Caroline Brettell, Anthropology, comments on study that finds immigrant teens less prone to violence and crime

Mineral Wells Index

Originally Posted: September 8, 2015

AUSTIN – There’s no doubt that some Americans link immigrants with crime, violence and drugs.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gave voice to that view in a speech at Trump Tower earlier this summer when he described Mexicans arriving in the Untied States: “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

A new study shows the opposite is true of immigrant teenagers who are less likely to commit crime, engage in violence or use drugs than their American-born peers, according to a team led by Christopher Salas-Wright of the University of Texas’ School of Social Work.
“To assume immigrants are bringing crime to the United States is not backed up by research,” said Salas-Wright. His team’s findings appear in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

Salas-Wright and others found that immigrant children ages 13 to 17 are half as likely to report binge drinking, drug use or selling drugs than their American-born teenagers.

Those who arrived in the United States at age 12 or older are one-third as likely to have sold illegal drugs or used cannabis as youths born in the United States. The odds of being involved in serious violent attacks or carrying handguns are one-third lower for immigrants ages 15 to 17.

Researchers studied national data collected from 2002 to 2009 among students who were not asked for their names or immigration status.

Among immigrants, about half identified themselves as Hispanic.
David Córdova, of the University of Michigan, a co-author of the study, said family dynamics play a key role in youth behavior. READ MORE

Service set for SMU’s Fred Wendorf, professor emeritus of anthropology

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: August 6, 2015

A memorial service for Denver Fred Wendorf Jr. will be at 3 p.m. Aug. 20 in the Perkins Chapel on the Southern Methodist University campus. A reception will follow at Kirby Parlor. Wendorf, SMU professor emeritus of anthropology, died July 15 in Dallas. His service was delayed until colleagues return for the fall semester.

Two rooms at the British Museum in London are dedicated to the prehistoric items he discovered during his decades of excavation in northeastern Africa.

Memorials may be made to the Friends of SMU-in-Taos Fund or the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man, P.O. Box 750402, Dallas, Texas 75275. READ MORE

Thomas Knock’s forthcoming book, George McGovern confessed to having secret child

Washington Post

Originally Posted: July 30, 2015

In confession to historian, George McGovern revealed he had a secret child

An academic with a forthcoming biography of 1972 Democratic presidential candidate and former senator George McGovern has confirmed that the South Dakotan fathered a child before he was married.

He said McGovern, as an 18-year-old freshman at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D., lost his virginity to the girlfriend of a friend during a trip to Lake Mitchell in December of 1940 or January of 1941, and immediately got her pregnant.

McGovern, a decorated World War II pilot and a liberal icon who died in 2012, lost his seat in the U.S. Senate in the Republican sweep of 1980. He served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture during the administration of President Bill Clinton.

Rumors — most recently in stories about the South Dakota senator’s FBI file, which included references to an “illegitimate child” — about a child McGovern had out of wedlock before he married Eleanor McGovern in 1943 dogged McGovern for much of his political career. Before McGovern died in 2012, he told Thomas J. Knock, a history professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, about the affair and the daughter he had in 1941. READ MORE

Mysterious link emerges between Native Americans and people half a globe away

Originally Posted: July 21, 2015

The Americas were the last great frontier to be settled by humans, and their peopling remains one of the great mysteries for researchers. This week, two major studies of the DNA of living and ancient people try to settle the big questions about the early settlers: who they were, when they came, and how many waves arrived. But instead of converging on a single consensus picture, the studies, published online in Science and Nature, throw up a new mystery: Both detect in modern Native Americans a trace of DNA related to that of native people from Australia and Melanesia. The competing teams, neither of which knew what the other was up to until the last minute, are still trying to reconcile and make sense of each other’s data.

“Both models … see in the Americas a subtle signal from” Australo-Melanesians, notes Science co-author David Meltzer, an archaeologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. “A key difference is when and how it arrived in the New World.” The Nature team concludes it came in one of two early waves of migration into the continent, whereas the Science team concludes it came much later, and was unrelated to the initial peopling. READ MORE


Fred Wendorf, Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory Emeritus, archaeology career spanned six decades

Midland Reporter Telegram

Originally Posted: July 15, 2015

Excavator of “Midland Man” site dies at age 90

DALLAS — Noted archaeologist Fred Wendorf — who excavated the so-called “Midland Man” site and who is credited with discoveries in Africa and the American Southwest — died in Dallas Wednesday following a long illness. He was 90.

Wendorf’s career as a field archaeologist spanned six decades and he spent four decades on the faculty of Southern Methodist University. He retired in 2003 as the Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory Emeritus, according to a press release from SMU.

Wendorf was born July 31, 1924, in Terrell, and as a teenager developed an interest in archaeology while roaming the fields of Kaufman County in search of Native American artifacts. He earned a bachelor of arts in anthropology in 1948 from the University of Arizona and a doctorate from Harvard University in 1953. READ MORE

DNA From Kennewick Man Shows He Was Native American, Says Study With SMU Ties


Originally Posted: July 14, 2015


Nearly two decades after an ancient skeleton was discovered in Kennewick, Washington, scientists finally have a better idea about its hotly-debated origins. SMU anthropologist David Meltzer co-authored a recent study into what’s been dubbed the Kennewick Man. LISTEN HERE

Harper Lee Expert/Dedman College Dean Thomas DiPiero on “To Kill a Mockingbird” from Adult Perspective

26668D_002_DiPierokn1020Literary expert Thomas DiPiero, dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, offers his nationally respected insight into Harper Lee’s iconic novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird” during a University Park Public Library-SMU Community Outreach event June 18, 2015, in Dallas. July 11, 2015, marks the 55th anniversary of the publication of Lee’s great American novel, which has sold more than 40 million copies and been translated into 40 languages. During the talk DiPiero discusses the need to read “To Kill a Mockingbird” as an adult to fully grasp the complex racial and cultural issues woven throughout the literary masterpiece, which he says “ain’t kids’ stuff. He also addresses the controversy surrounding Lee’s highly anticipated “new” novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” actually written before “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The “prequel,” available July 14, 2015, already has broken pre-order sales records for HarperCollins, which has ordered 2 million copies for the first printing. WATCH HERE.

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Follow Christopher Kiahtipes, Ph.D. candidate in anthropology, on SMU Adventures blog

SMU Adventures

Updated: July 6, 2015

Christopher Kiahtipes is a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. His work includes reconstructing past environments in tropical Central Africa to better understand the links between culture, ecology and climate. He is spending part of the summer in Europe to present his research at the 8th International Workshop on African Archaeobotany (IWAA) in Italy and to visit libraries and botanical collections at the University of Montpellier in France. READ MORE


SMU Adventures: Katherine, Maguire Fellow and Medical Anthropology grad student in San Francisco

Originally posted: June 25, 2015

Katherine is a graduate student in the medical anthropology program. She was awarded a Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Fellowship for summer 2015 from the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU for her research on struggles for LGBTQ immigrants in the San Francisco Bay area. READ MORE

David Meltzer, Anthropology, 8,500 year-old Kennewick Man is a Native American

Live Science

Originally Posted: June 18, 2015


The relatives of a much-debated 8,500-year-old skeleton found in Kennewick, Washington, have been pinned down: The middle-age man was most closely related to modern-day Native Americans, DNA from his hand reveals.

The new analysis lays to rest wilder theories about the ancestry of the ancient American, dubbed Kennewick Man, said study co-author Eske Willerslev, an evolutionary biologist at the Natural History Museum of Denmark at the University of Copenhagen.

“There have been different theories, different mythology, everything from him being related to Polynesians, to Europeans, to [indigenous people] from Japan,” Willerslev told Live Science. “He is most closely related to contemporary Native Americans.”

A couple first discovered the skeleton in 1996 on the banks of the Columbia River in Kennewick. The coroner analyzing the remains noticed an arrow tip lodged in the man’s pelvis, and surmised he was a European felled by a Native American, said co-author David Meltzer, an anthropologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

But the man’s bones revealed he was at least 8,000 years old.

At a news conference then, researchers studying the skeleton said the ancient man was “Caucasoid,” an archaic, 19th-century term that includes a wide swath of people with origins in Africa, Western Asia and Europe. Reporters heard the word “Caucasian,” and all of a sudden people were wondering how a European showed up in North America and was shot thousands of years before Europeans set foot on the continent, Meltzer said. READ MORE