anthro in the news 11/2/2015

Arizona desert. source: Creative Commons

The killing field of Arizona

Pacifica Public Radio [U.S.] aired a piece on the implications of the election of Republican Paul Ryan to speaker of the House of Representatives for U.S. immigration policy. It included commentary by Jason de León, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan and director of the Undocumented Migration Project, a long-term anthropological study of clandestine border crossings between Mexico and the United States. León is author of The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail. He uses a combination of ethnography, archaeology, linguistics, and forensic science to critique “Prevention through Deterrence,” describing the U.S. border enforcement policy as one that steers migrants to cross in extremely harsh environmental conditions with a high risk of death.  According to de Léon, this policy has failed to deter border crossers for two decades while turning the rugged terrain of southern Arizona into a killing field.


Do you believe in magic? Surveys not the right tool to find out

Christian cemetery. source: Creative Commons
An article in the Irish Times about “spooky” phenomena and supernatural beliefs in general quoted Lawrence Taylor, a professor of anthropology at Maynooth University and the author of Occasions of Faith: An Anthropology of Irish Catholics. He comments that while findings from surveys on supernatural belief are regularly reported, they have little scientific value. The article also mentions the work of archaeologists R. C. Turner and R. G. Scaife who note in the preface to their edited book, Bog Bodies: New Discoveries and New Perspectives, that the discovery of human remains in bogs and marshes has long formed a part of oral history throughout Europe.




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