Anthro in the news 11/26/12

Dr. Jim Yong Kim

• Beware of the 4°: Climate change is real and dangerous

Several media sources, including U.S. News and World Report,  mentioned Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank and a physician and cultural anthropologist, in discussing a new report from the World Bank pointing to the need to take climate change/global warming seriously.

• Stop wildlife trafficking

“There is a movement afoot to humanize environmental issues, to address them from an anthropological, or human, perspective.” writes Tara Waters Lumpkin, an environmental and medical anthropologist. Her article is published in The Huffington Post and argues for the need address wildlife trafficking. As one example of increasing attention to wildlife protection, Lumpkin notes that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke out against wildlife trafficking at the U.S. Department of State in early November. Secretary Clinton stated that wildlife trafficking is a global security issue, emphasizing the need to enlist the support of the public to stem wildlife trafficking. She also declared the launch on Dec. 4 of Wildlife Conservation Day. Lumpkin has been employed in international aid work and as an environmental anthropologist in both the U.S. and overseas and is President of the non-profit Perception International, which promotes perceptual, cultural and biological diversity through its global projects. She is the founder and executive director of Izilwane, which means “animals” in Zulu. Izilwane explores a new ecological paradigm based on enhancing the relationship of human beings with other species and the natural world.

• Missing women primatologists at conferences

A study by researchers at UC Davis has marked gender inequality in who is chosen to speak at primatology conferences. The study was published in the open access journal PLOS ONE. Lead author Lynne Isbell, a professor of anthropology at UCD, initiated the study after being struck by the scarcity of female speakers at the annual meeting in April of the American Association of Physical Anthropology. “I started wondering if this was a fluke, or something we hadn’t noticed before,” Isbell said. She and two UCD colleagues, fellow anthropology professor Alexander Harcourt and Truman Young, a professor of plant sciences, went through programs from 21 annual meetings of the association, focusing on primatology sessions. They tallied the genders of speakers at symposia; those giving shorter oral presentations; and those presenting posters. (Symposium talks are generally seen as being more prestigious than short oral presentations, with posters — often given by junior researchers and graduate students — being seen as the least prestigious.) They found that symposia organized by men had half the number of female speakers, 29 percent, as those organized by women, 64 percent, or by men and women, 58 percent. Women were far more likely to make poster presentations than give talks, while men presented more talks than posters.

• Put heritage turkeys on the table

Peggy Barlett

[Blogger’s note: vegetarian/vegan advisory]. CNN carried an interview with cultural anthropologist Peggy Barlett about heritage foods, including turkeys. She is the Goodrich C. White Professor of Anthropology at Emory University and a Public Voices Fellow with the Op-Ed project and a former president of the Society for Economic Anthropology and chair of the Emory University Sustainable Food Committee. The interview focused on an early Thank Thanksgiving meal prepared by Emory University’s cafeteria which included winter greens, butternut squash, brussels sprouts with apples and bacon, pumpkin grits, and roasted “heritage breed turkey.” Accolades ensued: “To me, all turkeys taste the same—except for this one—I can tell the difference,” said William Payne who works in the medical school. The local greens from Georgia farms were “really, really tasty,” said a first-year student from the Atlanta area and her friend from Tianjin, China. The meal was Emory University’s fourth Heritage Harvest Feast. The turkey that had everybody talking was a Narragansett, a heritage breed native to Rhode Island.

• Seminar in Assam

The sixth annual national seminar organized by Sanskriti-North Eastern Institute of Culture and Religion was held in Guwahati, November 16-18. Sanskriti is an anthropological research center engaged in data-based research on the people and cultures of northeastern India. This year’s theme  was Indigenous Resource Management in Tribal Cultures of North East India.

• Take that anthro degree and…

…become a famous actor. Roger Hammond was a character actor best known for playing doctors in The Madness of King George and The King’s Speech. He attended Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he read English before changing to archaeology and anthropology, both of which remained lifelong passions. In the course of a career extending over half a century he played leading roles in many episodes of television series, specializing in cameo appearances, frequently as doctors, rotund priests, bishops and other authority figures who arrived at crucial moments to help the plot along. Roger Hammond was born on March 21, 1936. He died on November 8, 2012, aged 76.

• Now is the winter of our suspense: More on Richard III


Men dressed as medieval knights in Leicester, England, where a skeleton that could be King Richard III was found. Gavin Fogg /AFP/Getty Images

The Washington Post, front page (below the crease) carried a long article about the ongoing debates about the character of Richard III and what to do with his remains if, in fact, it is his remains that have been found by archaeologists under a parking lot in Leicester. Findings from DNA analysis will appear soon, comparing that of the remains and that of a descendant of his eldest sister who lives in Canada.

• Vikings on the move

New research reveals Viking settlements within the Arctic Circle. The Viking arrival in America around CE 1000, five centuries before Columbus reached the Bahamas, is now a commonplace of history. But how far the Vikings progressed, and how they interacted with the peoples they encountered, remain a matter of vigorous scholarly debate. Almost half a century ago, the Norwegian archaeologist Anne Stine Ingstad and her husband Helge Ingstad discovered the first definite Viking settlement in the New World at L’Anse aux Meadows on the northernmost tip of Newfoundland. More recent discoveries by Patricia Sutherland, a research fellow at the University of Aberdeen, show that Viking contacts went much farther north, well inside the Arctic Circle. Her excavations at Tanfield Valley, at the southern end of Baffin Island have yielded whalebone fragments pierced by drilled holes. The local Inuit of the Dorset culture did not have drills, but made holes by gouging, Heather Pringle reports in National Geographic, indicating at least contact with European technology. [Source: The Times (U.K.), Nov 24, 2012].

• Mesolithic settlement near Liverpool

Lunt Meadows site, from BBC
A recent discovery of worked flints and charred timber suggests that when stone age people reached Lunt Meadows, a beautiful site at Sefton in northwest England near Liverpool, they  settled down and built permanent dwellings. Archaeologists say that structures at the site are almost 8,000 years old, from the Mesolithic period. Family groups may have lived in a settlement which may have lasted for centuries. Archaeologist Ron Cowell is quoted as saying: “It looks as if we have the remains of three houses, or structures, which were very substantial, up to six metres across. They fit an emerging body of recent evidence, challenging the traditional view of people of this period as constantly on the move.” The significance of the discovery is assessed in a BBC film in the  series, Inside Out North West.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s