anthro in the news 4/3/17

credit: Creative Commons, The Blue Diamond Gallery

cultural anthropologists make great politicians

The Huffington Post published an article by Debra Rodman, associate professor of cultural anthropology and director of women’s studies at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia. She is also an asylum expert witness and cultural consultant. Rodman argues that cultural anthropologists have a lot to offer to politics: “In order to create positive, progressive, empirically-based policy decisions, we need science. In a time when fear and bigotry has blurred the line between fact and fiction, it seems like a pretty good time to count on people who have to get their facts straight before they say anything.” Rodman is running for Virginia Delegate for the 73rd district.

trashed: pollution in Indonesia

Beach scene in Malaysia. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Channel News Asia carried a piece by Thomas Wright, doctoral candidate in Anthropology at the University of Queensland. He describes the growing environmental problems in Bali such as pollution and freshwater scarcity. Popular tourist destination beaches are covered in waste, most of which is plastic that washes ashore during the rainy season.  Indonesia is the world’s second-biggest marine polluter after China, discarding 3.22 million metric tons of waste annually, accounting for 10 per cent of the world’s marine pollution. Wright describes volunteer and NGO efforts to raise awareness about trash pollution and a conference in February organized by The Economist that left out such voices.

stalking by cell

The New York Times carried an article about the rise in cell phone stalking of women by men in South Asia. A “phone Romeo” calls numbers at random until he hears a woman’s voice, in the hope of striking up a romantic attachment. Among them are overeager suitors (“Can I recharge your mobile?”), tremulous supplicants (“I am talking to you, madam, but my body is shaking”) and the occasional heavy breather (“I want to do the illegal things with you”). The article quotes Julia Q. Huang, a fellow in the anthropology department of the London School of Economics, who has done research on the practice in Bangladesh: “It’s a new thing…It’s covert, it’s risky, it’s experimenting with that outside world…” 

China’s millennials

A review in The Washington Post of Wish Lanterns, a journalist’s book about China’s millennials, quotes Tiantian Zheng, professor of cultural anthropology at the State University of New York at Cortland. She comments that: pampered by their relatives, Chinese young men, in particular, face what, has [been] called a “crisis of masculinity.”

take that anthro degree and…

…become a politician. Nafisa Shah is a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan representing the province of Sindh and now serving her second term in a seat reserved for women. The author of Honour Unmasked: Gender Violence, Law and Power in Pakistan, Shah has a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Oxford.

…become an artist and social activist. Marianne Nicolson, proud member of the Dzawada’enuxw people of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations, is an artist, speaker, and writer on issues of aboriginal histories and politics arising from her involvement in cultural revitalization and sustainability. She gained public notice with her immense painting of a copper on the cliffside wall at her home at Kingcome Inlet called Marking the Land. Nicolson has a Ph.D. in linguistics, anthropology, and art history from University of Victoria. 

…become a baker and bakery owner. Ilana Berkowitz is the owner and founder of As Kneaded Bakery, a new Community Supported Bakery in Palo Alto, California. She worked her way from baking at home as a college student in Washington, D.C., to working on the bread program at Parc Bistro, a French restaurant in Philadelphia. Berkowitz has a B.A. in anthropology from American University and was an intern for the American Anthropological Association. 

film: The Lost City of Z


Fawcett in 1911. Credit: Wikipedia

Released on March 24, The Lost City of Z tells the story of archaeologist and explorer Percy Harrison Fawcett. An article about the film in The Telegraph includes a note about archaeologist

Michael Heckenberger, professor of anthropology at the University of Florida, who has spent more than a decade researching the possibility that Fawcett’s Lost City of Z was, in fact, Kuhikugu, an archaeological site located at the headwaters of the Xingu River in the Amazon Rainforest. Whether or not this is true, Fawcett did have, early on, insights that the Amazon jungles were more than just jungles.

burial of chariot, horses, and humans

BBC reported on the discovery of two horse skeletons and the remains of a chariot dating back to the Iron Age on the site of a housing development in East Yorkshire, England. Archaeologists started working on the Pocklington site in 2014 and have excavated more than 75 burial graves, known as barrows. They described the latest find as “highly unusual.” Those working at the excavation site said current investigations were looking into how the chariot and horses might be linked to human burials. Paula Ware, a consultant with MAP Archaeological Practice, said the latest find will help shed more light on the ritual of Iron Age burial and the Arras culture of the region.

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