anthro in the news 5/2/16

Biological anthropologists address sexual harrassment

Many physical anthropologists wore ribbons like this at their annual meeting. Source: AAPA

Science magazine reported on a special panel at the annual meetings of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA), held this year in Atlanta. Within general anthropology, the field of physical/biological anthropology has been particularly affected by concerns about various forms of sexual harassment and assault: “Biological anthropology has a problem,” said panelist Robin Nelson of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. “But we’re not alone.” The article mentions several other biological anthropologists including the one at the center of the storm: Brian Richmond of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, who allegedly sexually assaulted a research assistant who worked for him and sexually harassed trainees at a field school in Kenya sponsored by the George Washington University.

Leadership controversy at UC Davis

Source: Creative Commons

The Los Angeles Times carried an article about allegations against the UC Davis chancellor, Linda Katehi. It quotes Suad Joseph, professor of anthropology and gender and sexuality studies at UC Davis, who continues to support the chancellor. She is calling for an external review of possible bias against women administrators in the entire University of California system.

Take that anthro degree and…

Sex in the Museumbecome a museum curator and sex expert. Sarah Forbes worked from 2004-2012 as a curator at the Museum of Sex in New York City. Since 2015, she has moved to a new role at Motherly as a sex expert providing weekly advice on being a woman and mother. She is the author of Sex in the Museum: My Unlikely Career at New York’s Most Provocative Museum; The Huffington Post has published an article by her related to the book. Forbes has a B.A. in anthropology from Connecticut College and an M.A. in anthropology from New School University.

…become a filmmaker and photographer. Rina Sherman is an ethnographic filmmaker and photographer based in France. Her extensive fieldwork experience in Namibia and Angola informs her exhibitions which use multimedia to document the cultural heritage of the Ovimba people. She has a B.A. in music from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Ph.D. in ethnography and visual anthropology from Paris I – Paris X – Ecole de Nanterre.

…become a transcendental meditation expert. Sharon Lossakoff is the director of the Berkeley Transcendental Meditation Center in Berkeley, California, a non-profit organization. She has a B.A. in anthropology from the University of California Berkeley.

become a writer. Marguerite Poland writes fiction and nonfiction for both children and adults. Her landmark 1979 book, The Mantis and The Moon, is credited with establishing a market for indigenous children’s books in English in South Africa. Her adult novels have won several prestigious awards. She has a B.A. in Xhosa and social anthropology from Rhodes University and an M.A. in Zulu Literature from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

…become a forensic artist. Sharon Long went from being a single mother in the 1980s working in the Dairy Queen and doing cleaning to a career as a forensic article. At the age of 40, she took her daughter to register for college, and a financial aid officer convinced Long to enroll herself. “I had to take an anthropology class, but I didn’t even know what it meant,” Long says. “So I went home and I looked up anthropology, and I thought, ‘Study of mankind — oh, that sounds interesting.’ So I took physical anthropology and — bang — I decided it’s what I want to be when I grow up.” She reconstructs human faces from skulls for museums and law enforcement agencies and has worked with skulls more than 9,000 years old and skulls linked to modern-day homicides. She has made busts for the National Geographic Society and the Smithsonian, and her work has been featured on both the History Channel and America’s Most Wanted. She has a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Wyoming.

410jnyjt22l…become a photographer, documentary filmmaker, and writer. Charles Gatewood, who died in April at the age of 73 years, was a noted photographer and maker of documentary films about many topics including body modification cults and characters, tattooing, and other aspects of (then) “forbidden” cultural practices in the San Francisco area. His early photo books include: A Complete Unknown, Burroughs 23, Badlands, True Blood, The Body and Beyond, and Primitives. A list of his books may be seen at Of his work, Gatewood said in 2009, “I’m kind of restless, in that I want to try all of the different styles, different subjects…then let history sort it out. I don’t know what some future historian might think is my best work, and I don’t care. It’s my job to make it…let somebody else sort it all out later.” UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library recently bought Gatewood’s massive photo archive and there are plans for a retrospective in 2017. Gatewood earned a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Missouri.

Roman coins found in Spain

As reported by The Guardian and other media, construction workers in Seville in southern Spain found 600kg (1,300lb) of ancient Roman coins while carrying out routine work on water pipes. The article quotes Ana Navarro, head of Seville’s archaeology museum which is looking after the find: “It is a unique collection…The majority were newly minted and some of them probably were bathed in silver, not just bronze…I could not give you an economic value, because the value they really have is historical and you can’t calculate that.” Dating to the late third and early fourth centuries, the coins were found inside 19 Roman amphoras.

Released from zoo, Joe meets Jane Goodall, retires in Florida

The Washington Post reported on how a chimpanzee named Joe was freed from “solitary confinement” in the Mobile Zoo in Wilmer, Alabama, after a long career in Hollywood. He appeared in TV shows and films, with his most notable role in a 1997 movie called Buddy. At the age of eleven years, he was transferred to the zoo where he did not adapt well to life with the other chimpanzees, so he lived alone.  In January, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) filed suit against the zoo, claiming that Joe, now 29, was being held in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Last week, PETA dropped the suit after the zoo agreed to surrender him — making Joe the first captive chimpanzee to be released to the Save the Chimps sanctuary in Florida since the federal change.  On the way to his new home, he met Jane Goodall. In a video released by PETA, Joe seemed unimpressed by her, but he promptly gave a hug  to a female chimpanzee at his new home.

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