Graduate student Andrea Rissing publishes article in Anthropology News describing the approach to her research on Iowa farms, which includes letting the farmers contribute questions they feel are worth asking.
“I always found that farmers had insightful opinions on what questions merited investigation. People know what is important in their own lives, and creating space for them to flip the interview made for more interesting, dynamic research.”
“What do giant rats and tiny ‘Hobbits’ have in common? They both lived on a tiny island in Indonesia and form an important piece of the puzzle for uncovering what it means to be human.”
This is the focus of Grace Veatch’s dissertation research, as she analyzes thousands of tiny and giant sized rat bones that were recovered in a cave site along with a human ancestor named Homo floresiensis.
“I hope to understand how these ‘Hobbit’s’ incorporated small mammals into their diet, and how this might compare to how modern humans also use this vital resource on an island depauperate of large game. Check out my research showcased in an online article through Sapiens.org for more information about this exciting research happening here in the Anthropology Department at Emory University.”
Andrea Rissing (PhD candidate) won the 2017 Robert M. Netting Award, a graduate student paper prize awarded by the Culture and Agriculture section of the American Anthropological Association. The award recognizes original research related to agrarian systems from a holistic, social-scientific perspective. It provides a cash award of $750 and a consultation with the editors of the journal Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment with the goal of revising the paper for publication.
Her paper, “‘Profitability’ vs. ‘Making it’: The Agrarian Realms of Market and Community,” argues that the success of beginning farmers depends on more than just profitability. Drawing on her ethnographic fieldwork with farmers in Iowa, she shows how “making it” in farming within the first five years is contingent upon economic and social factors in the market realm and the community realm.
Congratulations to Andrea!
[Photo credit: Andrea Rissing. Assorted organic produce at the Mason City farmers market, Mason City, Iowa.]
Gabriela Sheets receives the Society for Medical Anthropology’s Dissertation Award for her 2017 dissertation on “The Developmental Ecology of the Infant Microbiome”.
The Committee describes Sheets’ work as “novel meshing of anthropology and biology to explore an emerging area of general interest,” and thought it was likely to “make important contributions well beyond the medical anthropology community.” One member called it an “exemplar in where science should go.”
“Recognition begs reflection, and reflection begs gratitude. The beast that this dissertation was to become invited me on a marvelous journey through the lives, stories and biologies of many Salvadoran families, for which I am forever grateful. Before my observing eye, life spilled out. She sometimes clumsily, but always excitedly, tripped over herself to whisper her secrets and to weave her tales through the human body. Even under and around the long shadows of death where meaning was mute, her whispers sounded. Thank you Emory for the opportunity to research questions that excite me, always supported by frameworks rooted in our anthropological and biological heritage. I hope to make even a small difference with the tools and drive that you provided for me.” Gabriela Sheets
Greetings from Jordan where Dr. Liv Nilsson Stutz (Senior Lecturer in Anthropology) and Dr. Aaron Stutz (Associate Professor in Anthropology at Oxford College) are excavating at the cave site Mughr el-Hamamah, where they located archaeological contexts from the early upper Palaeolithic in 2010. This year they return to the cave to finish the excavations. In addition to excavating lithics and animal remains, their work this season aims at recovering the remains of plants (in the form of charcoal, seeds, nuts, etc) which will help them reconstruct the paleoenvironment and to better understand how palaeolithic hunters and gatherers used resources in the landscape. To help them they are joined by archaeobotanist Dr. Chantel White of the University of Pennsylvania, and her undergraduate assistant Fabian Toro. They are also benefiting from the invaluable help of John Murray (incoming PhD student at Arizona State University), Emma Hanlon, Neharika Penmetcha, Hazel Sima, and José Amador (undergraduate students at Oxford College and Emory College).
Ioulia Chuvileva (PhD candidate) has published an article in Sustainability: The Journal of Record. The article uses Social Network Analysis to make visible the invisible connections and flows of the Mapping Emory’s Sustainability Project.
Ancient DNA analysis can reveal insight into past populations on many levels. Unfortunately, accessing the osseous labyrinth inside the petrous bone, which has the highest concentration of endogenous DNA of any skeletal element, creates a problem for analysis: It requires intact skeletal remains.
PhD candidate Kendra Sirak has developed a new technique to access the osseous labyrinth without the damage done by established techniques. She details the process in her paper published in BioTechniques and has taught the technique to experts in ten different countries, which has allowed them to perform the procedure independently.