Spring 2016

Why Haiti Needs New Narratives - Dr. Gina Ulysse (Wesleyan University)
Tuesday, March,15, 2016 at 7pm - location TBA

Dr. Ulysse's work, while grounded in ethnography, challenges genres like ethnography, memoir, performance art, and speaks to topics of race and gender and power.

“Kin, Care, and Health in Jamaica: The complexity of contemporary human behavior and the predictions of evolutionary theory.”
Dr. Robin Nelson (Skidmore College)
Monday, March 21, 2016 at 7pm - IRC Room 1

Dr. Nelson's work is biocultural and feminist in its approach; here is her abstract: Despite a growing interest in the nuanced cultural and social choices made around childrearing, many biological anthropological analyses of parental investment are limited to discussions of more readily quantifiable variables, such as hours hours spent carrying a child and duration of breastfeeding. Using original data gathered from over 200 children living in Manchester Parish, Jamaica, I use biometric data and ethnographic evidence to explore variability in caretaker investment received by children living in two different residential settings: state-regulated children’s homes and familial homes. I also examine how this variability in received investment correlates to differences in growth for children living in these settings. These findings emphasize the utility and necessity of methods, including ethnography, cultural consensus models, and qualitative data analysis, that were once marginalized within biological anthropology. These methodologies compel more quantitative anthropologists to engage with nuanced aspects of the intersections of social experience and human physiology. This study on child growth and non-kin care in Jamaica contributes to a broad academic and public discourse regarding the diverse ways that humans make use of limited resources and construct networks of support for their dependent children.