Thursday, June 11, 2009

Diary for 11th June to 17th June 2009

Thursday 11th June- 'Fieldwork'

Today I am going to browse my local bookstore and take a look at a new novel called 'fieldwork'. The novel is written by Mischa Berlinski, who was trained as a classicist at Columbia University and worked as a freelance journalist in Thailand. The novel follows the obsessed young reporter on a trip to Thailand, where he discovers a story about a charismatic anthropologist who has just committed suicide in a Thai prison, where she was serving a murder sentence. The novel follows Mischa's exploration of the anthropologist's life, taking him on encounters with hill tribes, the work and lives of missionaries, and engagement with sexual, religious and scientific taboos. For excerpts of the novel, and reviews of the book take a look at this website.

Friday 12th June- To be solitary or social...

Anthropoloigst Joan Silk from the University of California, Los Angeles has just released findings on a 15-year research project looking at the social behaviour of baboons in Botswana. The project involved researchers Robert Seyfarth and Dorothy Cheney to carry out observations for 7 hours a day, six days a week, monitoring the reproductive lives of 66 adult females. The analysis of the findings revealed that offsprings of mothers with the strongest social bonds have offspring which live longer than those with the weakest social bonds. Silk's researchers measured the social bonds by using 'an index of friendship' which looked at duration and frequency of grooming, and approaches between animals. To read more about the research take a look at this interesting article.

Saturday 13th June- Music and Dance from Java

Tonight at the British Museum, you have a chance to learn about Indonesia through music and dance from the royal courts of Central Java. The Southbank Gamelan Players will be performing with dancer Ni Made Pujawati. For those of you unfamiliar with the Gamelan, it is a large ensemble of instruments ranging from gong-type, to keyed melodic instruments, and others made of bamboo, iron or brass on which traditional music from Java and Bali is played. The Southbank Gamelan players include musicians who have trained extensively in Indonesia, and have worked with artists from all over Europe, Indonesia and the U.S.A. The performance takes place at 6:30pm in the BP lecture theatre. Tickets are £5 or £3 concession.

Sunday 14th June- Music and Us

Today I am heading to the Brady Arts and Community Centre from 2-5pm for a series of musical performances, film and debates by key local artists from Tower Hamlets, and Spitalfields Music. The event aims to look at the role the Arts play in negotiating shifting identities and cultural difference in this London Borough. Tower Hamlets, has had various communities with different cultural backgrounds come and go for years, and currently there are over 100 different mother tongue languages spoken within four square miles. The area has also one of the highest concentration of artists in London. The event is free but booking is required for the debate. For further information about the programme, list of screenings and bookings take a look here.

Monday 15th June- The Norh-West Passage.. a matter of life or death

One could say that British explorers have been obsessed with exploring the Arctic. Adventurers such as Captain Cook, Sir John Franklin, Sir John Ros, and others lost many men from blizzards, hunger, and scurvy as they sought to find the North-West passage (the sea route that connects the North Atlantic and the North Pacific Ocean). A new exhibition at the National Maritime Museum displays paintings, letters, maps and ethnographic objects from British explorers throughout the ages who have ventured into this part of the world. With climate change the threatened ecology of the area, many organisations are once again highlighting the importance of this region. The exhibition is free, and open daily from 10:00am-17:00pm.

Tuesday 16th June- Anthropology Days in London and Wales

Bookings for the London Anthropology Day are now full, but there is still a chance that you are able to take part in the day by booking on the waiting list. The waiting list is on a first-come, first-serve basis. The LAD 2009, is a free university taster day open to teachers, students, and life long learners interested in finding out what anthropology is all about, what it is like to study the subject at university and the types of careers anthropologists do. To book your free place on the waiting list fill out a form here. For those of you in Wales, or nearby the LAD's sister event called Wales Anthropology Day (WAD) still has a few places left, so if you are quick you can still get in. You can book a place for WAD here.

Wednesday 17th June- What are anthropologists doing about climate change?

Anthropologists Susan A. Crate and Mark Nuttall, have edited a new book called Anthropology and Climate Change: from Encounters to Actions. The book is divided into three parts. The first part looks at how anthropology and anthropologists have explored the relationship between societies, culture and climate from prehistoric times, as well as how the language we use to describe our relationship with the environment has changed both within and outside of the discipline. The second part of the book looks at cutting edge research that anthropologists are doing around the world on climate change. The third part of the book, asks anthropologists to become engaged, by linking their research to appropriate action, and bridging communication between policy makers, environmentalists, social scientists, educators and activists. For people interested in applied anthropology and environmental concerns, this a very good resource.