Friday, March 19, 2010

Derek Wildman of Wayne States speaks March 31 on evolutionary genomic perspectives on human evolution

Derek E. Wildman of the Wayne State University School of Medicine speaks on "Evolutionary Genomic Perspectives on Human Evolution" in an event sponsored by the Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology and the GW Anthropology Society. Dr. Wildman's laboratory has two main areas of research focus: the evolutionary history of birth and labor and the evolution of primates in general. Regarding humans, it investigates "the evolution of phenotypic features such as the emergence of the greatly expanded anthropoid primate neocortex, the evolution of labor and birth, and the evolution of aerobic energy metabolism."

Dr. Wildman has appointments in the Wayne State Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. For more on him and his research, click here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Talk, March 24: Why there is no 'European Islam'

Prof. John R. Bowen speaks on "Why there is no 'European Islam': Contrasting contours of Islam in England and France." Bowen, who is the Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor of Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, discusses contrasting histories of migration, church-state relations, and political philosophy to account for the sharp divergences in Muslim experiences in England and France (with a passing nod to the United States). A focus of the talk will be the possibilities afforded in England for Muslims to construct 'shari'a councils, paralegal mediation or arbitration bodies dealing with family law and commercial disputes.

Location: 1957 E St., room 214
3 p.m.

Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and the Institute for Middle East Studies.

Three courses added to undergraduate curriculum

Three archaeology and biological anthropology courses that have been successfully offered as special topics courses have now been added to the list of regular classes:

ANTH 104: Archaeology in Film & Television

This course examines archaeology as depicted in fictional and documentary films and television. The seminar setting encourages the development critical thinking skills and examination of various contemporary archaeological issues portrayed in popular culture. Prerequisite: ANTH 3

ANTH 144: Evolution of the Human Brain

Examination of how the human brain is unique in comparison to other animals, with an emphasis on understanding our species’ distinctive neurobiology in relation to the evolution of cognitive abilities such as language, social comprehension, tool making, and abstract thinking. Prerequisite: ANTH 1
This course will be taught by Prof. Chet Sherwood in the fall of 2010.

ANTH 194: Archaeology of Ritual & Religion

This course uses cross-cultural case studies to explore religious ritual practiced in the past. Special attention is given to contemporary methods and theories used to interpret religion and ritual from the archaeological record. Prerequisite: ANTH 3

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Prof. Vlach to deliver Schroedl lecture at Goucher

2010 Irwin C. Schroedl Jr. Lecture Series Presents:

Dr. John Michael Vlach
Professor of American Studies and Anthropology, GWU

“‘Then I Went Into It Forcibly’: African-American Creativity in Arts and
Crafts Across Four Centuries”

Thursday, March 25, at 7 p.m.
Goucher College’s Kelley Lecture Hall (Baltimore)

This event is free and open to the public.
For more information, contact Professor Gail Husch at 410-337-6257 or

Prof. Cline Is Student Athlete Professor of the Year

Eric H. Cline, Chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and a member of the Anthropology Department, received the 2009-10 Student Athlete Professor of the Year Award. Eric was chosen by a vote of GW student athletes and was presented with his award at a basketball game February 25 -- you can see him here on the Jumbotron.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

CCAS profiles Alison Brooks's work with PBS, Natural History Museum

Prof. Alison Brooks was recently profiled by the Columbian College because of her scientific research and her involvement with the new human origins hall at the Smithsonian and the PBS series The Human Spark.

"Brooks’ high profile in the anthropology arena stems in part from her energy and relentless curiosity—and not a tiny bit from her daring," wrote the Arts and Sciences News Center reporter.

To read the whole feature story, click here.

Department researchers show how some ape teeth are made for the toughest times

The teeth of some apes are formed primarily to handle the most stressful times when food is scarce, according to new research performed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The findings, published in December's American Journal of Physical Anthropology, imply that if humanity is serious about protecting its close evolutionary cousins, the food apes eat during these tough periods – and where they find it – must be included in conservation efforts.

The interdisciplinary team, which brought together anthropologists from George Washington University (GW) and fracture mechanics experts from NIST, has provided the first evidence that natural selection in three ape species has favored individuals whose teeth can most easily handle the “fallback foods” they choose when their preferred fare is less available.

Lead authors of the article were research scientist Paul Constantino (PhD Hominid Paleobiology 2007) and Prof. Peter Lucas.

For the GW News article, click here.

For the AJPA article, click here.