New UConn Anthropology professor Deborah Bolnick was recently interviewed for Science Magazine. Focus was on the Summer Internship for Indigenous Peoples in Genomics project (SING). SING works to connect anthropologists with indigenous people, to help with co-operation and understanding. Read the article here or here.
Emeritus State Archaeologist Nick Bellantoni recently had his book, “The Long Journeys Home -The Repatriations of Henry ʻŌpūkahaʻia and Albert Afraid of Hawk”, released. Congratulations to Nick! You can read more about the book here.
A recent episode of First Civilizations interviews UConn Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Dimitris Xygalatas on the role of ritual in the emergence of the first civilizations, religions, and priestly classes. First Civilization is a PBS documentary series that uses “the latest in archaeology, anthropology and genetics” to explore “how and why civilization first sparked into life.”
UConn Anthropology Professor Nicholas Blentoni is featured in a discussion of the 19th-century New England vampire panic on the Stuff You Should Know podcast. Stuff You Should Know is an award-winning educational podcast and one of the most popular podcasts in the world.
In a recent article in Newsweek and in light of the upcoming holiday season, UCONN Professor of Anthropology, Natalie Munro, presents evidence for evidence of a 12000-year-old holiday feast in the Hilazon Tachtit cave in northern Israel. This archaeological site was discovered and excavated by Professor Munro and her colleague Dr. Leore Grosman of the Hebrew University in the late 1990s. The site includes, among other things, the tomb of a “shaman:” the special burial of an older woman whose fine construction, plastered walls, and “eclectic array of animal body parts,” especially carnivores such as leopard, marten, and eagle, set the burial apart from other graves in the cave, and indeed other contemporary sites in the Middle East.
Based on other artifactual indicators from the site as well as other contemporary archaeological sites, Dr. Munro and her colleague have interpreted this evidence as a feast associated with the transition to agriculture. According to the article, “[t]hese feasts had an important role to play. Adapting to village life after hundreds of millennia on the move was no simple act. Research on modern hunter-gatherer societies shows that closer contact between neighbors dramatically increased social tensions. New solutions to avoid and repair conflict were critical.”
The discoveries at Hilazon Tachtit were also published by Leore Grosman and colleagues in 2008 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In a recent article published for the online media outlet The Conversation, Dimitris Xygalatas, UCONN Assistant Professor of Anthropology, examines the anthropological roots and effects of established holiday rituals, including reducing anxiety, promoting sharing, and maintaining and strengthening family ties. The Conversation is a not-for-profit media outlet for scientific and academic news, and reports a monthly online audience of 5.2 million users onsite, and reaches around 35 million people through “creative commons republication.”
Dimitris Xygalatas’ latest publications focus on the issues of morality and psychology of rituals. Professor Xygalatas is coauthor of a paper in the latest issue of Personality and Social Psychology Review entitled “The Psychology of Rituals: An Integrative Review and Process-Based Framework.” With growing interest among psychologists in rituals and the causal mechanisms of ritual behavior, this paper serves to “provide an organizing framework to understand recent empirical work from social psychology, cognitive science, anthropology, behavioral economics, and neuroscience.” In a second publication for the online media outlet The Conversation, Dimitris tackles patterns of distrust among religious people toward atheism and irreligious people, and the relationship between religious prejudice, morality, and belief. The Conversation is a not-for-profit media outlet for scientific and academic news, and reports a monthly online audience of 5.2 million users onsite, and reaches around 35 million people through “creative commons republication.” Dimitris Xygalatas is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UCONN.
Congratulations to our very own Jennifer Cook, who has accepted a 2-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas! The Center is focused on immigration policy and public policy impacting Latinos. She will be working on publishing work from her dissertation, teaching for the Anthropology Department, and working closely with a Dallas-based NGO, the Latino Center for Leadership Development, which is working to create a “pipeline of leaders” equipped to address the rapid growth of the Latino population in the US.
Dr. Richard Sosis is the author of an essay on rituals that was published online by the Center for Humans and Nature. Richard Sosis is the James Barnett Professor of Humanistic Anthropology at the University of Connecticut.