Recent Posts

Body Art and Modification at TMSE
By Kelsey Kennedy This week at the school, I did my second presentation of the semester, this time on body art and modification in Southeast Asia. I was a lot less nervous the second time around! The Discussion I started out with examples from our culture that the students might be more familiar. For example, did you know brushing your hair and shaving are examples of body modification? I then broke it down into two categories of body art and body modifications. Body art is defined as “art that uses the human body as a medium,” and body modification is “any... read more ❯
Osteology at TMSE
By Holly Judge Earlier in the semester there was some bad weather, and because of this we missed one week of class. We decided that we didn’t want to skip any of the topics we had planned, so we wanted to combine two lectures: primates and human osteology/locomotion.   I was responsible for the human osteology and locomotion portion of the lecture, and Joyia was responsible for teaching about primates.   The class began with Joyia teaching about primates. The kids were actually really interested in this lecture so it took a lot of time. In order to have enough time for the activity, I tried to rush through my lecture a little bit.   I spoke about what osteology is, what it can tell us, and why it is important. I also spoke about locomotion, how humans move and gorillas. I ended with  an example of studying skeletal remains in Indonesia. I think the kids really... read more ❯
Primates at TMSE
By Joyia Pittman This week’s lesson was a learning experience not just for the kids, but for me as well. This week I gave a lesson on the characteristics of primates. I received a very good reaction from the students once I told them what the topic was going to be. I know they were more excited about the activity than the actual lesson because they could not stop asking about it. Regardless, their excitement helped me to teach better because I knew they were actually interested in the topic. I always like to ask the students a lot of questions to make sure I am engaging them and also to be sure they are paying attention. They already knew so much about this topic so the lesson seemed to flow very well. We talked about what makes a primate and the differences in apes and monkeys. About midway through my lesson, a... read more ❯
Race at TMSE
By Kelly Likos   This week we taught our spirited class about race from an anthropological point of view!     To study race, I introduced the field of Biological Anthropology to the class! Biological Anthropology is defined as the scientific study of anthropology with genes, primates, and evolution. At the beginning of my lecture, we completed a group activity to introduce different concepts of race. After that, I wanted to make sure to open up the subject of race as an area for discussion. I asked the students, “What is race to you?” and “What do you know about race?”. We spent a few minutes talking about the different idea that the students have about race. I felt it was important to approach race as a subject to discuss instead of an issue I am directly teaching to them. As always, race is a difficult subject to tackle and I wanted the students to understand... read more ❯
Evolution at TMSE
By Kelso Kennedy This week I taught our group about evolution. As a student and lover of science, I was happy to be able to present this, but I was also challenged by having to condense such a rich and complex topic into a single lecture! I decided to keep the lesson simple (or I tried to at least!) and talk about the four forces of evolution: gene flow, genetic drift, mutation, and natural selection. The students were actually quite involved and asked numerous questions; these kids are great to teach because they are very eager, bright, and inquisitive.     For example, one student asked why in the example I used for genetic drift there were more red marbles in the fourth jar than in the third one, which helped me to explain that genetic drift... read more ❯
How Social Networks Shape Cultural Consonance
Published 3/21/2016 in Biocultural Systematics
Author Max Stein
The Embeddedness of Cultural Knowledge The relationship between social networks and health has been established in anthropology since Émile Durkheim identified a link between social isolation and suicide. Medical anthropologists have also long recognized that people with more diverse social ties and greater emotional and economic support are typically healthier, but how this association is intensified by culture remains under-explored. Specifically, how does "embeddedness" in a social network influence health and interact with internalized cultural beliefs? Sociologist Mark Granovetter coined the term embeddedness to describe how social relations shape economic behavior and institutions. Douglas Massey later applied this idea to migration, pointing out that specific families, groups, and classes of people disproportionately gain access to movement via more diverse network ties and social relations. In other words, embeddedness in a migrant network entails status, prestige, or position, which may influence cultural... read more ❯
The Embeddedness of Cultural Knowledge: How Social Networks Shape Cultural Consonance
Published 3/19/2016 in Anthropology to the Max
Author Max Stein
The relationship between social networks and health has been well-established in anthropology, and more generally the social sciences, ever since Émile Durkheim uncovered the link between social isolation and suicide. Medical anthropologists, too, have long recognized that persons with more diverse social ties and greater emotional and economic support are typically healthier. Still, few have ventured beyond simply linking social involvement to well-being to explore how this association is intensified by the added role of culture. Specifically, how does the embeddedness of shared cultural knowledge in a social network contribute to the deleterious effects of the social sphere on health, through the added impact of psychosocial stress arising from incongruity with these beliefs? I recently concluded nearly two years of data collection in Peru for my dissertation, amassing social network data for hundreds of people in an attempt to answer this question. My research involves a group of internal migrants from... read more ❯
Remembering Brent Colyer: Serotonin, Alcoholism, & Evolution
This is a repost from December 12, 2012, after the death of my best friend. I will be reposting from my EvoS Studies Consortium blog & am starting with this post because we are discussing alcohol use & abuse in the new "Biocultural Seminar: Anthropology of Drug Use." The readings have me mentally revisiting this topic with some new insights, which I will try to add as comments when I'm not tearing up all over again.   I am beginning the writing of this on Saturday, December 8, around 11:30PM.  A week ago & a few hours earlier, I was agitating over six lead changes as I watched Bama ultimately beat Georgia in the SEC college football championship, but I was wondering why I wasn't seeing messages on Facebook from my... read more ❯
Museum Studies at TMSE
By Joyia Pittman Four weeks into the outreach program at the Tuscaloosa Magnet School Elementary and we have covered a range of anthropological topics that include: culture, ethnography, and archaeology. This was my first real experience at teaching and leading a class. I was given the task of presenting a lesson on museums. One response I received from the students was a flat out, “No!” (I thought that was pretty funny). This was actually one of my biggest fears in presenting this lesson, that they would not find it enjoyable. Luckily, we teach a great group of students who are always excited to learn. My lesson on museums included hearing what they thought a museum was and how they thought it worked. We talked about curators and exhibits and what purpose they served in museum work. One thing I wanted to make sure that I drove home about why museums were important, is... read more ❯
Archaeology at TMSE
By Hannah Tytus Today was an excellent day at Tuscaloosa Magnet Elementary! After three meetings, little kids and adults big kids alike have become much more comfortable around each other, and more willing to openly share ideas, questions, and curiosities. We had a lot of participation during both the lesson and the activity--group cooperation and focus has definitely improved since we first began. We have previously covered Cultural Anthropology and Ethnography, and today’s topic was Archaeology. We of course began our session with a rallying CLAP, an acronym we use for the 4 subfields of Anthropology: cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, archaeology, and physical anthropology. A couple rounds of of progressively louder clapping made many faces go red with excitement (including my own!) and rose the energy level in the room to almost unmanageable heights. But we plowed ahead! Our bright... read more ❯

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