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Anthropology

New and Noteworthy
Winter 2014

New & noteworthy

 

After Artest: The NBA and the Assault on Blackness

David J. Leonard

SUNY Press, 2012

After a brawl at a Pistons-Pacers game in 2004, the NBA adopted policies to govern black players and prevent them from embracing styles and personas associated with blackness. This book by Leonard, associate professor of critical culture, gender, and race studies at Washington State University, discloses connections between the NBA’s discourse and the broader discourse of anti-black racism.

 

Emergence and Collapse of Early Villages

Timothy A. Kohler (editor), Mark D. Varien (editor)

University of California Press, 2012

This book examines how climate change, population size, interpersonal conflict, resource … » More …

WSU evolutionary anthropologist Luke Premo
Fall 2012

Yet another existential mystery

Although humans greatly outnumber our closest living relatives the great apes, for some reason the genetic diversity of modern humans is much lower, posing a puzzle that only gets more puzzling the further geneticists look into our evolutionary past. Not only is this disparity counterintuitive, it contradicts a basic tenet of population genetics theory, that larger populations should display greater genetic diversity.

Luke Premo, an assistant professor of anthropology, has taken a stab, with coauthor Jean-Jacques Hublin, at exploring the conundrum in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (January 6, 2009).

Premo is an evolutionary anthropologist who studies Pliocene and Pleistocene hominin behavior … » More …

Spring 2012

Lessons from the Forest—The anthropology of childhood

Fresh out of college in 1971, with a little money saved up, Barry Hewlett bought a one-way ticket to Europe. He trekked around Europe for a while, but eventually started to get bored. He noticed many of his fellow youthful travelers were heading for India. So he headed south, for Africa.

He found a cargo boat that was going to Alexandria, Egypt, and booked passage. And kept going, up the Nile to Khartoum in Sudan. Along the way, he says, other travelers told him, you’ve got to see the pygmy people. So he made his way to Uganda to visit pygmies.

He didn’t stay long, … » More …

Winter 2009

Grover Krantz (1931-2002) and Clyde

“I’ve been a teacher all my life, and I think I might as well be a teacher after I’m dead,” Grover Krantz told the Smithsonian’s anthropology collections manager David Hunt as they negotiated Krantz’s proposed donation of his skeleton to the Smithsonian’s natural history museum. As a physical anthropologist specializing in hominoid evolution, Krantz gleaned his understanding and ideas by studying the bones of apes and humans. Following his death, his own bones would become available for study.

Odds were, however, that his bones would remain in a drawer, alongside the bones of his three Irish wolfhounds, which he had already donated, waiting for whatever … » More …

A Conversation about Art and Biology with Ellen Dissanayake '57

Ellen Franzen Dissanayake came to Washington State College from Walla Walla in 1953 as a music major. At the time, undergraduates were required to take four science classes. After taking the legendary BioSci 101 from Winfield Hatch and Human Physiology from Donald S. Farner, she found it easy to “think biologically,” which influenced her subsequent interest in the evolutionary origins of the arts.

At graduation, she married fellow student and zoologist John Eisenberg, and they moved to Berkeley, where he would attend graduate school. He was well on his way to becoming a prominent mammalian ethologist and was a rich source of thinking on behavior … » More …

Ozette Art and the Makah Canoe

Many questions remain concerning the contents of the longhouses  excavated at Ozette. One of the most intriguing is the nature of its art, which was pervasive. More than 400 artifacts stored at the Makah Cultural Center might be considered art. Although a few pieces, such as the well-known carved whale saddle, are (presumably) ritualistic, most are everyday objects, combs, bowls, clubs, embellished with designs.

Jeff Mauger (PhD ’78), an archaeologist at Peninsula Community College in Port Angeles, earned his doctorate from WSU, analyzing the shed-roof style of the houses at Ozette and their relation to the style throughout the Northwest coast. Since then he … » More …