A three-part anthropology update, first with blog-posts using anthropological data and analysis to confront rhetorical tricks and headline-grabbing news; second, reflections on the state of anthropology and academe; third, Calls for Papers and conference information.
What Do You Do When There is No Best Dataset? A follow-up on pregnancy and rape statistics, Kate Clancy
An estimate is an estimate. None of these numbers captures the reality of the situation, except that they are all unacceptably big. Rather than accept any one of these values as the right one, perhaps we need to just decide that any number greater than zero is too many.
Here is Some Legitimate Science on Pregnancy and Rape, Kate Clancy
The science behind all of this is straightforward. Akin could have had some assistant or intern look it up in minutes via Google Scholar or PubMed, as a few paper abstracts would have been more illuminating than whatever he was reading. But Akin wasn’t interested in the science, he was interested in how well he could use fear and false information to control women.
The exactitude of -omics, Anne Buchanan
Fifteen years ago or so we were being told that once we had the human genome (HG) sequenced we’d be able to predict the diseases people were going to get, prevent them, and everyone would live to older ages than we’d ever attained before. Aside from the questionable ethics of enabling such a demographic catastrophe, not to mention the idea that “everyone” would surely be an exclusive club, this promise is not much closer to realization now than in pre-HG days.
Social Position Drives Gene Regulation of the Immune System, Daniel Lende
New research with rhesus macaques shows that dominance rank has a major impact on gene regulation of the immune system. Through experimental manipulations of the dominance rank of individuals and associated measures of gene expression, this work by Jenny Tung and colleagues helps to demonstrate that social status can be a major driver of health in socially living animals, including humans. These results provide an important empirical link for social determinants of health research by showing that dominance rank within a social system is linked directly to regulatory processes of the immune system.
Neandertal ancestry “Iced”
Even though many Neandertal-shared SNP alleles came from incomplete lineage sorting, the signature of excess Neandertal sharing outside Africa must come mostly from recent introgression. . . . David Reich dismissed the new paper by Eriksson and Manica as “obsolete”. I agree. The paper describes a model without carrying out any new empirical comparisons, and so has fallen behind where the science has gone.
Less Than Zero Anthropology, Eliza Jane Darling
Max Forte describes Zero Anthropology, in part, as an attempt to “move anthropology beyond its current confines, beyond the constraints of professionalization and institutionalization,” quoting Claude Lévi-Strauss, who once said that “anthropology will survive in a changing world by allowing itself to perish in order to be born again under a new guise.” Anthropology is accomplishing that feat on its own these days, battered by its general unprofitability in the external market of capitalism and its commitment to acute class stratification in the internal market of academe. But the new guise of this old discipline is still up for grabs.
Note: See also Ryan Anderson’s related post on Savage Minds, Anthropology minus one and counting.
The closing of American academia, Sarah Kendzior
All Americans should be concerned about adjuncts, and not only because adjuncts are the ones teaching our youth. The adjunct problem is emblematic of broader trends in American employment: the end of higher education as a means to prosperity, and the severing of opportunity to all but the most privileged. . . . One after another, the occupations that shape American society are becoming impossible for all but the most elite to enter.
Note: See also Ryan Anderson’s related post on Savage Minds, Academia, closed.
End of Summer Bummers: Which Way the August Wind Blows, Dalton Luther
My main concerns this week are to staff courses in which adjunct instructors found they couldn’t cover those sections only recently and cancelling low enrolled classes. It’s the latter that’s become difficult this semester. . . . I do wonder if anthropology was branded better if enrollments would improve (I’m truly discouraged that one of the courses I’m cancelling is an anthropology section).
Anthropology is the worst college major for being a corporate tool, best major to change your life, Jason Antrosio
Anthropology is the worst college major for instant pay, but anthropology is most likely to change your life. And anthropology may help change the world.
Post-National Transformations: Culture and Politics in the Greater Latin America and the Caribbean, Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
The Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology is moving, for the first time, to a new Spring Conference format. These meetings will be held every two years, beginning in Mérida, Mexico in 2013, following the city of Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2015. We are calling for abstracts that respond to the theme selected for the conference.
3rd International Graduate Student Conference on Latin America and the Caribbean, York University
This conference brings together scholars working on Latin America and the Caribbean to share their research in a collegial, professional and friendly environment. The conference organizing committee welcomes papers, presentation proposals and panel proposals on research focused on Latin America and the Caribbean.
CFP: Third Annual Dimensions of Political Ecology (DOPE) Conference, University of Kentucky Political Ecology Working Group
Dr. Ariel Salleh (Department of Political Economy, University of Sydney) and
Dr. Arun Agrawal (School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan)
This conference provides an opportunity to critically examine perspectives on human-environment relationships and to foster interdisciplinary discussions among a diverse group of scholars. Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate with and receive feedback from cutting edge researchers through sharing their work in an intimate setting.