anthro in the news 3/27/17


TB is winning

In a piece in The New York Times, medical anthropologist and professor at Harvard University, doctor, and health care advocate Paul Farmer writes: “One of TB’s lamentable champions is a common strain of public-health expertise, which has long lowballed what it takes to cure tuberculosis and halt transmission of increasingly resistant strains of it. A host of ill-conceived and unambitious policies have all but ignored TB’s innovations. That’s why humans aren’t winning the war against TB, which last year killed 1.8 million people, regaining its old title as the world’s leading infectious killer of adults. Happy World TB Day.”

World TB Day was March 24.

Society for Applied Anthropology meetings

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported on the annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, being held in Santa Fe from March 28 through April 1. The article spotlighted the work of Nancy Owen Lewis including her comments from an interview. Lewis is a School for Advanced Research (SAR) scholar-in-residence and chairwoman of the SfAA conference. The conference has the theme of Trails, Traditions, and New Directions. Its 280 page-long program lists scores of presentations by experts on topics in physical anthropology, archaeology, and cultural anthropology. Lewis’ most recent book, Chasing the Cure in New Mexico: Tuberculosis and the Quest for Health, was published last year by the Museum of New Mexico Press.  In the interview, she said discussions related to Trump administration policies “will thread through the conference,” noting that one presentation confronts a White House initiative head-on: the Crucial Conversations roundtable on Sanctuary vs. Sanctions looks at Trump’s xenophobic stance on sanctuary cities like Santa Fe.

sugi in the springtime

Japanese sugi cones. Source: Wikipedia

Japan News published a piece by Kevin Short, a naturalist and cultural anthropology professor at Tokyo University of Information Sciences, on sugi trees. The article discusses the mythological background of sugi trees and their demise in recent times because they are cut down as a source of wood. 

immigration troubles: Britalians

An article in The Guardian describes the history of London’s last remaining Italian football club. It cites the work of Robin Palmer, a professor of anthropology at Rhodes University in South Africa, who wrote about Italian migrants in London in the 1970s for his doctoral thesis. “The accepted term for Italians in Britain at the time was ‘Italianates’ but I didn’t like it because I thought it objectified them…I needed a collective term to include not only the Italian-born people, but also their British-born children. So I called them Britalians instead.” Palmer’s work was revolutionary for its time…he sought to learn where they had come from and the conditions they encountered once they had moved. He found that the relationship between the Britalians and their hosts had been damaged by the war [World War II]. “The experience of internment, culminating in the Arandora Star disaster … for a small community to lose more than 400 men was a terrible thing….They were terribly shocked by the experience of a whole society turning on them through no fault of their own, simply because they shared a nationality with Mussolini. They were very cautious after the war and it persuaded people to live in the community.”

Wade Davis speaking in CA

The Newport Beach Independent (California) reported on an upcoming talk by Wade Davis in Newport Beach as part of the Witte Lecture Series at the Newport Beach Public Library. Appearing on both Friday, April 7, and Saturday, April 8, Davis will lecture on The Wayfinders: A Life of Adventure in Anthropology as a National Geographic Explorer. Davis is professor of anthropology and the British Columbia Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia. He is also Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and was named by the NGS as one of the Explorers for the Millennium.

take that anthro degree and…

…become an actor. Thandie Newton (Melanie Thandiwe “Thandie” Newton) has appeared in several British and American films, and is known for roles such as Linda in The Pursuit of Happyness and Nyah Nordoff-Hall in Mission Impossible II. As a teenager, she planned on a career as a dancer. Instead, she studied social anthropology at Downing College, Cambridge, where she received a B.A.  “I feel like I am an anthropologist…I feel like I have been continuing to do that through the roles I have had, playing people of different cultures.” Of the two very different work cultures between the United States and Britain, she says, “It’s very civilised here. There’s something about the English not wanting to offend anyone – and egos don’t go mad the way they can do in America.”

…become a health researcher. Jennifer Carroll is lead researcher on the overdose prevention initiative in the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s National Heroin Response Strategy and a research associate at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Her research focuses on the lived experience of drug use as well as the structural and cultural forces that shape human decisions around drug use, health care and the strategies that people use to chemically manage their own bodies. She has a B.A. in anthropology from Reed College, an M.A. in sociology from Central European University, and an M.P.H. in epidemiology and Ph.D. in in socio-cultural anthropology from the University of Washington.

… become an office manager and professional soccer player. Lauré Kwoka is the office manager of an auto body repair shop in Sacramento, California,  a job she enjoys because it gives her nights and weekends off to train, practice and play “footy” for the Suns, a football [soccer] club in the United States Australian Football League. Kwoka has a B.A. in anthropology from Sacramento State University. Her focus was on archaeology, and she hopes to pursue that interest someday.

did paleolithic Australia have a “Stonehenge”?

An artist’s impression of Australia’s ‘Stonehenge’ near Brunswick Heads in northern NSW. Source: Richard Patterson of the Brunswick Valley Historical Society.

The Courier-Mail (Queensland, Australia) carried a lengthy article describing arguments for and against a possible palaeolithic site of standing stones in Australia. The piece includes commentary from archeologist Denis Gojak who is skeptical.

in memoriam

Douglas Birk, archaeologist and expert on Minnesota, died at the age of 73 years. He worked for the Minnesota Historical Society, spending a decade traveling the state and exploring properties that are part of the state’s historic sites network. In 1981, he left the Historical Society and co-founded the Institute of Minnesota Archaeology, a nonprofit group that raised money, sought volunteers, and worked under contracts exploring archaeological sites for the next 20 years. One of its most important projects was the discovery, purchase, and excavation of the remains of Fort Duquesne, one of only two known French trading posts in the state that was built around 1752. He wrote numerous articles throughout his career and was named as Minnesota’s Independent Scholar of the Year in 1986.

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