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Speakers' Series

Fall 2017 Schedule of Events

Alan CoveyGender and Power in the Inca Empire: The Aqllawasi Complex at Huánuco Pampa, Peru

Speaker: R. Alan Covey | Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas, Austin
Date/Time: Friday, November 10, 2017 | 3pm
Location: Evans Liberal Arts 114

Although the invading Spaniards had a hard time recognizing it, state power in the Inca Empire (c. 1400-1530s) flowed through gendered networks, drawing on the skills of men and women. A hierarchy of male officials (kuraka) dominated military and political arenas, sustained by female officials who also served in prominent religious roles. The Incas did not provide formal training for their male officials, but they built cloisters called aqllawasi (“house of the chosen”) to develop the skills of provincial girls and channel them into state service. This talk will begin with an overview of the Colonial accounts of the aqllawasi and the scale at which this state institution functioned. It will then turn to the highland provincial center of Huánuco Pampa, where the archaeologist Craig Morris excavated extensively within a well-preserved aqllawasi complex during the 1970s. Although the material evidence indicates that the aqllawasi complex was distributed less widely than some Colonial authors suggest, there is reason to believe that the women who controlled the institution also played active roles in the key performances of provincial administration.

Mimi NichterBuilding Capacity for Tobacco Cessation in India, Indonesia, and Turkey: From Formative Research to Clinic and Community-Based Interventions

Speaker: Mimi Nichter | Professor, University of Arizona, School of Anthropology
Date/Time: Friday, September 15, 2017 | 3pm
Location: Evans Liberal Arts 114

While smoking prevalence has been on the decline in many high-income nations, this is not the case in low- and middle-income countries that are the target of the transnational tobacco companies. In this presentation, I briefly highlight the global burden of tobacco to explore why this topic remains central to global public health. Drawing on over a decade of research in India, Indonesia and Turkey, I consider the role that anthropology can play in developing and implementing tobacco cessation programs in diverse cultural contexts. Data are drawn from Project Quit Tobacco International (QTI), an ongoing research initiative that has conducted formative research to explore issues such as patterns of tobacco use and exchange and perceptions of risk to self and others among smokers and health care providers. Project QTI has developed an illness-specific cessation counseling approach that establishes the relevance of quit advice to the patient beyond the limited recognition that tobacco is associated with cancer and COPD. Working with communities, we have focused on raising the consciousness of smokers to the harm they are causing to non-smokers in their households (women and children) which has led to a smoke-free homes initiative.

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Fall 2016 - Spring 2017 Schedule of Events

Marek Jasinski, Texas State Anthropology Speakers Series; Texas State Applied AnthropologyMemories of Wars and Wars on Memories: Cultural Heritage of Exclusion and Extermination

Speaker: Marek Jasinski | Professor, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Historical Studies
Date and Time: Friday, October 14, 2016 | 3:00 pm
Location: Evans Liberal Arts 114

This presentation will explore a few research projects addressing Painful Heritage of modern times conflicts – WWII, Civil War in Poland, and the present waves of migrations to Europe and USA. According to Harold Pinter “The past is what you remember, imagine you remember, convince yourself you remember, or pretend to remember”. James Young states that “Social memory is never pure – it always has an agenda”.  According to Noam Chomsky one of the most important mechanisms in creating social/collective memory is “Manufacturing of Consent”, i.e. “History Engineering”. Dynamic interactions between past events and social memory are particularly significant regarding memories of painful and shameful events like wars, genocide, and mass killings. Such research often requires an interdisciplinary approach that includes archaeology of contemporary past, biological anthropology, genetics, and history. Results of interdisciplinary research on this topic often challenge existing hegemonic narratives and politics of memory in addressing painful past or present.

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John_Kappleman, Texas State Anthropology Speakers Series; Texas State Applied AnthropologyWhen Lucy Came Down from The Trees

Speaker: John Kappelman | Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas
Date and Time: Friday, November 11, 2016 | 3:00 pm
Location: Evans Liberal Arts 114

The Pliocene fossil “Lucy” was discovered in the Afar region of Ethiopia in 1974 and is among the oldest and most complete fossil hominin skeletons. Although her skeleton is marked by typical postmortem damage, there is a subset of perimortem breaks that appear to document high-energy bone-to-bone compressive fractures at several of the major joints.  We propose that the most likely cause of these fractures, and of her death, was a “vertical deceleration event,” or impact following a fall from considerable height. Lucy has been at the center of a vigorous debate about the role, if any, that arboreal locomotion played in early human evolution. It is therefore ironic that her death can likely be attributed to injuries resulting from a fall, probably out of a tall tree, thus offering unusual evidence for the presence of arborealism in this species.

Make your Passion your Career: A Discussion of Various Applied Medical Anthropology Projects 

Lisa Henry & Doug Henry, Texas State Anthropology Speaker Series; Texas State Applied AnthropologySpeakers: Lisa Henry | Chair and Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of North Texas &
Doug Henry | Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Programs, University of North Texas
Date and Time: Friday, February 3, 2016 | 3:00 pm
Location: Evans Liberal Arts 114

From the South Pacific to rural Texas, and from North Texas to West Africa, we discuss two careers in Applied Medical Anthropology.  We focus on various projects, got through various combinations of gumption, serendipity, hard work, and occasionally naiveté.  Ours is a “big tent” definition of applied anthropology, running the gamut of “traditional” cultural anthropology on applied topics, to client-based consulting, to community-driven empowerment.  We have worked with traditional healers, the United Nations, rural “PA’s,” paramedics, patients with disordered sleep, Hunger Coalitions, HIV providers, refugees, County Health Departments, the World Health Organization, and Emergency Medical Systems.  The common thread has been to use the methods and analytical frames of Medical Anthropology to analyze what happens when things don’t go as expected, improve things, and to make life better for those around us. 

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Common Forensic Protocols and Strategies for the Identification of Dead Migrants

Annalisa CappellaSpeaker: Annalisa Cappella | Post-doc researcher, LABANOF (Laboratorio di Antropologia e Odontologia Forense), Department of Biomedical Science for Health, University of Milan (Italy)
Visiting Scholar, Fulbright-Schuman Program, Texas State University
Date and Time: Friday, March 3 | 3:00 pm
Location: Evans Liberal Arts 225

Hundreds of thousands of victims from Africa and the Middle East are fleeing war and violation of human rights via the Mediterranean Sea. Recently, the increase of this migratory flow has caused a humanitarian tragedy with global implications, resulting often in an “epidemic” of deaths. Many of the bodies recovered are unidentified, and so far no proper actions have been taken in Europe on a large scale for dealing with this issue, except for an initial, isolated attempt in Italy. In the past few years, the Italian Government’s Office of the Commissioner for Missing Persons together with the University of Milan, specifically with LABANOF (Laboratorio di Antropologia e Odontologia Forense), started a pilot project focused on the identification of a large number of victims who died in three recent, major shipwrecks which occurred in the Mediterranean Sea.

The activities performed in this Italian experience represented an important precedent and effort in Europe, demonstrating it to be a significant step towards a potential standard for the management of future similar emergencies. It also highlighted the complexity of the problem from a logistic, administrative, technical and legal point of view. The OpID project carried out by FACTS at Texas State University represents a US model with which to compare the Italian project: sharing such experiences may be useful for developing solutions that should be adopted also in other European Countries with the intent to achieve higher percentages of success in the personal identification of dead migrants.

Andrew Richardson, Texas State Anthropology Speaker Series; Texas State Applied AnthropologyOn the Edge of Rome: a late Iron Age and Roman Centre of Power on Britain's Channel Coast

Speaker: Andrew Richardson | Outreach and Archives Manager, Canterbury Archaeological Trust
Date and Time: Thursday, April 13, 2017 | 3:00 pm
Location: Evans Liberal Arts 114

This lecture will outline discoveries made since the 1920's at East Wear Bay, Folkestone, England. The site, which is situated on the cliff top overlooking the English Channel, with the coast of France easily visible on clear days, has produced evidence of a remarkable prehistoric and Roman settlement. Whilst human activity at the site may date back as far as the Upper Palaeolithic, over 10,000 years ago, the height of activity seems to have been around 2,000 years ago, in the decades between Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul (modern France and Belgium) and the Roman invasion of Britain under the Emperor Claudius in AD 43. During this time, East Wear Bay appears to have become one of the key points of contact between late Iron Age Britain and the Roman world. Today, an annual training excavation, the East Wear Bay Archaeological Field School, takes place every summer, with students from Texas State attending in 2015-16. This internationally important site is threatened by coastal erosion, and the talk will outline work to date and future plans to excavate the threatened areas before they are lost to the sea.

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For information concerning the speakers series contact Dr. Nicole Taylor at