Recent Posts

Queer Activity
Published 4/14/2014 in Anthropology of Sex
Author Ross
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 re appropriated the term to basically say " My sexuality cannot be placed in a box on a census form." So, the word "queer" is slowly becoming to mean something other than "gay," but rather closer to its original term suggesting something different. By this definition, those who identify as straight, gay, lesbian, or transgender can all mutually identify as "queer." It is acknowledging that sexuality is a spectrum and that one's sexuality can slide along this spectrum throughout one's life. Students were tasked to tell someone close to them "I am queer" and to refrain... read more ❯
The Behavioral Immune System
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 to stereotypes and prejudices, as well as the implications of evolutionary fundamental human motives on social behavior, the psychology of kin recognition, and the psychological consequences of fame. The reason that he's important for our class at this very moment has to do with his research into and coining of the term "behavioral immune system." So, to talk about the Behavioral Immune System, first we have to talk about the immune system. You know, that pesky little piece of your body that throws out fevers, sweating, swelling, et... read more ❯
Week 6: Genetics
Hello all! This week's lesson tackled genetics. This lesson was the start as we enter the biological anthropology realm. Genetics is important to the field of anthropology for it allows us to shed light on the molecular similarities that all individuals share. The students were taught the basics of DNA and how to differentiate between one's genotype (genetic make up) and phenotype (outward, physical, expression of genes). The class activity that was done for the day examined various traits across students in the class. Using a list of traits (presence of a widow' speak, hitchhiker's thumb, attached earlobes, etc), the students were able to identify whether or not they had a trait and group with other classmates who shared that same trait. The goal of this exercise was to exemplify the diversity that is accounted for by genetics. Each of the traits we looked at had the possibility of either being expressed as... read more ❯
Extra credit dating app
Published 4/8/2014 in Anthropology of Sex
Author adcooper2
Andrew Cooper Professor Christopher Lynn Ant 208 8 April 2014 Dating App Extra Credit Tinder: 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 was kind of gross and creepy Had some very nice individuals contact me that even offered to take me out (considering they were women and this usually does not happen the first date)   Questions-   Is a dating app such as tinder more efficient since it allows users to narrow down the certain characteristics in the other people that they desire?   Grinder: Just like tinder I used my actual information and name. Did not get as many matches as tinder but I also feel this is because grinder is less college student affiliated. Had a few people contact me. Less people were as... read more ❯
The Adaptive and Discursive Paradigms: Why not both?
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 a MD of transcultural psychiatrist and currently a professor of psychiatry at McGill University. All dissociation falls into one of three classifications: a neurological reaction brought on by stress or trauma; social performance or ritual; and fluctuations in everyday consciousness, which generally go unnoticed.  It is often thought that even though these three forms of dissociation are caused by three different things, the psychophysiological mechanisms that induce these altered states are the same. Unfortunately, we don't know enough about the underlying functions of dissociation to draw any conclusions. Through our desire to learn more about dissociation,... read more ❯
Faux Zar Spirit Possession
If your parents asked you not to end up on You Tube when you went away to college, you clearly signed up for the wrong class. http://youtu.be/H0-6aSbq7sw read more ❯
Oths, Knight, Persons, Lynn, DeCaro, and Galbraith Receive Awards
Published 3/26/2014 in Bama Anthro Blog Network
Author Christopher Lynn
Dr. Kathy Oths has been selected by the College of Arts and Sciences as an A&S Distinguished Teaching Fellow for 2014-2017. This is such a wonderful honor and so richly deserved. It serves as a fabulous bookend for Prof. Oths having recently been selected as an NAA 2014 Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award recipient. Drs. Jim Knight and Brooke Persons were part of a multi-national team recognized by a National Award of the Academy of Sciences of Cuba 2013. The team interpreted excavations at El Chorro de Maita in Cuba and identified it as a post-colonial contact indigenous community and cemetery. It is the first site of this type and has been recognized as one of the most important Cuban social sciences achievements of 2013. Dr. Christopher Lynn was the recipient of an Arts and Sciences CARSCA (College Academy for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity) grant for a project entitled "Retention... read more ❯
Week 5: Meddling Monkeys Scavenger Hunt
Published 3/24/2014 in UA Outreach: Anthropology Partnership
Author BPersons
One of the ways that physical anthropologists learn about people is to study our nearest living relatives – primates. Primates include any member of the group of animals that includes human beings, apes, and monkeys. Learning about how primates navigate their world helps us understand the challenges and survival strategies that humans had to face in the past. Primatologists, or specialists who study primates, are especially interested in learning how primates address one of the biggest issues that we all face: how to feed your family. Each primate species has a different from of social organization, although all primate species have to figure out how to survive against the odds. Factors that figure in to those odds include the proximity of other groups, competition for resources, the availability of high-calorie foods, and the need to protect the sensitive members of one’s group from predators. This week’s activity pitted student groups against each... read more ❯
Zār spirit possession and it's bias towards women
Published 3/19/2014 in Primate Religion & Human Consciousness
Author Hannah
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 of Sudan. The zār ritual is performed to bring about certain spirits who then possess a human host and manipulate their behavior in a way that allows for identification of different zār species. The cult exists today throughout northern Sudan and similar versions of the name can be found in Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia, Arabia, and southern Iran. Background information aside, what is this whole zār conspiracy anyways? Boddy describes it as a spontaneous ritual with an imaginative basis that draws inspiration from a comprehensive collection of symbols and spirit roles. She compares the ceremony in a... read more ❯
Week 4: Museum Anthropology
Published 3/16/2014 in UA Outreach: Anthropology Partnership
Author rhmiller
  Snow days cannot hold us back! I’m Rachel Miller, an Anthropology and Biology student here at UA and am happy to be part of the UA Partnership at TMSE. I am happy to report that we are back on track after having a few unexpected snow days over the past few weeks. Today we covered Museum Anthropology. After spending some time on Archaeology and Cultural Anthropology, this was the perfect way to apply learned information. Our students learned various aspects of museum and artifact handling for this week’s lesson. Students were broken up into groups and each student was to act as a curator for their individual artifact. Here is Sally helping a student identify a conch shell. In order to become curators, students filled out a notecard to go alongside their artifact. The students had to identify material, color, size, place of origin (if possible), and a description for their artifact. Here are... read more ❯

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