UConn Anthropology Graduate student, Christina Balentine, will be giving an exciting online public talk entitled “How humans thrive in extreme environments” for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History on January 21 at 10.30 am.
When you think of superheroes, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, and the X-Men might come to mind. But do you ever think of yourself? Thanks to cultural innovations and genetic adaptation by natural selection, we humans rise to our own super abilities to thrive in seemingly intolerable environments all over the world: at extremely high altitudes in the Himalayas; in freezing cold in the Arctic; and in toxic, arsenic-rich regions in the Andes Mountains, to name just a few. Christina Balentine, an anthropological geneticist and PhD Candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, will share her research on the topic and answer your questions as you learn about our own superhuman abilities
Please click this link for more information and instructions to register for FREE!
(description provided by Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History)
UConn Anthropology graduate student Megan Alexander, was recently awarded a grant from the Landes Memorial Research Fund to support her dissertation research on death doulas and American notions of a “good” death.
“The Ruth Landes Memorial Research Fund was established in 1991 in honor of Ruth Schlossberg Landes, Ph.D. (1908–1991) for interdisciplinary research and publications on subjects that were of interest to Dr. Landes during her professional and academic career”. Competitive applications were evaluated according to the following criteria: “the merit and significance of the applicant’s proposal; the applicant’s qualifications; the relevance of the project to subjects that were of interest to Dr. Landes during her career; and the degree to which grant funds are likely to contribute to the success of the proposed project”.
Dr. Dimitris Xygalatas, associate professor for UConn Anthropology, provides important cultural insight from his research on how rituals are even more important during the 2020 holiday season. In a recent interview with The Atlantic, Xygalatas explains how rituals “help us alleviate anxiety and they help to increase social connection”. This is no exception during the 2020 season, as he writes that rituals “help us maintain a sense of structure and control in our lives, and this can allow us to overcome some of the stressors of
daily life”. He also writes how “through the use of symbolic markers (e.g. wearing the same clothes), the alignment of movements and behaviors (e.g. collective singing), and appeals to tradition, they create a sense of unity and belonging that all humans crave.”.
As this year comes to a close, it is clear that rituals are more needed then ever. In an interview with The Guardian, Dr. Xygalatas says “Research shows that when we spend money on experiences, rather than material stuff, we feel happier,”. He also states that “The reason behind this is that we enjoy the experience, and afterwards we enjoy the memories of it, but we also enjoy the anticipation. I think this is the part that applies to holiday rituals. Given this situation of increased anxiety, this feeling of anticipation and all the preparations give us something to do which is meaningful.”. In an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Xygalatas talks about how the current situation impacts the necessity of rituals, “This is precisely the time where we need these rituals or traditions more than ever, and it’s exactly the time where we can’t have them. It creates a lot of extra anxiety”.
Graduate students in the Department of Anthropology have collaboratively prepared the following letter, which calls for deep and urgent attention to the colonial legacies and ongoing reality of systemic racism in the field of anthropology, at UConn, and “at home” within the department itself. The letter includes a series of action items that the department has begun to engage as individuals, through the newly created Diversity Committee, and in the Department as a whole.
The Pandemic Journaling project, co-founded by Professor Sarah Willen was recently featured on UConnToday. The Pandemic Journaling Project was created last may, and is a way for people all over the world to document their experiences during this unprecedented time. The Pandemic Journaling Projects goal is to make sure that ordinary people struggling through this pandemic have their voices heard, and their experiences remembered. This project will serve as a resource for researchers studying how the pandemic has impacted peoples lives. UConn Today interviewed Dr. Willen and members of her team about the project, which you can read more about here.
Dr. Willen is an associate professor here in the department of anthropology. She is also the Director of Research Program on Global Health and Human Rights at UConn’s Human Rights Institute. To learn more about the Pandemic Journaling Project and the unique role that it plays in the documentation of history, be sure to check out the project’s website and start your journal today.
The University of Connecticut’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences invites applications for four positions at the level of Assistant Professor as part of a cluster hire in the Environment and Human Interactions. This initiative also includes two appointments at the Associate or Full Professor level. The Department of Anthropology is particularly interested in candidates whose research, teaching, activism, and community engagement activities are inherently inter-disciplinary and address specific drivers of human impacts of climate change, as well as the environmental impacts of current human behavior at local and global scales. Focus areas could include community-level disaster preparedness strategies, risk assessment and vulnerability to natural hazards, environmental links with our planet’s health, natural resource management, environmental injustice, and/or long-term environmental sustainability.
This cluster hire promotes meaningful engagement among physical, natural and social scientists through the potential for collaborative teaching, research, and outreach initiatives. Individuals should have research and teaching interests focused on one or more of the following areas: Analytical/Environmental Chemistry, Marine Sciences/Oceanography, Geography, Environmental Anthropology, Environmental Politics and Sustainability, Environmental Policy, and/or Environmental Inequalities and Justice. The successful candidate will be expected to establish and maintain a strong program of research and publication. Applicants may be hired in the following departments: Anthropology, Chemistry, Geography, Marine Sciences, Political Science, Public Policy, and/or Sociology.
Evaluation of applicants will begin December 15, 2020 and applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Any questions regarding this position should be directed to one of the co-chairs of the hiring committee: Eric Brunner (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Julie Granger (email@example.com).
UConn Anthropology faculty member Dr. Haile Eshe Cole’s research was recently featured on UConn Today. Dr. Cole’s research centers around how
racism negatively impacts the maternal health of black women. You can learn more about her research here: https://today.uconn.edu/2020/11/uconn-researcher-works-address-racisms-deadly-impact-black-mothers-babies/ or by enrolling in her Spring 2021 course titled:AFRA/ANTH 3320 Race, Culture, and Reproductive Health.
Dr, César Abadía-Barrero was recently awarded a SCHARP award for his project titled “Healing the Land to Attain Peace: A Community-Based Art Project in Rural Colombia”. This project aims to foster a community-led art and ethnographic exhibit of current efforts to build peace in an intercultural rural village of mestizo farmers and two indigenous groups (Uitoto Jurama and Coreguaje) located in Caquetá-Colombia. Through a series of Participatory Action Research (PAR) workshops, a group of 12 people will be trained in photography and “popular ethnography” and will be asked to capture in images and text what Buen Vivir (roughly translated from Andean indigenous languages as Good Living or Living Beautifully) means for them, if and how Buen Vivir was affected by the armed conflict, and how Buen Vivir can help build a long-lasting peace.