Anthropology News and Events
Royal Honour for Durham University’s Parent-Infant Sleep Lab
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall present the Queen’s Anniversary Prize to Professor Helen Ball, Director of the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab, and Professor Stuart Corbridge, Durham’s Vice-Chancellor, at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace on 22 February 2018. The award is in recognition of the University’s leading influential research on parent-infant sleep, and the ceremony is followed by a reception where the Duchess of Cornwall meets PhD students who have worked on Sleep Lab research projects and the manager of the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab, Dr Charlotte Russell.
Men's testosterone levels largely determined by childhood environment
Co-authored by Durham Anthropology's Prof Gillian Bentley, a Durham University-led study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution suggests that men who grow up in more challenging conditions where there are lots of infectious diseases, for example, are likely to have lower testosterone levels in later life than those who spend their childhood in healthier environments.
To read the study in full please click the link below:
And visit the links below for recent press coverage of the study:
Durham Arctic Research Centre for Training and Interdisciplinary Collaboration (DurhamARCTIC)
DurhamARCTIC is a doctoral training centre at Durham University, funded by a grant from the Leverhulme Trust to support Interdisciplinary Understanding for a Changing Arctic (DS-2017-070). Between 2018 and 2023 DurhamARCTIC is supporting 15 doctoral students at Durham University, each of whom is pursuing a research project that contributes to and benefits from a blend of disciplinary expertise and interdisciplinary enquiry.
Laidlaw Scholarship for Undergraduate Students
Opportunities for funded research placements in the department, see link for further information:
“Our Lives with Electric Things”: Durham anthropologists publish a new collection of writing to extend the energy humanities.
Inspired by a Wenner-Gren funded workshop held at Durham in 2016, this new collection has been published in the Cultural Anthropology journal series ‘Theorizing the Contemporary’. The full collection includes 51 contributions, whose authors reflect on our lives with electric things, using electric artefacts to generate novel ethnographic insights.
Editor Professor Simone Abram says, ‘This collection is an inspiration for anthropologists and others to rethink how we live with electricity and reconsider the possibilities and limits of life with electric things’. With three co-editors from Edinburgh and Copenhagen, the collection covers electric fictions, backups, infrastructures, electric sustenance, electric air and more, making up 17 themes.
‘We are excited to bring together anthropologists from around the world to think about such pressing issues and invite readers to enjoy the collection and the inspiration it offers’ adds Prof Abram.
The collection can be read at:
Why the World Needs Anthropologists: Powering the Planet Oct 28-29 2017
A hundred and forty two people from twenty countries attended this two day symposium at Durham. It was the fifth such symposium to be organised on behalf of the Energy Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists Participants were drawn from a range of academic disciplines engaged in energy research as well as representatives from industry and third sector organisations. The Saturday programme for the first day of speakers and discussion panel is now available online (see below). The first day also featured twelve organisations with stands and publicity materials. These included two anthropology consultancies from Scandinavia; the EASA Energy Ethics Network; Low Carbon Energy for Development; Mygrid; Energethics and Access for Women in Energy. Sunday featured five well attended workshops located across the Durham campus, covering energy and development, corporate responsibility, local history and careers for anthropologists beyond the academy.
Thanks to all those at Durham who helped make the event such a success and to our several sponsors see http://www.applied-anthropology.com/organisers/
Wednesday 23 January 2019
Brain size massively increased in certain hominin branches over the last three million years, and all species arising through this process are extinct except Homo sapiens. Consequently, the resulting human brain may be qualitatively or quantitatively unique (i.e., autapomorphic) and may thus have unique causes among extant species. A longstanding fascination has been to identify the evolutionary causes of the human brain, and a dominant research tool has been the comparative approach. While the comparative approach is tremendously useful to contextualise human evolution, the comparative approach may have a limited ability to identify unique causes. Alternative tools to infer unique causes involve manipulative experiments, but ethical and practical reasons render these approaches inapplicable to humans. Luckily, there remain research tools that enable one to infer evolutionary causality from observational data of a single species. I illustrate how these tools can be developed and deployed to identify evolutionary causes of potentially unique brains. Application of these tools so far supports ecology over sociality as a key driver of human brain expansion, in contrast to commonly held views.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about this event.
Durham, DH1 3LE
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