Week 4: Landscapes
Cultural landscapes are created by people’s interaction with the world around them. These landscapes provide a sense of place and identity, they map our relationship with the land over time, and they are part of our national heritage and each of our lives.
West Africa has many important landscapes. For example, Sukur is ancient settlement with ...more
Week 2: Ethnography
Ethnography is the way that anthropologists study and teach others about cultures. Anthropologists learn about cultures by engaging different groups of people, asking questions, writing down their answers, and then thinking about the best way to understand behavior.
Cultural anthropologists use an emic perspective when studying another group, meaning they describe a particular culture in terms of ...more
Week 3: Archaeology
Archaeology is the branch of anthropology that studies humans who lived in the past through their material remains. They dig for human bones and material culture. (Students were very disappointed to find out archaeologists do NOT dig for dinosaurs.) Artifacts are anything made or changed by humans. By studying artifacts, we can reconstruct different aspects ...more
J. Lawrence Angel (1915-1986) was a British-American biological/forensic anthropologist who made great contributions to the fields of bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology. Angel was born March 21, 1915 in London, to parents John Angel, a sculptor, and Elizabeth Day Seymour, an American Classicist (National Anthropology Archives). Following in his mother's footsteps, Angel received training in Classics ...more
This week in class, we have asked compelling questions about the utility of research that fails to lead the scientific community in new directions. What is the appropriate balance between scientific study and conservation? How do we go about finding that balance? Should there even be a balance, or should we just focus our efforts ...more
My name is Anna Bianchi, and I am a graduate student of biocultural anthropology at The University of Alabama. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Birmingham-Southern College and Master's in Public Health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I am interested in the anthropology of reproductive ...more
A brief biography
Jonathan M. Marks, PhD, is a biological anthropologist at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC). Previously, he has taught at Yale University and the University of California, Berkeley. His interests include human evolution, the anthropology of science, general biological anthropology, general anthropology, and the critical, historical, and social studies of human ...more
Dr. William Leonard was born in New York and grew up in Pennsylvania. As a child, his parents were very supportive of his scientific interests. As an undergraduate at The Pennsylvania State University, Leonard pursued his strong interest in ecology and evolutionary biology, and particularly how they relate to humans. While his Bachelor of Science ...more
By: Melinda Carr
For our second lesson at the Anthropology Outreach program at Tuscaloosa Magnet School Elementary, I led the class in teaching about the Ethnography of West Africa. Since ethnography is a word that even us Anthropology folks stumble over, I broke it down into ethno (the tribe and people) and graph (to write) and ...more
Donald J. Ortner, Ph.D., D.Sc. (1938-2012)
Donald J. Ortner was born August 23, 1938 in Massachusetts. Because his father was a minister with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, much of his childhood was spent moving from place to place. In 1960 he received a BA in zoology from Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Maryland. 1960 was ...more
Dr. Cynthia Beall began her education with a B.A. in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970. As an undergraduate she was interested in evolution and ecology. In a 2004 interview with the National Academy of Sciences, she indicated that she became interested in human adaptation during her senior year while taking Physiological Adaptability ...more
As an aspirant anthropologist of a biocultural bent, I often analyze behaviors from an evolutionary framework; so when we started ANT 670 with an introduction to the concepts of cultural primatology and ethnoprimatology, it was right up my alley. One of my interests is the relationship between biological realities and social capital. Smuts (1987) wrote ...more
BIOGRAPHY: DR. AUGSTIN FUENTES, PROFESSOR OF ANTHROPOLOGY
Photo from Google Images
Professor Agustín Fuentes is originally from Santa Barbara, CA. From an early age, he had an interest in biology. His enthusiasm increased while taking a class taught by Dr. Phyllis Dolhinow during his undergraduate career. The class concentrated on the similarities between primates and humans, which ...more
The University of Alabama's Department of Anthropology has an incredible tradition to welcome new students and create comradery within the department. Each year they host a Potlatch, which involves food, booze, and the passing of tokens from advisor to student, professor to professor, and friend to friend. My personal advisor bestowed upon me a book entitled ...more
On the second day of class, Dr. Lynn told us the importance of knowing everyone in the department and having them know us. Therefore, he assigned us to go out and introduce ourselves to all of the faculty members we had not met. I instantly knew the first person I would reach out to; Dr. ...more
Two main thoughts really interested me during this past week of class. The first centers on our class discussion about evolution and intelligent design. I was not so much interested by the topic, but more so with the general lack of interest I saw in the class (me included) with this very old debate. I wasn't ...more
Léonce Pierre Manouvrier
Léonce Pierre Manouvrier was born in Guéret, Creuse, France on January 18, 1850 In the tradition of his family, Manouvrier would study medicine and receive his M.D., with the distinction of lauréat du prix de thèse, from the Paris Faculty of Medicine in 1881 He would go on to work with noted anthropologist ...more
The “treatment of human evolution is abysmal”. Previous research completed by Meads and Mates indicates the inclusion of the Big Bang Theory is nearly non-existent in education regarding the origin of the universe. Instead, creationist theory is being taught to students. While their assessment indicated multiple states received poor grades in evolution education, Alabama showed a distinct ...more
Introductions can be hard, especially when you are a new student. It's easy to put off an awkward introductions when there is a list of books to be read and assignments to complete. Nevertheless, thus far, I have met...
Dr. Elliot Blair
Dr. John Blitz
Dr. Ian Brown
Dr. William Dressler
Dr. Keith Jacobi
Dr. Steve Kosiba
Dr. Christopher Lynn
Dr. Kathryn Oths
In reading articles, notes and treatises arguing for the primacy of evolution over intelligent design or vice versa, one thing becomes abundantly clear. There is very little rational discussion being had between the two parties. Oftentimes, what could be a dialogue between two groups in disagreement quickly devolves into a scatalogically fueled war of words. But why? ...more
The recent publication of the discovery of Homo naledi by Berger, et al. has once again brought the usefulness of the current paradigm of defining species and their interrelatedness into question. H. naledi has been set within the genus Homo based upon similarities between its skeletal morphology and that of other previously identified "species." While ...more
Having cracked the spine of The Primate Anthology by Ciochon and Nisbett, it is safe to say that primates display a wide array of behaviors. Primates show great ingenuity in their ability to creatively solve problems and oftentimes the reasoning for the behavior seems clear. However, this is not the case with infant theft. Infant theft ...more
Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, CAN
Twenty years ago I was finishing up a 2-year deal as a Student Assistant Editor of The Journal of Planning Literature in the Department of City and Regional Planning at The Ohio State University. It wasn't a paid Graduate Assistantship and how I wound up on the editorial staff is ...more
I believe in God, but I find nothing contradictory about my faith in God and my understanding of evolution. There are those who can not separate the two (Creationists), but I believe there are many more who can. My faith is just--faith. It's not scientific, and it doesn't have to be. Evolution, on the other hand, is supported by ...more
WEEK 1: Cultures and Clans
By Annakate Faulk
Last week we started our outreach program at the Tuscaloosa Magnet School. This semester I and fellow UA students are working with an awesome group of third grade students whom we will be teaching about the anthropology of West Africa. Our first day went great! We were welcomed to ...more
I see Anthropology as the study of human potential. By the term “human potential,” I mean the vicarious expressions of life as experienced by real human beings in their physical, linguistic, cultural and historical environments. These vicarious expressions are based in cognition, which provides the backdrop for the entire field of Anthropology.
Anthropology is classically defined ...more
Greetings and welcome to my blog. Like professional hockey, there will be only a short preseason. Look for some more postings in the near future. Tonight the New York Islanders move into Manhattan for the first-time ever with their first preseason game of the 2015-2016 season.
Just like this blog: Here we ...more
Welcome to my blog! As part of the ANT 670: Principles of Physical Anthropology course, I will be keeping this web page as a sort of window into my learning in real-time. While I will be posting mainly about topics in physical anthropology, I will also include other interesting goings-on from my linguistics and methods classes, ...more
Dr. Lynn proposed that we introduce ourselves to, or make conversation with, any anthro faculty that we haven't had the pleasure of meeting. This, meeting of people, making small talk, initiating face-to-face introductions, has never been a strong point of mine. Shyness is a bitch when it comes to meeting new people. However, having made ...more
The next several posts will include the lesson plans we used for the UA partnership with the Tuscaloosa Magnet School. This semester the classes were taught by Taylor Burbach, Meghan Steel, and Erica Schumann, with the direction of graduate student Greg Batchelder. Enjoy!
Week 3: Museums and Anthropology
Activity: Curating an Artifact
Museum- a place where ...more
The next several posts will include the lesson plans we used for the UA partnership with the Tuscaloosa Magnet School. This semester the classes were taught by Taylor Burbach, Meghan Steel, and Erica Schumann, with the direction of graduate student Greg Batchelder. Enjoy!
Week 5: Primates and Diet
Topic: Primate Diet
One of the ways ...more
Tongue rolling is coded for by a gene. Who knew?
Week 6: Human Variation
Activity: Mendelian Genetics
Topic: Human Variation
The notion of “race” is a social, rather than biological construct. Historically, race has been used as a tool of instituting social inequality and prejudice.
Anthropologists do not accept ‘race’ as a valid concept for a number of reasons, ...more
Activity: Cranial Comparison
Topic: Comparative Osteology
Physical anthropologists rely on osteology, or the scientific study of bones, to identify individual species, learn about the lives of an individual, or even to identify ancient illnesses (aka paleopathology). The skeletal features of bones reflect the life histories of individuals, and trained osteologists can use those features to identify the ...more
I hope you have enjoyed reading the lesson plans. This concludes the work we did during the fall semester of 2014. See you in the spring!
Week 9: Human Osteology
Activity: Smithsonian’s Skeleton in the Cellar
Topic: Human Osteology
As we learned last week, our bones can tell a story about our lives. In addition to providing key ...more
The journey to the village of Yorkín begins at 6:30 in the morning when you catch the bus in Puerto Viejo, the rambunctious little beach town with an international flair where the smell of ganja flows freely through the air. This area of Costa Rica, the Talamancan coast, was originally settled by Caribbeans from the ...more
When I began my career as a wilderness guide, for the first time in my life I encountered people who were constantly seeking the newest piece of gear, anything from a titanium drinking cup to a sleeping bag which had arms and legs. Being an unschooled vagabond living in my truck and prostituting my wilderness ...more
When I was in the process of developing my course on race I decided to assign chapter VII of Darwin’s 1871 Descent of Man, the chapter entitled “On the Races of Man”, where among many 19th century racial anachronisms Darwin makes a case for the unity of the human species. Graves (2001) summarizes the critical ...more
Kathy Oths conducting fieldwork in the Peruvian highlands.
In our ongoing effort to bring more depth to our play (name that ethnographic reference), we bring you 10 things you may not know about Professor Kathy Oths. Dr. Oths is Professor of Anthropology in our Biocultural Medical track, specializing in medical anthropology in Latin America. In ...more
The Department of Anthropology is pleased to be able to announce the hiring of two new faculty members. Dr. Sonya Pritzker and Elliot Blair have been hired in tenure-track positions beginning in August to fulfill the Department's needs in Linguistics and Archaeology, respectively.
Dr. Sonya Pritzker is a medical and linguistic anthropologist whose research focuses on ...more
Several of our faculty were invited to give lectures:
Dr. Bill Dressler, Invited Lecture, East Carolina University, April 10, 2015.
Dr. Bill Dressler was invited to the Departments of Anthropology and Public Health at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC on April 10 to give a lecture entitled "Cultural Consonance: Linking Culture, the Individual, and Health."
Experiential learning is important across the University of Alabama, and Anthropology is no different. Students in my "Primate Religion and Human Consciousness" (UH 300) and "Evolution for Everyone" courses had fun (I hope) this semester with a few of the activities I set up. Primate Religion & Human Consciousness is a course in the cognitive ...more
ECU anthropology professor Dr. Blakely Brooks leads an ECU Global Understanding class.
Dr. Blakely Brooks, Teaching Assistant Professor at East Carolina University, who received his Ph.D. from UA in 2011, is in the news (http://www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/news/globalclassroom.cfm)for shattering stereotypes and promoting global understanding. Says Brooks, “The stereotypes our students have, they find out they just aren’t correct. And ...more
Luke Donohue and Kelsey Herndon with advisors John Blitz and Keith Jacobi.
This past spring, five students came closer to completing their journeys to master's degrees by presenting the results of their thesis research at our March and April colloquiums.
On March 6, archaeology student Luke Donohue presented "Group Mobility and Lithic Resource Use in the ...more
On February 12, Charles Darwin's birthday, the UA Evolutionary Studies Club hosted the 3rd annual Darwin Day Colloquium. The event was hosted by the Alabama Museum of Natural History and featured an afternoon of talks from UA students and faculty, in addition to a talk by alumnus Dr. Amanda Glaze and keynote by University of ...more
Chris Lynn, Jeff Lozier, Wendi Schnauffer, Lynn Funkhouser, Pat McGovern, Cassie Medeiros dining before ALLELE talk.
The Department of Anthropology is one of the regular sponsors of the Alabama Lectures on Life's Evolution, organized by the University's Evolution Working Group (EVOWOG). This past academic year, EVOWOG hosted lectures by paleontologist Anthony Martin, journalist Chris Mooney, ...more
Check out the display cases at the ground floor entryway of ten Hoor and adjacent to ten Hoor's room 30. There are three brand new exhibits on the topics of “Anthropology in the News,” “Anthropology in the Movies,” and “Jobs in Anthropology.” There is a lot of important information in these exhibits, which I am ...more
2014 was an interesting year for the concept of culture. Merriam-Webster declared ‘culture’ the most important word of the year, in that more people looked up its definition online than any other. Then, on the website edge.org, the question was posed: what scientific idea should be retired? No less luminaries than Pascal Boyer and John ...more
Reposted from Anthropology News February 2015 column.
Our January column from Bill Dressler harkened to 2005 when, concerned about the absence of an explicit theory of culture in much biocultural research, Bill had written a piece in Ethos entitled “What’s Cultural about Biocultural Research?” While not all of us follow Bill’s approach to the letter, his ...more
Reposted from Anthropology News April 2015 column.
Mixed-method research involves inherent challenges that make it at once more gratifying and more difficult than traditional single-method approaches. By “mixed-method,” I am referring to studies that employ a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods. This approach is a hallmark of most biocultural research, and those of us committed ...more
This January the UAAC had the pleasure of camping for two nights at Leroy Percy State Park (in cabins!) and assisting one of our fellow students with her dissertation research at Arcola Mounds in the Mississippi Delta. Students and volunteers participated in a controlled surface collection of the site and toured the nearby Winterville Mounds. ...more
It was a cold day in late February - but our awesome Anthropology Club members still made it out to the river to help wash artifacts from the surface collection field trip to Arcola Mounds.
A nice day on the river!
Our mascot ...more
The David and Elizabeth DeJarnette Endowed Scholarship is awarded annually by the Department of Anthropology. As per the eclectic interests of David L. DeJarnette, priority of consideration is given to graduate students who are conducting archaeological research at Moundville Archaeological Park, the southeastern United States more generally, or in Latin America. Recipients of this prestigious award ...more
The Moundville Archaeological Park, located in Moundville, Alabama, has an annual Native American Festival designed to celebrate the region's rich Native American heritage. This year's celebration was particularly significant because 2014 marks both the 75th anniversary of the Moundville Park and the 25th anniversary of the Moundville Festival! The UA Department of Anthropology has a ...more
I grew up in San Francisco from the late 1940s to the late 60s (if you think I'm no longer growing up) where there were still segregated residential patterns but an air of tolerance for difference from Hunter's Point to Chinatown to the female impersonator bars in North Beach. My junior high and high school ...more
Małgosia and Anka at the Jewish cemetery. The building in the background holds trash bins for surrounding apartments. The resident we spoke with felt uncomfortable about keeping the trash in a cemetery.
Author Marysia Galbraith has kindly let the Bama Anthro Blog Network repost from the original site here.
In early December, I visited the Poznan Jewish ...more
Monument to the victims of the Poznan labor camp
Despite the cold, Anka, Małgosia and I visited a few other sites associated with Jewish culture and history. The monument to the victims of the Poznan labor camp is on Królowa Jadwiga Street even though the actual detainment site was a block away in the old football stadium. ...more
Author Marysia Galbraith has kindly let the Bama Anthro Blog Network repost from the original site here.
A defining question of my study is turning out to be: How do you remember Jewish lives in Poland when nothing remains? Or when there are only scattered traces?
I certainly started with next to nothing when I began the ...more
Manfred Diehl, Helena Chui, Elizabeth L. Hay are part of the Adult Development and Aging Project (ADAPT) at Colorado State University. Their mission is "To contribute to the knowledge about healthy and successful adult development and aging through research, education, and collaborative outreach." Dr. Diehl received his PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from Pennsylvania ...more
After reading Greg Downey's The Encultured Brain chapter on neural enculturation in capoeira and Lisa Heywood's 2011 article advocating a cultural neuropychology of sport, I thought a lot about how these articles applied to physical activity in general. What makes people commit to physical activity? This isn't a question I'm unfamiliar with. As a chronic yo-yo dieter and infrequent exerciser ...more
I used this article because it showed that current research proves that children with a developmental disability on the autistic spectrum are helped by their participation in church settings. It proved helpful by showing what benefits religious involvement could help children with autism.
Article: "Inclusion of people with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities in communities ...more
I used this article, as well as the chapter in our book on autism, to help me get a full picture of what autism is and how it affects people and the way they behave. It helped to show me that there was a spectrum of autistic disorders that show how well those with autism ...more
This article focused on how families dealt with their children having autism in a religious setting. I used this article to discover how whether or not families found their religion as a positive or negative way of helping them with their autistic children.
Article: "Religious Coping in Families of Children with Autism" by Nalini Tarakeschwar and ...more
I used this article mainly because it was written by a person who has autism and is about their experience communing with God. It provided me with an inside view of what it was like to have autism and experience religion. The article's main focus was to make sure it was known that autistic people ...more
This article focuses on different treatment options for children with autism, specifically a Christ-centered treatment program. This article mainly interested me because it looked at an alternate way to help treat autism.
Article: "Integrating Faith and Treatment for Children with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders" by Cara Marker, Magdalena Weeks, and Irene Kraegel, published in 2007 ...more
This article focused on how a family's faith and religion helped to support them and their autistic children. I used this article to help me understand the possible benefits that children could have by being involved within their church. This is the article that sparked my idea of a difference in the structural environments of ...more
This article specifically focused on how those who have been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum interact with God and view the image of God. I mainly used this article to help me understand how a child with autism might have a relationship with God, despite having obvious social impairments.
Article: "Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Image ...more
This study looked at three families immigrant South Asian Muslim families with children that had been diagnosed as on the Autism Spectrum. I mainly utilized their usage of participant observation and how the researcher immersed themselves within the cultures of the families in order to fully understand what their life was like.
Article: "Autism From a ...more
The central plaza of Ribeirão Preto, Brazil (photo by author)
At the beginning of the semester and my class, “Culture, Mind, and Behavior,” I started thinking about this topic, because this class is devoted to cognitive culture theory, including the concept of cultural consonance. Cultural consonance is the degree to which people incorporate into their ...more
Ethnopsychology—The cultural framing of the self, emotions, and suffering.
In an earlier post I discussed methodology which can elicit local idioms of distress in regard to psychological issues. In this post I will examine how treatment models can also be created which are culturally specific. One such example comes from the work done by Kohrt et ...more
I have dived into online dating websites before a few years ago and actually met someone. That didn't last long at all. It could have been due to the set up of the dating site Ok cupid or simply due to lack of interest I had in my date after meeting her. Needless to say ...more
I was very apprehensive in trying this since I used to identify myself as a lesbian and anyone I told would most likely respond with a smart comment like "really, you don't say". However in the last several months I have had several conversations with friends on sexuality as being fluid. It is a topic ...more
The new orangutan facility at the Indianapolis Zoo is really impressive. We checked it out this past summer while visiting my family in Indy. The facility is a network of buildings, outdoor space, & climbing structures that the individuals can navigate with a fair amount of freedom &, if they want it, privacy. Unfortunately, because my ...more
William R. Leonard is a leading anthropologist in the field of human nutrition. He was born in Jamestown, NY and received his PhD in biological anthropology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1987. He is now an Abraham Harris Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Chair of Anthropology at Northwestern ...more
In this week’s reading, climate change and adaption among humans was the issue at hand. We learned that human-occupied environments of today are extremely different from those of tropical forests beginnings as well, historical Neanderthals. Within environments, one’s body will either adapt to hot or cold conditions. The way in which the body adapts to ...more
This weeks' reading revolved around stress on the human body. These blueprints to hormone level production, neuron response, and the neurological development was displayed in a case study by Aaron Kindsvatter and Anne Geroski. In this article entitled, “The Impact of Early Life Stress on the Neurodevelopment of the Stress Response System, they present a ...more
The chapter this week was all about stress and reminded me of one of our very own professors here at University of Alabama, Dr. Dressler. His work on cultural consonance and its connection in African Americans in Alabama and higher blood pressure levels is actually mentioned in the chapter we read. The chapter discussed how ...more
John Snow "Father of Modern Epidemiology"
John Snow, born in 1813, was the son of a coal-yard laborer in York, England. Snow planned to become a physician, and at fourteen, he was apprenticed to Dr. William Hardcastle. During his early years as an apprentice, he filled notebooks with his thoughts and observations on scientific subjects. ...more
Aging and senescence are two concepts of biological evolution that usually occur simultaneously. Aging is an inevitable process among all humans and animal species. The survival method and length may be different, but the body’s equipment will begin to deteriorate with time. Time is a process that cannot be reversed biologically or socially; therefore the ...more
The body is a complex mechanism among both female and males. The growth of the human body depends on many factors including, the embryo stage, puberty, and physical activity among the growth years. In order for a body to progress/growth successfully, it must reach maturation biologically. This development promotes growth maturation for the remainder of ...more
Friedrich Leopold August Weismann
Weismann was born on 17 January 1834 in Frankfurt am Main, in the German Confederation. His mother, Elise Eleanor Lübbren, was a musician and painter, and his father, Johann Konrad August Weismann, was a classics professor. Weismann studied music, particularly the works of Beethoven, and he studied nature, from which he ...more
Thinking of office cubicles in the brain may help us imagine how dissociation might work & even be a great metaphor when we start suggesting that sometimes there is a jerky boss in our heads who comes out & barks at employees then cloisters himself away & a whole host of employees sitting in their ...more
I recently had the opportunity to attend the American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) 111th Annual Conference in San Francisco, and one of the session topics focused on neuroanthropology: ‘Brains in the Wild: The Challenges of Neuroanthropology.’
I would like to share the content of this session - including papers by Daniel Lende, Jeffrey Snodgrass, Sarah Mahler, and Greg ...more
I had a eureka moment when I learned that Toni Copeland had conducted research showing that knowledge of (competence) and behavior which approximates aspects of (consonance) a model of managing HIV among women in Nairobi, Kenya has been shown to be correlated to positive health outcomes, even going so far as affecting T-counts (Copeland 2012). ...more
To repeat from my previous post: “This week in my Neuroanthropology class we are focused on tobacco use and the cultural context of addiction. This got me thinking about other mind altering substances, in particular marijuana and ayahuasca, which have both in the news recently. In the case of marijuana, the results of the midterm ...more
This week in my Neuroanthropology class we are focused on tobacco use and the cultural context of addiction. This got me thinking about other mind altering substances, in particular marijuana and ayahuasca, which have both in the news recently. In the case of marijuana, the results of the midterm elections revealed that voters in three ...more
In previous posts I have discussed the use of self-report questionnaires to measure aspects of health, for example stress and depression. In this post, I will describe two methods for measuring “biomarkers” which are characteristics that are objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of biological processes. As part of my research in the Bribri ...more
In an earlier post I discussed methodology designed to create a measurement instrument which combines ethnographic and quantitative methods aimed at recognizing idioms of distress among individuals within a specific population. In today's post I will discuss a measurement designed to work in various contexts to measure depression. This measure is called The Center for ...more
Human epidemiology is the study of disease, its contributions and disparities, and potential ways to help stop the spread of disease. Among the West, there are many different diseases, viruses, prions, and other contagions that are incurable. Even among all the technology, in-depth research, and major complex studying among control variables, the West is still ...more
During my stay in Yorkin this past summer, it was mentioned by one of the women that there used to be a lot of “depresión” in the village before they started their ecotourism project. My initial reaction was, “I wonder what exactly they mean by “depresión”?” And then I started thinking about administering the CES-D, which is ...more
Wednesday night we hosted a mid-semester social to get everyone together and relax a bit after midterms. Club members took a break and enjoyed pizza, snacks, and The Lego Movie. Thank you Brass (and Angelica!) for organizing such a nice event!
"Instruction to fit in, have everyone like you, and always be happy. Step 1: Breathe!"
This fall the UAAC had the pleasure of camping for two nights in Joe Wheeler State Park. We toured nearby attractions including Florence Mound and the Athens Fiddlers Convention. A great trip and a glorious break from a busy semester! Thank you Ashley (and Angelica!) for organizing this for us!
The human body is very complex, yet simple mechanism. The way in which cholesterol (fats), minerals, and vitamins contribute to the nutrients within the body range. The human body is made of millions of cells that are directed by DNA to make certain proteins, which then code for the insertion of amino acids (polypeptide chains). ...more
Sometimes while searching frantically through the University libraries’ databases for peer-reviewed journal articles you find that pot of gold under the rainbow. I had a moment like that this morning; I had been searching for peer-reviewed articles which contain information concerning the recent history of the Bribri. This information has been extremely difficult to find. ...more
This morning a giant of our field passed away.
George Armelagos was a pioneer of biocultural anthropology from a political economic perspective, and one of the earliest, strongest, and most consistent voices against scientific racism among the old guard of physical anthropology. He was one of those people whose personality and intellect could fill a room ...more
Dissociation and Human Consciousness
There is little agreement on what consciousness is or how to define it, but most reduce in some way to being aware of inner & external states. This reduces to two essential capacities that are related, self-awareness & theory of mind. Self-awareness is the ability to distinguish the self from others & ...more
Ed Norton's character in "Fight Club" has dissociative identity disorder (DID), & Brad Pitt is actually one of his alters. This movie is an example of what I refer to as DID being the contemporary deus ex machina, wherein it swoops in & resolves otherwise inextricable plots. In all fairness though, it's based on ...more
Rebecca Seligman is a medical and psychological anthropologist at Northwestern University. Seligman received her PhD from Emory in 2004. Her current research looks into both the mental and physical health of Mexican Americans, specifically between diabetes and depression. Her work on dissociative experience and cultural neuroscience, with Laurence Kirmayer, was published in 2008. Kirmayer is ...more
Mark Schaller is a psychological scientist and Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1984 and obtained a PhD in Psychology at Arizona State University in 1989. He's been at his current position at the University of British Columbia since 1996. Schaller's research looks into the cognitive processes that contribute ...more
In his essay, "Shamanism as Neurotheology and Evolutionary Psychology," author Michael Winkelman looks at various instances of shamanism across cultures to find similarities that reveal "universals" about the practice.
Dr. Michael WinkelmanAssociate Professor Arizona State University
Winkelman recently retired from his post as an associate professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at ...more
Matt J RosanoSoutheastern Louisiana University
Matt J. Rossano received his doctorate in Psychology from the University of California at Riverside in 1991. He is a Professor of Psychology at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, LA. He is the author of Supernatural Selection: How Religion Evolved, released in June 2010 by Oxford Press. His interests include: Evolution and ...more
For this exercise, males in the class were instructed to wear a new T-Shirt provided by the instructor for up to 3 days. Males were instructed to not wear colognes or deodorants while wearing the T-Shirt, and to exercise while wearing it in order to get his natural scent into the fibers. Then, the males ...more
Yesterday I told my best friend that I was queer. She looked at me and said "is this supposed to surprise me? you talk about how gorgeous girls are and how you would 'totally be lesbian with them' reguarly." I giggled, but just let her keep talking. She continued by asking me questions about my ...more
Students in the Sprin 2014 ANT:208 Anthropology of Sex class at The University of Alabama were tasked with a rather unusual and provocative social experiment as extra credit in the class: tell a close friend or family member that you are queer! What many people are not aware of, is that the LGBT community has ...more
Professor Christopher Lynn
8 April 2014
Dating App Extra Credit
Used my real name and information
Got a lot of matches at first but only a sliver of these matches actually contacted me
A few of the people that did contact me were way too straight forward and clearly just wanted to hookup to the point where it ...more
Janice Boddy is a Canadian anthropologist who specializes in medical anthropology, religion, gender issues and colonialism in Sudan and the Middle East. In Spirit Possession and Gender Complementarity, an excerpt from her book Women, Men and the zār Cult in Northern Sudan, she describes her experience at a zār ritual ceremony among the Hofriyat people ...more
Have you ever been so absorbed in a video game that you lose track of time? One moment its noon and the next thing you know the moonlight is shining through the windows. This is not uncommon to many, our lives are filled with all sorts of video games, from the Sims to World of ...more
Students were tasked with employing two ethology techniques discussed in class (focal sampling and scan sampling) on people trying to hook up. The choice of research setting was up to the discretion of the investigator, some examples include bars, restaurants, coffee shops, the Quad, The Ferguson Center, the Rec, etc.
For those who may not be ...more
The following is a re-blog of a guest post I did for BANDIT (Biological ANthropology Developing Investigators Troop). I think the "Biocultural Systematics" blog is an appropriate venue to repost this because of the interdisciplinary approach we emphasize in our Biocultural Medical Anthropology program at the University of Alabama. My point in this post & ...more
The inaugural meeting of the University of Alabama Department of Anthropology Journal Club was held Friday January 18th at 2:00 p.m. Attendees were grad students Tina Thomas, Becky Read-Wahidi, Anjelica Callery, Achsah Dorsey, and Greg Batchelder; undergrads Brittany Brooks, Samantha Sloan, and professors Kathryn Oths, Dick Diehl, and Ian Brown.
With me (Kathy Oths) moderating, a ...more
Here we are at the Birmingham Zoo with Christopher the gibbon
Student presentations are required as part of the "Non-Human Primates" course, but we all get a little tired of the lecturing, so what better way to internalize the material than engaging some of our primate preadaptations & monkeying around.
Here are some photos highlighting ...more
The Black and White Colobus Monkey is an Old World Monkey species that belongs to the Cercopithecidae family. The species is known for its 'beautiful' black fur that is contrasted exquisitely by a white mantle that hangs extensively off its back side, as well as bushy tail, whiskers, and beard. Not excessively large, the Colobus typically weighs in ...more
Genus: Trachypithecus (formerly Presbytis)
Trachypithecus francoisi, better known as the Francois Langur can be found in Southeatern Asia: from Southeastern China to Central Laos and Vietnam. They tend to be both arboreal and terrestrial. Most of their habitats lay deep in the rainforests or mangroves, but some can be found among ...more
Species: S. syndactylus
Symphalangus syndactylus, also known as the siamang, is the largest of the many species of gibbons. Both male and female siamangs have black hair and grey or pink throat sacs. They can range in height from approximately 2.5 to 3 feet, and they can weigh from 17 to 28 pounds; although there have been larger siamangs ...more
Species: P. pygmaeus
The Bornean orangutan is one of three subspecies of orangutan and can only be found in Southeast Asia on the island of Borneo. Growing up to 5’ tall, these apes can weigh from 70-190 pounds, with arms almost long enough to drag the ground when standing upright. Living in ...more
Species: Pan troglodytes
The first European contact with chimpanzees happened in Angola during the 17th century by a Portuguese explorer named Duarte Pacheco, the dairy that he kept was also the first documentation that they could make tools. The use of the word chimpanzee did not happen until 1738 and is derived ...more
In Dance Lest We All Fall Down an anthropologist named Margaret from Seattle spends time in a shantytown in Brazil. She becomes friends with Rita who is her colleague and sidekick. They work on building a non profit school in the shantytown for women. The gripping part of the story is what happens to them ...more
Sounds like a lame excuse to post photos of my kids, doesn't it? Yeah, well, only partially. In fact, here's one to get us started.
Lux enjoying the paintings
But what I really wanted to post was a few that involve depictions of non-human primates.
The following depicts St. Dominic with the Devil in the form of ...more
Smilde takes an interesting approach in a rather interesting book; I was not thrilled to read another book this semester but by the end I was glad this was assigned. We assume that as humans we are individuals and that we establish our own ideals and beliefs about culture; Smilde asserts that these beliefs are ...more
This week’s articles discussed the many health issues that are suffered in South and Central America. Assessing Variation in Health States in the Andes: A Biocultural Model discusses how the cultural, ecological, political, economic, and social factors affect health in the Andes. The author began by comparing communities specifically focusing on infectious disease and infant ...more
The first three articles were all about machismo and marianismo. This is the idea of how men become the feared head of the house who everyone respects and nobody questions. Men can achieve this in varying ways but there were a few crucial themes. Showing power over your spouse by abuse is the biggest factor ...more
Since I’ve been reading a lot of feminist writings concerning the body for my thesis, I’ve been trying to reconcile feminist theories with biological ones. I’ve realized that this is necessary because I will be using both in my thesis, and yet many feminist theorists seem to denounce biological ideas entirely. Indeed, some of the ...more
The first article discusses programas folcloricos or folk programs that are streamed on Lima radio. I didn’t really understand the significance of this until I got deeper into the article but it really shed light on the importance of pre-Hispanic heritage. Many migrants don’t have access to mainstream media and are very limited in the ...more
Puyo Runa is written by two scholars who have extensive knowledge and experience when it comes to indigenous people of the Amazon. They start of by giving an in-depth background of Puyo Runa and Nayapi Llacta in chapter one. Chapter two focuses on the importance of being introspective and self awareness. The third chapter talks ...more
In 2005, concerned about the absence in much biocultural research of an explicit theory of culture, Bill Dressler wrote a landmark piece in Ethos entitled “What's Cultural about Biocultural Research?” While not all of us follow Bill’s approach to the letter, the perspective this article represents has been a major driving force as we’ve developed ...more
The phrase “a working definition” is something that is encountered frequently in the literature in the social sciences. As an adjective, “working” is usually used in the following sense that appears in Webster’s: something that is “adequate to permit work to be done.” Note the use of the word “adequate.” There is the connotation of ...more
In an earlier post, I began a discussion about the role of biology in a well-developed biocultural research program by debunking some common misconceptions (at least as I see them). I have argued that biomarkers are neither necessary nor sufficient to define a research program as biocultural, and that the same can be said of ...more
The cotton top tamarin has a shock of white hair that extends from the top of the head.
Saguinus oedipus, or more commonly known as the cotton top tamarin is a New World primate that belongs to the Callitrichidae family. The cotton top tamarin can be found climbing and jumping through the tree tops of tropical ...more
This week covered ethnicity in South and Central America. The five articles ranged from indigenous to Jewish to black struggles in a society that seems to be unable to find a place in which these minorities belong. In the readings, the authors explain the historical, political, and geographical influences that have led to these inequalities. ...more
Cebus apella of the Cebidae family is better known as the tufted capuchin. The tufted capuchin is a New World primate located in South America. Tufted capuchins spend most of their time within the mid-canopy of rain-forests; however they do sometimes move to the ground to play and forage.
The unique tufts of hair above ...more
Mangin starts off generally describing squatter settlements and their origins. They are suburbs of cities, appear globally and are linked to urbanization. They mainly started to increase after WWII. This is important to remember throughout the article because many studies, examples, and references are from the 1940’s through the 1970’s. One interesting point Mangin makes ...more
Brush discusses the migration within the highlands of Peru; this migration has led to economic development as well as an improvement in trade. The westward movement towards the Andes is the predominate type of migration found in the region; the other being the easterly movement to the slopes of the Andes. Different types of migration ...more
The Webster article discusses pastoralism in the Andes and more interestingly; the diet of the Andean lamoids. There is an overlying theme of subsistence farming in which farmers utilize the land to produce enough food for their community. I found it interesting how the hilltops are considered sacred; due to it being the highest point ...more
I attend the “All Bodies Have Voices” panel discussion and was presently surprised by the experience I had there. The panelists each brought their own topic of discussion, views, and opinions which help to add depth to the conversation. Wanda Burton the peer education programs coordinator for the women’s resource center talked a great deal ...more
For this activity I decided I wanted to tell my best friend that I was queer. I hadn’t seen her all semester and we were getting together to catch up, so I figured she was the best person I could tell since we hadn’t really talked about what this class and a person can change ...more
I did this activity with both of my parents, each separately because I know they would each have a very different reaction. I decided to do this on my dad first because he is usually very close-minded when it comes to these things. I called my dad after he got off work and told him ...more
Not really "fought," persay, but It rhymed so I typed it. Anyway, this post is about: Dental Calculus! Which I chose for two reasons: 1) It's interesting and 2) I didn't get to show you guys the picture of calculus in Methods the other day.
More importantly, this post is about John Hawks' blog, which is ...more
Wilson, E. O. (1976). The Social Instinct. Bulletin of the Academy of the Arts and Sciences, 30(1), 11-25. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3822607
Sociobiology is the study of the biological basis of all forms of social behavior in all organisms, and is part of an effort to bring biology as a science to psychology, anthropology, and sociology. It deals with ...more
Hey ladies and lads, I'm doing the second half of Part 1 of The Primate Anthology, also known as pages 44- 87. APOLOGIES IN ADVANCE FOR LENGTH, I KNOW IT IS VERY LONG.
Chapter 6: Daughters or Sons
In many cultures, boys are more "beneficial" than girls. They are stronger, carry the family name, and they do ...more
Get outta here!
First thing's first: What exactly is a Y-Haplogroup, and why on earth does it matter?
The Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup is a haplogroup (<---which is a group of similar haplotypes )that is defined by differences in the non-recombining parts of the DNA from the Y chromosome (also dubbed Y-DNA).
That's a fun definition, ...more
Evolutionary Biology of Hormonal Responses to Social Challenges in the Human Child by Mark V. Flinn
"'The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.'
-Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
And why was quiet desperation such a widespread malady back then, and especially among men? Yet again I trot onstage the only real villain in my story: the oversize ...more
Diet for a Small Primate by Stephen F. Ferrari
Look at my buffy head!
The buffy headed marmoset of Brazil rely on plant gums for a large portion of their diet. These gums contain a variety of nutrients like carbs, protein, mineral slats and calcium. Using gum has two restrictions, however. The first is that gum ...more
When E.O. Wilson came to speak at UA a number of weeks back, the Human Behavioral Ecology Research Group (HBERG) lab was fortunate enough to host him at a smaller venue for EvoS students. This was more personal and friendly than his talk the evening before to a packed auditorium at the Bryant Conference Center. There was plenty ...more