Anthro in the news 9/6/11

• Arab Detroit
The Detroit Free Press carried an article about a new book about life in the Detroit area’s Arab-American community in the decade since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The book, Arab Detroit 9/11: Life in the Terror Decade, incorporates academic, artistic and everyday voices and viewpoints from one of the most well-known and largest communities of Arabs outside the Middle East. It is edited by three experts on Arab life in the Detroit area: University of Michigan anthropology professor Andrew Shryock, University of Michigan-Dearborn history professor Sally Howell, and Henry Ford Community College anthropology professor Nabeel Abraham.

• Spotlight on Minangkabau women as “hidden feminists”
The HuffPo carried an article about the Minangkabau people, among whom it is a blessing to have a daughter. The article starts with a comment from Nursyirwan Effendi who is not wealthy. But people in his community see him as blessed with good fortune: “Why? Because I have four daughters…People say I am a rich man.” Effendi is a senior lecturer in anthropology at Andalas University in Padang, the regional capital of West Sumatra. He is a Minangkabau, the world’s largest matrilineal society, numbering between 4 and 5 million people who live in Malaysia and Indonesia and are Muslims.

• Maya palace unearthed in Mexico
Mexican researchers have discovered remains of a 2,000-year-old Maya palace at an archaeological site in the state of Chiapas. The project director, Luis Alberto Martos, said the discovery represents the first evidence of occupation of that area between 50 B.C.E. and 50 C.E.

• Archaeo dates keep getting pushed back
The New York Times and Science News covered findings from a new study showing that stone tools from a site near Lake Turkana in Kenya were made about 1.76 million years ago, making them the oldest Acheulean tools so far. The articles include quotations from Ian Tattersall, paleoanthropologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and Eric Delson, a paleoanthropology professor at the City University of New York. The study findings are published in the journal Nature.

• Lecture at the Kenya Museum
The National Museum of Kenya’s Louis Leakey Auditorium in Nairobi hosted one of the world’s foremost paleoanthropologists, Rick Potts. Potts is the director of the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and a Research Associate at the National Museums of Kenya. His lecture was about his research at Olorgesailie in the Rift Valley and the story it tells of 6 million years of human evolution.

• In memoriam
On August 16, 2011, cultural anthropologist Fernando Coronil died in New York City. Coronil’s many contributions to anthropology include the development of the joint doctoral program in anthropology and history at the University of Michigan as well as many publications. Here is a quotation from one tribute: “Fernando’s interventions have resonated with special force in Latin American history and politics, colonial studies and postcolonial theory, Third World state formations, historical anthropology, and Marxist geography and state theory. He was part of the innovative Latin American Subaltern Studies Group. He engaged forcefully with contemporary Venezuelan state politics and oil policies while also introducing synthetic and comparative frameworks for understanding the Latin American left today and the history of empire in the Southern Hemisphere. He argued persuasively that the field of colonial studies was too focused on Northern Europe and the modern period. He insisted that scholars of empire integrate into their analytic frameworks the history of early modern Iberian imperialism as well as the precocious experiments in decolonization and national emancipation that unfolded in nineteenth-century Latin America. His work demonstrated that political economy, historical geography, state forms, and political discourses cannot be studied in isolation from one another.” A collection of other tributes can be found at Savage Minds.

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