Caroline Brettell discusses the history of anthropology’s connections to other disciplines

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Originally Posted: June 7, 2016

A Reflection on Anthropology and Inter/Cross/Multidisciplinarity

Drawing on her recent book Anthropological Conversations, Caroline Brettell discusses the history of anthropology’s connections to other disciplines. Through examples of they how anthropologists have collaborated with, influenced and been influenced by historians, geographers and psychologists, she traces intellectual exchanges that have been productive in understanding culture and difference.

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Christopher Roos, Anthropology, Wildfire on warming planet requires adaptive capacity

Heritage Daily

Originally Posted: June 3, 2016

INDUSTRIALIZED NATIONS THAT VIEW WILDFIRE AS THE ENEMY HAVE MUCH TO LEARN FROM PEOPLE IN SOME PARTS OF THE WORLD WHO HAVE LEARNED TO LIVE COMPATIBLY WITH WILDFIRE, SAYS A TEAM OF FIRE RESEARCH SCIENTISTS.

The interdisciplinary team say there is much to be learned from these “fire-adaptive communities” and they are calling on policy makers to tap that knowledge, particularly in the wake of global warming.

Such a move is critical as climate change makes some landscapes where fire isn’t the norm even more prone to fire, say the scientists in a new report published in a special issue of thePhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

“We tend to treat modern fire problems as unique, and new to our planet,” said fire anthropologist Christopher Roos, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, lead author of the report. “As a result, we have missed the opportunity to recognize the successful properties of communities that have a high capacity to adapt to living in flammable landscapes — in some cases for centuries or millennia.” READ MORE

Wildfire on warming planet requires adaptive capacity at local, national, int’l scales

SMU RESEARCH

Originally Posted: June 1, 2016

Industrialized nations that view wildfire as the enemy have much to learn from people in some parts of the world who have learned to live compatibly with wildfire, says a team of fire research scientists.

The interdisciplinary team say there is much to be learned from these “fire-adaptive communities” and they are calling on policy makers to tap that knowledge, particularly in the wake of global warming.

Such a move is critical as climate change makes some landscapes where fire isn’t the norm even more prone to fire, say the scientists in a new report published in a special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

“We tend to treat modern fire problems as unique, and new to our planet,” said fire anthropologist Christopher Roos, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, lead author of the report. “As a result, we have missed the opportunity to recognize the successful properties of communities that have a high capacity to adapt to living in flammable landscapes — in some cases for centuries or millennia.“ READ MORE

Eric G. Bing, Professor of Global Health, Smart Phones Tested For Cancer Screening In Zambia

SMU Magazine

Originally Posted: Spring/Summer 2016

Nicholas Saulnier ’15, ’16, a master’s degree student and graduate research assistant in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, always hoped he’d be able to solve problems and help people over the course of his career as an electrical engineer. To his surprise, that time came sooner than he expected.

An interdisciplinary research team – (from left) Eric G. Bing, Nicholas Saulnier, Dinesh Rajan and Prasanna Rangarajan – has developed a smart-phone based screening system for early cervical cancer detection that is being test in Zambia.

An interdisciplinary research team – (from left) Eric G. Bing, Nicholas Saulnier, Dinesh Rajan and Prasanna Rangarajan – has developed a smart phone-based screening system for early cervical cancer detection being tested in Zambia.

“I never thought I’d be able to make a difference while I was still a student,” says Saulnier, one of several SMU engineering students to help develop hardware and software to screen for cervical cancer with a smart phone. The technology, for use in remote regions of the globe where physicians are in short supply, is being tested in Zambia.

Department of Electrical Engineering Chair Dinesh Rajan, the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Engineering, conceived of the research project in 2014 with Eric G. Bing, professor of global health in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, during a research meeting of the SMU Center for Global Health Impact, which Bing directs. Other project members include Prasanna Rangarajan, research assistant professor, and master’s student Soham Soneji. READ MORE

SMU recognizes outstanding achievement at 2015-16 Hilltop Excellence Awards, Honors Convocation

Congratulations to the Dedman College faculty and students who were recognized at the 2016 Awards Extravaganza on Monday, April 18.

Recipients of the Outstanding Professor Awards presented by the Rotunda yearbook include:

B. Sunday Eiselt, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies, Department of Anthropology
Laurence Winnie, senior lecturer and director of undergraduate studies, William P. Clements Department of History

Receiving the Extra Mile Awards, presented by Students for New Learning for graciousness and sensitivity to students with learning differences:

Sheri Kunovich, associate professor, Department of Sociology
• Laurie Nuchereno, adjunct lecturer, Department of Economics

For the full list of faculty, staff and student award recipients click here.

 

 

Congratulations Dedman College Dean’s Research Council Award Recipients

March 18, 2016

Dallas Hall4

Congratulations to the the recipients of this year’s Dean’s Research Council grants. The Dean’s Research Council provides competitively awarded seed funding for faculty research and allows them to compete for larger grants and fellowships outside SMU.

Sciences

Peng Tao

Department of Chemistry
Extending the Protein Evolution Paradigm to Combat Antibiotic Drug Resistance

Karen Lupo
Department of Anthropology
Exposing the Myth of the Pristine Rain Forest: Building the Case for the Cultural Landscapes in the Tropical Forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Jingbo Ye
Department of Physics
Developing an Integrated Circuit that Drives Arrays with Ultra Low Power

Humanities

Phillipe Chuard
Department of Philosophy
Time Consciousness: The Lockean View

 

 

Grad student discovers river in Peru so hot it boils animals alive

Tech Insider

Originally Posted: February 22, 2016

Deep in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon, an anomalous and perplexing natural wonder lies: A raging river that boils.

Once just the stuff of folklore, geophysicist Andrés Ruzo, a PhD student at Southern Methodist University, set out to find the legendary waterway himself.

He not only found it, but he confirmed that it does, in fact, surge at a scalding 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

“It feels like I’m in a sauna inside a toaster oven,” Ruzo said sitting on the bank of the river in his new book, The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in the Amazon. (Ruzo also discussed his quest to understand its puzzling features in a recent TED talk.) READ MORE

Spanish missions triggered Native American population collapse, indirect impact on climate

EurekAlert

Originally Posted: January 26, 2016

New interdisciplinary research in the Southwest United States has resolved long-standing debates on the timing and magnitude of American Indian population collapse in the region.

The severe and rapid collapse of Native American populations in what is now the modern state of New Mexico didn’t happen upon first contact with Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s, as some scholars thought. Nor was it as gradual as others had contended.

Rather than being triggered by first contact in the 1500s, rapid population loss likely began after Catholic Franciscan missions were built in the midst of native pueblos, resulting in sustained daily interaction with Europeans.

The indirect effects of this demographic impact rippled through the surrounding forests and, perhaps, into our atmosphere.

Those are the conclusions of a new study by a team of scientists looking for the first time at high resolution reconstructions of human population size, tree growth and fire history from the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico.

“Scholars increasingly recognize the magnitude of human impacts on planet Earth, some are even ready to define a new geological epoch called the Anthropocene,” said anthropologist and fire expert Christopher Roos, an associate professor at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, and a co-author on the research.

“But it is an open question as to when that epoch began,” said Roos. “One argument suggests that indigenous population collapse in the Americas resulted in a reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because of forest regrowth in the early colonial period. Until now the evidence has been fairly ambiguous. Our results indicate that high-resolution chronologies of human populations, forests and fires are needed to evaluate these claims.”

A contentious issue in American Indian history, scientists and historians for decades have debated how many Native Americans died and when it occurred. With awareness of global warming and interdisciplinary interest in the possible antiquity of the Anthropocene, resolution of that debate may now be relevant for contemporary human-caused environmental problems, Roos said. READ MORE