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.
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.
Anthropologist Dietrich Stout decodes the brain’s “alphabet” and “grammar” for action to study behavioral evolution and measure the complexity of human technologies based on the making and use of different types of Stone Age tools.
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—Hamlet, The Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius 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.
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.
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.
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.
Goodrich C. White Professor Emerita Peggy Barlett was recently honored during the Emory Office of Sustainability Initiative’s Virtual Earth Day Celebration with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Prof. Barlett has served on the faculty of the Department of Anthropology at Emory since 1976. In her tribute to Prof. Barlett, who retired in Summer 2020, Prof. Bobbi Patterson highlighted Prof. Barlett’s many contributions to Emory’s national leadership in campus sustainability, her service to students, and her numerous academic accomplishments.
From Professor Barlett’s innumerable contributions to the field and practice of sustainable food, her ignition of long-term commitments to sustainability among Emory faculty through her creation of the Piedmont Project, and her path-breaking leadership on behalf of women faculty at Emory, her impact has been immeasurable.
At the same event, Anthropology staff Eva Stotz was named Outstanding Sustainability Representative. Prof. Bobbi Patterson (Religion) and Prof. Eloise Carter (Biology – Oxford) were also honored with Sustainability Lifetime Achievement Awards. Videos of the event are available online.
Carol Worthman, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor Emerita of the Department of Anthropology, has received the 2021 Society for Psychological Anthropology Lifetime Achievement Award. The award “honors career-long contributions to psychological anthropology that have substantially influenced the field and its development. The award seeks to recognize the work of individuals whose sustained involvement in psychological anthropology has had a major impact on research directions, on the wider visibility and relevance of the field, and on the growth of a community of scholarship addressing issues of culture and psychology.“
Professor Worthman integrates anthropology, human development, and neuroscience to investigate the bases of differential well-being with a particular focus on adolescent and global mental health. She has conducted collaborative biocultural and biosocial research in thirteen countries, including Kenya, Tibet, Nepal, Egypt, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam and South Africa, as well as in rural, urban, and semi-urban areas of the United States.
Loneliness has been increasingly recognized as a public health issue rather than merely an individual psychological issue, as the appointment of the UK’s very first Minister of Loneliness in 2018 shows. In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted our need for social connection. Technology has allowed many of us to connect even when we are physically remote. Our need to connect with others is the very thing that creates the potential for loneliness. For this reason, loneliness should not be pathologized as a disorder, but rather seen as a natural expression of what it means to be a social being, born into and existing within a society. This does not mean that loneliness is experienced in the same way everywhere. As the papers in this special issue, “toward an anthropology of loneliness” amply illustrate, culture shapes expectations, experiences and expressions of loneliness.
Following this publication from 2020 is the Podcast on loneliness and the special issue Toward an Anthropology of Loneliness (Ozawa-de Silva and Parsons, 2020), Transcultural Psychiatry Podcast, 22,February.