Dr. Chikako Ozawa-de Silva shares her work on loneliness

Dr. Ozawa-de Silva published her research in Sage Journals along with her co-author Michelle Parsons.

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.

Anthropology Graduate Student Sarah Kovalaskas reflects on research and her recent publication in the journal Genes, Brain and Behavior

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.”

Dr. James Rilling publishes article in Aeon Magazine about fatherhood research

While there has been a lot of research about how motherhood affects women, Dr. Rilling has been working to fill the gap by researching the effects of fatherhood on men. In the article he explains the effects of testosterone on the behavior of avian, primate, and human fathers, as well as his research on the effect of fatherhood on testosterone levels in men.

https://aeon.co/essays/how-raising-children-can-change-a-fathers-brain

Katya Bobrek (19C) publishes research on flour fortification standards

Most national, mandatory flour fortification standards do not align with international recommendations for iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 levels was published in Food Policy and can be viewed on Science Direct.

“Above all, I’m so grateful for the mentorship and guidance of Dr. Helena Pachón. I’m so excited to see that the results of our work are now available to be shared with others.”

Co-authors are Britt Broedersen, Nancy J. Aburto, Aashima Garg, Mary Serdula, Filiberto Beltrán Velázquez, Eugene C. Wong and Helena Pachón.

Dr. Kristin Phillips wins 2020 Society for Economic Anthropology Book Prize

Anthropology faculty member Dr. Kristin Phillips has been named a co-winner of the 2020 Society for Economic Anthropology Book Prize for her 2018 book: An Ethnography of Hunger: Politics, Subsistence, and the Unpredictable Grace of the Sun (Indiana University Press).  The award honors the best book in economic anthropology published during the last three years.  Phillips shares this honor with Dr. Kathleen Millar of the University of British Columbia for her 2018 book: Reclaiming the Discarded: Life and Labor on Rio’s Garbage Dump (Duke University Press). 

The Experimental Ethnography at Emory working group published a conversation on Mixtape Scholarship with Dr. Kwame M. Phillips (14PhD)

What does it mean to produce scholarship through sound? The Experimental Ethnography at Emory working group just published a conversation on Mixtape Scholarship with Dr. Kwame M. Phillips (Assistant Professor in the Department of Communications at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy; Emory Anthropology PhD 2014). Dr. Phillips and co-author Dr. Shana L. 

Redmond’s essay/mixtape “The People Who Keep on Going”: A Listening Party, Vol. I appears in The Futures of Black Radicalism, which is being promoted this Summer as a free e-book by publisher Verso Books. The playlist “is a people’s songbook, a soundtrack to the improvisational life and living of Blackness under the control of white supremacy. This is an effort to pull forward and give a name to what our bodies tell us with every needle drop, to hold tight that which combines individual voice and people’s rebellion . . . ” (Redmond & Phillips, 2017:207). Dr. Debra Vidali (Emory Anthropology; Faculty director for the Experimental Ethnography at Emory working group) took this as an opportunity to talk to Dr. Phillips about multimodal argumentation, ethnographic documentation, listening parties, and a playlist for the Futures of Black Radicalism. “The People Who Keep on Going” mixtape is hosted on Dr. Phillips’ TheDreadstarMovement site. Experimental Ethnography @ Emory

Scott Schnur publishes blog post on the Society for Cultural Anthropology

Scott Schnur publishes blog post on the Society for Cultural Anthropology

Scott Schnur sits down with Dr. Elizabeth Emma Ferry (Brandeis University) to discuss how to creatively teach anthropological theory in graduate school. They discuss how course design can help students better engage with theory in order to reform the discipline and think creatively. Read the publication on the website of the Society for Cultural Anthropology.

 

Liza Moscovice and Adrian Jaeggi publish article on the sexual interactions among female bonobos.

Dr. Moscovice and Dr. Jaeggi research the sexual behavior between female bonobos and their implications based on social behavior and hormones.

Read the Full Article on Science Direct. Hormones and Behavior.

bonobos_GGrubbing_Zanna Clay.jpgPress release

Sex for cooperation: New insights help to explain why same-sex sexual interactions are so important for female bonobos

Among our two closest phylogenetic relatives, chimpanzees remain by far the more thoroughly-studied and widely-recognized species, known for their high levels of cooperation especially among males, which includes sharing food, supporting each other in aggressive conflicts and defending their territories against other communities. In contrast, insights into the social dynamics of wild bonobos are available from only a small number of long-term field sites, and bonobos are probably best known for their diverse sexual behavior, which together with their proposed peacefulness between communities and co-dominance between the sexes, has led to their nickname as the ‘hippie apes.’ The stereotype of bonobos as hyper-sexual is an over-simplification, but it does capture a fascinating aspect of bonobo social behavior. Bonobos are one of the few species in which all adult members of one sex engage in habitual same-sex sexual interactions that occur at similar or even greater frequencies as opposite-sex interactions. In the wild, all adult females perform same-sex genital contacts, known as genito-genital rubbing (or GG-rubbing) on a regular basis with many other females in their community. In contrast, male bonobos rarely engage in same-sex sexual behavior. There are several theories to explain the function of same-sex sexual behavior in bonobos, including as a way to reduce social tension, prevent aggression or form social bonds. However, none of these theories can explain why such behavior occurs so frequently only among females.

To clarify why same-sex sexual behavior is so important specifically for female bonobos, we collected behavioral and hormonal data for over a year from all adult members of a habituated bonobo community at the long-term LuiKotale field site in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition to our focus on sexual interactions, we identified preferred partners for other social activities such as giving support in conflicts. We also collected urine to measure the hormone oxytocin, which is released in the body in other species after friendly social interactions, including sex and helps to promote cooperation.

We found that in competitive situations, females preferred to have sex with other females rather than with males. After sex, females often remained closer to each other than did mixed sex pairs, and females had measurable increases in urinary oxytocin following sex with females, but not following sex with males. Among same-sex and opposite-sex pairs, individuals who had more sex also supported each other more often in conflicts, but the majority of these coalitions were formed among females. “It may be that a greater motivation for cooperation among females, mediated physiologically by oxytocin, is the key to understanding how females attain high dominance ranks in bonobo society” explained co-lead author Surbeck.

For humans as well, alliances between members of the same sex provide many benefits, including mutual social support and sharing of resources. There is also historical and cross-cultural evidence that such alliances are often reinforced through sexual interactions. “While it is important to not equate human homosexuality with same-sex sexual behavior in animals, our study suggests that in both humans and a close phylogenetic relative, the evolution of same-sex sexual behavior may have provided new pathways to promote high levels of cooperation” states co-lead author Moscovice.

 

 

Jordan Martin publishes his Emory research in Biology Letters

Jordan Martin publishes the research he has done during his time at Emory. Martin and his colleagues find that ‘masculinized’ facial morphology associates with both aggressive and affiliative dominance behavior in bonobos (Pan paniscus), one of human’s closest living relatives. Their study suggests that developmental androgen exposure may cause associations between facial morphology, personality, and dominance status in both humans and non-human primates.

Read the full article.

Dr. Justin Pargeter and colleagues present a multidisciplinary study of Late Acheulean handaxe-making skill acquisition in the latest edition of the Journal of Human Evolution

Dr. Justin Pargeter and colleagues, including Dr. Dietrich Stout, present a multidisciplinary study of Late Acheulean handaxe-making skill acquisition in the latest edition of the Journal of Human Evolution. Their results identify cognitive targets of tool-making skill acquisition, learning costs, and highlight the importance of social support, motivation, persistence, and self-control in knapping skill acquisition.

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