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Medical Anthropology

Medical Anthropology: How culture influences the experience of illness

I would be translating between the med students and the patients, and sometimes the patient would express things that I could translate in literal terms—like “bone pain” or “kidney pain”—but I often felt the medical student and or doctor would, in their diagnosis, transform what that meant. Bone pain might become rheumatoid arthritis, for example—but I always was uncertain about the jump to a diagnostic conclusion and found myself wondering, “What is this person really trying to say? What does he really mean by bone pain?”

 In an interview, Kristin Yarris tells us about how illness is experienced and expressed in various ways across cultures. With this in mind, it might not be that easy to give out Western diagnosis to people of various cultures. It is then important to figure out how the culture works — get to know people — so as to give a sound diagnosis of illness.

Primates

Tiny tarsier makes big, ultrasonic noise

The tarsiers communication is “comparable to the highly specialized vocalizations of bats and dolphins, which are used primarily for echolocation,” says lead author Nathaniel Dominy with Dartmouth in a press release. He calls the Philippine tarsier’s sounds “extreme,” and listening to a sample slowed down eight times so we can hear it, one comprehends the adjective.

 

Scientists find out that the tiny tarsier, found in the Philippines, communicate with each other through ultrasonic sounds (70 Hz-91 Hz). This is to avoid detection from possible predators. Hearing ultrasonic sounds can also help them catch insects. It may also be used as an alarm signal.

Archaeology

Trowelblazers: In search of the female Indiana Jones

Why hadn’t I heard of these women? Not the individual names — I can barely name any male archaeologists from that period — but the idea of these women, working in such numbers and even leading their fields. It was as though we’d blithely wiped them all from our popular imaginations, and thus allowed each woman to be easily dismissed — albeit with an approving pat on the head — as anachronistic and an exception-to-the-masculine- rule.

The article lists down kickass women in the world of archaeology. I just find it sad that the history of archaeology as written in books is dominated by male archaeologists. We also need to know about women who made their mark in the discipline as they will inspire more female archaeologists in the field. Their appearance in the archaeology modules will also show a more realistic view of archaeology — that it is for women as much as it is for men.

 

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