The Department of Anthropology, including both faculty members and graduate students, are often in the news. They also frequently lend their expertise to various community organizations. This webpage highlights some of these contributions.
An international consortium of researchers including Western bioarchaeologist Jay Stock, the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, conducted fieldwork in the Nefud Desert of Saudi Arabia, where they discovered an ancient bone belonging to an early human of the Homo sapiens species which they were able to directly date. The ancient bone, dating back to 90,000 years ago is the oldest human (Homo sapiens) fossil to have been found outside of Africa and the immediately adjacent Levant, and suggests that people travelled further than initially thought during the first reported human migration into Eurasia. Read the whole article.
Congratulations to Professor Lisa Hodgetts recipient of the Edward G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2018. This prestigious award recognises Western instructors who inspire active and deep learning in their students. Established in 1980-’81, the University Awards for Excellence in Teaching were named in 1987 in honour of Edward Gustav Pleva, Western’s first Geography teacher in 1938 and head of the department from 1948-1968. Read the complete article in Western News.
In summer 2018 we will be welcoming two new faculty members, Dr. Greg Beckett (currently at Bowdoin College) and Dr. Lindsay Bell (currently at SUNY Oswego). Greg Beckett (PhD U Chicago, MA Western) has carried out extensive ethnographic and historical research in Haiti, and in particular on the intersecting urban, environmental, and political crises. His book How Crisis Feels: Living and Dying in Port-au-Prince, Haiti will be published in early 2019 by the University of California Press. He has also published on Caribbean intellectual history and the place of disjuncture and crisis in political and social theory. Lindsay Bell (PhD U Toronto, MA Alaska-Fairbanks) studies the lives of women and men in northern Canada, Alaska, and Finland who are confronting large-scale resource developments (such as diamond mining in the NWT). She is currently involved in a large research project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation on transparency and ethics in the global gemstone trade. She is co-author of Sustaining the Nation: The Making and Moving of Language and Nation (Oxford University Press, 2015), collaborated on the recent SSHRC-funded project Visualizing Canada's Urban North, and is the editor of the AAA's Journal for the Anthropology of North America.
Professor Andrew Nelson & colleague Linda Howie's analysis of the oldest documented hockey stick in Canada is highlighted in a 5 minute Daily Planet segment on the Discovery Channel. The hockey stick, which dates back to the 1770s, was brought to Nelson by the London based company, Material Legacy and is owned by an Ancaster collector of old sports equipment. “To the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever done a CT scan of a hockey stick, much less a micro-CT scan.” Says Nelson. Read the whole article featured in Western News.
Western Adjunct Research Anthropology Professor Jay Stock was part of a recent study that showed the bone strength of prehistoric women exceeded that of today’s female athletes. Stock explains, “The women who lived 6,000 years ago worked so hard at repetitive upper-body labour every day, they developed strong muscles and bones.” Read the whole article in Western News.