Anthro in the news 4/14/14

• Health equity, smart aid, and “stupid deaths”

KPBS radio (San Diego) interviewed medical anthropologist and health activist Paul Farmer about how to improve health care around the world.

Farmer talked about how to ensure equal access to health care through smart aid and the need to avoid what he calls “stupid deaths.” He comments on the “equity approach” in responding to a question about the aftermath of the Rwanda genocide.

He also addresses tough questions about HIV/AIDs and how to help the poorest people.

• Jim Kim: On leadership and cholera

The Washington Post carried a brief interview (embedded below) with Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank and a medical anthropologist and physician.

Kim discusses leadership and the need to develop a thick skin, in some areas, and openness in others.

During the April 12 meetings of the World Bank, Kim called for a renewed sense of urgency and more coordination from the international community to help Haiti eliminate cholera, which has killed thousands of Haitians since its outbreak in October 2010.

• Sports, power, and universities

In The Financial Times, Gillian Tett wrote an article inspired by a new book by Bill Cohan, a banker turned journalist who has previously written exposés on Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns.

His book is an account of a 2006 rape allegations against Duke University’s men’s lacrosse team. Tett, who has a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology, says:

“And after reading his exhaustive, fascinating tale, The Price of Silence, the only thing that surprises me is that there are not more academics working in this nascent discipline of sports anthropology, given how much material there is to explore.” At the end of her article, Tett asks another big question: “…why should universities be so dominated by sports?”

• What is a religious experience?

The Pacific Standard carried an article discussing Barbara Ehrenreich’s book, Living With a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth About Everything, about her teen-age experiences with religion and becoming a non-believer.

The article contrasts Ehrenreich’s “wrestling” with a religious experience and her attempt to account for it with neuroscience versus the “easy acceptance” of mystical encounters by Christian believers as described by cultural anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann in her book When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship With God. Luhrmann’s book is based on research in Chicago and Palo Alto, California.

• God talks back to you on a CD

An article in The Huffington Post by a Christian pastor discusses World Vision and Evangelical Christianity and describes the importance to the writer of listening to a CD prepared by Tanya Luhrmann, cultural anthropology professor at Stanford University.

• Take that anthro degree and…

Steles of the Sky
Book cover

…become a fantasy/science fiction writer. Elizabeth Bear is one of the hottest fantasy writers around, having recently completed her Eternal Sky trilogy, which calls “the most significant epic fantasy published in the last decade.”

[Blogger’s note: Bear mentions her “training in anthropology” in Wired magazine; I cannot find any more information about where she studied anthropology or if she earned a degree in it. In any case, anthropology has clearly inspired her writing and perspectives.]

• Before the Silk Road, traders walked the walk

The New York Times and other media reported on findings published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, about the early trading patterns that led to the later emergence of the trade route known as the Silk Road.

Nomadic shepherds in the high plains of Central Asia used grain imported from China and southwestern Asia more than 5,000 years ago, perhaps to sprinkle over bodies in funeral rituals. The discovery came from a recent investigation of burial sites in Kazakhstan.

The team, led by Michael Frachetti, an archaeologist at Washington University in St. Louis, included a botanist and local archaeologists as well as Frachetti’s graduate students who found remnants of grains from the period in an ancient domestic oven, a storage vessel.

The nomads moved by foot, spending winters in warmer valleys and summers in the mountains. Their seasonal moves broadened their interactions and helped disperse the grains.

• Very old wine cellar still in the news

Wine glass
Source: danieltrump

In its weekly food section, The Washington Post included an article describing the research of Eric Cline, professor of archaeology and classics at the George Washington University in an archaeological dig at Tel Kabri, Israel, located near the Lebanon border and the Mediterranean.

It was delivered by Cline, co-director of the project. The 75-acre site is considered to house one of the world’s earliest wine cellars. It is a palace storage room dating to the Middle Bronze Age, about 1700 B.C.E. Tests on residue inside 32 of the vessels revealed tartaric acid, proof that the jars held wine.

There was also evidence of spices, herbs and honey, used to flavor the wine and resins to preserve it.

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