Friday, November 18, 2011

My First American Anthropological Association Meeting

The title of this article rings like a child’s story or artwork – “My First Bicycle,” or “My First Vacation.” Typically, these stories are those of great anticipation for someone that may have not yet experienced it in like, but more commonly they are stories that those experiential veterans can read with appreciation, remembering to forgive the writer for naiveté; after all, it is their “first.” I title it this way because that’s how I feel here this week, at my first American Anthropological Association: a neophyte in a sea of weathered professionals and their favored protégés.

This would have been my second, had our Student Government come through on funding last year. Alas, we did not make a solid case to them, and still more, were going for nothing more than personal enrichment. This year is different; this year, our department sent four students to the AAA to present posters. And here I am. So let’s start with what I expected:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Prezi: Radcliffe-Brown's On Joking Relationships

I am smitten with Prezi. That much is clear. Here is one that I used for a presentation of A. R. Radcliffe-Brown's "On Joking Relationships." As I make these for my classes (and conferences), I should be putting them up regularly. Enjoy. (I would've embedded it, but it looks awful. Just make sure you hit "fullscreen.")

Asking the Tough Questions about "Zygote's Rights"

It was recently mentioned in my biology class, that some state, somewhere, is tossing around the idea of passing legislation that would give rights to zygotes. Up until that point, the only thing I’d heard with regard to “Zygote’s Rights,” was as a “What if?” curiosity. Upon hearing this in class, I wasn’t surprised – so many state legislators have been working on passing laws that undermine or completely circumvent a woman’s right to choose. It’s not something that I was following intimately (with the Heartbeat Bill in my own backyard), but Why Evolution Is True has brought the details to my attention with “Mississippi about to confer thesame rights on zygotes and adults.” I wonder: Assuming that the legislators have disregarded the scientific implications of such a law, have they even considered the more benign ones?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Changing Our Minds

The Gateway District is where Progressive Field and the Quicken Loans Arena stand today, but until the 1940’s it was a residential and market district. Before the Jacobs brothers built Jacobs Field for the Cleveland Indians (currently Progressive Field), they called in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to do archaeological investigations. The materials that were excised from the lot went back to CMNH and hadn’t really been touched until 2000 when they were donated to Cleveland State University’s library (along with two other collections of historic artifacts). It sat there, dormant, until 2009 when the stewardship was passed on to someone who could put it use: the Department of Anthropology. And unfortunately, the collections came with very little documentation.