anthro in the news 5/22/17

Mexico-U.S. border at Tijuana. Credit: Tomas Castelazo, / Wikimedia Commons

a wall is not the answer

A piece in TIME magazine on the U.S. Mexico border quotes Jason De León, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, who has conducted long-term studies of undocumented border crossings: “As soon as security is increased [in one place], it’s the balloon affect — you grab one area and the flow goes to another area.” He and other experts say that a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, like the fences that are in place now, will not deter immigrants who are willing to risk their lives to cross the border.

stopping police violence

Credit: Nevada CopBlock/Google Images Commons

USA Today carried an article by Sirry Alang, assistant of cultural anthropology professor in the Health, Medicine and Society Program in Lehigh University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology. She offers a seven-point list of what people in the U.S. can do to end police violence and create a more equitable society in the U.S. They include advocacy work, learning about structural violence, and remembering those who have been killed.

take that anthro degree and…

…become a musician. Sharon McNally is a singer, guitarist, and songwriter living in Mississippi. Her latest album is entitled Black Irish. She says: “All I know is that I play American music, specific to a place and a time and a setting. Now we all live in an information age, where we have access to 100 years or more of music history, and a lot of us are loosely grouped as Americana artists. I’m less concerned with what we call it, than how it makes me feel, but I love blues, soul, rock … and the cradle of it all is basically between Memphis and Mississippi. When you get down to it, there are only 12 notes on the basic American scale, and you can call it whatever you want.”  McNally has a B.A. in anthropology from Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania.

…become a medical doctor. Lurit Bepo is a doctor specializing in internal medicine. She will spend her residency at the University of California, San Francisco, placement which meshes with her focus on community health, advocacy, and policy. Health policy decisions are more than just partisan jousting, she argues: “Health policy is so relevant right now, and impacts such a large number of people. There’s a tendency to think that not having medical insurance doesn’t kill people, but it does.” Bepo has a B.A. in anthropology and biology from Washington University St. Louis and an M.D./M.P.H. degree from Emory University.

…become an optometrist. Kelly De Simone is owner/CEO at Eye Priority, P.C, a family eye care facility in Phoenix, offering a personalized vision experience for clients of all ages.  She is a member of the Physician Board at the American Health Council where she shares her knowledge and expertise in optometry, eye care, and patient care. De Simone has a B.A. in anthropology from Pennsylvania State University and an O.D. from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry.

new light on the Bell Beaker Culture

This graphic from a 2007 study shows the spread of Beaker Culture across Europe. Red represents some of the ancient DNA sample sites found, while purple shows bell-shaped beaker artefacts.
Credit: The Daily Mail

The Daily Mail reported on a major genomic study offering insights about the arrival and spread of the Bell Beaker Culture, also called the Beaker Culture, in Britain around 4,000 years ago during the Bronze Age. Named after the shape of its signature clay vessels, the Beaker Culture may have displaced the resident Neolithic occupants. The analysis suggests that that Britain underwent a greater than 90 per cent shift in its genetic make-up after the arrival of the Bell Beaker people. While the Daily Mail article and an article in Scientific American hyperbolically use the term “invasion,” Marc Vander Linden, an archaeologist at University College London, says that many researchers prefer to call the spread the “Bell Beaker phenomenon.” 

the search goes on

BBC News carried a lengthy article reviewing some of the many steps in the search, since Darwin, for the “last common ancestor” (LCA) of humans and apes, also informally termed “the missing link.” At this point, scientists have narrowed the search to a rough location and have ideas about its morphology and behavior.  The piece draws on research from a variety of fields including anthropology. Several anthropologists are mentioned: Jeffrey Schwartz, Owen Lovejoy, Tracy Kivell, Sergio Almécija, and David Begun


Credit: National Association of Japan-America Societies/Wikimedia Commons

The Government of Japan has bestowed the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette on Joy Hendry, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University. The award is in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the promotion of Japanese studies in the U.K., and to deeper mutual understanding between Japan and the United Kingdom. Commenting about the honor, Hendry said: “I am delighted and humbled to receive such an award, but I also need to thank all my Japanese friends, as well as colleagues and grant-giving bodies on both sides of the world that have made my work possible. Anthropologists cannot achieve such things alone.”

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