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Sesquicentennial Associateship given to George Mentore for 2012-2013

Thursday, 23 February 2012

— 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.

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Pati Wattenmaker named Sesquicentennial Associate for 2012-2013

Thursday, 23 February 2012

— 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?

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New Digital Age for Anthropology Department

Thursday, 23 February 2012

— from Fred Damon

As interim chair of the Department of Anthropology, it gives me great pleasure to announce the launch of our new website. There is a paradox in this opening. Since we started our first website, it was created and maintained by David Sapir, even after he formally retired from the Department.  As was the case when PCs started making their way into our everyday lives in the 1980s, David, for long one of the elders of the Department, led us into a new age. We thank him for so often pulling us along, some of us never willingly.

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2012-2013 Sesquicentennial Associateship awarded to Ellen Contini Morava

Thursday, 23 February 2012

— from Fred Damon

Professor Contini-Morava, a Bantu language specialist, will take the spring semester of 2013 to pursue her longstanding interest in the cognitive, communicative, and cultural functions of noun classification systems in Mopan, a Mayan language spoken in Belize and Guatemala. She has been planning and conducting this project for several years working with her compatriot in linguistic anthropology, Eve Danziger, an expert on Mopan. The Mopan classification systems have some resemblances to those reported in other languages, but some features seem to be unique. Using collections of transcribed Mopan folktales and recordings, together with consultation with native speakers, she hopes to understand the role of the classification markers in discourse.

This is very important work. As many know...

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Fred Damon awarded 2012-2013 Sesquicentennial Associateship

Thursday, 23 February 2012

— 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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Three Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards go to anthropology students

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards for 2012-'13 were given to three students closely associated with our undergraduate program. One goes jointly to R. Elliot Oakley (Economics and Anthropology and Economics Major) and Caio Setubal (Anthropology and Mathematics Major) for a project titled "Two is One: Understanding Makushi Mathematical Logic" which they hope to carry out under George Mentore’s direction this coming summer in Guyana. They anticipate their summer’s research to lead to Distinguished Major’s Theses. Jose Argueta also received a Harrison Award for his project, “A House of One's Own - The Aftermath of Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff.” Argueta is a History and Philosophy major whose project will be directed by Professor of History and Law, Charles McCurdy.

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Nathan Hedges, PhD candidate, wins École Normale Supérieure Fellowship

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

— from Ira Bashkow

Congratulations to 4th year graduate student Nathan Hedges, who has won the University of Virginia École Normale Supérieure Fellowship Competition for 2012-2013. The award allows Nathan to spend a year in Paris at the ENS, working with ENS faculty on his dissertation topic. Nathan's research is focused on the Fon of Benin, and this chance to make contact with the Africanists at the ENS will be a wonderful opportunity for him.

Well done Nathan!

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UVa Archaeologists at the Society for Historical Archaeology Meetings

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

— from Jeff Hantman

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Kath Weston Presents 'The Intimacy of Resources' at Cambridge

Monday, 6 February 2012

The Division of Social Anthropology has pleasure in announcing ‘The Intimacy of Resources’, a three-part public lecture series given by Professor Kath Weston, Wyse visiting professor, supported by a Leverhulme Trust visiting professorship.

 

 

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'Communitas' - New book by Edith Turner

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

— from Dionisios Kavadias

In this seminal work, Edith Turner extends the concept of communitas that Victor Turner developed nearly four decades ago. Communitas is inspired fellowship, a group's unexpected joy in sharing common experiences, the sense felt by a group when their life together takes on full meaning. Turner shows how communitas is a driving force in history as it operates personally, in religion, in revolution, in all domains of human life. It is grounded in lived events, and may occur as the climax to a process that takes people from violence to shared intimate transcendence. Turner establishes by narration and multicultural case studies the fundamental importance of communitas to human personal, social, and spiritual well-being. She even follows the instinctive response that humanity makes to the overall natural world, thus including the spiritual bonding of the human and the non-human. Then the book shows exactly how we align ourselves to recognize communitas in action. This is—its 'key.' At heart, this is a very religious book, or as Turner writes, a connection among 'nature, spirit-energy, and soul.'

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U.Va.'s Handler Delivers Keynote at International Conference in Turkey

Friday, 8 July 2011

— from Julia Wangby

Richard Handler, an anthropology professor in the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences, delivered the keynote speech to an international conference on "Materiality, Memory and Cultural Heritage" held in Istanbul, Turkey, in May. His talk focused on the history of 20th-century anthropology's study of culture and how it relates to materiality and memory. 

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'Anthropology of Food' Summer Course Leaves Students Hungry for More

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

— from UVA Today

University of Virginia students in Lisa Shutt's "Anthropology of Food" class are looking in a whole new way at what goes into their stomachs and how it got there.

Over the course of four weeks this summer, the students are exploring the ties between food, kinship, gender and ritual, among other cultural practices that both define and unite societies across the world. As an anthropologist and lecturer in the College of Arts & Sciences, Shutt explained, "Food is part of all our identities."

Shutt, who grew up as an Italian-American and spent time researching cheese-making practices in France, created the summer session class to offer a fun medium through which to examine many different areas of anthropology. The class aims to pinpoint and break down cultural concepts, such as the family unit, in relation to food that take on very different meanings in other parts of the world... (Read more)

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Nine U.Va. Students Win Scholarships to Study Languages Overseas

Friday, 3 June 2011

Nine University of Virginia students are among approximately 575 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who will be going overseas this summer to study languages with Critical Language Scholarships from the U.S. Department of State.

These students will spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes and in cultural immersion in countries where these languages are spoken. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

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Q&A with Cultural Anthropologist Michael Wesch

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Roberto Armengol, a graduate student working with the University of Virginia's Teaching Resource Center, spoke with Michael Wesch, a professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University who earned his doctorate in anthropology from U.Va.'s College of Arts & Sciences. Wesch is widely recognized for teaching about new media and using new technologies as learning tools in the classroom. He won a 2008 Carnegie U.S. Professor of the Year Award for Doctoral and Research Universities. Wired magazine has called him "the explainer."

Q. You did your doctoral research in Papua New Guinea, studying the effects of written language on people living in a remote area of the rain forest. Could you tell us a little about your fieldwork and what you learned from it?

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U.Va. Anthropology Alum to Lecture on New Media 'Fieldwork'

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Cultural anthropologist Michael Wesch will give a presentation on "The Art of Learning in New Media Environments" on Monday at 4 p.m. in Clark Hall, room 108.

After two years of studying the implications of introducing written language to a remote indigenous culture in a Papua New Guinea rain forest, Wesch – who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Virginia several years ago – turned his attention to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society.

It took tens of thousands of years for writing to emerge after humans spoke their first words. It took thousands more before the advent of the printing press, and a few hundred again before the telegraph arrived. Today, a new medium of communication emerges every time somebody creates a new Web application. A Flickr here, a Twitter there, and a new way of relating to others emerges, with new types of conversation, argumentation and collaboration.

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Archeology Under Way at U.Va.'s Morven Farm

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

— from UVA Today

For seven University of Virginia archeology students, their classroom this week is a sometimes-muddy field at U.Va.'s Morven Farm. There, they are taking the first steps to unearth 12,000 years of human history, including two little-studied aspects of that history – the story of American Indians following contact with European settlers, and the life of "middling class" tenant farmers in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

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