Spring 2015

Lectures, Film Screenings, Events

Monday, February 2

Mechanisms in primate behavioral ecology and social evolution
Steffen Foerster, Duke University
4:00 — ANT 206

Behavior is the fundamental way by which animals interact with the environment, and a main target of natural selection. However, in primates, long life span and low reproductive rates make it difficult to relate observed behavior to reproductive success. As a result, many open questions remain about the evolutionary processes that lead to widely diverging behavioral strategies among individuals, groups, populations, and species of extant primates. An overarching aim of my research program is to better understand the evolution and variability of social behavior by integrating the study of mechanisms and function of behavior across different environmental and social contexts. To this end, I combine detailed behavioral observations with assessments of ecological constraints, physiological responses, parasite infection patterns, and analysis of social networks. I will introduce examples of this work in three very different study systems - guenons, baboons, and chimpanzees – in which I answer questions of broad evolutionary significance such as “How do ecological factors influence social behavior”, “Why do primates form enduring social bonds” and “How does the interaction between parasites and hosts shape the evolution of social structures and their dynamics”?

Monday, February 16

The Causes and Consequences of Social Behavior in the Pan Species
Carson Murray, George Washington University
4:00 — ANT 206

Carson Murray is an Assistant Professor in the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Biology at The George Washington University.  Her research program focuses on the adaptive value of social behavior in the Pan species, and integrates the unrivaled Gombe chimpanzee long-term dataset with new hormonal and nutritional data.  Today, she will present an overview of her research program and then delve into recent research on how chimpanzee mothers influence offspring outcomes.  She will place this work in the larger context of understanding female reproductive variance, and explore how her results relate to maternal effects in humans.   

Monday, February 23

The Primate Roots of Human Nature: Culture and Cooperation
Adrian Jaeggi, University of California Santa Barbara
4:00 — ANT 206

Adrian V. Jaeggi received his Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology in 2010 from the University of Zurich and is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher and Lecturer at the University of California Santa Barbara. Dr. Jaeggi takes a comparative approach to understanding the evolution of human behavior and cognition, and has worked on baboons, orangutans, bonobos, chimpanzees, and human subsistence populations. In this talk he will present research on culture and cooperation, and illustrate how a comparative perspective can shed light on the evolution of these traits as well as their variability within and between species. Thus, orangutans learn socially how to find food, resulting in local traditions that vary in complexity as a function of population size. Differences in ecology can thereby produce differences in cultural repertoire size without any changes in cognitive abilities, which has implications for hominin cultural evolution. Bonobos and chimpanzees rely on cooperation to attain social goals, but differences in past and present environments result in variable investment in social relationships. Behavioral evidence suggests that individuals keep track of the relative value of different social partners, and recent work in behavioral endocrinology identified Oxytocin as a candidate hormone underlying such book‐keeping. A study of Tsimane’ hunters highlights interactions between Oxytocin and other hormones in regulating behavior. Future work will focus on the ecology and endocrinology of sociality in wild orangutans and chimpanzees.

Wednesday, February 25

Music Videos and Ethnic Media in Yunnan, China
Na filmmakers Onci Archei and Ruheng Duoji, whose film "Some Na Ceremonies" was screened at Emory in 2013, will be visiting the US in February and will offer a special lunchtime seminar on contemporary music videos and ethnic media production in Northwest Yunnan, China.  These videos demonstrate creative and popular engagement with digital media production and strategies of representation, and offer a unique look at practices of entertainment, leisure, and cultural production in ethnic minority regions of China. Onci Archei and Ruheng Duoji will show examples of music videos from Lugu Lake and Lijiang, followed by a discussion on ethnic media production and cultural heritage preservation facilitated by Assistant Professor Jenny Chio (Anthropology). The presentation will be in Chinese, with English translation. A light lunch will be provided to those who RSVP to Jenny.Chio@emory.edu by Wednesday, February 18.
See a feature article about their work here: http://www.china.org.cn/china/features/content_17842136.htm

Monday, March 16

Inaugural George Armelagos Bio-Cultural Lecture
Ancient Bones, Ancestral Bodies: Biocultural Approaches to Violence and Warfare
Debra L. Martin, University of Nevada Las Vegas
4:00 — ANT 206

Violence (lethal and nonlethal) is often associated with social spheres of influence and power connected to daily life such as subsistence intensification, specialization, resources, climate, population density, territorial protection and presence of immigrants, to name just a few. By using fine-grained biocultural analyses that interrogate trauma data in particular places at particular times in  reconstructed archaeological contexts, a more comprehensive view into the histories and experiences of violence emerges. Moreover, identifying culturally-specific patterns related to age, sex, and social status provide an increasingly complex picture of early small-scale groups. Some forms of ritual violence have restorative and regenerative aspects that strengthen community identity. Bioarchaeological data can shed light on the ways that violence becomes part of a given cultural landscape. Viewed in a biocultural context, evidence of osteological trauma provides rich insights into social relationships and the many ways that violence is embedded within those relationships.

Debra L. Martin is the Lincy Professor of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She worked on collaborative projects with Professor Armelagos for over 30 years. She has research interests in the areas of violence and inequality, gender differences and disease, and the bioarchaeology of human experience with a focus on groups living in marginalized and challenging environments.  She is the Editor for the Bioarchaeology and Social Theory Series, Springer Verlag, co-Editor of the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology and an Associate Editor for the Yearbook of Physical Anthropology. Her recent publications include co-editing Bioarchaeology of Violence (UPF) and Bioarchaeological and Forensic Perspectives on Violence (Cambridge) as well as co-authoring Bioarchaeology, An Integrated Approach to Working with Human Remains (Springer) and Bioarchaeology of Climate Change and Violence (Springer). She has been the Secretary of the AAA (2009-2012), and on the AAA Executive Board (2005-2008).   She directs a large PhD program in bioarchaeology overseeing 4 specialized bioarchaeology laboratories and a large repository of human remains from the Arabian peninsula, Indonesia, Thailand and Mexico at UNLV.  

Monday, March 30

Ecological Networks: A Framework for Studying Sustainability of Coupled Natural-Human Systems
Jennifer Dunne, Professor and Vice President for Science, Santa Fe Institute
12:00 pm — ANT 206

Dr. Dunne's research interests are in the analysis, modeling, and theory of ecological networks, with a particular focus on food webs, which specify the complex feeding interactions among species in a given habitat. Food webs provide a way to track and quantify the flow of energy and resources in ecosystems and thus play a central role in ecological and evolutionary dynamics. Food web research provides a useful quantitative framework for understanding the coexistence of humans and other species and the persistence or collapse of ecosystems. This talk will address how humans fit into and impact ancient, historic, and current ecosystems from an ecological network perspective. 

Monday, April 6

Songs for dead parents: materializing and dematerializing the dead in Southwest China
Erik Mueggler, Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan
4:00-6:00 pm - ANT 206

This talk examines the ritualization of death in a “minority” community in mountainous Southwest China, where people are heir to an extraordinary range of resources for working on the dead, including abundant poetic language. Work on the dead takes the form of making them material and immaterial. Social personhood, involving relations among living and dead, is mutual entanglement through shared substance; dead persons are subjected to a long labor of disentanglement with the final goal of severing them from the shared world of matter and memory. Through work on the dead, people assess social relations and envision the cosmological foundations of the social world. In this context, a long history of official interventions meant to reform death ritual has been deeply consequential.

The focus of this talk is the most important artifact of poetic heritage in this region, an eight-hour-long speech for the dead, abandoned in the 1950s and never revived. The speech, divided into 72 “songs”, is a massive construction project, which builds a world for the dead. After bringing sky, earth, and markets into being, these songs for dead parents alternate between two fates for the dead soul, connected to a 19th-century transition from cremation to burial under pressure from the Qing state and Han immigrants. On the one hand, the soul hangs forever in the sky, swaddled together with its spouse, head to the west and feet to the stars. On the other hand, it lives forever beneath the tomb, subject to the Chinese-speaking bureaucracy of Yan Luo Wang 閻羅王/Yama, king of the underworld. Ultimately the speech is a kind of anthropology: an attempt to sympathetically understand and describe a difficult and alien world of others, in this case dead others. 

*There is an additional lunchtime seminar for graduate students on Tuesday, April 7 from 12-1 pm. See Graduate Events for information and RSVP.*

Monday, April 13

Shaming the State: Pornography, Pop Preachers, and Political Islam in Indonesia
Jim Hoesterey, Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, Emory University
4:00 — ANT 206

When the inaugural edition of Playboy magazine hit the streets of Jakarta, parliament was drafting controversial anti-pornography legislation. To rally public support for the bill, celebrity preacher Abdullah Gymnastiar leveraged his public pulpit to summon state actors – governors, parliamentarians, and even Indonesia’s president -- to appear on his TV program to publicly profess their sense of shame. In Islamic ethics, the heart is a moral organ and the cultivation of shame is believed to steer one away from sexual vice. Bridging Asef Bayat’s notion of the “socialization of the state” with Begoña Aretxaga’s insights on the “subjectivity of the state,” Hoesterey argues that Gymnastiar used his public pulpit to endow the state with a political affect of shame. The paper highlights the importance of affect and popular culture – not just political economy and electoral politics – to explain the dynamics of political Islam in Indonesia.

Monday, April 20

Toward an integrative evolutionary approach to understanding physical activity in humans
Annie Hooper, Postdoctoral Fellow, Emory University
4:00 — ANT 206

Physical inactivity dominates most developed nations around the world, is among the leading causes of disease burden worldwide (WHO, 2008), and contributes to at least 20 of the most deadly chronic disorders (Booth et al., 2002); but research on physical activity has not, as of yet, been successful for the development of effective exercise interventions. The science of human physical activity is ripe for a theoretical framework that can integrate the ecological, physiological and psychological factors that influence physical activity. This talk will synthesize cross-disciplinary research from biological and evolutionary anthropology and psychology, epidemiology, and exercise physiology that support the utilization of life history theory for understanding human physical activity patterns across the lifespan. An understanding of the evolved psychological and physiological factors that influence, or are influenced by physical activity and inactivity can help address the myriad of problems in our modern environment associated with sedentary behavior.

Dr. Hooper received her Phd in Evolutionary Psychology from the University of New Mexico in 2013. Her areas of research also include evolutionary ecology and health psychology. She currently holds a Postdoctoral Research position in the Laboratory for Comparative Human Biology in the Department of Anthropology at Emory.

Tuesday, April 21

The Challenge of Magical Thinking in Disaster Preparedness and Response: Understanding miscalculations of personal risk
Alexa Dietrich
5:30 - White Hall 112

In some societies disasters, such as drought, have their place in the framework of everyday life. Indeed, they may be “a normal part of the environment within which [the people] live” (McCabe 2002: 234). In the case of Hurricane Sandy on Staten Island, the opposite circumstance prevailed: in spite of the accuracy of weather forecasting, the disaster of the storm had no place in the cultural context of Staten Island for many longstanding residents, and its impact was underestimated. Using ethnographic data drawn from residents and responders, this research describes how cultural models contributed to the failure of many Staten Islanders to accurately assess and accommodate the probable risks associated with the storm. Local cultural characteristics, such as economic and political structures, as well as ideologies very likely exacerbated the severity of the storm’s ultimate impact. This presentation will propose an applied analytic framework, useful for assisting responding agencies to more quickly assess potential cultural resources and barriers in local disaster preparedness and response.

Dr Dietrich received her PhD in Anthropology (2007) and MPH in Epidemiology (2005) from Emory.  Her research in Puerto Rico was funded by NSF and Wenner Gren and resulted in her well-reviewed book The Drug Company Next Door: Pollution, Jobs, and Community Health in Puerto Rico  (NYU Press, 2013).  She has been the recipient of the Rudolf Virchow Award and several research and teaching awards at Wagner College in New York.   

Saturday, April 25

In and Out of Balance:  The Being of "Stress"
5:00 pm - Schwartz Center for Performing Arts Theater Lab

A collaborative Ethnographic Theater project based on original research. Created and activated by 18 students in the "Ethnography, Theater, and Performance" class (Prof. Debra Vidali, Anthropology), directed by Ken Hornbeck. Experience the ethnographers on the stage as they ask: What themes pervade and drive the culture of stress? What restores us? Where is human agency and awareness in the dramatic ebb and flow of feeling in and out of balance? Performance will be followed by Q&A and a scientific poster session displaying the results of the 18 original research projects that were undertaken in Prof. Vidali's course. 
Free and open to the public. Generous support provided by Emory's Department of Theater and Department of Anthropology. https://www.facebook.com/events/346124725586371/

Graduate Teaching Roundtables

Friday, January 23

iRB Workshop
Guest speaker Rebecca Rousselle, Director, Emory Institutional Review Board
3:00 — ANT 206

Friday, March 27

Teaching Nuts & Bolts: Designing a Syllabus
Teaching your own core anthropology class for the first time?  Want to design a brand new course from scratch?  Trying to tweak a syllabus for a class you’ve taught before?

Then join us for our last Teaching Roundtable for 2014-15 for a moderated panel discussion on designing a syllabus for an anthropology course! Topics to be discussed include choosing readings and workload, designing assignments and exams, grading, and troubleshooting conflict.  Faculty members will share their insights and experiences.

3:00 — ANT 206

Graduate Presentations

Friday, February 27

Graduate Research Proposal Presentations
Kendra Sirak “Ancient DNA Analysis of Two Medieval Cemeteries from Nubia’s Batn el Hajar”
Sydney Silverstein “What Comes Between Coca And Cocaine: Intermediate Goods And Worlds In An Amazonian City”
2:00 — ANT 206

Friday, March 6

Graduate Research Proposal Presentations
Adeem Suhail "Dead Dreams and Boys with Pistols: Rethinking Urban Violence in Lyari Town, Pakistan"
2:00 — ANT 206

Wednesday, March 18

Dissertation Presentation: The Globalization of the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign in Austria, 2012-2014
Casey Bouskill
3:00 — ANT 206

Friday, March 20

Graduate Research Proposal Presentations
Bisan Salhi "
Bureaucracy, Poverty, and Emergency Room Utilization in an Urban US Hospital"
Andrea Rissing "
Agrarian Transformation in the Age of Corporate Agriculture: Beginning Alternative Farmers in Iowa"
2:00 — ANT 206

Wednesday, April 1

Dissertation Presentation: An anthropological investigation of mental health in Haiti: Language, measurement, and the socio-spiritual world
Bonnie Fullard Kaiser
2:30 — ANT 206

Friday, April 10

Graduate Research Proposal Presentations
Amanda Maxfield "Poverty amid plenty: Food insecurity, aspirational consumption, and mental health in India"
Hanne van der Iest "Prosocial Reputation Dynamics in Social Networks in Orkney, UK"
2:00 — ANT 206

Monday, May 11

Dissertation Presentation: White Asians Wanted: Queer Racialization in Thailand
Dredge Käng
4:00 — ANT 108

Graduate Events

Tuesday, January 20

Second Year Cohort Breakfast
Info session: Dissertation Committees, Methodology, Qualifying Exams
8:30 — ANT 206

Tuesday, February 3

Lunch with Dr. Steffen Foerster, Duke University
Noon — ANT 206

Thursday-Saturday, February 5-7

Graduate Recruitment

Tuesday, February 17

Lunch with Dr. Carson Murray, George Washington University
Noon — ANT 206

Tuesday, February 24

Lunch with Dr. Adrian, Jaeggi, University of California Santa Barbara
Noon — ANT 206

Tuesday, April 7

Lunchtime seminar with Dr. Erik Mueggler, University of Michigan
12:00-1:00 pm - ANT 206
RSVP by April 1 to Lora.McDonald@emory.edu 
Recommended Reading for seminar:
Erik Mueggler, 2014. “Corpse, Stone, Door, Text.” Journal of Asian Studies 73(1): 17-41.
Erik Mueggler, 2011. “Bodies Real and Virtual: Joseph Rock and Enrico Caruso in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 53(1): 6-37.