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).
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 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.
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.
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 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.
Suma Ikeuchi (16PhD), Assistant Professor of Liberal Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has several publications and travel plans coming up this summer. Her first book, Jesus Loves Japan: Return Migration and Global Pentecostalism in a Brazilian Diaspora, has just been published by Stanford University Press (June 2019). With the Engaged Anthropology Grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, she is traveling to Japan and Brazil this summer to share the research results with the migrants who participated in the study and to deliver lectures at a number of universities in both countries including Nanzan University and the University of São Paulo. Her most recent article, “From Slaves to Agents: Pentecostal Ethic and Precarious Labor among Brazilian Migrants in Toyota, Japan” has also been published by The Journal of the American Academy of Religion (JAAR), the premier academic journal in religious studies. She is also expanding her scholarship to an exciting new direction by exploring the crossroads of Anthropology and Art. A panel discussion with several prominent Japanese anthropologists titled “Writing, Creating, and Teaching at the Intersection of Art and Anthropology” will take place this summer at Kyoto City University of Arts.
Just in time for fathers day Jim Rilling’s (Emory Anthropology) fatherhood research is in the spot light of both Emory News and GPB. The Emory News article Five surprising facts about fathers highlights some of the overlooked challenges that fathers face based on a research project done in collaboration with Craig Hadley (Emory Anthropology). Dr. Rilling previously collaborated in research that was published in 2017 by Dr. Jennifer Mascaro (Emory School of Medicine). She investigated the difference in behavior when fathers interact with daughters or sons, such as a focus on social vocabulary for girls and achievement for boys.
In the GPB interview with Virginia Prescott Rilling gets the chance to talk about the work and findings in detail, the interview is available online.
Now what should you give dad? According to Rilling, subjects found quite some enjoyment in sharing their fatherhood experience.
Isabella Alexander is writing a new monthly column for Sapiens called BORDERS. Check out her first article and check back every month for human stories from political crises around the world.
In her recent Journal on Research in Adolescence review paper Worthman argues that puberty and adolescences should not be split up into bio and cultural but seen as a whole. She emphasizes the importance of improving research in this area due to the large numbers, 17% of the worlds population is aged 10-19 right now, and emphasizes the impact of youth development on mental and physical health.