Thursday, May 28, 2009

Diary for 28th May to 3rd June 2009

THURSDAY 28th May- Medicine and Human Realities

Today at the Centre for History of Medicine in Ireland (CHOMI) there will be a Medical Humanities Symposium from 10:00am- 4:30pm in room N003 at the University of Ulster's Coleraine Campus. Supported by the Wellcome Trust, professors from universities around the UK will be presenting on topics ranging from doctoring in the 19th century, to cultural representations of disability. To register and for more information contact Leanne McCormick at or phone 44(0)2890366300.

FRIDAY 29th May- Divorce Iranian Style

Tonight I am heading to the British Museum's Stevenson Lecture Theatre at 6:30pm to see a documentary called Divorce Iranian Style. The film produced in 1998, has won numerous international awards, and has brought renowned acclaim to its directors Kim Longinotto and Ziba Mir-Hosseini. The film provides a rare glimpse at the intimate lives of women who undergo the process of divorce in an Iranian Court. Filming from within the court, Longinotto and Hosseini, let the women tell their stories in which they confront bias laws with innovation and personal strength. For an interesting review of the film take a look here. The screening will be followed by a Q & A session with the two directors. Tickets cost £3 for adults £2 for concession. For those of you interested in renting a copy of the film, or coming to watch it at the Royal Anthropological Institute, get in touch with Susanne Hammacher at:

SATURDAY 20th May- An amazing discovery for the human sciences

Several nights ago some of you may have watched the BBC documentary on the discovery of the Ida fossil what has been called 'the missing link' between the first primates and modern humans. Found in amazingly preserved condition Ida is 47 million years old. She was found in the Messil Pit in Germany and is the most complete primate fossil ever found. The documentary, narrated by David Attenborough follows the research of Palaeontologist Jorn Hurum and his team, as they analyse and examine the anatomic features of Ida in a lab at the University of Oslo's Natural History Museum. You can watch the documentary again or downloaded it here. Alternatively, take a look at this amazing website on Ida, the discovery, Hurum and his team. Some have argued that the BBC production did not reveal any of the controversies surrounding the discovery and that media hype has overshadowed some people who question the scientific validity of some of Hurum's claims. This article highlights some of the controversy.

SUNDAY 31st May- What do anthropologists do?

Anthropologists find work in a variety of different fields ranging from working in museums, to working as business consultants, or in development and tourist agencies. Often the word 'anthropologist' does not appear in their job title, but anthropologists use the skills they have learned from their degrees, such as undertaking ethnographic research, analysing cross cultural data, doing interviews and apply these skills to their current roles. Veronica Strang, professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Auckland has written a new book called What do Anthropologists do? The book takes a close look at why anthropologists are in demand for certain roles, and the job opportunities that are open to people studying the degree. It's written in an accessible manner and is a very useful resource for people beginning their exploration of anthropology and those already studying it at university.

MONDAY 1st June- An Empire of Subjects

Today is the second session of the Imperial History seminars, which are being held at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House. Hannah Weiss from Princeton, is giving a presentation on 'An Empire of Subjects: the silences of law and the rights of subjects 1760-1790'. The seminar is free and starts at 5pm in the Germany room. For more information about the seminar series, email Dr. Jon Wilson at

TUESDAY 2nd June- Art and Mental Illness

For those of you who are 'incurably curious' there is a wonderful exhibit on at the Wellcome Trust on Mental illness and the visual arts, focusing on Vienna in the 1900s. At the start of the 20th century, Vienna was one of Europe's leading centres for modernism and was a city obsessed with the mind, madness and psychiatry. The exhibit takes a multidisciplinary approach to representing how 'madness' and art interacted in Vienna and encourages us to think about how mental illness is thought of and portrayed today. For more information about the exhibition, visit this website. The exhibition is free, and runs until the 28th of June.

WEDNESDAY 3rd June- Top of the mornin' to ya

Hats.. are they just a fashion accessory, or are they part of someone's identity, a status symbol, a mark of artistic expression? For centuries hats around the world have given us clues as to various aspects of a society, fashion trends of the time, political activity, social class distinctions. Currently at the V & A museum is an exhibit entitled an Anthology of Hats by Stephen Jones. Stephen Jones is a milliner and has been making hats for fashion houses, exhibits, and designers for decades. The exhibit focuses on the life cycle of a hat, from how it is 'born' in the eye of the designer, what external inspirations from nature, fashion, politics are taken and through to its final journey to the top of someone's head. If you are a hat lover, this is something you shouldn't miss! For more information about the exhibit take a look here. Tickets are £5 for adults and £4 for concession.