Marcela Benítez is awarded AI.Humanity Seed Grant for AI Forest: Cognition in the Wild proposal.

Marcela Benítez (Emory University, Emory College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology) and Jacob Abernethy (Georgia Tech, School of Computer Science) were recipients of the AI.Humanity Seed Grant Program. They were awarded $100,000 in funding towards their proposal to develop and implement “smart” testing stations using artificial intelligence (AI) for long-term cognitive assessment and monitoring of wild capuchin monkeys at the Toboga Forest Reserve in Costa Rica.

John Lindo publishes research on ancient DNA, aiding our comprehension of migration patterns in South America before the arrival of Europeans

The research found different and previously undetected ancestry in a man and a woman dating back 800 and 1,500 years, both from an archeological site in eastern Uruguay. This supports the theory of separate migrations from North America into different areas in South America. “We’ve now provided genetic evidence that this theory may be correct,” Lindo tells Phys.org.

Dr. Lindo published The genomic prehistory of the Indigenous peoples of Uruguay in PNAS Nexus, Co-authors are Roseirys De La Rosa, Andre L C d Santos, Mónica Sans, Michael DeGiorgio, and Gonzalo Figueiro.

Mellon Foundation awards prestigious Sawyer Seminar grant for ‘Visions of Slavery’ to Bayo Holsey and Walter C. Rucker 

Emory College of Arts and Sciences has been awarded a $225,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to lead a yearlong examination of the histories of slavery in the Black Atlantic, as well as the struggles against it, in order to better understand current social justice efforts.

Co-organized by Emory College professors Bayo Holsey and Walter C. Rucker, an anthropologist and historian, respectively, “Visions of Slavery” will explore how slavery in the Black Atlantic has been archived, memorialized and interpreted both historically and more recently.

As part of the Mellon’s 2022-2023 Sawyer Seminar series, the symposium will unite Emory faculty across the humanities and social sciences with scholars from other metro Atlanta universities.

Peter Little featured in Special Issue of the Journal of Agrarian Change

The 25th anniversary of Peter Little and Michael Watts’ edited book, Living Under Contract: Contract Farming and Agrarian Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa (with Michael Watts), is the basis of a Special Issue of the Journal of Agrarian Change (Volume 22, Number 1, 2022).

The introduction to the journal issue discusses how “it was the publication in 1994 of Living Under Contract: Contract Farming and Agrarian Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa, a collection edited by Peter Little and Michael Watts, that marked a seminal moment in critical scholarship on contract farming in the developing world. . . . The legacy of Living Under Contract is evident in the sustained engagement with contract farming by critical scholars in the subsequent three decades since its publication (see Vicol et al. 2022, 3-4, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/joac.12471 . )” Peter Little and Michael Watts were invited to write the epilogue, titled “The afterlife of Living under Contract,” to the Special Issue (see Little and Watts https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/joac.12467  )

Peter Little recently co-edited (with Shinya Konaka of Shizuoka University, Japan) a special issue on “Rethinking Resilience in the Context of East African Pastoralism” in the journal

Nomadic Peoples, 2021, volume 25, Number 2. As the introduction to the volume states, “the special issue interrogates the frequently overused concept of resilience through an examination of a series of  case studies from East Africa. It addresses the ways in which anthropologists have studied the interactions between pastoral communities and outside actors under the guise of ‘building resilience’ ..and it challenges readers to think beyond persistent dichotomies of local/global, modernity/tradition, and culture/environment (Konaka and Little 2021: 165).  Most of the articles in the issue were based on a panel sponsored by the Commission of Nomadic Peoples, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) and presented at the Bi-annual Congress  of the IUAES, held in Poznan, Poland, August 27-31, 2019. Peter Little.

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.

This research was also featured by CNN and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

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. Dietrich Stout.