Douglas Falen (92C) publishes new book on African Science

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Douglas Falen (C’92) is a cultural anthropologist at nearby Agnes Scott College in Decatur. His new ethnography, African Science: Witchcraft, Vodun, and Healing in Southern Benin (University of Wisconsin Press) examines the ways that Benin’s occult world blends notions of magic, science, and religion. In emphasizing the moral ambivalence of human acts, Beninois people compare African witchcraft to western technology, known as “white people’s witchcraft.” The books explains how “witchcraft”  becomes a universal, all-encompassing term that allows Beninois people to incorporate foreign religions and esoteric traditions, including Hindu mysticism and Freemasonry, into a single category.Falen.AfricanScience.c.jpg

Dr. Justin Pargeter publishes research on prehistoric toolmaking

Dr. Justin Pargeter publishes research on prehistoric toolmaking

In a recent publication in the journal AntiquityJustin 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.

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Calling all knappers – Dr. Stout studies the connection between ancient stone tool-making and the human brain

Calling all knappers – Dr. Stout studies the connection between ancient stone tool-making and the human brain

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.

Read more about this on eScienceCommons and Dr. Stout’s website.

 

 

Peter Little’s research is spotlighted in the Chronicle

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.

 

 

 

John Lindo’s research is features in the New York Times and Emory Science News Center

John Lindo’s research is features in the New York Times and Emory Science News Center

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.

 

Shreyas Sreenath reflects on his fieldwork in a piece titled “Sharing, tasting, and wasting food in our mother tongue”

Shreyas Sreenath reflects on his fieldwork in a piece titled “Sharing, tasting, and wasting food in our mother tongue”

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.

Tsering Bum publishes article on “Translating Ecological Migration Policy”

Tsering Bum, graduate student in the Department of Anthropology, publishes his article on “Translating Ecological Migration Policy”.

“This paper analyzes the transmission of China’s environmental policies from the central government down to villages and townships for implementation. It examines the specific ways through which policies are translated from Chinese to other ethnic languages, and communicated to the members of concerned communities. Employing anthropology of policy as an analytical framework, the paper suggests that policies take social life of their own as they are translated into different languages and passed down for implementation through the state bureaucratic apparatus.” Tsering Bum, Emory University