Bureau of Archaeological Research of the Florida Department of State is developing a long-term management plan for the site and is in contact with the Seminole Tribe. “We are happy to be working, shoulder to shoulder, with the Bureau of Archaeological Research and the residents of Manasota Key to identify a preservation plan that will allow the ancestors to continue to rest peacefully and without human disturbance for the next 7,000 years,” said Paul Backhouse, tribal historic preservation officer of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

oldest figurative tattoos

As reported by National Public Radio (U.S.) and other media, University of Oxford Egyptologist  Renee Friedman has used infrared imaging to reveal tattoos on mummies at the British Museum, likely dating from 3932 to 3030 B.C.E. She is quoted as saying that it was “a big surprise when these tattoos just popped out under infrared…It’s quite remarkable what has gone undetected that, now, new technology, a little hand-held pre-converted infrared camera, is unlocking — a whole new world for us of body modification at such an early time.” For a century, the markings were thought to have been meaningless smudges, but the infrared imaging reveals they are well-known motifs common to the predynastic period. The team’s findings were published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

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