Peter Little delivers the African Studies Review Distinguished Lecture at the 61st Annual Meetings of the African Studies Association (ASA), Atlanta, GA, November 30, 2018 The ASA is the largest professional association of African specialists in the world.
In a recent publication in the journal Antiquity, Justin Pargeter (a Postdoctoral researcher with Emory University’s Anthropology Department) argues the motivations of prehistoric hunter-gatherers for selecting particular rocks for toolmaking are often explained in too rigidly functional or symbolic terms. By examining the exploitation of crystal quartz at two archaeological sites (Ntloana Tšoana and Sehonghong) in Lesotho, southern Africa, he and his co-author Jamie Hampson (University of Exeter) reveal that stone tool production required a form of engagement unique to crystal quartz’s specific properties (including possibly quartz crystal’s piezoelectric effects). The prefered use of quartz crystals—irrespective of the availability of other rocks for tool production—demonstrates agency and variability in the prehistoric technologies.
Dr. Dietrich Stout is an experimental archeologist at the department of Anthropology where he researches connections between prehistoric stone tool-making, known as knapping, and the human brain. He has set up an online experiment in collaboration with Robert Rein at the German Sport University Cologne. Participants are asked to spend 10 minutes of their time to help deepen our understanding of the relationship between the visual-spatial skills used in knapping and areas of the brain that are involved in language processing. Dr. Stout is hoping to establish whether participants can differentiate size the of stone flakes removed during knapping, and how novice knappers fare in comparison to experts.
Dr. Little participated in the Happiness and Well-being Project based at Saint Luis University along with over 150 other researchers from 20 nation and spanning multiple fields. The Chronicle Article spotlighted the work done by Dr. Little in collaboration with Workneh Negatu (Agricultural Economics, Addis Ababa University) and Mark Risjord (Philosophy, Emory University), which focused on life satisfaction and well-being in northern Kenya and Ethiopia.
DNA analyses show that ancient populations of the Peruvian highlands adapted to the introduction of agriculture and an extreme, high-altitude environment in ways distinct from other global populations. (Emory New Center)
The New York Times published an article about the deductions made by recent DNA research about migrations to and within the Americas, to which Dr. Lindo’s research in the Andes contributed.
His contribution published on the Culture and Agriculture section of the American Anthropological Association explores the role our mother tongues play in wasting and sharing food. It reflects on morning municipal sweeping routes and daily garbage hauls in Bangalore, India, occasions when residents interact with sanitation workers by discarding food and sharing leftovers.
“How do our tongues–organs of speech and taste–weave charity into promiscuous expenditure? How might they archive the embodiment and routinization of power?”
Shreyas Sreenath is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology.