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.
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. Sirak received her PhD in 2018 for her dissertation on “A Genomic Analysis of Two Early Christian Cemetery Communities from Sudanese Nubia”, she is now a staff scientist at Harvard University. Her research bridges the fields of Ancient DNA and archaeology and helps shed light on social structures as well as the genomes of ancient populations.
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 )
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sarah Kovalaskas joined the Department of Anthropology as a graduate student in 2018 and recently published a paper titled “Comparative analyses of the Pan lineage reveal selection on gene pathways associated with diet and sociality in bonobos” in the journal Genes, Brain and Behavior. Second and third authors are Jim Rilling, professor and department chair at Emory’s Department of Anthropology, and John Lindo, assistant professor at Emory’s Department of Anthropology.
“I feel like this paper was a great example of seizing an idea and making use of already existing data in that all the genomes are all publicly available online and we just needed the storage space and computational know-how to carry it out. The idea of ‘self domestication’ is something that I’ve been interested in and thinking about for a while, and I was hoping to work on similar topics for my dissertation. Even though I’m going in a different direction now it was a really nice way for me to build relationships with professors in the department after Adrian Jaeggi left Emory to continue his research at the University of Zurich. It also allowed me to dip my toes into other fields (genomics) and see how I could incorporate those techniques with my own interests and background working in the field with bonobos.”