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Anthropology headlines in CAS News

  • A Macaw Breeding Center Supplied Prehistoric Americans with Prized Plumage

    New evidence shows for the first time that the North American Southwest was home to a smattering of scarlet macaw breeding centers as early as 900 AD. Prized by the prehistoric residents of New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon for their religious and cultural significance, macaws appear to have been raised in one of the first sustainable systems of non-agricultural animal husbandry in this region, a nod to the sophistication of early residents of the American Southwest.

    Brightly colored scarlet macaws are native to the tropics. So how’d they end up in New Mexico? (Flickr/Nina Hale in Smithsonian Magazine).“It’s … » More …

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  • Fatherhood is the cure for patriarchy

    Rethinking fatherhood is an essential step toward creating gender equality. Societies where men are more engaged fathers tend also to be more egalitarian.

    “For hunter-gatherers in general, fathers provide substantial amount of direct care, by comparison to fathers where you have farming,” said Barry Hewlett, an anthropologist at Washington State University who lived among the Aka tribe in central Africa. That close physical contact has biological and social consequences. Compared to other central Africans, Hewlett said, the Aka are much more egalitarian in terms of gender.

    This relative egalitarianism is partly a function of the Aka’s practice of net-hunting, in which men and women work … » More …

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  • Pre-market societies could sometimes have a lot of violence

    A study called “The Better Angels of Their Nature: Declining Violence through Time among Prehispanic Farmers of the Pueblo Southwest” discusses some periods when native American life was quite violent. Here are some excerpts:

    “Writing in the journal American Antiquity, Washington State University archaeologist Tim Kohler and colleagues document how nearly 90 percent of human remains from that period had trauma from blows to either their heads or parts of their arms.

    “If we’re identifying that much trauma, many were dying a violent death,” said Kohler. The study also offers new clues to the mysterious depopulation of the northern Southwest, from a population of about … » More …

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  • Seven faculty awarded with 2018 Arts and Humanities Fellowships

    Seven Washington State University faculty members—all in the College of Arts and Sciences—received fellowships through the 2018 Arts and Humanities Fellowship Program, a program funded by the WSU Office of Research.

    The program awarded $60,153 to support six projects that focus on faculty professional goals to advance university-wide arts and humanities initiatives. The provisionally approved Center for the Arts and Humanities will host a monthly Fellows Seminar during the 2018-19 academic year to support and promote the projects.

    “These grants showcase the range and innovation of creative and humanistic work at WSU,” said Todd Butler, chair of the fellowship review committee. “These faculty are taking … » More …

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  • Superstition is stopping Ebola victims from seeking medical care for the illness they believe is a ‘curse’

    Ebola is spreading like wildfire in the Democratic Public of the Congo where many people are refusing to get vaccinated against the disease out of fear and superstition.

    In some cases, even the sick are turning away treatment as distrust of Western medicine runs deep in Congolese culture.

    “As you can imagine, there’s a long history of outsiders manipulating and taking advantage of local people, so there’s generally some mistrust in terms of colonial history,” says Dr Barry Hewlett, professor of anthropology at Washington State University in Vancouver.

    Though this wariness is not necessarily specific to medicine itself, Dr Hewlett, who studies the anthropology of infectious … » More …

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