anthropology professors to teach trump 101 class this spring quarter


Two anthropology professors will lead a “Trump 101” class this spring quarter. Kaushik Sunder Rajan and William Mazzarella will use the 100-person lecture course to examine President Trump’s rise, using media, race, and gender as a lens for looking at the future of democracies.

Mazzarella sent e-mails to students in December to gauge interest in the class and later joined Rajan to create a curriculum as part of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (3CT), which allows fellows to sponsor lectures, teach classes, and sponsor workshops. The class will be composed of discussions led by graduate students and classes taught by guest lecturers providing perspectives from the fields of anthropology, history, political science, linguistics, English, and philosophy.

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anthropologist psychiatrist sees global health through a cultural prism

Dr. Ippolytos Kalofonos Source: Peggy McInerny/UCLA
Dr. Ippolytos Kalofonos Source: Peggy McInerny/UCLA

As a pre-med major at UC San Diego studying biochemistry, Ippolytos Kalofonos discovered his future career while listening to a guest lecturer at an undergraduate seminar.

Here was a field that wove together his interests in health, medicine and social context, he learned after listening to the medical anthropologist. Kalofonos was always interested in broader issues beyond the lab where he worked. He volunteered at a Red Cross emergency room in Tijuana, and was struck by the various forms of inequality “that were swirling around me” locally, nationally and globally.

“I was really excited by the idea of medicine as a social and cultural system, rather than as just a technical skill set,” he recalled of that moment.

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object lesson: dolls on an anthropologist’s shelf


You can learn about a culture by looking at iconic artwork or inspiring architecture — and also by examining seemingly mundane cultural products like dolls.

Dana Professor of Anthropology Loring Danforth makes that point when he teaches the course “Myth, Folklore, and Popular Culture.”

“The first book we read,” he says, “is Barbie’s Queer Accessories,” by Erica Rand, the college’s Whitehouse Professor of Art and Visual Culture.

Rand’s book, combined with Barbie’s powerful and familiar image, provides a “good vehicle to get people thinking about gender, class, sexuality, sexual orientation, and race in American culture,” he says.

But Barbie is only half the story.

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on cinematic anthropology, the use of sensation in ethnographic filmmaking

Professor Lisa Stevenson at the event. Source: Claire Avisar
Professor Lisa Stevenson at the event. Source: Claire Avisar

To most people, the image of a farm on the outskirts of Montreal, the routine of a professional bodybuilder, and Afghan lullabies have little to do with one another. To students of the Anthropology department’s ANTH 408: Sensory Ethnography course, however, they represent the subjects of a semester’s worth of work documenting, creating, and reflecting upon the process of ethnographic filmmaking.

On January 20, held within the historic limestone walls of Thompson House, McGill’s Anthropology Students’ Association hosted the students, their friends, and professors of a class whose central work focused on sensory ethnography (a practice that privileges audiovisual representations of living subjects and rejects the mediation of dialogue, narration, or subtitles). Prefaced by a cocktail hour, this event provided its attendees an evening of food, drinks, and the chance to engage with the students whose work was showcased. With a set of topics as diverse as their approaches, the films were united under their rich cinematography, experimental approach to the traditional narrative, and the attempt to decode human understandings of the world.



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chimps’ behavior following death disturbing to ISU anthropologist

Iowa State Anthropologist Jill Pruetz describes the disturbing behavior following the death of a chimpanzee at her research site in Senegal. She and her colleagues captured what happened on video. Interview by Dave Olson. Video courtesy of Jill Pruetz

Shocking is one word Jill Pruetz uses to describe the behavior she witnessed after a chimp was killed at her research site in Fongoli, Senegal. The fact that chimps would kill a member of their own community is extremely rare – most aggression is between communities – but the abuse that followed was completely unexpected.

“It was very difficult and quite gruesome to watch,” said Pruetz, a professor of anthropology at Iowa State University. “I couldn’t initially make sense of what was happening, and I didn’t expect them to be so aggressive with the body.”

Pruetz has witnessed many things since establishing her research site in 2001. She was the first to document chimps using tools to hunt prey. However, what she observed in 2013 was different. Pruetz and her research team documented the chimps’ behavior after discovering the body of Foudouko, a former leader of the Fongoli community, who was exiled from the group for five years. As Pruetz explains in the video above, the chimps – many of which Pruetz suspects killed Foudouko – abused and cannibalized his body for nearly four hours. Continue reading “chimps’ behavior following death disturbing to ISU anthropologist”

A Presidential Affair

This article first appeared on the Stanford University Press blog.


In January of 1998 news leaked that President Bill Clinton had engaged in ‘improper’ relations with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. People around the country debated whether a man with such moral character was fit to run the country. This carried over into Congressional hearings and Clinton eventually became the second president to be impeached, charged with perjury and obstruction of justice. He was later acquitted in the Senate, served out the rest of his term in the White House and went on to become a popular former president known for doing good around the world.

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Nancy Scheper-Hughes shares reflections on the Catholic Church

epublished with permission from Berkeley News

Nancy Scheper-Hughes. Source: Berkeley News

In her research, writing and teaching, medical anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes focuses especially on violence, suffering and premature death on the margins of the modern world. Best-known for her work on the global trade in human organs, she was invited to participate in a Vatican conference last summer on human trafficking. The experience brought the Berkeley professor — a lifelong Roman Catholic and sometime critic of the church — into close proximity with Pope Francis. Scheper-Hughes recently shared reflections on the pope and the state of the Catholic Church with Berkeley News.

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