anthro in the news 9/18/17

Scene in Bangladesh. Credit: Wikipedia

water problems and cholera alert 

The Conversation published commentary by medical anthropologist Lauren Carruth, assistant professor in the School of International Service, American University: “As hurricanes barrel through some of the most impoverished communities in the Western Hemisphere, and as floods ravage Yemen, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh and India, now is the time to rethink and prioritize cholera epidemic prevention and response. In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in 2016, a surge of cholera in Haiti increased the death toll from the disease. Officials in Haiti this week are already urging people to add bleach to their drinking water to prevent the spread of cholera in the aftermath of Irma…The WHO and its partners should lead a vigorous appeal to donors and humanitarian organizations working in several locations – in the paths of Atlantic hurricanes, in flooded regions of South Asia, and in war-torn parts of the Middle East and Africa – where cholera still kills and the risk of an outbreak is high.”

remembering Guatemala in Ohio

The artist with some of his paintings. Credit: The Times-Reporter/Google Images Commons

An article in The Times-Reporter (Ohio) reported on an art exhibit in Dover, Ohio, that displays paintings by Jogendro Kshetrimayum, an artist and anthropologist who teaches cultural anthropology at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. His work depicts scenes of the city of Nebaj, Guatemala, an area that resonates with many Maya immigrants in the Dover area.  Maria Luz Garcia, assistant professor of anthropology at Eastern Michigan University, gave a talk at the show’s opening about how migration to the U.S. grew from the effects of genocide that devastated the native Maya population during a 36-year civil war, a war in which the U.S. government supported the country’s army. She pointed to the need for institutional change in the U.S. to create employment opportunities for local Guatemala-born youth who might work as language instructors for example.

immigrants add to Maryland

An article in The Baltimore Sun describes the popularity of the state of Maryland among immigrants to the U.S., noting that three of the ten most diverse cities in America are located in the state: Gaithersburg, Germantown, and Frederick. The article quotes Christina Getrich, professor of anthropology at the University of Maryland whose interests include immigration and citizenship:  “Here, we just have such a range of different people from different places. We’re lucky in the D.C. area.”

don’t say what he says

National Public Radio carried commentary by Barbara J. King, professor emerita at the College of William and Mary, concerning Donald Trump’s use of language. She discusses several analyses including that of linguist George Lakoff. He argues that Trump’s use of repetition and other linguistic strategies is intentional manipulation of his audience and that his language can shape people’s worldviews: “The more Trump’s views are discussed in the media, the more they are activated and the stronger they get, both in the minds of hardcore conservatives and in the minds of moderate progressives. This is true even if you are attacking Trump’s views. The reason is that negating a frame activates that frame…It doesn’t matter if you are promoting Trump or attacking Trump, you are helping Trump.” [Note: But  silence a not good option, either]

take that anthro degree and…

…work as a program creator, writer, and activist. Devorah Shuvowitz is a program creator, writer, and feminist and disability rights activist. She creates and executes educational public programming, qualitative research projects, and arts festivals for diverse communities to develop social, cultural, and political understanding and collaboration. She has developed classes in disability studies within the sub-field of medical anthropology to integrate disability studies into the rehabilitation and medical professions. Shuvowitz has a B.A. in physical therapy, an M.A. in religious studies from New York University, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Indiana University.

…become a teacher, a farmer, and then a maker of musical instruments. Bill Bussman taught fifth grade on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in southeastern Arizona from 1973-1976, then started a farm in Caballo, New Mexico. After a few years of that, he turned to making musical instruments and established his business, Old Wave Mandolins in his garden shed. Over 27 years, he has made 585 stringed intruments, mostly mandolins, but also archtop guitars, steelstring guitars, mandolas, octave mandolins, mandocellos, and a dulcimer. His instruments have gone to England, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Japan, and almost every state in the U.S. Bussman has a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin.

a Neolithic pot named Kim

The Neolithic pot named Kim. Credit: The Indian Express/Central Asian Museum, Kashmir University

The Indian Express reported on the discovery earlier this year of a 4,000-year-old pot in Sopore, Kashmir, and its unusual name, Kim. It is named after the American reality television star, Kim Kardashian. More significantly, it is the first piece of Neolithic pottery in Kashmir that has been found intact. According to Mumtaz Yatoo of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Kashmir, only stone tools, pieces of pottery, and some human remains had been unearthed thus far: “We found bases or rims, and would then have to imagine the rest of the design. This is the first complete piece.” In terms of the wider significance of the research, Alison Betts FSA FAHA, professor of Silk Road Studies at the University of Sydney and adjunct professor at Kashmir University, said there is evidence in Kashmir of its links with eastern Central Asia, and hence is a key location for the study of the earliest cultural contact between China and the rest of Asia: “Wheat and barley were first domesticated in western Asia while rice and millet were domesticated in central China. From these early centres of domestication, cereal farming spread eastwards and westwards until wheat/barley and millet cultivation met in the middle around 5,000-6,000 years ago in the Tian Shan, Pamir and western Himalayan regions of Central Asia. The Neolithic people of Kashmir were early adopters of cereal agriculture and their practice of using deep underground storage pits has preserved this evidence very well.” Yatoo adds that archaeology will play a critical role in the promotion of tourism in Kashmir, especially by foreign visitors.


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