USA Today reports on Dr. Rilling’s research regarding the connection between grandmothers and their grandchildren

James Rilling, Professor in the Anthropology Department at Emory University, used functional magnetic resonance  imaging to scan grandmothers brains while they looked at images of their children, their grandchildren as well as unrelated adults and children.

“When grandmothers viewed photographs of their grandchildren, they particularly activated brain regions that have previously been associated with emotional empathy, suggesting that grandmothers may be predisposed to share the emotional states of their grandchildren,” Rilling tells USA Today. When looking at picture of their adult children, areas of their brain associated with cognitive empathy where activated.

Dr. Stout is interviewed by PNAS on cave paintings dating back at least 45,500 years

Recently discovered cave paintings and bone carvings offer new perspectives on long-held questions about art’s origins—not to mention the nature of art itself.

The paintings of Pigs were discovered on limestone walls of the Leang Tedongnge cave on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The question about what the oldest record of art is necessitates a definition of art, and leads us to the question of what the creation of art tell us about humans and their abilities at the time. The full article is available online.

2021 New Directions Award to the Society for Cultural Anthropology’s Fieldsights Blog

This week, the Society for Cultural Anthropology’s Fieldsights Blog won the 2021 New Directions Award, presented by the General Anthropological Division, a sub-section of the American Anthropological Association. Scott Schnur, a doctoral candidate in the Emory Anthropology Department, is a member of the graduate student collective who helps edit and write for the blog as part of SCA’s Contributing Editors program. Schnur has been a contributing editor since 2018, and in 2021 became the section editor for Member Voices, a section of Fieldsights.”I became interested in working with Fieldsights because of their commitment to open-access publication and the public-facing nature of the work. The site is a great forum for experimental writing and multi-media pieces which are engaging with important issues in the discipline and pushing it new directions,” he said. “Congratulations to everyone in the program and the editorial board!”  Fieldsights has been published since 2012 and has a global readership. 

Goodrich C. White Professor Emeritus Bradd Shore publishes his book Shakespeare and Social Theory. The Play of Great Ideas

This book provides a bridge between Shakespeare studies and classical social theory, opening up readings of Shakespeare to a new audience outside of literary studies and the humanities. Shakespeare has long been known as a “great thinker” and this book reads his plays through the lens of an anthropologist, revealing new connections between Shakespeare’s plays and the lives we now lead.

Close readings of a selection of frequently studied plays—HamletThe Winter’s TaleRomeo and JulietA Midsummer Night’s DreamJulius Caesar, and King Lear—engage with the texts in detail while connecting them with some of the biggest questions we all ask ourselves, about love, friendship, ritual, language, human interactions, and the world around us. The plays are examined through various social theories including performance theory, cognitive theory, semiotics, exchange theory, and structuralism. The book concludes with a consideration of how “the new astronomy” of his day and developments in optics changed the very idea of “perspective,” and shaped Shakespeare’s approach to embedding social theory in his dramatic texts.

Shakespeare from outside literary studies but will also be valuable to literature students approaching Shakespeare for the first time, or looking for a new angle on the plays.

Distinguished Professor Emerita Corinne A. Kratz receives 2021 Council for Museum Anthropology Lifetime Achievement/Distinguished Service Award

The CMA is delighted to announce the winner of the 2021 Council for Museum Anthropology Lifetime Achievement/Distinguished Service Award: Corinne A. Kratz, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and African Studies Emerita at Emory University, and Emory Director for the African Critical Inquiry Program. Thanks to all who submitted nominations for consideration.

Kratz’s academic work spans a lifetime of scholarly and engaged anthropological achievement. Over the course of her near 50-year career, Kratz has redefined both museum anthropology and critical museology, especially at the intersections between these fields and African Studies. Kratz is the author of the award-winning book The Ones That Are Wanted: Communication and the Politics of Representation in a Photographic Exhibition, which is a description of, and extended critical reflection upon, Kratz’s own exhibition ‘Okiek Portraits,’ a traveling exhibition of fieldwork photographs taken during her work with the Kaplelach and Kipchornwonek Okiek people of South- central Kenya. Including tri-lingual captions, short dialogues between Kratz and her Okiek interlocutors, and the use of color photographs, the exhibition challenged earlier visual stereotypes of the Okiek. Based on the failures and successes of the exhibition as it traveled around the United States, Kratz’s ethnography was one of the first book- length studies to take seriously the idea that an exhibition may be engaged as an anthropological ‘field site’ in its own right. It is a seminal study for visual anthropology and critical museology, and exemplifies participatory and collaborative methodologies while taking seriously the dynamics and contexts of visitors and institutions. In addition, Kratz is a lead editor on the landmark volume Museum Frictions: Public Cultures/Global Transformations, one of the most important contributions to critical museology of recent decades.

Kratz’s impact on a global community of scholars is also evident in her mentorship, especially her support of African Early Career Researchers. In addition to mentoring young scholars at Emory University, Kratz’s service and mentoring activities extended transnationally to the Institutions of Public Culture Program, a partnership between the Center for the Study of Public Scholarship at Emory and South African cultural institutions. Following Ivan Karp’s death in 2011, Kratz carried forward their joint commitment to developing public intellectual life in Africa by establishing the Ivan Karp and Corinne Kratz Fund. The Fund supported the creation of the African Critical Inquiry Program, which provides research funding for African doctoral students from across the continent and sponsors innovative annual workshops in South Africa. We honor her generosity of spirit and time, and her indelible human connection with a global community of colleagues.

Jim Rilling’s research is featured on the Australian Broadcasting Company podcast All In The Mind

Dr. Rilling is interviewed by Sana Quadar about his research on fatherhood for the All In The Mind podcast on fatherhood. Rilling speaks about hormonal changes, brain functions and interactions between fathers and their children. Other guests are Dave Edwards and Dr. Jacqui Macdonald, the podcast is available online.

Dr. Marcela Benítez shares her research in The Animal Behavior Podcast

Listen to Dr. Marcela Benítez (@mebenitez85) talk about social comparisons, cooperation, and cognition in nonhuman primates in Episode 5 of The Animal Behavior Podcast. In this episode, host Matthew speaks with Dr. Marcela Benítez, an assistant professor in the department of Anthropology at Emory University and co-director of the Capuchinos de Taboga research project, on her research taking comparative cognition work from the lab to the wild, the overlap between psychology and anthropology, as well as her commitment to make primate fieldwork more accessible for undergraduates.

Yulia Fenton (PhD 2019) and Sarah Lyon (PhD 2005) co-authored paper “Doctoral Training Should Meet the Equity Moment.”

Emory Anthropology alumni, Drs Yulia Chuvileva (PhD 2019) and Sarah Lyon (PhD 2005), recently published an article in Inside Higher Ed called “Doctoral Training Should Meet the Equity Moment.” In it they argue that while academia helped create the theoretical groundswell that mainstreamed inequity as a problem, it must now ready the next crop of PhD’s to lead the social-change charge. The piece offers suggestions for how to do so, arguing that the effort could also help address the graduate-student mental health crisis.

Miriam Kilimo is awarded fellowship to be in residence at James Madison University

Miriam Kilimo, PhD Candidate at the Department of Anthropology, Emory University

Miriam will be joining James Madison University for the 2021-2022 academic year as a Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) fellow. The Preparing Future Faculty Program at JMU seeks to promote access, inclusion and diversity that are foundational for the provision of outstanding education. The program provides teaching opportunities, mentorship, and professional development to doctoral candidates prior to the completion of the dissertation.