UConn Anthropology Department alumnus, David Leslie, is co-author of a new paper published in Science Magazine that examines evidence of symbolic and technological innovation of early Homo sapiens at a series of Middle Stone Age sites in southern Kenya. The evidence shows that hominins at the sites dating to around 320 years ago made prepare cored and points, and extracted red pigments from iron-rich rocks. This evidence has important implications for the social and cognitive evolution of humans
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.
UCONN anthropology alumnae, Sarah Sportman and Mandy Ranslow, are recipients of two separate awards for their outstanding service to the archaeology and historical preservation of Connecticut. Sarah Sportman, Senior Archaeologist and faunal analyst at the Archaeological and Historical Services, Inc., is the recipient of the Lyent Russell award for service to the Archaeological Society of Connecticut. Lyent Russell was one of the most dedicated members of ASC and served as its president in the 1940s. The winner each year is chosen by the previous three winners and is presented in recognition of “outstanding contributions to the Archaeological Society of Connecticut.” Sarah will also be taking over as editor of ASC’s Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Connecticut, starting in 2019.
Mandy Ranslow is the recipient of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation’s inaugural Mimi Findlay Award for Young Preservationists for her “decades-long and far-reaching work in historic preservation.” The Mimi Findlay Award will recognize individuals or groups of people 35-and-younger involved in preservation of historic buildings, districts, landscapes or sites in Connecticut. Mandy is currently an archaeologists and transportation planner in the Office of Environmental Review of the state Department of Transportation.
“Living in Frames: Gendered Spaces,” is the title of an upcoming exhibition at the William Benton Museum of Art at UCONN. This exhibit is curated by students enrolled in Professor Françoise Dussart’s Anthropological Perspectives on Art course in Spring 2017. The exhibition’s opening reception takes place on Thursday, October 19, 2017, 4:30-6:30 PM, and includes opening remarks by Professor Dussart. For more information about the exhibition, visit benton.uconn.edu. The exhibition runs through December 17, 2017.
UCONN anthropology graduate student, Olivia Marcus, is a 2017 recipient of the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad grant. This grant allows her to conduct her doctoral dissertation research entitled Ayahuasca -Assisted Therapies for Mental Health in the Peruvian Amazon. This grant will support research in several locations of Peru’s Amazon to investigate uses of Ayahuasca shamanism and western psychotherapy for mental well-being. This investigation addresses the professionalization and medicalization of practitioners of traditional Amazonian plant medicine, with attention to how the rising presence of western-trained therapists in Peru affects local regimes of care. Insights into these relationships will shed light on how culturally-specific mental health treatments become globalized and will provide critical commentary on emergent alternative treatments to problems in global mental health.
The Norian Armenian Programs at UCONN presents the 2017 Armenian Fall Harvest Festival. The festivities this year will be held on Saturday, September 23 between 12pm and 6pm at the Nathan Hale Inn. The Festival this year will feature a lecture on film making and Armenian cinema by Arsen Bagdasaryan, the Film Commissioner of Armenia at 3pm followed by reception. Other activities include a concert of traditional Armenian music by the Huyser Music Ensemble, as well as two workshops on The Art of Rug Weaving by Hayk Oltaci, and The Making of Armenian String Cheese, by Maggie Stepanian.
This event open to all members of the UCONN community, friends, and family. To RSVP, please visit http://armenia.uconn.edu/.
This event is sponsored by UCONN’s Norian Armenian Programs, Global Affairs, and School of Social Work.
Sarah S. Willen, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Connecticut, has been awarded a $699,960 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study how Americans of diverse socioeconomic, professional, and racial/ethnic backgrounds think about equity and deservingness in the health domain.
Willen, together with co-investigators Colleen Walsh, an assistant professor of health sciences at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio, and Abigail Fisher Williamson, an assistant professor of political science and public policy & law at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, received the grant to support a two-phase study they will launch this October.
The researchers plan to investigate how Americans think about a question that plays a “pivotal but largely implicit role in American public discourse about society’s obligations to its members” – the question of “who deserves what in the health domain, and why.”
“Often we hear health researchers and folks in public health say things like, ‘everyone deserves to live the healthiest possible life,’” Willen said. “That’s a bold statement, and we don’t know whether it’s supported by all Americans. In fact, it’s possible some see things quite differently. Our goal is to develop a better understanding of how people’s moral values and personal experiences influence their views, and their actions.”
In the first study phase, the research team will engage residents of Ohio’s Greater Cleveland area using interviews and ethnographic methods. In the second phase, they will test their qualitative findings in a national survey.
The study will also draw on the expertise of researchers at Brown University, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland State University, Syracuse University, the University of South Florida, and the Sisters of Charity Foundation. A key partner in the study’s first phase is HIP-Cuyahoga (Health Improvement Partnership-Cuyahoga), a county-wide initiative in Greater Cleveland.
The project will run from October 2017 until October 2019.
About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.
International and national armed conflicts are usually preceded by a media campaign in which public figures foment ethnic, national, racial or religious hatred, inciting listeners to acts of violence. UCONN anthropology professor Richard Wilson’s new book entitled Incitement on Trial: Prosecuting International Speech Crimesevaluates the efforts of international criminal tribunals to hold such inciters criminally responsible. This is an unsettled area of international criminal law, and prosecutors have often struggled to demonstrate a causal connection between speech acts and subsequent crimes. Wilson argues that inciting speech should be handled under the preventative doctrine of inchoate crimes, but that once international crimes have been committed, then ordering and complicity are the most appropriate forms of criminal liability. Based in extensive original research, this book proposes an evidence-based risk assessment model for monitoring political speech. Dr. Wilson’s book identifies ‘revenge speech’ as the type of rhetoric with the greatest effects on empathy and tolerance for violence.
This excerpt was provided by the publisher, Cambridge University Press. For more information about the book and to purchase a copy, click here.
UCONN’s Department of Anthropology welcomes seven new graduate students this year in sociocultural anthropology, medical anthropology, and archaeology:
Ashley Mcloed- advisor: Dr. Françoise Dussart;
Ashley Walters- advisor: Dr. Samuel Martinez;
Brandon Zinsious- advisor: Dr. Daniel Adler;
Elena Skosey-Lalonde- advisor: Dr. Gideon Hartman;
Johan Jarl- advisor: Dr. Alexia Smith;
Roxanne Lebenzon- advisor: Dr. Natalie Munro;
Vivian Laurens- advisor: Dr. Cesar Abadia-Barrero