Anthro in the news 9/20/10

From the delta to the dump
Shame on Chavez: an article in the New York Times describes how many Warao Indians survive by foraging in the massive Cambalache dump of Cuidad Guayana, Venezuela, a city planned by experts from Harvard and MIT. According to Wikipedia, the Warao have for centuries earned their living fishing and gathering: “The Warao diet is varied with an emphasis on the products of the delta, mostly fish…many of their daily fruits and vegetables come from the wild orchards of the delta. In July and August, Warao feast on crabs…” According to the NYT article, many Warao now barely survive by finding discarded bits of food and partially finished beverage bottles in the dump. No country has a good record for treating indigenous people well. Even the Scandinavian countries have discriminated against the indigenous Saami. President Chavez, however, claims that empowerment of indigenous people is a pillar of his government. As quoted in the NYT article, Christian Sørhaug, a Norwegian anthropologist who has done fieldwork with the Warao for over a decade, says, “Cambalache is the worst place I have ever seen.” Anthroworks says: President Chavez, build that pillar and the Warao will come out of the dump.

“We’ve seen university research before”
Rethinking race and hypertension: the Chronicle for Higher Education published a review article about the role of “race,” genes, culture and hypertension. Culture came out the winner (if one can call it that). Many anthropologists are cited along the way including Clarence Gravlee, Alan Goodman, Marvin Harris, Franz Boas, Connie Mulligan, and William Dressler.

Love hurts
Oxford University researchers including Professor Robin Dunbar present findings that falling in love means the loss of two friends.

Alison Galloway, a forensic anthropologist, has been named to the number 2 position at the University of California at Santa Cruz. In the past several years, she has tackled both unsolved homicides and campus budget cut-backs. She will now oversee day-to-day operations of UCSC as the top academic and finance official.

In memoriam
Alan Jacobs, professor of anthropology at Western Michigan University, died at age 80 years. His research focused on the Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania. Besides many years of dedicated teaching at WSU, he also consulted for the World Bank, the International Livestock Center in Africa, the Canadian International Development Agency, and the U.S. Peace Corps.

Bernard James, professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, died at age 88 years. In addition to his academic contributions, James devoted substantial time to serving the city of Milwaukee. He wrote several novels, including one titled Greenhouse, set in the academia of a poisoned planet. He also created large abstract oil paintings.

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