Renee Walker co-organized a symposium with Meagan Dennison (University of Tennessee) entitled “Gender in Southeastern Archaeology and Beyond” at the Southeastern Archaeology Conference in Tampa, FL. The symposium highlighted research on the topic of gender in the prehistoric and historic Southeast and adjacent regions. Ten papers were presented and two discussants commented on the papers.
Tracy Betsinger is coauthor of a paper entitled “Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) in pre-Columbian North America: Evidence from the eastern Tennessee River Valley” which is published in the International Journal of Paleopathology (3:11–18, 2013). The article examines this pathological condition, which affects the vertebral column and provides baseline data from the prehistoric Southeast, for which there are no data for this condition.
Tracy Betsinger is coauthor of a book chapter entitled “Teeth, morphogenesis, and levels of variation in the human Carabelli trait” which appears in the volume Anthropological Perspectives on Tooth Morphology: Genetics, Evolution, Variation, edited by GR Scott and JD Irish (Cambridge University Press, 2013).
Tracy Betsinger co-organized a symposium entitled “The Odd, the Unusual, and the Strange: Human Deviant Burials and their Cultural Contexts” at the annual meeting of the Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology (CAPA-ACAP) held October 16-20, 2013. As part of the symposium, Dr. Betsinger co-authored the introductory paper “The Evolution of the Unknown: Deviant Burials and Archaeological Interpretations,” which provided an overview on non-normative burials and how they have been interpreted from various perspectives.
John Relethford has published a chapter entitled “Understanding human cranial variation in light of modern human origins” in the edited volume The Origins of Modern Humans: Biology Reconsidered, edited by F.H. Smith and J.C.M. Ahern (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 321–337, 2013). This chapter reviews recent work (including that of Relethford) that shows how global patterns of variation in human cranial size and shape mirror the patterns seen in DNA variation, reflecting the expansion of our species out of Africa over the last 100,000 years. The amount of cranial diversity is highest in sub-Saharan Africa and declines with increasing distance out of Africa, consistent with repeated founder effects as our species dispersed throughout the world. The pattern of similarity between human populations has been affected primarily by the geographic routes of prehistoric human dispersal.
William Starna, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, was an invited discussant at the Algonquian Peoples Seminar held on September 28 at the New York State Museum. Addressed was the manner in which the aboriginal boundaries of American Indian groups are assessed, including the Mahican Indians of the Hudson Valley, for the purposes of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990.
Sallie Han has published a book, Pregnancy in Practice: Expectation and Experience in the Contemporary US, with Berghahn Books. Grounded in ethnographic research, the book examines pregnancy as a cultural and social experience and looks anew at the everyday practices of North American childbearing, from sonograms to baby showers. The book is part of Berghahn’s award winning series on Fertility, Reproduction, and Sexuality, edited by Soraya Tremayne (Oxford) and Marcia Inhorn (Yale).
John Relethford has published a review of the book Causes and Consequences of Human Migration: An Evolutionary Perspective, edited by MH Crawford and BC Campbell (Cambridge University Press) in the American Journal of Human Biology (25:569, 2013).
John Relethford has published a paper entitled ‘Commentary on Sokal et al.’s “Historical population movements in Europe influence genetic relationships in modern samples” (1996)’ in Human Biology (84:605–606, 2012). This commentary dealt with the influence of a 1996 paper written by the late Robert Sokal in a special commemorative issue of Human Biology.
Sallie Han has been invited to participate in the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on American Material Culture, to be held July 2013 at Bard Graduate Center in New York City. She is one of 18 scholars selected from a national application process to take part in the interdisciplinary seminar.
Tracy Betsinger presented four posters at the joint conference of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists and the Paleopathology Association held April 8 – April 13. The poster, “Caries prevalence and the late prehistoric Dallas phase: a regional cultural pattern of female maize consumption in East Tennessee” was part of a symposium that she co-organized. The other posters, “Burying the child in post-medieval Poland: Prenatal vs. postnatal remains,” “The misshapen man: A differential diagnosis,” and “Hidden hematoma: Subadult endocranial bleeding in post-medieval Poland” were all based on her research on a skeletal collection from 17th-18th century Poland.
Renee Walker has just published an introductory textbook entitled “Prehistoric World Cultures” (Cognella Press). This text covers the significant events, developments and cultural changes in world prehistory. The text provides students with an understanding of changes through time from the evolution of our species to the development of complex civilizations.
John Relethford’s recent paper in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology on the population genetics of the Irish Travellers (see item below) was chosen as a “Research Highlight” in the December 6 issue of the international science journal Nature (492:10, 2012).
John Relethford is the senior author of a paper entitled “Genetic drift and the population history of the Irish Travellers” published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (150:184–189, 2013), with Michael Crawford of the University of Kansas as coauthor. This paper uses genetic data from red blood cell markers collected by Crawford in the 1970s to address the origins of the Irish Travellers, an itinerant group in Ireland. Some have argued that the Travellers are of Irish origin, and others have proposed that they are related to the Roma, based on superficial similarity of lifestyle. Genetic distance analyses show that the Travellers are of Irish origin, and genetic differences from the rest of Ireland have resulted from genetic drift (random fluctuations in the frequencies of genetic markers due to small population size).
Sallie Han has been elected chair of the Council on Anthropology and Reproduction, a professional organization of researchers and practitioners working on issues of reproduction. CAR, founded in 1979, is one of the largest Special Interest Groups of the Society for Medical Anthropology, with more than 200 members from the United States and abroad. The group convenes at the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association, and sponsors a graduate student paper award and a book prize to recognize emerging and influential scholarship on reproduction. She will be serving as chair-elect during 2013, then serve a two-year term as chair of CAR.
Tracy Betsinger co-organized a symposium entitled, “Culture, Morbidity, and Mortality in the Southeast: Current Research in Bioarchaeology” at the 69th annual meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. As part of the symposium, Dr. Betsinger presented the paper “Transpositions, Talon Cusps, and Supernumerary Teeth: Chewing Over the Meaning of Anomalies of the Permanent Dentition in Late Prehistoric East Tennessee,” which examined dental anomalies in a prehistoric population and their indication of genetic relatedness of the group.
Tracy Betsinger coauthored two papers (“Designating the Deviants: An Exploration of Mortuary Traditions at the Drawsko 1 Cemetery Site” and “3D Drawsko: The Possibilities and Problems with Digitizing the Post-Medieval Crania in Poland”) that were presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology in Victoria, British Columbia.
Sallie Han presented a paper entitled “The Chemical Pregnancy: Technology and the Making of a New Reproductive Experience” at a conference on “Mothering and Reproduction” presented by the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement in Toronto, Canada, October 2012. The paper examines the role of technology in the cultural and social making of women’s reproductive experience. It discusses how the home pregnancy test has affected the experience not only of pregnancy, but also its loss, especially as tests now enable the earlier detection of hormonal pregnancies that might not be physiologically viable
John Relethford was one of several scientists interviewed for a news story for the August 25th issue of Science News. This story, entitled “Tangled Roots: Mingling among Stone Age peoples muddles humans’ evolutionary story,” discusses implications of recent discoveries of ancient DNA for understanding the origin of modern humans and their relationship to earlier human groups.
John Relethford has published the ninth edition of his introductory biological anthropology text, The Human Species: An Introduction to Biological Anthropology, published by McGraw-Hill (2013).
John Relethford is the author of a new textbook, Human Population Genetics, published by Wiley-Blackwell (2012). This book is an introduction to the study of population genetics, the mathematical basis of evolutionary theory, with specific reference to application to human populations and anthropological questions.
The New York State Library, Manuscripts and Special Collections, has accepted for its archives the collected papers of William A. Starna (Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, College at Oneonta; Adjunct Professor Emeritus of Geography, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON) and Jack Campisi (formerly adjunct professor, anthropology, College at Oneonta, and Wellesley College). The collection spans the period from 1974 to 2011 and reflects Campisi’s and Starna’s research on and duties as expert witnesses for American Indian land claims, in particular those brought by each of the Iroquois nations in New York State and Wisconsin, and the research for and preparation of petitions submitted by over twenty native communities from throughout the United States for federal acknowledgment as American Indian tribes. In addition, the collection contains materials on Campisi’s and Starna’s historical and legal consultancies related to matters of federal taxation of American Indians and cultural evaluations for environmental damages to native communities as determined by federal courts, and on disputes over treaty rights in the United States and Ontario, Canada.
John Relethford has been elected Chair-Elect of Section H (Anthropology) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He will serve one year as Chair-Elect, one year as Chair, and one year as Retiring Chair. Click here for more information from a SUCO news story.
Tracy Betsinger is coauthor on a paper entitled “Differential visibility of treponemal disease in pre-Columbian stratified societies: Does rank matter?” in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (144:185–195, 2011).
John Relethford is a coauthor of the second edition of the textbook Human Biological Variation, published by Oxford University Press (2011). The other authors are James Mielke (lead author), Department of Anthropology, University of Kansas, and Lyle Konigsberg, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois. The text focuses on the data and methods used by anthropologists and geneticists to measure and analyze biological diversity in living humans. Topics include an historical review of studies of human variation, genetic models of variation, variation in genetic markers of the blood, variation in DNA markers, other biochemical variations, body and cranial measures, pigmentation, behavior genetics, and genetic studies of human ancestry and history. The text is for upper-division courses in human variation.