Archive for New York Academy of Sciences

NYAS @ WGF: Erupting Ruins: Dialectics of the Urban Landscape

"Plan of a Large & Elegant Residence in the Second District" image courtesy Historic New Orleans Collection

The final NYAS Anthropology Section meeting lecture of 2013 (but not of the season!) is upon us, as we welcome the University of Chicago’s Shannon Lee Dawdy and discussant Meredith Linn of Barnard College 7:00 PM Monday, December 9th, to discuss her ethnohistorical research of French New Orleans with Erupting Ruins: Dialectics of the Urban Landscape.

Using the examples of surprising — even disturbing — archaeological preservation in my field site of New Orleans, I explore what it means to understand the landscape as dialectical. Forgotten plantation houses beneath the city’s warehouse district and the sunken remains of bawdy taverns expose non-continuous series of ruptures, disasters, abrupt shifts, but also the unaccountable continuity of unconscious structures.

I argue that the urban landscape is comprised of compacted ruins that both structure and undermine present-day spatial experiences.

A reception will precede the meeting at 6:00 pm. Attending the meeting is free, but registration is required. Please contact NYAS to reserve your place.

 

NYAS @ WGF 11/11: Herman Pontzer

image courtesy New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology

On Monday, November 11, the New York Academy of Sciences Anthropology Section and the Wenner-Gren Foundation welcome Herman Pontzer, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Hunter College, City University of New York. A researcher interested in linking energetics and functional morphology to ecology in the great apes and humans, Dr. Pontzer will be presenting a talk entitled “Life in Slow Motion: Energetics, Aging, and Evolution in Humans and other Primates” featuring WGF president Leslie Aiello as discussant.

Energy is the currency of life, and understanding how humans and other organisms use energy reveals a lot about our evolved strategies for growth, reproduction, and aging. This talk will examine human and ape energy expenditure from a comparative and evolutionary perspective. Surprising new results show that physical activity accounts for only a small portion of the diversity in energy expenditure among mammals. Instead, evolved differences in life history — the pace of growth, reproduction, and aging — play a much larger role in shaping our metabolism.

The 7:00 PM talk will be preceded by a reception at 6:00 PM. As always, NYAS events are free to attend, but registration is required. Please contact NYAS to reserve your spot today.

NOTE: The audio of this lecture will be recorded and may be posted on the WGF website, blog and/or social media accounts. If you choose to participate in the discussion, you are presumed to consent to the use of your comments in these recordings.

NYAS @ WGF: Kuru Sorcery audio now available!

Last week, the Wenner-Gren Foundation hosted the second session of the New York Academy of Sciences Anthropology Section lecture series, welcoming anthropologist Shirley Lindenbaum of the City University of New York and a panel of discussants to re-examine her landmark ethnography Kuru Sorcery: Disease and Danger in the New Guinea Highlands on the occasion of its 35th anniversary.

Listen to the talk now!

NYAS @ WGF: Nuclear Disaster, Environmental Health, and Human Rights in the Marshall Islands

image courtesy American University Dept of Anthropology

Come join us for the third installment of the New York Academy of Sciences Anthropology Section Lecture Series at Wenner-Gren TONIGHT at 7:00 PM, when we welcome environmental anthropologist Barbara Rose Johnston, Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Political Ecology.

Environmental anthropologist Barbara Rose Johnston discusses methods, findings, ethical quandaries, and political outcomes from her work documenting the consequential damages of nuclear disaster and advocating for the human right to a healthy environment. This talk is illustrated with case-specific examples from her service as an expert advisor to the Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal, a civil society advisor supporting a UN Special Rapporteur investigation into nuclear testing, toxic waste, environmental contamination and continuing human rights abuse, and a civil society delegate at the UN Human Rights Commission 21st session.

A reception will precede the meeting at 6:00 pm. Attending is free, but registration is required.

NYAS @ WGF: Kuru Sorcery Revisited

It seems like just last week that the New York Academy of Sciences Anthropology Section Lecture Series began its 2013-14 season with Marshall Sahlins at CUNY Grad Center. This Thursday, October 10th, we welcome a panel of discussants to the Wenner-Gren offices to discuss Shirley Lindenbaum’s landmark work Kuru Sorcery: Disease and Danger in the New Guinea Highlands on the occasion of the release of a new and updated edition. Come join us for a reception at 6:00 PM, followed by an exploration of the impact of this influential study on medical anthropology, epidemiology and the anthropological studies of Melanesia.

There is no cost to attend this event, but registration with NYAS is required.

NYAS @ WGF: Marshall Sahlins and “The Alterity of Value and Vice Versa”

Monday evening marked the first event in the New York Academy of Sciences Anthropology Section Lecture Series for the 2013-14 academic year, as the Wenner-Gren Foundation and CUNY Graduate Center welcomed Marshall Sahlins, Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Sahlins, an eminent scholar in the field and author of such works as Culture and Practical Reason (1976) and Islands of History (1985), presented his paper “The Alterity of Value and Vice Versa”:

On the external origin of riches. Money (“magical property”) as the means rather than the antithesis of extended kinship. Scarcity as a function of value rather than value of scarcity. And other such contradictions of the deceived wisdom.

The Alterity of Value and Vice Versa (MP3)

(apologies for the hum appearing throughout the recording; due to logistical constraints, we were unable to secure a better recording.)

A list of upcoming installments of this lecture series.

NYAS Anthropology Lecture Series: 2013-14 Schedule

The Anthropology Section of the New York Academy of Sciences is the crossroads for four-field anthropology in the greater New York area. As in previous years, the Wenner-Gren Foundation offices will serve as the location for the section’s monthly lecture series. Below is a schedule of the talks that will occur over the coming academic year, subject to adjustment:

September 23: Marshall Sahlins (University of Chicago)“The Alterity of Value and Vice Versa” 5:00-6:30 PM @ CUNY Graduate Center

October 10: Kuru sorcery event with Shirley Lindenbaum (CUNY Graduate Center)

October 21: Barbara Rose Johnston (Center for Political Ecology, Santa Cruz, CA) with Melissa Checker (Queens College) as discussant

November 11: Herman Pontzer (Hunter College) with Susan Antón (New York University) as discussant

December 9: Shannon Dawdy (University of Chicago) with Zoe Crossland (Columbia University) as discussant

February 10: Becky Schulthies (Rutgers), with Sonia Neela Das (New York University) as discussant

March 24: The Brain Panel:  Rayna Rapp (New York University), Nicolas Langlitz (New School for Social Research), Daniel Lende (University of South Florida)

April 21: Audra Simpson (Columbia University)

Check back on our blog closer to the date of each talk to learn more about the speaker and get further information on the event arrangements!

NYAS @ WGF April 29th: Audio Now Available!

Dr. Ramon-Zayas & Dr. Colon

We would like to again thank Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas of Baruch College, CUNY and Edgar Rivera Colon of Columbia University for speaking at our offices on April 29th, presenting the final New York Academy of Sciences anthropology section lecture of the academic year, Cartography of “Racial Democracy”: Race, Affect, and the Production of Abject Subjects among Brazilians and Puerto Ricans in Newark. 

Listen to a recording of the talk now, the accompanying Q&A, and then tell us what you think!

NYAS @ WGF: April 29th

image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

This upcoming Monday is the final meeting of NYAS’ anthropology section at WGF for this season. We will be welcoming Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas of Baruch College, CUNY and Edgar Rivera Colon of Columbia University to discuss Cartography of “Racial Democracy”: Race, Affect, and the Production of Abject Subjects among Brazilians and Puerto Ricans in Newark. 

In this presentation I consider the kinds of affective social entanglements and emotive practices required of US-born Latinos and Latin American migrants as they “learn race” in the US By focusing on the experiences of Brazilian and Puerto Ricans in Newark, I examine the impact of US racial projects on transnational individual’s affective worlds and perspectives on the emotional subjectivities of the racialized others they encounter. As demonstrated through ethnographic materials drawn from nearly a decade of fieldwork, Brazilian immigrants and US-born Puerto Ricans in Newark analyze unfamiliar racial situations through quotidian emotional epistemologies that serve as a cartography to navigate otherwise illegible social encounters. Assumptions about affect and its adequate expression guide Brazilian migrants and US Puerto Ricans to developed nuanced interpretations of how one “should feel” when the goal is to create an affective persona that is consistent with Newark’s neoliberal aspirations. Informed by transnational racial ideologies of “racial democracy,” my interlocutors develop complex social practices around performances of Blackness, understandings of socioeconomic hierarchies, and expectations of belonging on multiple scales, like the neighborhood, nation state, and the market. I am particularly attentive to how engaging in this process of “learning race” renders Brazilians and Puerto Ricans “street therapists” dedicated to observing and correcting “defective” (non-marketable) forms of Blackness, developing appropriate feeling rules, and, hesitantly embracing a neoliberal personhood.

The 7:00 PM lecture will be held at the WGF office on Park Avenue and will be preceded by a reception at 6:00 PM. Refreshments will be provided. It is free to attend this and all other events in this series, but registration is required in advance; please visit the NYAS website or call 212-298-8600.

NYAS @ WGF: “The Problem with Fundamentalism” (AUDIO)

Earlier this month, we hosted the penultimate installment of the New York Academy of Sciences Anthropology section’s 2012-2013 monthly meeting and lecture series. In what has proven to be a fantastic procession of fascinating subjects, we welcomed a panel of New York City-area scholars to discuss “The Problem with Fundamentalism (And Other Liberal Myths About Religion)”. Now the recording of the panel discussion and the following Q&A session are available for download. Enjoy, and tell us what you think!