1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Sesquicentennial Associateship

Pati Wattenmaker named Sesquicentennial Associate for 2012-2013

— from Fred Damon

Patricia Wattenmaker plans to complete a book manuscript on the formation of an urban-centered state society in Upper Mesopotamia 4,500 years ago, what is now northern Iraq and eastern Turkey, and specifically the site of Kazane (in Turkey). She and her students have realized that developments there from the 7th to the 3rd millennium BCE do not fit the received models for our understanding of the larger region.  The problems she addresses concern the contexts for the rise of urbanism as a feature of human social organization. Urban centers rose south of her area on the Tigress and Euphrates rivers amidst irrigations systems whose productivity is legendary, so the fact of urbanism seems non-problematic. But in her area there was no irrigation and little need for it—hence why the new centers?

Sesquicentennial Associateship given to George Mentore for 2012-2013

— from Fred Damon

George Mentore will use his semester off to continue his effort to launch what he calls the anthropology of empathy.  Derived from his long years among the Waiwai in lowland Amazonia, he aims to finish his book about our surrounding intellectual milieu.  It is a cross-cultural study of how, as social beings, humans use empathy to traverse the interval between ourselves and the world.  The ethnographic focus will be primarily upon the Euro-American anthropological subject and its comparison with Amazonian indigenous socialities. While in the social production of subjectivity and the world, all peoples have to negotiate the traversal of the interval between self and other, not all do so understanding selfhood or the world in the same way.  His book will provide evidence not only for “how” but also for “why” different social beings and social worlds gain their diverse cultural meanings from similar empathetic processes.

Fred Damon awarded 2012-2013 Sesquicentennial Associateship

— from Dionisios Kavadias

All but done with his work in Papua New Guinea, at long last Fred Damon will head to the region called Quanzhou in Fujian Province, southeastern China for the spring semester and much of the summer of 2013. Although he will be organizing anthropological research in contemporary communities, his project takes an historical problem for its raison d’etre.

Over the last 6000 years, Southeastern China has been the dividing line between what became the Austronesian world on the one hand and East Asia on the other. Over this period southeastern China has been perhaps the region’s most dynamic (at least this is what some of its inhabitants and scholars have told Damon!), generating and exporting people, ideas, and products. Damon hopes to...

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