San Diego City College Student Journal of Anthropology
Edited by Camila Zacharko
Published by Arnie Schoenberg
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
Foreword by Camila Zacharko
This first year I've attended City College has been full of unexpected and newfound interests within the study of Anthropology. The experience has created a more enthusiastic and wider view of the world we inhabit because rarely does a class go in depth of our human evolution or examination of the study of our cultures and applies our knowledge base. An interest in our human experience runs deep and the application of scientific and humanistic elements makes this field unique. It is this bond that refines our research and can lead to unlimited pathways of exploration. It is not always easy to ask forbidden questions like how did cognition in our early ancestors arise? How did language ever appear in the history of mankind? We are as curious at these monumental milestones as our early ancestors were in the dark before the invention of fire. Even in the modern way of life, we are asking tough questions of ourselves as members of a family, a new generation, and the traditions we hold in our own cultures.
The Anthropology Journal has been an opportunity to share students' work in the fields of anthropology and of topics continually growing in our community at San Diego City College. We are often seeking the investigation that fuels our curiosity and effectively improving our understanding of who we are through more interpretation of data and perspectives than ever before. These are student essays that dig deeper and more precisely into the primate behavior through observation, the genetics behind skin color, the physiological adaptations and tools that precursed language, and the spread of infectious diseases within the physical anthropology section. An interest in applied and medical anthropology is found in particular essays. The Hepatitis A epidemic in San Diego from one year ago is revisited as its recovery process is tracked. Another essay covers genetics from Mendel to the changing of agricultural anthropology and sustainability throughout its history in which cultivation and methods are examined.
The essays presented in cultural anthropology explore mainly the family as social roles comparing from other generations and cultures than the author's own. I was very fortunate to attend a cultural night in Tijuana, Mexico to have heard and rejoiced with the Haitian immigrants there. I was learning about the survival of these people's struggles and hard working ethics, but was also warmly welcomed and discovered their talents in writing, cuisine, and dance. In recent years in the U.S., same sex parenting has been obscure to many people and one essay identifies from a parent's perspective of the raising of children in their interview with a same sex couple. In another interview, a granddaughter meets with her grandparents who had lived in the times of socialist Ukraine and is seeing through their stories a more lived historical experience than one could through a book of history. A comparison of family values is presented in the other works historically and cross culturally within more areas of the world that are of socioeconomic poverty and these deeply connect to the writer as she reflects on her own role in a family.
Together, these essays combine a knowledge of the world we live in as better informed citizens than the day before. Our abilities to recognize our past, the evolving nature of humanity, and the characteristics that make us human are the roots to our identity that can shape our present and future. The advancement of research and the perseverance in exploration guides us to understand our story and diversity that may be shared with all the more curious peoples.
~Camila Zacharko, Editor.
Primate Observation Project
If a human was very muscular, like a bodybuilder, and covered head-to-toe in black hair, what would that human look like? Well most people would agree that particular person would look like a gorilla. Humans and gorillas are cousins of one another and share very similar traits. When observing gorillas, you are able to notice that they communicate via speech and body language. Gorillas also have the ability to walk on two legs, however, they generally move on all fours. They also have a unique diet, which surprises most people. Lastly, gorillas have opposable thumbs and can use tools. During my time researching the gorillas at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, I was able to notice almost all of these traits. My research propelled me to dig deeper into the similarities and differences of humans and gorillas.
On March 17th, 2018, I went to the Wild Animal Park in San Diego to analyze and study the similarities of gorillas and humans. I was able to gather field notes, which consisted of gorilla activity between 12pm to 2pm. The climate of the day was warm, about 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, no clouds, no humidity, and no noticeable winds. The size of the enclosure for the gorillas seemed to be 60-70 yards by 30 yards from my observation. The enclosure had 3 large trees, a giant dome, a cave, grass fields, a hillside to the right, and also several hammocks and toys. There were five gorillas in the exhibit that I was able to observe that day. One very large silverback male gorilla, one female gorilla, one elder male gorilla, one adolescent male gorilla (teenage), and one baby gorilla (1-year-old male or female.)
While observing the gorillas, I was able to see how gorillas communicate. If you think about a human and how they communicate, you would say they speak to communicate. However, there are more ways to communicate than just speech. Body language and touching are other forms of communication that humans and gorillas use. While at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, on several instances I noticed the younger gorillas playing with each other by the larger gorilla hitting the smaller gorilla like he was bongo drums. This showed me that the larger young gorilla was trying to communicate/interact with the other gorilla to play or be active. Suppose the larger gorilla could talk like humans, he could've just asked the other gorilla if he would like to play rather than playing him like a pair of bongo drums. I was also able to notice the body language of the silverback gorilla; the alpha male. He was the largest gorilla in the exhibit, walked around slow, was always alert, large chested, and continually made eye contact with other gorillas. From his body language, the other gorillas knew not to mess around with him. During lunch time, all the gorillas ate together except for the silverback gorilla. The silverback ate on the other side of the pen. From his body language, the other gorillas knew to stay away from him and let him eat in peace. From the examples above, I was able to observe that touching and body language were how gorillas communicate primarily.
Although I was not able to observe any vocalized communication between the gorillas at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, it is still a very important part of communication for gorillas. According to Dr. Wilson, professor at Moorpark College, gorilla communication is the most vital form of communication. For example, he talks about how a baby gorilla will cry and whimper if it needs help from its mother. When the mother hears the whimpering, the mother goes to help the baby. Suppose the mother were to ignore the baby when it is whimpering, this could lead to the baby possibly dying if something were wrong with it. This is the same type of communication and vocalization that human babies and mothers use. Additionally, Dr. Wilson explains grunting between gorillas. Gorillas will often grunt to acknowledge each other and to know where everyone is. If a gorilla grunts and doesn't hear a grunt back, then he will have to look up and have to find where his other gorillas are at. This is also a similar trait that humans and gorillas share, although humans normally don't grunt, but say something along the lines of, where are you. Vocalization may be the most vital form of communication between gorillas.
When I was at the Wild Animal Park, I noticed how the gorillas walked and moved. For the gorillas that were moving around, they typically were walking on fours. They would use their knuckles as feet, however when it came to feeding time, then they would use their hands like hands. On multiple occasions, I saw the gorillas rise up on two feet like a person. What I found incredibly remarkable,g was a gorilla walking about 10 meters on two legs. I always thought gorillas stayed on all fours, but this gorilla was walking like a human for a short time. While I was observing the gorillas, there was not a whole lot of activity. Therefore, I was not able to observe their speed or how they ran. When observing humans and gorillas in relation to how they walk and move, there is obviously a significant difference. Humans are bipedal and are slower and worse at climbing than gorillas. However, Humans have very good use of tools due to our hands, which we do not use for walking on and we can travel longer distances than gorillas.
Gorillas are not known for their use of tools. Unlike chimpanzees, however, there is evidence that gorillas do use tools. The only use of tools I was able to witness was one of the gorillas putting a rag on top of his head. However, according to John Roach, gorillas in the wild have been seen to find large sticks to gage the depth of rivers before crossing (Wild Gorillas Use Tools, Photos Reveal, Roach.) Additionally, gorillas have been seen digging with sticks and uprooted stumps in order to find food and herbs. This was a huge finding because before this research gorillas were not known to be able to use tools of this complexity. The use of tools for gorillas is possible because of the opposable thumb that gorillas and humans have. With opposable thumbs, you are able to grip objects, such as sticks and stones, and use them to manipulate objects. Opposable thumbs are one of the greatest similarities that humans and gorillas share. Overall, although gorillas are not known to use tools, researchers are continually finding more evidence to show that gorillas do in fact use tools.
Humans are well known for their use of tools. The ability to use tools and our high intelligence is what separates us from any animal on this planet. Humans are able to build and construct massive structures, create medicine to heal, create super weapons for combat, and even constructed rocket ships to land on the moon. It is clear that no other animal comes close to humans in the ability to use tools. However, this process took time to accomplish. About 2.5 million years ago is when the ancestor of humans began to use stone tools (Early Human Evolution: Early Human Culture, O'Neil.) Any Animal that uses tools is comparable to humans because tools are the reason why humans are so dominant in nature. This is why we compare humans and gorillas and say the two species are similar.
While I was at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, I was able to see the trainers feed the gorillas. All of the gorillas except for the alpha male headed toward the left side of the exhibit to be fed. The majority of the food they were eating that day was celery and lettuce. The alpha male remained on the right side of the exhibit while a trainer personally fed him from above. He was eating celery, lettuce, and apples. The gorillas ate an alarming amount of plant-based food, but it still shocked me because the gorillas are so muscular. I asked the question, how can gorillas maintain their physique by just eating apple, celery, and lettuce? When a human just eats fruits and vegetables for their diet, they are relatively healthy but skinny and lean on muscle. The gorillas remain much more muscular because of how they digest their food and also the amount of food they eat. On average, gorillas eat up to 40 pounds of food a day (Gorilla, Wikipedia.) With this in mind, it doesn't surprise me that gorillas are the size that they are.
In the wild, gorillas have a diet with more variety than just celery, apples and lettuce. According to SeaWorld, Western Low-Land Gorillas will eat up to 97 types of plant species, all types of fruits and vegetables, stems, and also bugs. You will rarely see a gorilla drinking water from a lake, pond, or any water source because gorillas get most of their water intake from the food that they eat. From the information above, you can clearly see how different the diet is from a gorilla and a human. Humans diet ranges from region to region, however most humans do eat meat. Nutrition is still a very understudied science in today's world, and its difficult to say if meat is actually good for a person to eat. If a giant gorilla does not need meat in order to survive, does a human need meat? In my personal opinion, I think it is healthier for a person to go without meat and to eat a vegetarian diet, like gorillas. With the vastly different diets between humans and gorillas, maybe one day humans can learn from gorillas about nutritional health.
Spending my time at the San Diego Wild Animal Park was a great experience to learn and educate myself about gorillas. I witnessed and researched how gorillas communicate with each other by body language and vocalization. Seeing this allowed me to draw comparisons on how humans communicate via body language. I was also able to see the movement of the gorillas and their ability to walk on two legs. When you see a gorilla walking on two legs, you really can't help yourself from seeing how human that gorilla looks. Researching how gorillas use tools in order to check the depth of the river before crossing displayed the intellect of gorillas. As I mentioned earlier, 2.8 million years ago humans were just starting to use tools. Who knows when gorillas will start using stone tools. Lastly, I went over the health and nutrition of gorillas. Humans and gorillas eat some of the same things except humans eat meat and much less food. From contrasting humans and gorillas, I was able to see humans are very similar to gorillas. Before going to the zoo, I thought gorillas were very different based on the way they looked. Overall, on a purely observational basis, I found that gorillas and humans have a good amount of qualities in common.
1. O'Neil, Dennis. "Early Human Evolution: Early Human Culture." Human Biological
Adaptability: Skin Color as an Adaptation, Jan. 2012, www2.palomar.edu/anthro/homo/homo_4.htm.
2. Roach, John. "Wild Gorillas Use Tools, Photos Reveal." National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 30 Sept. 2005, news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/09/0930_050930_gorilla_tool.html.
3. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. "Diet & Eating Habits." Animals: Explore. Discover. Connect., seaworld.org/animal-info/animal-infobooks/gorilla/diet-and-eating-habits/.
3."Gorilla." Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 12 May 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorilla.
4. Wilson, Gary, director. Zoo Animals : How Do Gorillas Communicate? YouTube, EHow, 7 July 2009, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPfq1urFCyQ.
If we could bring a Neanderthal to these days, could he or she be able to learn a language? This is a very interesting question. Neanderthals are very known in pop culture and movies for their very similar features to the humans' features. In order to deep more into what led humans to language and its evolution, we can analyze some aspects of the book The Singing Neanderthals: The origins of music, language, mind and body written by Steven Mithen. The book begins with some explanations about the human ability to make music which is a very mysterious and wonderful characteristic of humans. Mithen supports his research and thoughts with the subfields of Anthropology, such as linguistics and paleoanthropology, and other other sciences, such as psychology. However, music involves language, and language involves the development of the human body and mind. Indeed, I mainly focus in language and two of the characteristics that occurred in humankind, the development of the human body and mind, to support the features that could affect the progression of human capacity to communicate through language. In the book, Mithen compares different researchers' ideas, and he identifies some of the factors that could be an influence for the development and evolution of language.
An important aspect of physical anthropology is that it sees the world as an outsider, but it exists as part of the culture. Even though physical anthropology is very related to other sciences and what they study, it differs from other sciences because it emphasizes in genealogy and holism. Genealogy, according to the Cambridge dictionary, studies the history of the past and present members of a family or family. Holistic means that all the parts of anthropology are interconnected and explicable. More specifically, the book's topics fit into some subfields of physical anthropology: Cultural Anthropology, Linguistics, and Cognitive Linguistics. These three subfields of anthropology are very important throughout the textbook. Cultural anthropology is explained as the development of human societies and their culture. While cultural anthropology studies human societies and culture, linguistics studies language and its structure, and cognitive linguistics studies the connections between language and the mind. Without language, none of these three subfields would ever occur. In the textbook, we read that, "The evolution of the human capacity for language is tied to the development of encephalization and culture. You need a brain to process language, and language enables complex cultural transmission" (Schoenberg). The connection between language, the brain, and the way it occurred for social and cultural transmission played a big role in language evolution.
One of the factors that influenced the development of language is segmentation. In the book, The Singing Neanderthals, we see this important factor that might influenced the evolution of language. Mithen incorporates Alice Wray's research in the book. Alice Wray researches the evolution of language, and she found many ideas that connect with Mithen's research. She implements the term segmentation that describes the process where early humans began to separate holistic phrases into separate units. After this, each of this unit has its own meaning which then could be recombined to create more and more combinations. In this part of the language development, compositionality started to emerge. Mithen takes this idea of segmentation and implements it to his idea of the evolutionary precursor to language which he calls the 'Hmmmmm'. Holistic, Manipulative, Multi-Modal, Musical, and Mimetic is the full term for 'Hmmmmm'. "This was the type of communication system used by the immediate ancestors of Homo Sapiens in Africa, although in a form less highly evolved than among the Neanderthals in Europe" Mithen said. He argues that 'Hmmmmm' and the way that the early humans used it, according to his theory, it provided the evolutionary basis for language. We all use language. It can be signed or spoken, but language is there.
Another physical factor that probably influenced in the development of human language is body language. Body language is used even today and it's a basic ability that every human has. In the book, The Singing Neanderthals, the author, Steven Mithen, comes up with the human necessity to connect language with gestures. He calls these connections associations, and associations are the connections between the sounds, the meaning of the sounds, and gestures with language. He stated that, "These non-arbitrary associations would have significantly increased the likelihood that the particular phonetic segments would eventually come to refer to the relevant entities and hence to exist as words, as compared with the entirely chance associations" and then added, "The likelihood would have been further increased by the use of gesture and body language, especially if a phonetic segment of an utterance regularly occurred in combination with a gesture pointing to some entity in the world" Mithen explains that the early humans started to associate the sounds they emitted with physical things and actions. Probably, many of these sounds had similarities with the sounds they already heard. The sound of the animal is an example. We can compare this with the young kids who are in the stage of language learning nowadays. They imitate the sound of a dog or a cat, and they call them "Guau, Guau" or "Meow". And even though this sound might be very clear to understand it's meaning, we assume that the early humans also described the sound with their body. The book refers to them as Non-arbitrary associations. Even though this associations are difficult to prove, they exist in today's world.
In addition, body advancement is an important factor that could influence in the development of human language. In order to speak using our voice, we need parts of the body such as the brain, larynx, vocal cords, tongue, lips, etc. Even though language is so complex to understand, we know what parts of the body take a roll for language. In the article, "The Eloquent Ape: genes, brains and the evolution of language" the authors, Simon Fisher and Gary Marcus discuss the physical changes that might play a role in the development and evolution of human language. The authors write that, "Although studies of fossilized hominid skeletons have provided evidence about the position of the larynx, degree of tongue innervation and sophistication of breathing control during human evolution, the significance of these changes for the emergence of language remains highly controversial" The evidence for that argument to be supported is not very concrete. Researchers and scientists have been arguing about it and they haven't get into a concrete conclusion. However, in the book The Singing Neanderthals Mithen argues that the first humans to use language habituated in Africa 200,000 years ago. He says that the Homo ergaster had a form of communication similar to the 'Hmmmmmm' by 1.8 millions years ago. Interestingly, the Neanderthals had a communication system very similar and it was 250,000 years ago. It had to be a change in their bodies for language development. Although suggesting that these human-like species had language might be true, there should be a breaking point where it was an explosion of language. There should had been a moment where the processes of communication were required to survive that their bodies started to adapt to it, changed, and developed to produce what we now call language.
Moreover, self talking was probably a main influence in the development of language. Talking to oneself is an activity many people do and mostly when they're develop language abilities. For example, when children grow up, they say what they think. Even though their communication abilities are not fully developed, they can communicate in a way that they share their thoughts to themselves first. Although it might be weird to think about it, we can think of it as practice. And something truly interesting is that when they are babies, their sounds can get what they want. It's like magic. They say milk, and they get milk from their parents. For this reason, the relationship between language and the brain is very important; it has a big impact in the development of language. Mithen suggests that the first segmented linguistic phrases, related with the cognitive aspects of the brain, benefitted early humans in the development of the parts of the brain that help in problem-solving and planning. He stated, "Private speech may have been crucial in the development of a compositional language to sufficiently complex a state for it to become a meaningful vehicle for information exchange" Meaning that private speech helped in the development of sounds' groups, named phrases, that give meaning, and it is used as a tool for communication.
Additionally, there is a very important social factor that influenced the evolution of language; Social Learning. As humans, we tend to copy, imitate and learn from others. When we first see someone using a knife to peel a mango, we tend to imitate or copy it, so that then, we learn how to do it by ourselves. It is very interesting how we are the only ones who do this behavior. In Mark Pagel's Ted Talk, "How Language Transformed Humanity" he discusses social learning and defines it. Mark Pagel, as an Evolutionary Biologist, suggests that social learning is visual theft. He says that we steal what we see. If this behavior happened 200,000 years ago, it certainly had to be an important factor for the evolution of language. As he mentions, chimpanzees lack of this behavior. We can analyze chimpanzees for hundreds and hundreds of years to see if they learn this behavior, but they will actually do the same behavior they always do. It means that if a chimpanzee uses a rock to open a nut, even though it sees a human using something else, it will not learn it and practice it; the chimpanzee will be using the rock to open the nut for many years over and over again. Chimpanzees lack of social learning. However, Pagel also talks about the Homo erectus and the Neanderthals. He says that these two groups also lacked of social learning or visual theft. His thinking for stating this is that he says that they made the same tools over and over again for all the generations. This could be probably a consequence of not socializing with other tribes or groups. Pagel suggests that humans had two ways to choose. On the one hand, they could go to family groups and pass the knowledge of social learning only inside the family or, on the other hand, they could develop the systems of communication making cooperative societies. We chose the second option and language is a result which resolved the crisis of visual theft. To wrap up what Pagel argues, he states, "Language is the voice of our genes". Since our genes tell the history of the past and of our ancestors, language communicates that knowledge over the generations. Even though language changes over and over the years, it still has something that the first speakers did which is visual learning.
In conclusion, language is a huge topic. Language is very interesting, and the different factors that created language are even more interesting in my opinion. All of these factors are constantly being tested, and even though there is no concrete proof that language evolved and was created in a certain way, it is arguable that all of this factors contributed to its evolution. I wonder what would happen if a Neanderthal would be in the modern world with us. Would he or she be able to learn our language?
1. Fisher, Simon E. and Gary F. Marcus. "The Eloquent Ape: Genes, Brains and the Evolution of Language." Nature Reviews Genetics, vol. 7, no. 1, Jan. 2006, pp. 9-20. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1038/nrg1747. Print.
2. Mithen, Steven J. The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind, and Body. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005. Print.
3.Pagel, Mark. "How Language Transformed Humanity." TED TALKS. July 2011.
4. Schoenberg, Arnie. Introduction to Physical Anthropology. San Diego: Arnie Schoenberg, 2018. www.arnieschoenberg.com/anth/bio/intro/index.html. Web.
Today, there are multiple industries that specialize in assisting farmers with advancing practices for sustainable agriculture. Prehistoric practices have been adapted and regulated and over the centuries have been improved upon. For that reason, prehistoric anthropology can be utilized to understand the process of domestication, which holds much importance to past and current civilizations. Identifying adaptations throughout the Post-Pleistocene allows prehistoric anthropologists to identify important cultural systems that help shed light on the misconceptions associated with the term culture. Past agricultural practices had eventually led to advancements and improvements within agriculture. These improvements would be beneficial for pre-civilizations because they were able to develop an early form of sustainable agriculture. On the other hand, Bob Netting ideologies inform us on the importance of agricultural anthropology for applying academic principles in farming practices. In spite of this, every year farmers and agricultural businesses spend billions of dollars on agrochemicals. This was not always the case as agrochemicals did not become a trending topic until after the end of World War ll. The United States took this opportunity and found a way to get rid of excess petroleum that had not been used in the war. For this reason, the U.S used this as their cover to promote the use of insecticides and pesticides in farming practices. Currently, this boils down to corporate greed and nothing seems to change our views though nothing can be done if scientists are blackmailed and paid to keep quiet. This is why corporations such like Monsanto can utilize and promote positive agenda towards GMOs.
Contributions from Darwin, Mendel, and other researchers assisted in the development of agriculture. Darwin contributions to agriculture was identifying the process used by farmers and animal breeders to change a species was considered a natural phenomenon. This suggests that competition in a particular niche with limited resources will ultimately choose an individual more fit or suitable for that environment. This phrase was coined, natural selection. (Schoenberg, 2.2.2) Natural Selection is the process in which "individuals and those with variation that make them more fit to surviving in a certain environment tend to survive and reproduce." More importantly, by further adapting on Darwin's principles, cultivators can be in a better position to identify sought after traits. For starters, it's important to acknowledge our previous agriculture failures such as identifying why prehistoric grains began developing undesirable traits. These undesirable traits include being heavy and floppy which is one of the main reasons grains could not be properly cultivated or more often than not it would completely render the crop useless as it could not withstand the forces of nature. These concepts can be further applied to humans as Mendel's principles would later be implemented and used in Punnett Squares and would later be adapted by Hardy-Weinberg. For example, Mendel adaptations on Darwin's works had formulated a clear understanding of the basic components of Recessive and Dominant Traits. However, Mendel's principles of inheritance has revolutionized biology. (Schoenberg,220.127.116.11) This was achieved by ignoring all factors that are subjective and only identifying and focusing on the "first characteristics" within pea plants. (Schoenberg, 18.104.22.168) Therefore, Mendelian Genetics helped establish the context for understanding the processes of trait inheritance and selective breeding, which is the essential breeding processes utilized by farmers and breeders.
On the other hand, agricultural anthropology is a term coined by Robert Rhoades and can be defined as the study in which humans identify situations and processes in relation to farming action. Agricultural anthropology is important as it stresses the importance for agricultural biodiversity conservation, which can be utilized to identify processes associated with the plant kingdom and livestock diversity. This is why the term agrodiversity can be implemented to explain and understand crop biodiversity. By understanding crop diversity, we can acknowledge the effects that particular crops pose on select regions. For example, the growing need for luxury plant based products such as palm oil leads to deforestation further causing biodiversity loss and eventually pushes primates to extinction. More importantly, sustainable agriculture provides us with the basic human necessities and has been heavily debated. This allows us to gain environmental feedback, which can help us identify how particular agricultural systems affect our environment. For that reason, palm oil plantations pose serious health risks for a variety of plant and animal species. For instance, Bob Netting explains how sustainable agriculture will be primarily dependent on our ability to understand the important demands and the identification and application of common principles associated with agricultural resources. This further allows for positive advances in agricultural anthropology, which can be achieved by further adapting traditions by using and implementing other relevant ideologies.
However, Winston identifies that genetically modified crops fall under the jurisdiction of EPA's pesticide advisers. This pesticide is commonly used and is referred to as Bacillus Thuringiensis. With this in mind, Bacillus Thuringiensis creates potential hazards for beneficial organisms such as "butterflies and moths."This allows us to identify the dangers associated with GMOs and their importance within agriculture. This is why we must understand the expansion of agriculture. We are able to identify harmful practices, consequences, and important factors associated with genetic engineering. On the other hand, Richard Schiffman identifies problems and incidents related to the Monsanto Corporation who are currently suing a Native American farmer for obtaining and planting their soybeans without consent. The Native American farmer acquired the seeds from a second hand dealer and not Monsanto. Additionally, these soybeans were found to have been genetically modified. This case is noteworthy because it helps uncover the danger and repercussions that come along with "Genetically modified organisms." Richard Schiffman then begins to point out that eight European nations have enforced policies that strictly prohibit the use of GM's (Genetically modified) practices on their geographical regions and banned the importation of foods which contain GM's. (Schiffman;1) Additional farmers, like the Native American case example, are encountering the same problems including individuals who have no associations with the agricultural industry.
Meanwhile, "Prehistoric anthropology" by Struever discusses the importance of domestication and how it is considered the premise of civilization. Ultimately, this resulted in the diversity and adaptation of plant species into different environments and for these reasons extreme varieties exists among a single species. (Sturver, 8) For that reason, "Man" remains in control of the domestication of plants as they are essential for providing a basic source of food energy. This process occurs when a "plant captures radiant energy of the sun and reorganize and store it in the production of seeds and vegetable matter." This is essential for biodiversity in all regions, as the consumption of plants and seeds is a basic necessity and of importance to animals because they can store the energy they receive from the plants. (Struever, 10)
On the other hand, the Post-Pleistocene era helps current researchers in distinguishing the significant "cultural differences and similarities in different places and different times." (Struever, 34) This is accomplished by ignoring the misconception associated with the meaning of culture, which can be thoroughly understood by understanding that culture is composed of all things, which cannot be genetically controlled. This process is identified as extra somatic and seems to serve purposes such as altering individuals or groups within their ecological community. The term "effect environment" is used to describe the processes that change within an effective environment, which undergoes a series of changes to "boundaries of the ecological community,but also the internal organization of the community." The importance of cultural systems and their association with man to habitat allows an equilibrium to be produced among man and habitat, unless it has been interrupted by new factors. (Binford, 37) Some examples of cultural systems include "the same gross environment but occupying different ecological niches would be the commonly occurring case where horticulturalists and hunters and gatherers live side by side."(Struever, 35) However, the lack of stability by adaptation create issues such as members being susceptible to strong selective pressures for developing new practices on gathering food.( Struever, 37)
These ideologies eventually led to the development and overall improvement within agriculture. These improvements and adaptations had been the underlying reason for the development of settlement pattern during the post-pleistocene era. However, around 1500 B.C to A.D 200, known as the Formative period agriculture, had primarily been based on hybridized maize, which held great importance for providing a great source of energy in comparison to other time periods. (Flannery, 137) Another important factor, which had been introduced to the region of Tehuacan was the conceptual understanding of irrigation and its importance for food production, which consequently had been replaced by "extensive plant collecting and hunting." (Flannery,137) This basic understanding of irrigation has improved farming practices by developing more fundamental techniques such as drip irrigation, which is currently used habitually and has been an accepted practice for decades. For this purpose, Archaeological records can be used to identify the process in which "teosinte was selected over thousands of years and became corn." (Schoenberg, 2.2.2) Subsequently, The cultivation of wild ancestor maize and the basic understanding of various agricultural methods allowed pre-civilizations to develop an early form of sustainable agriculture. MacNeish, who had once predicted that he would be the first to discover "the origins of Maize culture in the New World", has stated that he has found wild ancestor of maize, which had been domesticated in the Tehuacan Valley sometime in the beginning of the 5th millennium. (MacNeish,135) For instance, geographic locations that exist in Tehuacan are generally desert regions and researchers have discovered a total of four microenvironments. Therefore, pre-civilizations were able to develop a form of sustainable agriculture by utilizing and understanding the cultivation and exportation of food resources all year-around. First off, the Alluvial valley floor, which is a level plain, provided a niche suitable for cultivating primitive maize. However, this maize must be cultivated in areas that are more susceptible to heavy rainfalls. (Flannery, 136) Second, the Travertine slopes located on the west side of the valley were useful because the geographical location was ideal for cultivating maize and tomatoes or could be suitable for capturing cottontail rabbits. In addition, the eroded canyons had been an ideal location to cultivate an abundance of seasonal crops. However, since the eroded canyons were inhabited by a small percentage of individuals with limited resources, they participated in the consumption and chewing of various plant species. This further supports the idea that life as a new world's first farmer had not been that different from their counterpart the Great Basin aborigines.
According, to Carl O. Sauer Planting and plant selection explains man's interest with the monsoon lands, which was home to asexual plant reproduction. In other words, a clone is essentially a newer piece of an existing plant that can be placed into the ground in order to produce a new plant, which shares the same genetic traits with their parents. The process of cloning a plant is tedious although it begins by first separating the root stock,, which can be done by carefully cutting the newer forming stems. Asexual reproduction allows one plant to be infinitely divided and multiplied which essential grants the cultivator an exact replica or copy of the parent plant rather than a variant progeny. More importantly, since seeds are not currently of interest to cultivators,, this potentially can create problems with the propagation of seeds. (Sauer,412) On the other hand, it important to note that asexual plant reproduction does not occur by meiosis but by syngamy, which is a reproductive process where two cells come together to form an union. For that reason, the depletion of new genetic material allows organisms to produce an exact genetic copy. Furthermore, we must first identify the positive and negative advantages of asexual reproduction. One advantageous example includes its potential to rapidly develop individuals in massive quantities. Other advantages exist due to the fact that particular plant species that have desired characteristics or traits, which can be cloned for economic or agricultural reasons. However, the negative aspect associated with asexual reproduction are fatal mutations, which can completely alter the entire population of clones. These reasons have prompted farmer to carefully identify how to propagate their cuttings. (UCMP)
Moreover man-made plants or cultigens have origins that exist in eastern India. For example, eastern India houses important Monocotyledons and the first generation of bananas. Recent genetic studies allow us to further understand the variations that exist within Asiatic bananas by disregarding past views associated with distinguishing the difference between bananas and plantains. The utilization of cultigens allowed these inhabitants a way to provide sustainable food sources. (Sauer, 413) With this in mind, it important to acknowledge that plants serve multi-purposes and has been traditionally utilized by fishing communities in order to provide starch and material for making nets, lines or in order to produce beneficial drugs and poisons. More importantly, this suggests that the production of food is one of the primary reasons for the cultivation of plants. (Sauer, 414) However, there are many questions left unanswered and researchers like Sauer are still trying to uncover the abilities of primitive man as an empirical chemist. Their importance led to the discovery of sources of caffeine, rotenone,, and alkaloids. This is why modern geneticist are still unclear on the process of plant succession and further denying ideologies creates a distorted image, which lacks historical perspective and ignores the ingenuity of man. (Mangelsdorf, 422)
Agricultural Anthropology was developed by Robert Rhoades and can be defined as "the relative, naturalized study, which includes humans taking a look into matters such as farming action, which primarily focuses on the communications of atmosphere, technology, and lifestyle within local and international meals systems." However, agricultural anthropology views do not only focus on "technitechnical process nor even as a techno-economic combination, but can be described as a complex human creation and evolutionary process." Rhoades goes on to explain how agricultural anthropology was developed, which had been the result of the integration of agriculture and anthropology, which was utilized to identify and solve issues using academic and farming practices. On the other hand, agricultural anthropology puts a heavy emphasis for preserving agricultural biodiversity or more commonly referred to as Agroecosystems. The term "Agro-ecosystem" can be defined as the selective or pattern, which animals, plants, and microorganism exist in a particular niche. (Convention on Biological Diversity) Rhoades further implies that agricultural biodiversity conservation research methods should shift their attention toward understanding the concepts involved with the plant kingdom and processes associated with livestock diversity.
However, we must first acknowledge that agrobiodiversity controls factors such as genetic variation within agro-ecosystems and crop biodiversity. (Rhoades) Agrobiodiversity currently has been under investigation by other agro anthropologists and by other professions, which may have the same compassion for analyzing crop biodiversity. For example, an Ethnographer named Harrington identified economical uses for agro biodiversity that would ultimately would shift it direct attention from ethnobotany. However, Ethnobiology is the study of the utilization of plant and animal life by primitive people. This is why researchers have been able to identify past selections of crops, which hold momentum value because variabilities that exist can uncover processes associated with risk-management and environmental adaptation. Additional, vulnerabilities exist such as economic, cultural and negative environmental factors, which ultimately affects the ongoing development of agrobiodiversity. More importantly, agro diversity seem to serve as a crucial component to agricultural anthropology because it facilitates more strategic adaptation concepts. (Rhoades)
Currently, we gather food we deem essential and profitable plant based products such as palm oil. For example, habitat loss contributes to deforestation, which creates consequences such as driving primates towards extinction. (Schoenberg,5.2.3) The growing need for basic human necessities and meeting consumer demands for luxury food products creates additional negative environmental effects. (Schoenberg,5.2.3) For that Reason, researchers have developed an integrated pest management that obtains data associated with the estimations of yields, which have been losst due to pests that are detrimental to palm oil plantations. One example, includes a pest called Oryctes Rhinoceros, which has been identified as the primarily culprit for damaging palm oil plantations. The damages inflicted have estimated and exceeded a 25% loss in overall yield that occurs because beetles often attack young palms during early developmental stages. However, these early stages are critical for young palms to be completely pest free because they have not begun fruiting. On the other hand, spraying biological toxins such as rat poison creates further environmental effects. However, because rats have not contributed to more than a 5% loss in palm oil yields no further investigations can be held. With this in mind, it's important to put an emphasis on promoting various pest control methods that are environmentally safe. If we do not control this situation it can potentially be a primary threat to the main crop. More importantly, we are able to identify an effective integrated pest management that must incorporate aspects culturally, biologically, mechanically and physically. However, it important to research other biological agents such as pheromone trapping which can be integrated within palm oil plantations when they have reached an critical level. Pheromone trapping can be simply explained by understanding that pheromones have the potential to lure insects that are deemed harmful or damaging to a variety of crops. With this in mind, it important to utilize various methods for pest control rather than being dependent on biological toxins. (Crop protection division)
Sustainable agriculture provides us with the basic human necessities and has been debated culturally. For this reason, ecological niches, economical matters, legal globalization, and competition for natural resources has ultimately created confusion for establishing an concrete definition for sustainable agriculture. The process of achieving sustainable agriculture begins by first understanding the foundation and factors associated with different agricultural systems and how they affect the environment. Humans are able to gain "environmental feedback" in regards to their agricultural system by processing values, knowledge, and behavior. However, the need for sustainable luxury food products create further negative factors such as the environmental damages caused by palm oil plantations. This further lead to a reduction and loss of important ecosystems in various regions. According to the WWF, the production of palm oil creates many consequences for a variety of plant and animal species. Consequently, this threatens geographic regions containing rare and endangered species. However, the "increase in human-wildlife conflict of populations of large animals" creates issues such as the competition within the environment and can potentially reduce biodiversity in plantations. The lack of awareness for primate conservation has the capability of affecting around a total of 80 mammal species, which are located within the Malaysia primary forest. However, in regards to disturbed forests is home to about 30 mammals species in comparison to palm oil plantations which only have 11 or 12 co-inhabitants. (Wakker,1998) In addition to killing and consuming particular animal species, other problems exist such as humans interests in the pet trade. Therefore, the use of biological toxins such as rat poison can be beneficial while simultaneously poisoning animals who are trying to recognize plantations.
According to Bob Netting, the "earth is a common pool resource to be managed as common property," thus meaning that sustainable agriculture will primarily depend on our capability to understand the important demands and the identification and application of common principles associated with agricultural resources. This can be done by incorporating anthropological theory between legal and ecological theories. (Cleveland & Murray, 1997) However, Nettings' points out the importance and promotes Agricultural anthropology, which instills values that can assist us with identifying factors for current generations. This is why we must identify and understand the misconceptions associated with agricultural anthropologists who are ignorant of natural sciences and engineering. For that reason, they have been reduced to promoting "technitechnical" processes. This is why minimal contributions for developing a positive background for agricultural anthropology outside of anthropological subfields has been an issue. Ultimately, the twenty first century may require us to utilize agricultural anthropology in agricultural science by ignoring internalize perspectives, but rather embracing a postmodern perspective that could potentially improve processes for sustainable agriculture.
Moreover, positive advances in agricultural anthropology must be achieved by further adapting traditions by utilizing other relevant perspectives from humanities and social sciences. It is important to note that Anthropology incorporates many sub-fields and borrows data from other disciplines. (Schoenberg, 2.1) However, by taking a look at various perspectives, we can acknowledge that John Ray was the first to propose the concept of species that currently still used to distinguish different groups of life forms. (Schoenberg, 22.214.171.124) His contributions to agriculture is derived from his book the "History of Plants" where he discusses concepts in relation to categorizing life-forms. (Schoenberg, 126.96.36.199) Although John Ray's disapproved the idea of speciation, we still utilize Ray's ideologies on the concept of species. (Schoenberg, 188.8.131.52)
In fact, Winston's "Travels in the Genetically ModifiedZone" discusses the dangers associated with genetically modified organisms. Bacillus Thuringiensis has been an interest to EPA due to their discovery of insect killing substances that are prevalent in agrochemicals. (Winston, 59) Bacillus Thuringiensis (is a spore forming bacterium that produces crystals protein (cry proteins), which are toxic to many species of insects; UCSD) and has been closely monitored because ironically BT, is considered one of the safest insecticide that has ever been produced. For that reason, it is often promoted and utilized among organic cultivators. However, the problems with BT is not the spraying of the insecticide but the consequences with fusing Bt into genetically modified crops. This is why genetically modified crops pose serious biological risks in comparison to spraying BT because the toxins that are sprayed are active for a few days. (Winston, 59) On the other hand, BT engineered into genetically modified crops has the potential to create effects such as lateral gene transfer. This process is acquired by the consumption of genetically modified crops, which creates health concerns for humans if that gene is to reposition the bacteria in your stomach. (Schoenberg, 184.108.40.206) Having a better understanding of the possibility of lateral gene transfer puts us in a better position to determine the amount of pesticides, which have embedded themselves in our stomach bacteria from the daily consumption of GMOS. More importantly, spraying Bacillus Thuringiensis onto crops creates health concerns due to the concentration of toxic substances, which are found within food.
Another revenant issue regarding Bacillus Thuringiensis is the risk and effect on the biodiversity of animals. Growing concerns among "environmentalists, farmers, and EPA of the prolonged exposure of particular insects to BT toxins has the potential to hurt beneficial organisms such as butterflies and moths." (Winston, 59) However, EPA analyzation on the pros and cons of BT crops during the mid-1900s" granted approval for the use of BT engineered crops in crops such as corn cotton and potatoes. (Winston, 65) However, data acquired allow us to analyze past American agriculture practices that eventually help create resistance management guidelines for all crops that have undergone BT engineering. Research conducted by professor Fred Gould explains that the progression evolution eventually will make insects resistant to agrochemicals and hypothesized the time it may take for pests to become resistance. The relevance of his research assisted in exposing elements only known by evolutionary biologists and had not been yet utilized by industries and farmers. More importantly, his findings give us a better understanding of the need to reduce the use of agrochemicals due to pest resistance. (Winston, 66) This further lead to complications within the agrochemical industry and farmers that have failed to enforce and promote moderation among synthetic chemical pesticides and is a growing epidemic in agriculture. These chemicals are a threat because when abused it can result in permanent loss of species in a particular region. Consequently, a slight percentage of pests may mate with one another other, which has the possibility to alter the next generation making them resistance. By gaining awareness, we can help expose the competition and corporate greed for seed companies like Monsanto, Novartis seeds, Mycogen Dekalb Genetics, (currently associated with Monsanto) and Aventis." In addition, by creating refugees in geographical locations adjacent to the field, it can be grown alongside with varieties that do not contain BT. For that reason, refugees are supposed to inhabit locations where particular pests could live a sustainable life. Furthermore, this may affect the entire population by interbreeding with BT resistance species, which further prevents the trait from becoming dominant. (Winston, 69)
Additionally, The Worldwatch Institute hypothesized that GMO has sparked a new era of feudalism that is not controlled by wealthy landowners, but rather controlled by powerful multinational corporations who have established complete control over the lives and practices of cultivators. This lead to the exposure of agricultural practices by Monsanto, and their utilization of GMOs, which have severe consequences for consumers and more importantly, a negative impact to our environment. He then begins to question farmer's interests in that particular soybean variety and had concluded that seeds were able to withstand countless sprayings by the corporations bestselling herbicide roundup whose active agent is glyphosate. (Schiffman) He further points out that Monsanto claims that GMOs can potentially increase yields, which has not been supported by factual data. By exposing Monsanto practices and having a better understanding of the consequences regarding GMOs, we can change these practices that impact our atmosphere, which negatively impacts our health.
A former research scientist associated with Agriculture Canada gives insight, which declares that "Genetic pollution is so prevalent in North and South America where GM crops are grown that the fields of conventional and organic growers are regularly contaminated." (Vrain, 13) These contaminants are one of the primary biological factors associated with the deterioration of Organic Agriculture practices.(Schiffman, 1) Schiffman further explains that past cultivators often selected seeds with desirable traits. For example, selective breeding was a natural phenomena responsible for the diversity of crops developed by past farmers. This is why it is important for bringing back traditional family agricultural practices and change a system built on greedy corporate practices. As stated in the reading, there are dangers associated with eating genetically modified food. It's like the saying goes, "you are what you eat." (Schoenberg, 220.127.116.11) However, by identifying your explanation on why "there is no way to test every possible combination of that gene" we can further understand how consuming GMOs is like playing a game of "Russian Roulette." (Schoenberg, 18.104.22.168)
Furthermore Bill Freese a scientist policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety uncovered methods which are utilized by Monsanto. Examples include, private investigators hired by the corporation who would use intimidation factors by wrongfully accusing individuals for saving Roundup ready seeds. If the farmers refused to sign these information release forms they would threaten the farmers by closing or repossessing their farms. The majority of the problems stemmed with farmers having to decide whether to stand up to the multinational corporation or risk losing all they have worked for. Monsanto further utilizes counterintelligence practices to closely monitor owners of farming establishments or anyone using their patented seed. Freese then uncovers other unethical methods utilized by Monsanto. These examples include conducting fake surveys, impersonating farmers or surveyor, hiring of retired farmers to act as seed dealers and developing an toll-free (1-800-ROUNDUP.) ( Freese, 2013)
With this in mind, Schiffman provides an excellent example of an individual who has no connections to farmers or the agricultural fields. For example, the Rinehart case is important in the sense that it helps uncover the corrupt practices followed by Monsanto, and because the judge was aware that Rinehart had no associations in the agricultural sector. Cocidentely Monsanto had realized that it had targeted the wrong individual. Another impacting factor was discovered which describes a strain of canola, which took Schmeiser 50 years to develop. He is currently paying a 400,000 fine because he was unable to prove that his strain did not include Monsanto Roundup Ready gene.Many of these incidents occurred as a result of his fields becoming "contaminated by seeds from a neighbor's genetically modified Roundup Ready Canola plants which had been blown onto his land." By gathering data on biological pollution in Mexico, we can have a better understanding of the repercussions associated with "contaminated genes, from transgenic "industrial corn" planted in the nearby fields. This often leads to an effect known cross pollination which occurs when wind carries pollen from one flower to the stigma of another. Therefore, evidence gathered confirms that it has already impacted various regions in Mexico, and evidence gathered suggests that "native corn plants which contained the genetically modified genes." (Vrain, 15)
Although Schiffman and other researchers have concluded that "GM cultivation, with its economies of scale, is proving the latest nail in the coffin of family farming." (Schiffman, 8) However, the reality is that "a small number of "high performing" GMOs increasingly dominate fewer varieties of crops are being planted today than ever before." Many of these statistics are gathered by the United States declination of Agricultural development, which once was a thriving force in the 20th century. For that reason, the greatest impacting factor is "the creativity which fueled thousands of years of farmer experimentation" which essentially becomes useless because cultivators are prohibited from saving or replanting seeds. This puts us in a better position for understanding the consequence associated with GMOs and agrochemicals.
In conclusion, identifying concepts and practices utilized in prehistoric times, we are able to understand why humans began cultivating crops. Unknowingly, this would set up the idea and early concepts for sustainable agriculture. More importantly, identifying primal characteristics and why plants evolved in particular ways allows us to identify important processes such as natural selection and adaptive radiation. For instance, its essential to understand why man began controlling and domesticating plants, because they we aware of the beneficial energy that can be extracted from plants and their geographical importance on a region. All things considered the Post-Pleistocene era let us identify the true meaning of culture which include all ideas which are not under direct genetic control. This can be applied to all individuals or groups within their ecological communities. For example, acknowledging cultural systems that exist between humans and other species that inhabit the same ecological niche, we can understand humans effects on a variety of coexisting lifeforms. Presently, were often unaware or have little regards for the life of other species and more often than not we are disturbing ecological niches. This is why it is important to understand the benefits from restoring traditional family farming practices. For example, permaculture can be an alternative method which can be implemented within sustainable agriculture practices. This is accomplished by utilizing less destructive tactics and letting nature take it course, which has numerous benefits for ecosystems in all walks of life.
1. Carl O. Sauer. Planters Of The Old World and Their Household Animals.
2. Cleveland D.A, Murray S.C. 1997. The World's Crop Genetic Resources And The. Rights. Of Indigenous Farmers. Edited by Current Anthropology 38; 477–515.
3. Crop Protection Division. Control Measures And Integrated Approach For Major Pests. Of Palm Oil Field In Felda. https://www.researchgate.net/profileNoorHishamHamid2/publication xz 258848713_Control_measures_and_integrated_approach_for_major_pests_of_oil_palm_ cxin_FELDA/links/0deec5296890c3d7b6000000/Control-measures-and-integrated-approach-for-major-pests-of-oil-palm-in-FELDA.pdf.
4. David. A Cleveland. "Balancing on a Planet." Toward an Agricultural Anthropology for the Twenty-First Century. Human Ecology. Vol 26, No.2, A Very Human Ecology: Celebrating the work of Robert McC. Netting(June 1988), pp 323-340. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4603282.
5. Gould, Stephen Jay. Time's Arrow Time's Cycle, Myth and Metaphor in the Discovery of Geological Time. 11th ed., Harvard College, 1987, 28 Mar 2018.
6. Kent V. Flannery, Anne V. T. Kirkby, Michael J. Kirkby, Aubrey W. Williams, Jr. Farming systems and political growth in Ancient Oaxaca.
7. Lewis R. Binford. Post-Pleistocene Adaptations. Lewis R. Binford "Archaeological Systems." Theory And Early Mesoamerica.
Natural History Press, 1971.
8. Rhoades, R. E. (1991). The World's Food Supply at Risk. National Geographic 74-105
9. Netting, R. McC. 1974. "Smallholders, Householders." Farm Families and The Ecology Of Intensive, Sustainable agriculture. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.
10. Paul C. Mangelsdorf, "Review." Agricultural Origins And Dispersals. Edited by Carl O. Sauer. Pathway to Sustainable Agriculture. Journal of Sociology and Anthropology no. 1. 2017. 47-52. http://pubs.sciepub.comjsa/1/1/7/
11. Paul C. Mangelsdorf, Richard S. MacNeish, Walton C. Galinat. Domestication Of Corn Paul C. Mangelsdorf, Richard S. MacNeish, Gordan R. Willey. Origins Of Agriculture in Middle America. "Prehistoric Agriculture." Edited by Stuart Struever. Published for American Museum of Natural History.
12. Rhoades, R. E. 2005. "Agricultural Anthropology." In Applied Anthropology: Domains of Application. Edited by S. Kedia, J. V. Willigen. Pp. 61-83. Westport, CT.
13. Rhoades, R.E, Booth, R. H. 1982. "Farmer-Back-to-Farmer." A Model for Generating Acceptable Agricultural Technology. Agricultural Administration, 127-137.
14. Richard Schiffman, Truthout. Evil Monsanto Aggressively Sues Farmers for Saving Seeds. https://www.alternet.org/food/monsantos-rural-police-state,accessed February 20 2018. 15. Sarker, Md Nazirul Islam. 2017. "An Introduction to Agricultural Anthropology.
16. Schoenberg Arnie, Sciencedirect. "Introduction to Physical Anthropology." Section. 22.214.171.124-1.8. Last edited April 24, 2018. Adaptive radiation and coevolution --pollination biology case studies. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1439609204000388#y-id28
17. UCMP Berkeley. Asexual reproduction. http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/glossary/gloss6/asexual.html.
18. U.S Environmental Protection Agency. 1999. EPA and USDA Position Paper On Insect Resistance Management In Bt Crops. Washington. D.C. United States Environmental Protective Services. "Agriculture." Agriculture and Air Quality. https://www.epa.gov/agriculture/agriculture-agriculture-and-air-quality. Convention on biological diversity. What is Agricultural Biodiversity. https://www.cbd.int/agro/whatis.shtml.
19. Wakker Eric. World Agriculture & Environment. 1988.20. Winston, Mark. Travels in the Genetically Modified Zone. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005. WWF. Palm Oil & Biodiversity Loss. http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/footprint/agriculture/about_palm_oil/environmental_impacts/biodversity_loss/.
Physical anthropology and human variation is concerned with the study of human biological and physiological characteristics and development. In regards to that human skin color, and melanin will be the main focus. Human skin color ranges in varieties of darker brown to the lightest hues. The pigmentation is the result of the genetics, being the product of both of the individual's biological parent's genetic makeup. Skin color is determined by many things. A major component is the pigment melanin. Melanin is mainly produced in skin in cells called melanocytes, which determines the hue of your skin color. Darker skinned individuals have more melanin, whereas lighter skinned, and white individuals have less melanin. Why is that? Human pigmentation is determined by two vital elements produced by natural selection to regulate the levels of indigenous pigmentation to the levels that fit the ultraviolet radiation they are subject to. One factor was generated by high ultraviolet radiation near the equator and led to the evolution of dark, photoprotective, eumelanin-rich pigmentation (Jablonski.) The other was produced by the requirement for ultraviolet B photons to sustain cutaneous photosynthesis of vitamin D3 in low ultraviolet B environments, and resulted in the evolution of depigmented skin, or the lighting of the skin (Jablonski.) Therefore there is a direct correlation between the geographic areas and the amount of ultraviolet radiation the area gets, and the pigmentation of the humans who reside there. Melanin's predominant function is to protect the skin from damage of the harsh rays of the sun, but the evolution of melanin codes for many other beneficial attributes. This includes the protection from sunburn and skin cancer, the protection against nutrient (folate) photolysis, and has benefits for vitamin D synthesis. Understanding the benefits and the origins of melanin are crucial in understanding your anatomy, as well as others, and in understanding where skin coloration comes from.
Melanin is a term for a batch of natural pigments found in almost all organisms. Melanin is manufactured by the combination of the amino acid tyrosine, which is trailed by polymerization. Amino acid tyrosine is a one of the many amino acids that are conducted by the cells to synthesize proteins, whereas polymerization is the process of reacting monomer molecules in attempt to create a chemical reaction. Melanin pigments are constructed in a very special group of melanin performing cells, normally found in the skin called melanocytes. There are three fundamental types of melanins. Eumelanin, pheomelanin, and neuromelanin. Neuromelanin is not related to the skin but ultimately the dark pigment in the brain, so eumelanin and pheomelanin will be the main focus. The predominant and most familiar type of melanin is eumelanin. People with high levels of eumelanin codes for brown and black tones, and can be viewed through an individual's skin color, hair color, or eye color. People with an abundant amount of pheomelanin, code for red and blonde hair, and usually have paler skin. Melanin is a very efficient absorber of light, and is able to absorb almost 100% of consumed ultraviolet radiation. Due to these properties, high dosages of melanin can reduce almost all of the harmful effects the sun has to offer. From an evolutionary perspective, this adaption was due to the extremely hot environments near the equator, and served as a sunscreen with built in SPF (Sun Protection Factor.) This adaption allowed humans to survive, migrate, which are the forces of evolution and the opportunity to reproduce and pass on their genes, called Mendel's Heredity.
Most people identify Africans with darker skin, but different areas in Africa possesses their own shade of brown skin color. In the article, "New gene variants reveal the evolution of human skin color," by Ann Gibbons illustrates, "from deepest black in the Dinka of South Sudan to beige in the San of South Africa. Now, researchers have discovered a handful of new gene variants responsible for this palette of tones." The study was published online on the Science webpage, and it goes into depth about, the position in a chromosome of a particular gene or allele, called the loci, and the association with skin pigmentation identified in African populations. Dr. Sarah Tishkoff, who studies genomic and phenotypic variation in ethnically diverse Africans,and various other authors demonstrate, the study in their article, "Loci associated with skin pigmentation identified in African populations." They concluded, "Genetic evidence indicates that the light pigmentation variant at SLC24A5(Sodium/potassium/calcium exchanger 5)was introduced into East Africa by gene flow from non-Africans. All other variants associated with dark pigmentation in Africans are identical by ancestry in southern Asian and Australo-Melanesian populations". This report, studies the evolution of these genes and how they made its way around the world. In comparison the darker skin of the Pacific Islanders can be traced back to Africa. Gene adaptations in Eurasia can also be traced back to Africa, and shocking evidence of gene mutations accountable for lighter skin in Europeans can be traced back to a African origin as well. Researchers agree that our early upright walking ape ancestors in Africa probably had light skin beneath hairy pelts (Gibbons.) "If you shave a chimpanzee, its skin is light," says evolutionary geneticist Sarah Tishkoff of the University of Pennsylvania, the lead author of the new study(Gibbons.) "If you have body hair, you don't need dark skin to protect you from ultraviolet radiation," (Gibbons.) Until recently researchers conducted a theory that our upright walking ape ancestors shedded most of their fur in order to control their body temperature in the scorching hot Savannah. In addition they quickly evolved and developed darker skin, to protect them from the Sun's ultraviolet rays. In contrast when our human ancestors migrated out of Africa and headed to higher latitudes North, where ultraviolet radiation is low, dark skin could not absorb enough ultraviolet radiation for effective vitamin D synthesis. Therefore natural selection favored light skin. "Pale skin Synthesizes more vitamin D when light is scarce" (Gibbons.)
Genetics is a field of biology that expresses how traits are passed from parents to their offspring. The passing of these traits from the biological parents to the offspring is called heredity. Genetics is the study of how life is constructed by molecules called DNA. DNA molecules grasp all of the genetic blueprints for an organism. Thus supplying the cells with the information they desire to function and allow the organism to grow, survive, and reproduce. In comparison a gene is a particular portion of a DNA molecule that constrains the information for one particular protein. DNA molecules have a distinctive code for each gene which codes for their particular protein. Organisms can have an enormous amount of different genes. It is said that they can have more than 100,000 distinct genes, which means they can have 100,000 extraordinary sequences of DNA codes. A human inherits two copies of each gene, one from the mother and one from the father. Different kinds of the same gene are called alleles. For each gene, a male or female, can have two different, or two of the identical alleles. One coming from each of the parents. Physical traits such as skin color are often determined by the fusion of multiple genes. Furthermore, the environment the person lives in is also influences how the genes are expressed.
In regards to skin color one major component pigmentation gene is the light skin allele of SLC24A5, which is established on chromosome 15q21.1and contains a protein called NCKX5, which is an ion exchanger, expressed mostly in pigment cells illustrates Chandana Basu Mallick specialist in the Department of Evolutionary Biology. A chromosome is a threadlike structure of nucleic acids and protein found in the nucleus of most living cells, holding genetic information in the forms of genes. This classification of this gene was originally found in zebrafish. Chandana Basu Mallick, and his team orchestrated a report called, "The Light Skin Allele of SLC24A5in South Asians and Europeans Shares Identity by Descent." In this report, they explain, using admixed populations, it was further demonstrated in this study that a nucleotide mutation that alters the amino acid sequence of a protein was found in the third exon, or the segment of a DNA containing information. The sequence in this gene explains 25–38% of the skin color variation between Europeans and West Africans. "The ancestral (G) allele of the SNP (Single nucleotide polymorphisms) predominates in Africa and East Asian populations (93–100%), whereas the acquired (A) allele is almost fixed in Europe (98.7–100%.)" The fact that the ancestral (G) allele is essentially fixed not only in Africans, but also in East Asians, infers that light skin at higher latitudes evolved independently in East and West Eurasia (Mallick.) The genetic material of an organism or the genome-wide scans, also pinpoint SLC24A5as one of the most prominent hot spots for positive selection in Europeans, which then supports natural selection acting upon this segment of DNA.
Constantin Wilhelm Lambert Gloger established what is known now to be the Gloger's rule, which elaborates that, within a species of warm blooded animals or endotherms, a tremendous amount of pigmented animals reside in more humid areas near the equator. He originally noticed the patterns in birds living in a humid habitats, and analyzed their feathers, and came up with a conclusion that darker pigmented feathers provides protection from feather degrading bacteria, whose activities are greatest in warmer areas (Gloger's Rule.) Furthermore dark feathers have an increased resistance to feather degrading bacteria such as Bacillus Licheniformis (Gloger's rule.) Feathers in humid areas have an increased bacterial load, in comparison habitats with warmer areas are more sustainable to bacterial growth, and dark feathers are more difficult to break down. Pigment Coloration in birds comes from three groups, carotenoids, melanins, and porphyrins ("How Birds Make Colorful,"2015.) Carotenoids comes from plants, and are acquired by consuming a plant. Carotenoids are responsible for the bright yellows seen in goldfinches and Yellow Warblers as well as the brilliant orangish yellow of the male Blackburnian Warbler ("How Birds Make Colorful,"2015.) The next group is melanins. Depending on their concentration and location, melanins can produce colors ranging from the darkest black to reddish browns and pale yellows ("How Birds Make Colorful," 2015.) Birds with high melanins have stronger feathers and are more subtle to areas which requires wear and tear, humid temperatures, and prolific amounts of bacteria. The third pigment group is porphyrins. Porphyrins are produced by modifying amino acids, although the exact chemical structure of each porphyrin differs they all share a common trait ("How Birds Make Colorful," 2015.) They fluoresce a bright red when exposed to ultraviolet light, much the way certain rocks and minerals are known to do ("How Birds Make Colorful,"2015.) Porphyrins produce a spectrum of different colors, including pink, browns, reds, and greens.This principal of having darking feathers to protect from the sun's ultraviolet radiation, and feather degrading bacterias, or colorful feathers to compensate with their environments are ways in which natural selection in pigmentation is visible in a species different from humans.
Gloger's Rule in humans can be evident through not only skin color, but also through hair texture, hair color, and eye color. People in a more humid and tropical areas will possess a more curlier, frizzier, and kinkier hair, allowing areas of the scalp to be exposed, which then allows for heat to escape. These hair types are damage prone and very fragile, so that's why people whose ancestors come from a more drier and tropical areas are subject to these hair textures. Individuals in colder climates experience a more straighter and wavier hair types, due to the fact that both hair types reflects the most sunlight, and is also the most damage resilient of all hair types. Eye color is also evidence of Gloger's Rule. The amount of sunlight Northern Europeans were exposed to, differentiate with the amount of sunlight people closer to the equator experience. Blue eyes and blonde hair enables more sunlight to come in than brown eyes and dark hair, which is an adaptation attributing to the low access of sun in Europe compared to areas closer to the equator. Blue eyes and lighter colored hair compensate for the low access of sunlight that is needed, but would be bad in areas with a lot of sun like the tropics. Same in areas with a more abundant source of light. Brown eyes and dark hair, allow less light to come in, to synthesize for the right amount of ultraviolet radiation to come in. These characteristics all revolve and attribute to amount of melanin a individual has, and the sunlight they are subject to. Gloger's Rule in humans is evident, because these adaptations we inherited go hand to hand in what environments our ancestors were subject to, and how their bodies evolved to allow them to survive there.
It is safe to say that melanin plays a major role in daily lives, and has evolved tremendously over time. It not only protects you from the sun, but also is a key determinant of your physical features such as, skin color, eye color, and hair color. Understanding melanin is crucial to understanding why we look the way we do, and how the geographical environments coded for this adaption. Melanin, and skin color have been studied for countless years, regarding, the different ethnicities and how they came to be. The first scientific categorizing of human skin color was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1735. From an evolutionary perspective fitness indicates not only how fit an individual is for the presented environment, but how effective an organism can survive to insure that the particular gene versions are being passed to the offspring, and into the next generation. Scientists believe that once our ancestry line was cut off from the apes, that darker skin was more prevalent for the environment to survive, and served as an advantage. This became an advantage because ultraviolet radiation exposure destroys a folic acid that we need. For instance, a lack of the molecule folate during pregnancy can result in birth defects for the baby. Any person who carried this mutation that allowed the skin to have a protective pigmentation would have had a fitness advantage over the others. Resulting in increased life expectancy, and a generation of offspring that are more suitable for the environments. The genetic control for this pigment indicate that there has been an evolution of melanin. These genes have been transcended to numerous of generations, and will be an limitless amount of new adaptations entering the world as time passes.
1. Crawford, Nicholas G., et al. "Loci Associated with Skin Pigmentation Identified in African Populations." Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 12 Oct. 2017, science.sciencemag.org
2. Gibbons, Ann. "New Gene Variants Reveal the Evolution of Human Skin Color." Science AAAS, 8 Dec. 2017, www.sciencemag.org
3. "Gloger's Rule." Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Apr. 2018, en.wikipedia.org
4. "How Birds Make Colorful Feathers." Bird Academy • The Cornell Lab,
5. Jablonski, Nina G., and George Chaplin. "Human Skin Pigmentation as an Adaptation to UV Radiation." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, National Academy of Sciences, 11 May 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
6. Mallick, Chandana Basu, et al. "The Light Skin Allele of SLC24A5 in South Asians and Europeans Shares Identity by Descent." PLOS Genetics, Public Library of Science, Journals.plos.org.
7. Schoenberg, Arnie. Introduction to Physical Anthropology. Version 05/19/18
The following is a comparison between Improvising Medicine: An African Oncology Ward in an Emerging Cancer Epidemic by Julie Livingston and Biomedicine in an Unstable Place: Infrastructure and Personhood in a Papua New Guinean Hospital by Alice Street. This comparison examines how inadequate infrastructure impacts healthcare in disadvantaged countries and to examine the role of humanity in medicine. The two texts offer insight as to how lack of resources and medical aid affects hospitals on a global scale. In addition, these texts show how patients and providers in hospitals globally look at disease as a physiological, psychological, and human condition. Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on human societies and their cultural development. Ethnomedicine, or the study of cultural ideas about wellness, illness, and healing, is one stem of this branch.
Improvising Medicine: An African Oncology Ward in an Emerging Cancer Epidemic by Julie Livingston tells stories of patients, relatives, and ward staff at Botswana's sole cancer ward. These stories demonstrate the impact that lack of beds, broken machines medical equipment, and sparse supply of drugs can have on people dealing with a very complex and complicated disease. It tells of the power, vulnerability, and hope that is felt by patients and doctors at the hospital.
Biomedicine in an Unstable Place: Infrastructure and Personhood in a Papua New Guinean Hospital by Alice Street tells stories of patients, relatives, and hospital staff at a poorly constructed public hospital in Papua New Guinea. Like in Improvising Medicine, shortages of resources and inadequate communication make the hospital run inefficiently and have a negative impact on the lives of the diseased, their families and their friends as well. Medical technologies are important in the way that they have transformed human life (Henninger-Rener.) They have increased life expectancy rates, lowered child mortality rates, and are used to intervene in and often cure thousands of diseases. Unfortunately, hospitals such as Princess Marina Hospital in Botswana and Madang hospital in Papua New Guinea do not have modern technology. At PMH, the ultrasound machine was rescued from the trash and at Madang hospital tests for diseases such as malaria can't sometime be run at all because reagents run out and don't come back in stock until someone donates to hospital. In fact, at Madang hospital, the doctor needing dye to test for fungal infections, took himself to the stationery store to buy ink. These subpar technologies can lead to great frustration, as seen in Improvising Medicine:
Was the patient really hypertensive or were the new automated blood-pressure cuffs not working? Was the tumor really inoperable, or was the notoriously lazy surgeon simply seeking to shrink his work? Was this really a hepatoma, or was the pathologist wrong? Was the patient really anemic, with her tongue so pink, or did the lab make a mistake? In an African hospital (even a relatively well-funded one like PMH), with its ill-maintained and often second-rate or donated equipment, expired drugs, unpredictable supply chains, and with many disaffected and a few grossly under qualified staff (among the many other excellent and committed staff, I hasten to add), one must lead with unbracketing. [Livingston, 2012:70]
In addition, hospitals such as PMH do not have access to newer more effective medications. At PMH for example, the only drugs available are older, less effective medications that are off-patent and manufactured by questionable Indian pharmaceutical firms. Newer, safer, more effective (and more pleasant) cancer drugs are too expensive to use in the ward, even in their generic form. At PMH specifically, a potent chemotherapy drug called the "Red Devil" must be used instead of a newer, more effective "wonder drug" because of cost. The inexpensive "Red Devil" causes intense nausea and vomiting. The drug is so strong only the doctor can start the IV because if the drug is not going into the vein completely, the cytotoxicity of the drug will cause skin, if exposed at all, to rot away. They have had to amputate arms because of this, one drop on/into the skin (instead of the vein) and the whole arm rots away. This drug is very rarely used anymore in first world countries, and when it is the doctor must wear a hazmat suit.
Hospitals such as PMG and Madang hospital do not have air conditioning so staff copes by keeping the doors shut. A description of the conditions inside Madang hospital: "The ward was hot and airless. The bathrooms were always dirty and no relatives who worked in town had visited or brought them soap for weeks" (Livingston, 2012:6.) Both texts mention how the water makes patients itch because of poor plumbing and inadequate infrastructure.
Hospitals such as PMH and Madang hospital are understaffed and doctors may be sometimes overworked. At PMH patients may wait five to six hours just to see the hospital's one oncologist. The oncologist attends to an average of twenty-five (but sometimes as many as forty) outpatient visits in the day, manage the ward, fills out paperwork (in triplicate with carbon sheets between the copies) (~ 2016), administers chemotherapy, and performs his own cytology in the evenings.
The lack of physicians can make patients feel they are not being heard or cared for. At PMG there is only one oncologist so each patient only gets a short time to spend with the doctor to discuss or understand their condition. As a result, as best said in Improvising Medicine: "the humanistic side of oncology is, unfortunately, greatly curtailed" (Livingston, 2012:20.) Nurses and staff try to spend time with patients, but they are often swamped. At PMH hospital, in particular, there are no counselors and nurses and staff are too busy to talk with patients about their (life-threatening) cancer. This proves true for Madang hospital as well, where there are only two doctors, two medical assistants, and 11 nurses to serve thousands of patients.
Sashur Henninger-Rener (2017) defines ethnoetiology as the cultural explanations about the underlying causes of health problems. Ethnoetiology is expressed in Improvising Medicine when describing the way the human body is understood and inhabited by the people in many parts of Africa and Botswana: "For example, organs begin and end in different places or combine together in different systems, and there are different relationships between people or between human and nonhuman actors, be they ancestral shades or bacteria that engender illness or sustain health" (Livingston, 2012:72.)
Because of the differing views on causation of disease, nurses and doctors must find interesting ways to describe what is medically wrong with their patients, sometimes resorting to the use of analogies, such as this described by a nurse at PMH:
"How can you explain lymphoma in Setswana? It's very difficult. I then try to explain to E that it is in the system in the body that carries metsi (water) and dirt in channels through the body, but I am not sure that clarifies. Dr. S says it is like a colander you use when cooking to catch all the small stones and dirt when you are rinsing food. I think this is a good analogy and will try to remember it." [Livingston, 2012:71]
Likewise, Livingston describes the trouble in describing the immune system to patients in a country where the concept of the immune system does not exist: "But in the process, the CD4 count, as a proxy for the immune system as a whole, was translated into Setswana as masole (soldiers.) Botswanans now envision themselves as internally armed with regiments of soldiers, the size of their inner army being a proxy for how healthy and strong or weak and vulnerable they are. The drugs they take promise to increase or stabilize the number of soldiers in their individual army" (Livingston, 2012:73.)
In Rener, we read how "the experience of being sick encompasses more than just the symptoms caused by the disease itself." (Rener, Ch. 16, p.1122.) This, too is seen at hospitals such as PMH where nurses shape their "collective moral imagination" that they share with patients around local understandings of disease: "Empathy is predicated on a kind of intersubjectivity that is often effaced by or pushed to the background of biomedical ideas and practice, but which is foundational to bongaka (therapeutics.) Much of bongaka assumes a social permeability of the body, such that feelings, thoughts, and actions of one person can produce bodily effects in another." (Rener p. 111)
At Madang hospital, patients worry that social conflict in their villages may be causing their sickness. Many patients worry that the villagers from their village may have committed sorcery against them. Sometimes patients fear that they had been forgotten or were rejected by kin back in their village and outcasted. At Madang hospital specifically, sickness caused by social conflicts such as conflicts within one's household or village are referred to as "sik bilong ples." (Rener p.120.) At Madang hospital, there is a fear that if dead bodies were to remain out to long their angry and confused spirit could roam around the ward.
While foreign spiritual beliefs regarding illness and healing might seem to be some form of black magic, they are simply an example of performing culture. Performing culture, as defined in Griffith/Marion, refers to "lived traditions that emerge with each new performance of cultural norms — popular sayings, dances, music, everyday practices, and rituals." (Griffith/Marion, Ch. 14, p.874) Likewise, in the United States, performing culture is present in the hospital setting with the existence of chaplain, who may assist families in guided prayer. In the United States, it is not uncommon for a person about to die to have their "last rites" given to them by a religious practitioner.
Biomedicine in an Unstable Place describes kinship relations in Papua New Guinea. Kinship terminology is defined in Gilliland as "terms used in a language to describe relatives" (Gilliland, Ch. 8, p.445.) Kinship terminology is used when describing roles of family members at the hospital. The term "wasman" is used to talk about a patient's guardian (whether it be their mother, father, family member or friend.) There is a conversation that ensues between a nurse and patient with the nurse telling a patient: "You must send talk to the village and get a wasman. All patients must come with a wasman. It is not good to come without a wasman." (p.121) People from the same language group and exchange networks are regarded to as "wantok". A conversation ensues between a patient and the anthropologist, with the patient asking whether it was true that there were homeless people in England. The patient understood homeless to mean being forgotten, not the literal meaning of not having a home. The patient told the anthropologist he worried that homelessness was becoming a problem in Papua New Guinea because his wantok were not visiting him, giving him money or food, and got angry when his family went to their homes. People from far away (places that were difficult to access by road) are regarded to as "longwe." The patient felt better about his longwe not visiting him because he understood the cost and difficulties of transport to get to the hospital.
Rener stresses the importance of a strong social and emotional support system as an element of health in human cultures globally. A strong social and emotional support system proves fundamental at PMH as successful care is dependent on efforts of relatives to monitor the care of their patients. This can prove to be cumbersome at hospitals such as PMH or Madang where restrictive visiting hours and financial restrictions make it impossible for families to visit sometimes. The true value of a social and emotional support system is shown by the fact that oftentimes family member(s) must advocate behalf of the patient. At hospitals such as PMH, patients and their relative complain that they are not getting enough nursing from the state. Social and emotional support is important not only to patients and their families but to the hospital as a whole, as the case for PMH hospital which begins each day by gathering and praying:
Then, lining up in a row, the nurses sing to Jesus. The complex harmonies of Tswana choral music are incredibly rich and beautiful, and they echo down the corridor. The ethnographer lip-synchs with great enthusiasm. Mma S comes out from behind the nurse's station, Setswana Bible in hand, and begins to preach. Her voice feverishly rising and falling, she implores Jesus to heal the sick, to help the patients, to bless the doctors in their work." (Rener 105)
The commitment of family members to the well-being of their relatives is seen at hospitals such as PMH: "His grandmother had gone with him, sleeping each night on the floor next to his bed, while his mother remained in Botswana to work. Another friend's mother lay slowly dying of ovarian cancer on a mattress on the floor of her crowded two-room house." (p. 13.) The importance of respect and humanity even in a small, poorly structured hospital with shared commons is seen at hospitals such as PMH: "Indeed, on the occasions when patients had to explain to clinical staff that their nausea was being triggered by smells, they always took care to clarify, loudly, that they were referring to food or chemical smells, ensuring their fellow patients would not feel responsible for the odor of their vomit or rot or diarrhea." (p.112) Nurses at hospitals such as PMH try to familiarize themselves with the patients, making a serious effort to know all their patient's names. Sometimes these nurses even go to great lengths to help patients given a moral inclination and their power to control supplies, appointments, bed space, and queues. Nurses work to lighten the mood in the hospital, as described at PMH: "Through their joking, and laughter, and gossip, and occasional strife, nurses also create the ward as an intensely social world." (p.105) A sense of hope must be kept in the direst of circumstances, described by a nurse at PMH: "His prognosis is terrible, and we don't want to tell him this. I think he knows. Words can kill. But we encourage him to focus on each day rather than worrying about a future that only God knows, and to have patience." (p.114)
Together, Biomedicine in an Unstable Place by Alice Street and Improvising Medicine: An African Oncology Ward in an Emerging Cancer Epidemic by Julie Livingston show the importance of modern technology and access to available resources in modern medicine. Taking a look at two different hospitals worlds apart show how a sense of humanity and respect is a global phenomenon in the healthcare setting. By examining ethnography's such as the two examined in this paper, we are able to get a glimpse as to how disease and illness affect humanity on a physiological and psychological scale.
1. Gilliland, Mary Kay. "Family and Marriage." Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology, American Anthropological Association, 2017, p. 483.
2. Griffith, Lauren Miller, and Jonathan S. Marion. "Performance." Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology, American Anthropological Association, 2017, pp. 868–926.
3. Henninger-Rener, Sashur. "Health and Medicine." Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology, American Anthropological Association, 2017, pp. 972–1018.
Livingston, Julie. Improvised Medicine: an African Oncology Ward in an Emerging Cancer Epidemic. Duke University Press, 2012.
4. Street, Alice. Biomedicine in an Unstable Place: Infrastructure and Personhood in a Papua New Guinean Hospital. Duke University Press, 2014.
An individual's Chromosomes can map out his or her body's external and interior structure and most importantly determine what sex he or she will be. Research says that in a XY chromosome, the fetus is going to be a male and chromosome is going to be a female. Due to this rare disorder of Swyer Syndrome, we have to change our mindsets on how we view chromosome diseases. This disorder is where a female fetus has XY chromosomes. Swyer Syndrome is starting to change the minds of individuals all around the world through research. There hasn't been enough research on Swyer Syndrome, but there should be early detection that can be caught early.
Swyer Syndrome is known as a Disorders of Sex Development or DSD. The diagnoses are usually set off by variations in the sex chromosomes (being female,and XY being male.) They are associated with the non development of the gonads that would develop into testes or ovaries. In today's society, we now have advances in technology that can help in the field of DSD and one of those advances includes the use of probes. Probes is a blunt-ended surgical tool used for exploring a wound or part of the body and can be used to identify the number of X and Y chromosomes within 24 hours. "For example, Y is likely to mean Klinefelter's Syndrome the application of these techniques to identify variations in foetal sex chromosomes by testing amniotic fluid taken from the womb during pregnancy."(4) This could arouse ethical challenges when receiving information that could affect the parents decision on whether they should keep the baby or abort the fetus. "This is especially when the genetic makeup is not a strong predictor of the developmental outcome. For example, an individual with Turner's Syndrome may enjoy relatively good health with regular ovarian function at puberty, or present serious and multiple health problems across the lifespan."(4) Swyer syndrome is a highly rare and interesting syndrome that happens due to a fault mutation in the sex glands which doesn't allow the glands to fully develop. Fifteenth to twenty percent of individuals have Swyer syndrome. Swyer syndrome is established as a disorder of sex development within adolescents. "which encompasses any disorder in which chromosomal, gonadal or anatomic sex development is abnormal"(3.) Girls that have Swyer syndrome have an XY chromosomal makeup which is normally known as male genetic makeup instead of an chromosomal makeup which is known as female genetic makeup. Even having XY genetic makeup, girls with Swyer syndrome externally look female. For some girls that have the syndrome, they have a functional genitalia. Woman that have Swyer syndrome don't have ovaries. Instead of ovaries, women with Swyer syndrome have "gonadal streaks", "in which the ovaries do not develop properly (aplasia) and are replaced by functionless scar (fibrous) tissue"(3.) Due to the lack of ovaries, women with Swyer syndrome can not produce sex hormones and does not go through natural stages of puberty.
The cause of Swyer Syndrome is still unknown. Researchers have narrow down the answer that the mutations. The genes that are involved in the process of sex differentiation of a fetus with an XY chromosomal makeup cause Swyer syndrome. Researchers have a lot of hypothesis about which what gene mutates for Swyer Syndrome. One hypothesis about Swyer syndrome is that it happens "due to mutations of the sex-determining region Y (SRY) gene on the Y chromosome. Or, deletion of the segment of the Y chromosome containing the SRY gene"(3.) The SRY gene is thought to be the major factor in initiating male sex determination by setting off undifferentiated gonadal tissue to form testes. Missing or mutation of this gene can make the testes not form. Since only 15-20 percent of women in today's society with Swyer syndrome have the mutation gene of the SRY gene. "Researchers believe that defects involving other genes can also cause the disorder. These other genes are all suspected to play a role in the promoting the development of the testes and, ultimately, the differentiation of an XY fetus into a male"(4.) Mutations in the "Map3K1" are also a common cause of Swyer syndrome. Some women with Swyer syndrome have mutations in the "NROB1 gene on the X chromosome. Investigators have linked other cases of Swyer syndrome to mutations of the desert hedgehog (DHH) gene located on chromosome 12. A few rare cases have been associated with mutations in the steroidogenic factor 1 (SF1 or NR5A1) gene, the protein Wnt-4 (WNT4) gene, and the CBX2, GATA4 and WWOX genes"(4.)
Cases of Swyer syndrome due to mutation of the NROB1 gene can be inherited through an X-linked trait. X-linked genetic disorders are mostly caused by an abnormal mutation gene on the X chromosome. Females usually have two X chromosomes but due to the disorder one of the X chromosomes is in a way turned off and all of the genes on that chromosome are unresponsive. Females who have a disease gene present on "one of their X chromosomes usually do not display symptoms of the disorder because it is usually the X chromosome with the abnormal gene that is "turned off"(3.) Women with Swyer syndrome have an XY chromosomal genetic makeup and lack a second X chromosome. The individual will get symptoms associated with a defect on their one X chromosome. According to some researchers, most cases of Swyer syndrome follow autosomal dominant or recessive inheritance. Referring to chapter 126.96.36.199.1 of the "Introduction to Physical Anthropology" where Mendal discusses his theory on the dominant and recessive genes. Mendal tested his theory where he breeded flowers to test the outcome of what the flowers would look like. "Mendel bred purple flowers with white flowers, he got only purple flowers, and then when he bred those purple flowers together, in the next generation he got mostly purple but some white ones. The white flower trait disappeared and then came back. The purple color dominated the white one, but the recessive white color was not gone forever, it came back in a later generation."(6) Mutations of WNT4, MAP3K1 and the SF1 (NR5A1) genes can be inherited as autosomal dominant traits. Mutation of the DHH gene may be inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. Dominant genetic disorders can happen when only a single copy of an abnormal gene is to cause a certain disease. The abnormal gene can be inherited from either parent, but in most cases found that can it can come from the mother or can be the result of a new mutation (gene change) in the affected individual. The risk of passing the abnormal gene from one of the affected parents to an offspring is 50% chance for each pregnancy. The risk is the same for males and females. In some individuals, the disorder is due to a random genetic mutation that happens in the egg or sperm cell. In such situations, the disorder is not inherited from the parents. "Recessive genetic disorders occur when an individual inherits two copies of an abnormal gene for the same trait, one from each parent. If an individual inherits one normal gene and one gene for the disease, the person will be a carrier for the disease, but usually will not show symptoms"(4.)
The risk to have a child who is a carrier like the parents is 50% chance with each pregnancy. The chance for a child to receive normal genes from both parents is 25%. All individuals at least carry 4-5 abnormal genes. Parents that are close relatives have a higher chance than unrelated parents to both carry the same abnormal gene, which increases the risk to have children with a recessive genetic disorder. Affected individuals are asked to seek genetic counseling for answers to any questions that pertain to the complex of genetic factors involved in Swyer syndrome. Most individuals with Swyer syndrome don't experience any external symptoms until their early teens, when they notice that they haven't begin their period. At that point in the adolescent stage, it is usually discovered that these Individuals lack ovaries and therefore, do not have sex hormones which means that they can't produce estrogen that is required to undergo puberty. "When hormone replacement therapy is started, these girls will develop enlarged breasts, underarm and pubic hair, regular menstrual cycles and other aspects of normal development during puberty"(3.)
Women with Swyer syndrome may be tall and often have a small uteruses and a slightly enlarged clitoris in comparison to most women. In other cases that are extreme, some individuals are uterus can be deformed. Because Individuals with Swyer syndrome don't have ovaries, they are infertile. But, they can become pregnant through the implantation of donated eggs. medical concerns of women with Swyer syndrome is an increased risk of them developing cancer from underdeveloped gonadal tissue. "Approximately 30 percent of women with Swyer syndrome develop a tumor that arises from the cells that forms the testes or ovaries (gonadal tumor.) The most common gonadal tumor in Individuals with Swyer syndrome is a gonadoblastoma, which is a complex neoplasm composed of a mixture of gonadal elements, such as large primordial germ cells, immature Sertoli cells or granulosa cells of the sex cord, and gonadal stromal cells. A benign (non-cancerous) tumor that occurs exclusively in people with defective development of the gonads"(3.)
A gonadoblastoma usually don't become malignant or spread. However, they may be precursors to the development of a malignant tumor such as a "dysgerminoma," which has also been reported to happen with greater amount in women with Swyer syndrome than in the general population. The Gonadal tumors can be developed at any age, some being the earliest as twelve. During childhood before a diagnosis of Swyer syndrome is even suspected a diagnosis of Swyer syndrome is made based on "clinical evaluation. A detailed patient history, identification of characteristic findings (e.g., no periods, streak gonads) and a variety of tests including chromosomal analysis"(2.) "For example, a specific technique called fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) can be used to determine a person's karyotype. A karyotype is a visual representation of a person's chromosomal makeup, (i.e., the 46 chromosomes in a cell.) These 46 chromosomes are broken down into 22 matched pairs (each pair has one chromosome received from the father and one receive from the mother)"(3.)
A diagnosis of Swyer syndrome is usually made when young adults/ teens are tested for "delayed puberty." Molecular genetic testing can determine whether or not one of the gene mutations that is known with Swyer syndrome is present in an affected individual. The treatment of Swyer syndrome can require the coordinated efforts of a team of specialists. Such as, "Pediatricians, pediatric endocrinologists, geneticists, urologists or gynecologists, psychologists or psychiatrists, social workers and other healthcare professionals. They may need to systematically and comprehensively plan an affect child's treatment"(3.) Genetic counseling can benefit affected individuals and their families. Other treatment is symptomatic and supportive. Swyer syndrome is treated with hormone replacement therapy including replacing estrogen and progesterone which is usually supposed to begin from puberty onward. "In addition to helping with normal development of secondary sexual characteristics, hormone replacement therapy can also help prevent bone loss and thinning (osteoporosis) later during life"(1.) Streak gonads are removed through surgery because they place affected individuals at an increased risk of catching a gonadal tumor. Individuals with SF1 mutations may have adrenal insufficiency. This should be investigated and treated, if present. Even though women with the disorder are infertile, they may become pregnant and carry to term through the use of donated eggs.
Some individuals always make the mistake of characterizing swyer syndrome as Androgen insensitivity syndrome, but their two very different disorders. Androgen insensitivity syndrome is a condition that affects sexual development and hormones before birth and during puberty. Individuals with this condition are genetically made as male, with one X chromosome and one Y chromosome in each cell. But, because their bodies are naturally made to reject and respond to certain male sex hormones that are called androgens, they may develop mostly female external sex characteristics or signs of both male and female sexual development. Complete androgen insensitivity syndrome happens when the body cannot use androgens at all. People with this form of the condition have the external sex characteristics of females and do not have a uterus, because of that, they can not have their cycle and can't have a child. They are to be raised as females and have a female gender identity. Affected individuals have male internal sex organs (testes) that are undescended, "which means they are abnormally located in the pelvis or abdomen. Undescended testes have a small chance of becoming cancerous later in life if they are not surgically removed. People with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome also have sparse or absent hair in the pubic area and under the arms"(3) .
Some other syndrome like Swyer Syndrome Is Turner's syndrome. Turner's Syndrome is a genetic defect in which affected women have only one X chromosome, causing developmental abnormalities and infertility. This Syndrome affects only females and is caused by a missing second X chromosome. And 20% of the girls with this syndrome can expect to enter puberty in a abnormal way and have preserved ovarian function that may continue for several years. "Previously, no medical help could be offered to this group, apart from monitoring the progress of early loss of ovarian function."(4) Due to more advancements in technology, the medical industry is able to improved techniques in egg freezing. It is possible to a harvest Individuals eggs for future purposes. "Conservation of fertility and oocyte genetics in a young woman with mosaic Turner syndrome. Oocyte cryopreservation after controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in mosaic Turner syndrome: Another fertility preservation option in a dedicated UK clinic"(4.)
The research shows 80% of the Turner Syndrome population without ovarian function, means no menstrual cycle will develop ever and won't produce estrogen. In other words, the Turner Syndrome has the same similarities as Swyer Syndrome. The differences between the two is that Individuals who suffer from Turner's Syndrome are still able to produce eggs and can still conceive. The public have more information now about the health risks of adult women with TS, we are also increasingly aware of the risk of tearing in the wall of the major blood vessel that can lead to rupture of the heart and sudden death during pregnancy. Therefore, for women choosing egg donation, the whole process of fertility for women with TS has to be carefully managed in a multidisciplinary service. Cardiovascular findings in women suffering from Turner syndrome requesting oocyte donation. The case reports may well have overestimated the health risks of conception via egg donation in TS. This is compared to population-based studies which show good obstetric outcomes. Obstetric outcomes in women with Turner karyotype.
For men with Klinefelter's syndrome, which is a disorder just like Turner's Syndrome where the X chromosome is missing. A relatively common form of DSD affecting one in 500 men, the most dramatic advance has been in retrieving viable sperm from the testes. "Success of testicular sperm extraction and intracytoplasmic sperm injection in men with Klinefelter syndrome. Until the advent of micro-testicular sperm extraction techniques."(4)
There were no available treatment for the unusual presentation of absence of sperm in the ejaculate of men diagnosed with Klinefelter's syndrome. Some researcher are now stating retrieval rate of viable sperm in up to 50% of individuals using a painstaking technique whereby, the testis are opened and the small tubular structures where sperm can be inspected under a microscope for the presence of sperm. "Success of testicular sperm extraction and intracytoplasmic sperm injection in men with Klinefelter syndrome"(4.)
In conclusion, Until we start testing our theories we won't know what triggers this syndrome, but Individuals that live in the twenty first century now have a better chance of being able to live with this syndrome.
1."Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome - Genetics Home Reference." U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/androgen-insensitivity-syndrome.
2. Behtash N, Karimi Zarchi M. Dysgerminoma in three patients with Swyer syndrome. World J Surg Oncol. 2007;5:71.
3. Chen MJ, Yang JH, Mao TL, Ho HN, Yang YS. Successful pregnancy in a gonadectomized woman with 46,XY gonadal dysgenesis and gonadoblastoma. Feril Steril. 2005;84:217.
4. "Disorders of Sex Development (DSD): an Overview of Recent Scientific Advances." Taylor & Francis, 13 Sept. 2013, www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19419899.2013.831213.
5. Hiort, O., and S. F. Ahmed. Understanding Differences and Disorders of Sex Development (DSD.)
6. Karger, 2014. "Swyer Syndrome." NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders), rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/swyer-syndrome/. "Swyer Syndrome - Genetics Home Reference." U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/swyer-syndrome.
7. Zielinska D, Zajaczek S, Rzepka-Gorska I. Tumors of dysgenetic gonads in Swyer syndrome. J Pediatr Surg. 2007;42:1721-1724.
Anyone living in San Diego, especially people living in the Downtown area, is aware of a Hepatitis A Outbreak that occurred within the homeless population in the fall of last year. The biggest question on everyone's mind; how is the city handling the Hepatitis A outbreak among the homeless population?
In our textbook, "Introduction to Physical Anthropology" it referred to anthropological imagination, "That might seem weird to many scientists, but anthropologists need to balance a detached, objective, way of seeing, with the subjective reality of the people they join to study" (Schoenberg.) I had use an anthropological imagination when trying to answer the question about how they handled the Hepatitis A outbreak. I had to do more than just identify what the city did. I also had to analyze if it was successful. One of the ways California responded to the outbreak was by making the Hepatitis A vaccine easily accessible. I spent some time watching how the city handled the Hepatitis A outbreak in downtown. I spent most of my time at one of the homeless shelters. California installed hand washing stations throughout the streets of downtown. They began to clear out homeless encampments, had nurses going around the city administering the Hepatitis A vaccination, and began spraying the sidewalk with bleach. Some of the ways the city handled the outbreak were very successful and some of the ways where not as successful.
The applied anthropology is one of the many subfields, "Many anthropologists consider applied anthropology as a fifth subfield… There are many applications for physical anthropology, especially in medicine." (Schoenberg) I chose to connect applied anthropology to California's reaction to the Hepatitis A outbreak. The reason the two are connected is because they both deal with medicine. One of the ways California responded to the outbreak by making the Hepatitis A vaccine easily accessible. I will discuss the other ways California handled the Hepatitis A outbreak throughout this paper. Allen Craig published an article in in Clinical Infectious Diseases that talks about the benefits of using wide spread vaccines to combat infectious disease outbreaks. The article describes how difficult it is contain an outbreak of Hepatitis A. It further explains how using community wide vaccines have been successful in combating the spread of Hepatitis A. California sent nurses around the city to administer the Hepatitis A vaccine. Based on my own research the, city did more than just send out nurses. They also had full days when nurses administered the vaccine at popular homeless shelters. The city also still has nurses who go to homeless shelters once a week to administer the vaccine to anyone who still has not received it or who need to receive the second part of the vaccine.
Margot Kushel discussed the environmental factors that contribute to the spread of infectious diseases. "The environmental conditions associated with homelessness — overcrowding in encampments and emergency shelters, exposure to the elements, and limited access to facilities for hygiene and food preparation and storage — facilitate infectious-disease transmission." (New England Journal of Medicine). According to the article it is more than just those specified environmental factors that contribute to the spread of Hepatitis A. Additional factors include; difficulty accessing non-emergency health care services, risky behaviors, and underlying health issues. There is a high number of homeless individuals within the San Diego area who are all fighting for the limited resources that are available for people suffering from homelessness. We may have enough homes in San Diego to house the homeless population but greed reduces the number of homes that are actually available for homeless individuals because many people own more than one home. Also there are many realtors in San Diego who choose not to rent to homeless people because they can receive more money from a non-homeless individual. Kushel identified the inability to properly store food as one of the reasons Hepatitis A is spread. From my experience it is nearly impossible for a homeless person to properly store food. I have been working with the homeless population for over 2 years now and have not come across one organization that allows homeless people to store their food anywhere. Most emergency shelters do not have a fridge that a homeless person can store their food. Most shelters have kitchens that will provide food for a homeless individual and they have a fridge to store medication but that is all.
The city had the police moving people off the street and taking down their tent every morning. I was at the Neil Good Day Center Monday through Friday and noticed that the police would move people every single day. They would start moving people at 7am until about 8:30am. This involved police officers issuing tickets to homeless individuals, putting tents into the back of police trucks or garbage trucks, and simply asking people to move along. The police made it clear to the homeless population that sleeping on 17th street was no longer an option. They placed hand washing stations on every street around Father Joe's. There is now a hand washing station on 17th, 16th, and 15th street. These are only a few compared to the many other streets that have hand washing stations now. The police, more specifically the Homeless Outreach (HOT), began escorting nurses around San Diego in order provide the Hepatitis A vaccination. Nurses still provide the Hepatitis A vaccination at the Day Center every Wednesday morning for anyone who has not received the Hepatitis A vaccination or who are in need of their follow up vaccination. I watched the nurses came to the Day Center on Wednesday mornings between 9am and 10am depending on the amount of people looking for the Hepatitis A vaccine. Normally only two nurses would come to the Day Center to administer the vaccine and they would sit in an office for the hour. The nurses always had a more positive attitude compared to the workers spraying the street with bleach. The city also took to spraying bleach on the street. They would post signs on the street lights to inform citizens when they would be spraying the street. Workers would walk down specific streets and spray bleach on the entire sidewalk and anything laying on the sidewalk. It was usually a four man team who would spray the street. Two people in a truck that had the bleach mixture on the back of the truck and two people on the street. One man would actually spray the street while the other man would point out any missed areas and direct foot traffic. It appeared as if they were power washing the street except unlike power washing anything that was laying on the street it just got sprayed. The city workers would let citizens walk on the street after they sprayed the sidewalk but what ended up happening was that citizens would end up walking through a mist of the bleach that was sprayed. The reason I know this is because I was one of the people who walked through that mist. I ended up walking through a mist of the bleach spray that the city was spraying on the sidewalk. When I walked through the mist it did not click in my brain that I was walking through a bleach mist because it was overcast that day. At first I thought it had started to sprinkle. Only after I walked through the mist did I realize that it was not sprinkling. The workers appeared careless to me. They would simply spray the bleach on blankets, on fecal matter, and on any other object on the sidewalk. Then they would leave it on the ground and walk away. The workers appeared as if they did not care about the work they were doing. They always had a flat affect, they barely talked to each other, and never really talked to the people on the street. They would only use hand signals to inform foot traffic about what to do, when to stop and when to go. It made me feel as if they did not care about the people living on the street and like they were just something else to be sprayed.
According to Kushel, California responded to the Hepatitis A outbreak by declaring a state of emergency. The reason a state of emergency was declared was because, "In the past year, more than 649 people throughout California have been infected, 417 have been hospitalized, and 21 have died from hepatitis A, making this the largest outbreak in the United States in the past 20 years.The vast majority of those affected have been homeless" (New England Journal of Medicine.) California installed hand washing stations throughout the streets of downtown, they began to clear out homeless encampments, they had nurses going around the city administering the Hepatitis A vaccination, and they began spraying the sidewalk with bleach. Having a community wide vaccine and installing hand washing stations throughout San Diego have been very successful. Talking to some of the homeless population I learned that almost everyone received the Hepatitis A vaccination. I also see the hand washing stations in constant use. The city clearing out homeless encampments have not been as successful as the other ways mentioned above. Using the police to move homeless encampments has not solved the Hepatitis A outbreak. All it did was spread homeless people throughout the city and create frustration and anger among the homeless population. Spray the streets with bleach has also appeared to be less successful. According to NPR the city had a procedure in place for how the street spraying was supposed to go. "The procedure, as prescribed by the county, involves first spraying down hazardous items such as human waste or needles, waiting 10 minutes, removing the contaminated items, then spraying the area again with bleach. After that, it calls for pressure- washing the area with water. It is set to be repeated every two weeks, with weekly "spot maintenance," according to county guidelines." (NPR) Based on my experience of the street spraying the produce was not followed carefully. Earlier I described how when city workers were spraying the street they would allow citizens to walk in the sidewalk they were spraying. The reason that is bad is because they would allow citizens to walk through the mist of their bleach solution without warning anyone.
Earlier I discussed how Kushel identified environmental factors that contribute to the spread of Hepatitis A. One of the factors discussed was the fact that homeless people have a difficult time accessing non emergency health care. From my experience one reason that homeless individuals experience difficulty accessing non emergency health services is because they are uninsured. Many uninsured homeless people refuse to go to the hospital and access health services unless it is a medical emergency. They simply cannot afford to go see a doctor unless they are having a medical emergency. There is a surprising number of people who tell me that they avoid accessing medical services unless it is an emergency. They often wait it out and hope any medical problems heal on their own. This habit of thinking among homeless individuals becomes especially dangerous when it comes to Hepatitis A because Hepatitis A is such an insidious disease. The reason Hepatitis A is such an insidious disease is because of symptoms a person with Hepatitis A displays: "fatigue, sudden nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain or discomfort, clay-colored bowel movements, loss of appetite, low grade fever, dark urine, joint pain, intense itching, and yellowing of the skin/yellowing of the whites of your eyes." (Mayo Clinic.) Many people do not know they have Hepatitis A until they see the yellowing of their eyes or skin. Since they do not know they have the disease then they are unknowingly spreading Hepatitis A throughout the community. A virus is a small organism that replicates inside the living cells of another organism. Different viruses can be transmitted through a number of different ways such as orally,sexually, and through the air. The reason Hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver is because of the virus's pathology. "HAV is a single-stranded, positive-sense, linear RNA enterovirus of the Picornaviridae family. In humans, viral replication depends on hepatocyte uptake and synthesis, and assembly occurs exclusively in the liver cells." (Medscape) The Hepatitis A virus replicates in the liver cells and creates damage throughout the body. Our immune system usually kicks in to stop a virus from replicating to the point of damage. But when our immune system is compromised for any reason than it allows for a virus to replicate faster than it can be destroyed by the immune system. Also a virus can replicate so fast that the immune system is unable to create enough antibodies. A vaccine is used to help the immune system make antibodies for a specific disease. So if a person has the Hepatitis A vaccination than they already have Hepatitis A antibodies inside their body. If that same person comes in contact with someone else who has the Hepatitis virus than they will not become infected because the antibodies in their system will kill the virus faster than it can spread.
Once the Hepatitis A disease began to take lives in San Diego the city acted quickly. They issued a state of emergency, they installed hand washing stations throughout the streets of downtown, they began to clear out homeless encampments, they had nurses going around the city administering the Hepatitis A vaccination, and they began spraying the sidewalk with bleach. Some of the ways they handled the outbreak were successful and some were not. Ultimately the best way to manage the Hepatitis A outbreak among the homeless population would be to drastically reduce the number of homeless people in San Diego. Sadly this is a very complicated issue that will not get resolved soon. So the city did the best they could with the resources they had. The hand washing stations and the community wide vaccines seemed to be the most appropriate approach for dealing with the outbreak.
1. Allen S. Craig, et al. "Use of Hepatitis A Vaccine in a Community-Wide Outbreak of Hepatitis A. Clinical Infectious Diseases, vol. 27, no. 3, 1998, pp. 531–535. JSTOR, JSTOR,
www.jstor.org/stable/4460583. Web. 20 Apr. 2018
2. Gilroy, Richard. "Hepatitis A." Background, Pathophysiology, Etiology, 16 May 2018, emedicine.medscape.com/article/177484-overview#a3. Web. 20 May 2018
"Hepatitis A." Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 26 Oct. 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hepatitis-a/symptoms-causes/syc-2036700cWeb 20 Apr. 2018
3. Kennedy, Merrit. "San Diego Washing Streets With Bleach To Combat Hepatitis A Outbreak." NPR, NPR, 13 Sept. 2017, www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-/2017/09/13/550674476/san-diego-washing-streets-with-bleach-to-combat-hepatitis-a-outbreak. Web. 20 Apr. 2018
4. Kushel, Margot. "Hepatitis a Outbreak in California - Addressing the Root Cause." New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 378, no. 3, 18 Jan. 2018, pp. 211-213. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1056/NEJMp1714134. Web. 20 Apr. 2018
5. Schoenberg, Arnie. "Introduction to Physical Anthropology." Arnie Schoenberg, 19 May 2018, arnieschoenberg.com/anth/bio/intro/index.html.Web. 20 Apr. 2018
The idea of family and marriage are such familiar parts of our everyday lives. We are surrounded by different ways that cultures indicate their own traditions. "Societies around the world demonstrate tremendous variation in cultural understandings of family and marriage" (Gilliland). Variation is a common concept that we do not notice we observe. When I was at the Museum of Man, my tour guide touched on the subject of human variation: How do we vary in all aspects of life and how society has put stereotypes into our brains? When comparing family systems across cultures we use status, any culturally-designated position a person occupies in a particular setting, and role, the set of behaviors of an individual who occupies a particular status. (Gilliland). We use status and role to help us compare families in different societies because they help us identify the part each member plays in a family and or marriage.
Families and marriage are approached in different ways across the world. Egyptian culture has changed a lot from its history. Egyptian marriage is starting to change in a way that young women are being single longer which is affecting the way they work and how they start families. Family is universal across many cultures and Salem and Nutini address the different family styles and how these cultures approach marriage. Mesoamerican family and marriage culture is hard to observe, but when we do look deeper into the family culture, we see how they use status and roles to identify their extended and immediate family. We dive into the cultures of Mesoamerica and Egypt to analyze their variation of family and marriage to compare and Anthropological Family and Marriage: Egyptian and Mesoamerican understand more about their culture and more about how we live ourselves. A large aspect of anthropology, I would say, is the fact that by learning and studying other cultures and societies we learn more about our own societies and culture. For example, I would listen to my friends from Nicaragua and El Salvador explain the food and eating habits in those countries. This made me see the difference in the way South American countries, such as Ecuador, are different than Central American countries. These differences make us the diverse community that we are today.
Egyptian culture is something that we see so much of in our history books, fashion, etc. We know so much about Egyptian history and this helps understand the difference in how they live today. Marriage is sacred in most cultures and seen as the bond between two people. Family growth is through the adoption of children and adult relationships otherwise known as marriage (Gilliland). This shows that marriage is the foundation of families and how we build onto our genealogical charts. In Egyptian culture marriage, it's the only acceptable way of having residential independence, sexual relations, and childbearing (Salem). This puts pressure on young woman to find marriage. This pressure results in judgment towards women from their communities.
In today's modern society, women are working more in Egyptian culture to have more wealth and to enter into marriage. This process delays marriage in young women which is causing the age of marriage to rise. This is different from the past because women would get married as young as 17 and are now getting married in their 20's. (Salem) Most people in today's modern society find this struggle to marry as a social problem for young woman. This shows there are different expectations for men and women even in today's society. In American culture this is a big issue. We still have a seperation between women and men. This also is demonstrated in the way men see women. They find women who have high earning wages as unsuitable for marriage because they can't fulfill household duties. (Salem) This makes it harder for working women to marry. Men who have higher paying wages get married at younger ages because they are seen as a better "catch" than men who don't make as much. Due to women getting married later they rely on their families longer. These women in Egyptian society are looking for a nuclear family, which is a family that is socially and culturally accepted. (Gilliland). Women all over the world are faced with this problem of am I going to find "the one" and become a housewife. That has been the social norm across many cultures and societies. In American culture it's starting to be "normal" for young woman to get married at later ages and start their families in their 30's. This has started to change within the past 20 years. Women have been taking charge of their lives and they are no longer the go to caregivers. Stay at home dads have started to come up and become anew normal. This is changing the way families are observed in different cultures.
Salem addresses the anthropological aspect of family and marriage in Egyptian culture. She shows how women and marriage are different then American society. She also looks into the way marriage has changed in the minds of Egyptians themselves. She analyzes how women are changing and how the social norms have been altered over the years. Egyptian woman have redirected the way they go through life and have redefined what society expects of them. These changes give anthropologists something to study. Humans vary in many ways and that is why anthropologists study these different variations to form educational research so we as humanity can learn and understand other cultures to improve on our own.
The aspect of human variation applies to many things, but in marriage we see it immensely differentiated. Societies all over the world have different ways of marriage and family. For example, arranged marriage is big in a lot of religious based societies. We also have non traditional ways of approaching family such as premarital children, single parents, and adoption. These are all non traditional ways of approaching a very traditional concept. Overall cross-national analysis indicates there is a positive effect on men's employment on union entry being weaker in gender-egalitarian countries. (Salem) This is a new concept of men and woman sharing the financial burden. This is a modern way of giving woman and men equal opportunities both inside and outside of the home. This is a step towards woman and men being observed as equals within our communities.
The great aspect of anthropology is we learn more about our own society when studying others. Through this, Egyptian men will start to see that this is not how women and men are starting families all over the world. In America "love" is the bases for most marriages which is a foreign concept for many traditional cultures. Countries like Chad and Pakistan believe in arranged marriage and still practice this today. We are also making strides as societies to endorse the thought of love and affection in marriage and throughout our communities. These foreign concepts are how we learn and grow together as a community.
Families and marriage are the bases for many homes across all cultures. Family is a large part of many civilizations everyday lives and a large part of our heritage. There are many different ways people address family members and we give everyone a status. Status is used to show everyone your place or setting within the family. For example, we use father as a common name for the head male in the home. Everyone has a status as well as a role. A role is used to show everyone what this person's responsibilities in relationship with everyone else in the family. We don't really think of these roles or responsibilities in our everyday lives. I for example, don't think about my status or role in my family, but I am still a sister and daughter. I play the role of the caring one in relationship to my three brothers. My role as a daughter is to support my parents and make them proud of the person they made me. This is not the same for all families. All cultures have different ways of using these roles and status. Egyptian women are starting to become more responsible for providing more care not just within the home. Women are working outside of the home to "bring home the bacon" as well as the men of the house. Yes, culture is still behind because woman are struggling to find someone to marry but Men are also starting to realize this is not the future.
These Egyptian women are expected to follow the rules of making a home and having children and this family and lifestyle model is outdated and not progressed. The Egyptian woman want to take charge of their own life timeline and experience more then what women before them had the chance to. These changing family models is what Nutini talks about how Mesoamerican cultures set a path for us as society to progress and make changes.
In America the "normal" life is to grow up, go off to college, get a career, move out, get married, and start a family. This is the "normal" way of doing things but in many cultures this is not the case. For example, in a lot of South American countries when you get married you live with your parents still. This is an extended family model and how they keep the family close. My family that still lives in Ecuador have homes that house three generations. The concept of "blood" is a large part of Hispanic culture and how they live their everyday lives. This is "normal" for them. The extended family model is just one of many different ways family is represented around the world.
In Mesoamerican culture there are two different types of family living single household and a compound household. (Nutini). The single household is when multiple families live in close quarters of one another either in the same house or in connecting houses. This lives alongside the idea of the extended family household, while not the same, as a similar concept. Compound household is more like our modern way of living, but community style. For example, I live in military housing, we are in close quarters but are not together. A compound household usually has a barrier around it to separate it from other communities. Mesoamerican culture is hard to identify and through studies and census we have not much to go on in regards to how many family members lived with one another. The "basic" form of a household would be a nuclear family, a man, his wife, and their unmarried children. This is what we know of Mesoamerican households. This is not that different from our own "basic" family model and now we are starting to break out of this mold that society has made for us. This brings attention to the extended family household.
An extended family household has multiple generations within one home. This is very common among South American countries. Mesoamerican culture focuses on the nuclear family household although religion and beliefs vary from village to village nuclear family households are a common theme. (Nutini). Nutini observes how Mesoamerican culture and family is seen and compares it to facts based research. He truly grasps the anthropological aspect of family and marriage in the fact that these people study and immerse themselves in culture to get the understanding, but truly it all gets observed differently.
These extended family models use the roles within a family at a higher level. In an extended family household there are more traditions as well as more people so you have to understand your role in the family as well as your status. Mesoamerican family models paved the way for cultures to invent new models and new excepted ways of living, which is helping the progression of the world. I come from a Ecuadorian background so I understand how extended family households work based off of stories from my grandmas life back in Ecuador. It's nice to understand the culture that I come from and how that affects my view on family today.
Nutini addresses different family models while Salem talks about the marriage development over the years. My family has a mix of all of these topics. I lived in nuclear family household with my parents and my three brothers for my entire 18 years in Virginia. Now I live in Military housing with my cousin which would classify my living situation under compound housing. My life process would not be considered normal compared to the life of my peers. I moved out at 18 to go to community college in another state. My family is not your normal American family. My family is Christian based and I grew up going to church, so our beliefs in marriage are not as strict as some cultures but my parents always encourage "love". I was lucky enough to have a family where my parents were still married even though they both came from divorced households. This shows that the importance of marriage has diminished over the years in our modern day society.
Family and marriage are two large parts of our world's history. It's the bases of our genealogical charts, which is our entire heritage. Family can be defined as the smallest group of individuals who see themselves as connected with one another (Gilliland). This just shows that our family is whoever we want them to be. A common saying is that you can't choose your family, but I think that's not true. We chose what parts of our family we want to spend our time with. We as society don't think about family or marriage because they have just become normal parts of our everyday life. We don't see the impact our family has on our future and how we carry ourselves. Over the past year, I have discovered so many new things about myself and how much my family has shaped and formed who I am. I personally love my family and it's such a large part of who I am, but not everyone else has the same relationship with their family.
Human variation is such an important part of our lives. We don't notice it because there is all this other stuff going on around us. We are so different in so many ways whether its American, Egyptian, Latino or any other ethnicity. We all have one thing in common. We are globally connected by families. Family is more than just blood. It's who we share our life and who we share our heritage with. I, for example, think the bond I have with my brothers is so impactful because we all shared the same parents and we all shared the same experiences and that makes us who we are today. My brothers and I were all homeschooled for the earlier parts of our lives. This formed us to have a bond that a lot of our peers don't share with their siblings. This is why it so important for us to study other societies and cultures because we all have different experiences and different ways of looking at life and even different ways of approaching life.
We still don't have everything perfect and we will always continue to grow as a humanity. This just helps establish new rules and new norms. The concept of family and marriage are not new, but we as a society are making strides towards new ideas and open minds. We are all different and I think anthropology has a good way of establishing our variations. We need to embrace our diversity and who we are so that we can move forward for our future generations to have a better world to live in.
Nutini, Salem, and Gilliland are all sharing their anthropological experience with family and marriage and this helps us know more about how our own families work. Egyptian marriages have evolved which shows us that we can change as a community even more. Mesoamerican family styles set the way for so many more family styles today, which cause us to even develop new ways to start families and live our lives. Human variation also helps us understand the differences with one another, but we also need to observe and pay more attention instead of letting it pass by us in our lives. Anthropology is such an important study because it helps us explore and discover who we are so we can know where we are going.
Culture and heritage are the roots to who we are and our best way of finding it out is through knowing who our family is. I always enjoyed listening to my grandparents' stories because it reminds me of where I come from, which helps me establish where I want to go. This is so important for our society today because we need to know what our history is to move forward and improve. Looking back at the past is the best way to figure out where your going. The best way to prepare for this future that we are unaware of is for us to know who we are. Our heritage and our culture will show us the way.
1.Gilliland, Mary Kay. "Family and Marriage."Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology. Edited by Nina Brown, Laura Tubelle de González, and Thomas
McIlwraith, American Anthropology Association, 2017
2. Nutini, Hugo G. "A Synoptic Comparison of Mesoamerican Marriage and Family Structure."Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, vol. 23, no. 4, 1967, pp. 383–404. JSTOR [JSTOR], doi:10.1086/soutjanth.23.4.3629453.
3. Salem, Rania. "The Gendered Effects of Labour Market Experiences on Marriage Timing in Egypt." Demographic Research, vol. 35, 2016, pp. 283–314. JSTOR [JSTOR],
In 2011, 19 year old Zacharia "Zach" Walhs stood before the Iowa State Legislature to speak on the topic of an Iowa constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in the state of Iowa. The personal heartfelt speech immediately went viral reaching millions of people around the United States. Why was this young man so involved and so adamant over the rights of same sex couples? It is because the 19 year old Iowa State University engineering student was the child of two mothers who conceived Zack by artificial insemination and is the living truth that same-sex couples are not only capable of having strong relationships, but can also raise exemplary children.
Following the speech on the Iowa state legislature floor, the LGBT equality activist spoke many more times, wrote a book titled "My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength and What Makes a Family," and has even been a guest on television with daytime talk show host Ellen Degeneres. Zach Wahls became the spearhead for LGBT rights in the state of Iowa and has now set his sights on a higher standing. Mr. Wahls, now 26 years old, last year announced that he would be running for 37th district senate seat in the state of Iowa in 2018.
For hundreds of years, the model of a "family" included a father, a mother, and their children. Most recently, however, the general idea of the nuclear family dynamic has been challenged with more same-sex couples winning their rights to marry, and more importantly in some states, starting a family with the person they choose to love. "In the past, conception usually required sexual intercourse, but that is no longer the case thanks to sperm banks, which have made the embodied male potentially obsolete, biologically speaking." (Perspectives Ch. 10 Pg. 456.) As Zach Wahls demonstrated typical conception and reproduction has changed. Not only are women able to conceive children without intercourse, but also the ability of child adoption for same-sex couples is an option often chosen by couples desiring to have and raise children.All through my life, I have been open and welcoming to any person from any and all walks of life whether they be from different race, color, culture, ethnicity, sexual preference, or sexual orientation. I have always felt that I should treat people as they treat me, my wife, and my two daughters. Though I have experience and interactions with many types of people and cultures, one group of people and cultures I had never interacted with was same-sex couples raising children. Though I have had many friends who are in the LGBT community, however most of my friends are either single, or in short-term relationships. This subculture has eluded me, so when the project proposal came. I wanted to experience something that I have not been involved with prior to attending this course.
To gain the most experience and knowledge of this subculture. I set out to find research studies of same-sex couples with children, the effects of having same-sex parents on a child, and the differences in parenting styles between same-sex couples and heterosexual couples.
I saw the video of Zach Wahls years ago when his speech went viral. During that time, the topic of same-sex marriage was a highly debated topic. As I watched his speech, I began to agree with him. Not only should gay and lesbian couples be allowed to marry, but they should also be allowed the opportunity to raise children in our society today. Not only was Zach Wahls the catalyst, but he was living proof that children raised in a family consisting of same-sex parents can not only succeed, but excel beyond all expectations. Of course, there were those on the other side of the argument who believe that both marriage and parenting should be left to heterosexual couples only. This belief only furthers the socially acceptable norm of the nuclear family. Those who oppose the idea of same-sex marriages and families argued it violated religious beliefs and it subjected children of same-sex couples to an irregular lifestyle, which would lead to problems with the child mentally, behaviorally, and physically. Additionally, many people argued that many children, unfortunately, would be subjects of bullies so it would be in the best interest of the child to forbid couples from conceiving or adopting children. "We all probably know of excellent parents who are not the children's biological mothers and fathers and 'legal' parenthood through adoption can have more-profound parenting consequences for children than biological parenthood. When we think of good (or bad) parents, or of someone as a really "good mother," as an "excellent father," as two "wonderful mothers," we are not talking biology. We usually are thinking of a set of cultural and behavioral expectations and being an adoptive, rather than a biological parent, isn't really the issue. Clearly, then, parenthood, mother-father relationships, and other kinship relationships (with siblings, grandparents, and uncles-aunts,) are not simply rooted in biology but are also social roles, legal relationships, meanings, and expectations constructed by human cultures in specific social and historical contexts. This is not to deny the importance of kinship; it is fundamental, especially in small-scale pre-industrial societies. But kinship is as much about culture as it is about biology. Biology, in a sense is only the beginning- and may not be necessary."In a study conducted called "Does the Gender of Parents Matter?," researchers studied parents consisting of male and female, female and female, and male and male. The researchers were able to study the positives and negatives of each parental setting. One characteristic found in this study was, "women parenting without men (whether lesbian or heterosexual, solo or coupled) scored higher on warmth and quality of interactions with their children than, not only fathers, but also mothers who co-parent with husbands." ("Does the Gender of Parents Matter?".) It was a common idea in this study that lesbian mothers shared parenting duties and had more positive interactions with their children than heterosexual couples. Also found in this study was the general conception that two gay men parenting would mean a more masculine parenting style. Actually, gay men tend to take more of a feminine nurturing type of parenting style. Based on this research, it is safe to assume that same-sex couples would be loving and caring for any child in their care.
To further my experience in this part of our subculture, I contacted same-sex couples either currently raising children or have raised children in the area of San Diego, California. It was my goal to interview and observe these couples to gain more knowledge and gain insight to their lives and their point of view. It was my goal to find differences, but more importantly to see similarities of parenting styles between them and their children and my wife and myself and our parenting style. I believe that any willing and able adult should be able to raise a child in a loving and caring environment at home. For most of my life I have seen family and friends grow up, and also raise children in a past beliefs of a typical "normal" nuclear family dynamic. This was my opportunity to experience witness culture outside of the society norm that has been so second nature to me.
To begin my project, I began to reach out to same-sex couples and organizations to meet and observe couples with their children in their everyday lives. This part of my project was somewhat more difficult than I originally believed it would be due to controversial subject to discuss it was not an easy task to convince families to meet with me. I first was unable to attend a monthly "family support" night at a local organization in the Hillcrest suburb of San Diego due to my own work schedule not allowing me to attend. I am lucky enough to have a friend who gave me the information of two of her own friends who are raising children here in San Diego. I contacted both women, but only received a reply from one. After a few email exchanges with that couple, they unfortunately had to cancel our meeting and any further plans to meet due to schedule and personal conflicts. I respected their wishes, and simply asked them if they happened to change their decision to contact me as I was still willing to hear their opinions and point of view on this matter. I began to lose hope in this project, and even began considering changing my topic until my wife reminded me that we in-fact knew a couple who we had met just last year at concert I reached out to them to give this project one last hope of completion. The two women were a little reserved at first, but once I told them the purpose of my project was to hear their point of view and their opinion in which they then, to my relief, agreed to meet with me.
Our meeting took place at my house where we all sat down and discussed our lives and our families for over an hour. The couple had been together for over 20 years beginning in the mid-90's. They both had daughters of their own both from previous relationships, but had also fostered other children later in their lives. When they began their relationship together their daughters were young; one four and the other six. Similar ages to what my daughters are now which is more of the timeframe that we discussed the most to find the most similarities between my family and theirs.
''Studies have shown that the ideal is where a child is raised in a married family with a man and a woman'' (How Does the Gender of Parents Matter.) This belief has been the perpetuating idea behind their argument against same-sex couples parenting. However, as this issue is more and more researched, the more it is disproven. Though these women did have some difficulties while raising their two daughters, their difficulties stemmed from family and behaviors of the children in an unfamiliar environment.
We discussed parenting styles first. For my wife and I, we have brought our daughters up in more of an authoritarian style of parenting. We share the duties of being the 'tough' parent all depending on our situation at the time. Being in the military I am not able to be home, so my wife takes on the role of authoritative parent while I am away, however when I am home we do share the burden so that neither of us ever feel like we are the stricter parent.
As for the couple that I met with, their situation was much different. Though parents agreed on the authoritative style of parenting, one parent would often be authoritative style of parenting while the other would be more of the easy going type. One thing that was also different was of course their relationship situation made certain situations very difficult. For instance, the child of the opposite partner would often make a situation more difficult by simply not listening to the parent due to the insistence that they were not their parent. Of course, the parent would then would argue that though they were not their biological parent, they are still an adult and a parental figure and that they must listen to them. This would work in some instances, but other times things were made somewhat worse due to the child's ability to leave the house of the couple to stay with the child's biological father and/ or grandparent. This would then cause discourse between the couple because one partner would blame the other for their child's decisions to leave.
We spoke about this difficult situation for quite some time. This situation was one of the
more trying situations that was spoken of during our discussion. It was very apparent that this situation happened many times throughout the years and was very burdensome for both parents. Our conversation shifted to other difficulties they experienced as a couple and as parents while raising their children. Though I expected to hear of some aspect of bullying of their children, they had no experience of bullying. I was surprised by this because even my eldest daughter now at the age of 10 has already experienced a bullying situation. The couple, however, described to me a different sort discrimination, that took place while their daughters were attending high school. However, they did not realize the situation until later in their lives while discussing things with their daughter.
While their daughters were in high school. The couple would allow their daughters to hang out and spend time with their friends, though their daughters and their friends would spend time at their house. Their daughter's friends would never stay the night at their house. This did not come up in conversation in their family until later. When their daughters told their mothers that the reason why their friends would not stay over at their house when they were younger was because of the friends' parents would not allow their children to stay at the house of a same-sex couple for fear that something would happen to their children either physically or idealistically. The couple described to me their surprise and their hurt even though this had all happened nearly a decade earlier in their families' life. They did not understand parent's reasoning behind essentially shunning them as parents and demonizing their home simply because there were in a same-sex relationship.A study comprised of adolescent girls with lesbian mothers found somewhat related results. "Their friends were predominantly heterosexual. Most of the adolescents felt comfortable bringing friends home, informing friends of their mothers' lesbianism, and confiding in their mothers about their lives. Those who felt comfortable bringing their friends home had a significantly larger number of friends who were aware of their mothers' lesbianism." (Adolescents with Lesbian Mothers Describing Their Own Lives.)
We changed our topics once more to discuss what they believed was a positive result of their same-sex relationship. The first thing that was brought up was a story of their youngest daughter befriending an individual who was questioning his or her sexuality. The daughter took it upon herself to accompany this person to a school support group. After attending this support group, the daughter decided to stop attending another club she had previously been a part of and instead used her experience she gained from her parents to assist her peers on their journey of self-discovery. She continued attending support groups for young LGBT adults while in college. The couple also spoke of their other daughter's very open and accepting attitude towards all persons she meets. This openness has carried on through her life and her travels around the world.
The nuclear family has been so highly discussed as a necessity for children to thrive and be successful in society. "The argument that children need both a mother and father presumes that mothering and fathering involve gender-exclusive capacities. The ''essential father'' is a disciplinarian, problem solver, and playmate who provides crucially masculine parenting. Boys need fathers, proponents claim, to develop appropriate masculine identity and to inhibit antisocial behaviors like violence, criminality, and substance abuse. In contrast, fathers foster heterosexual femininity in daughters and help deter promiscuity, teen pregnancy, and welfare dependency. Dad ''is the grinding stone on which his son sharpens his emerging masculinity and the appreciative audience to which his daughter plays out her femininity. Mothers provide nurturance, security, and caretaking." (How Does the Gender of Parents Matter.)
From what I've learned from these two strong women, mothers, and wives was that the nuclear family is malleable. These women shine with personality, kindness, giving, intelligence, and strength. We have met since our meeting to discuss my project where they gifted my eldest daughter a ticket to meet one of her favorite musical artists.
This project may be coming to an end, but I do not feel like this topic of discussion will be over with as long as someone will be willing to discuss this with me. I feel there is so much to learn and gain from couples such as the one I met and had the chance to discuss their lives with. This project was to learn more about same-sex couples, their parenting styles, and any differences they believe they had with a typical nuclear family. I found more similarities in not only our parenting styles, but also our approach to life. I try everyday to live my life simply and only try to do good in the world and make my family happy the best that I can. From what I learned, this couple lives the same way. The main differences there were between my family and theirs was that they had their own family conflicts. Though my wife and I have our own family conflicts theirs were different mainly because of their choice of sexuality. Which through it all, they have been together for over 20 years and their children are happy and productive members of society.
Parenting, whether it be a heterosexual, a same-sex couple, or other can be very difficult. As one of the women said, "You have to take it one day at a time. There were not any books on parenting when we had our children. Now there are books, but no book can prepare you for every situation. You have to take things as they come, stick to your morals, and you will figure it out."
1. Biblarz, Timothy J., and Judith Stacey. "How Does the Gender of Parents Matter?" Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 72, no. 1, 2010, pp. 3–22., doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00678.x.
Developmental Psychology, vol. 39, no. 1, 2003, doi:10.1037//0012-16188.8.131.52.
2. Farr, Rachel H., et al. "Parenting and Child Development in Adoptive Families: Does Parental Sexual Orientation Matter?" Applied Developmental Science, vol. 14, no. 3, 2010, pp. 164–178., doi:10.1080/10888691.2010.500958.
3. Fedewa, Alicia L., and Teresa P. Clark. "Parent Practices and Home-School Partnerships: A Differential Effect for Children with Same-Sex Coupled Parents?" Journal of GLBT Family Studies, vol. 5, no. 4, 2009, pp. 312–339., doi:10.1080/15504280903263736.
4. Gartrell, Nanette, et al. "The National Lesbian Family Study: 4. Interviews With the 10-Year-Old Children." American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, vol. 75, no. 4, 2005, pp. 518–524., doi:10.1037/0002-94184.108.40.2068.
5. Gartrell, Nanette, et al. "Adolescents with Lesbian Mothers Describe Their Own Lives." Journal of Homosexuality, vol. 59, no. 9, 2012, pp. 1211–1229., doi:10.1080/00918369.2012.720499.Golombok, Susan, et al. "Children with Lesbian Parents: A Community Study."
6. Imaz, Elixabete. "Same-Sex Parenting, Assisted Reproduction and Gender Asymmetry:
Reflecting on the Differential Effects of Legislation on Gay and Lesbian Family Formation in Spain." Same-Sex Parenting, Assisted Reproduction and Gender Asymmetry: Reflecting on the Differential Effects of Legislation on Gay and Lesbian Family Formation in Spain, 2017,doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rbms.2017.01.002 2405-6618.
7. Thiers, Clementine. "The New Normal: Same-Sex Families Negotiating The Nuclear Family." Lund University, 2014.
The cultural night hosted by Espacios Migrantes in Tijuana has given me the opportunity to introduce the Haitian immigrants to the public through hearing their stories, feeling the rhythm of their dances, and appreciating their cuisine. It is often said how resilient Haitian people are for the conditions they endure as Haiti, which as an island, has been through natural disasters and has been depleted of resources by foreign governments leading to extreme poverty. I have had the pleasure of acquainting myself with many of the Haitian immigrants through Espacios Migrantes and it is inspiring to note that many of the people in this organization are enthusiastic to pursue an education or a new found stability in Mexico.
The night began with a discussion by Ustin Pascal Dubuisson, a young Haitian who described in detail the turn of events of the years after he left Haiti. "Haitians are not fleeing for a more comfortable place in life, but for the stability and financial support they can gain and give back home." Ustin said. "Many have left their families behind to trek through South America for work."
Those who stay in Brazil have said they have completed years of work and or several studies towards their college degrees there. The challenges of racial discrimination by governments that call them "criminals" instead of giving them humanitarian aid for fleeing in an economic crisis to being stripped of working rights and living like slaves, brings a lot of them seeking stability elsewhere like Mexico. The route taken through South America is a dangerous path through the jungles of the Darién Gap. It is here, they recall combating the fiercest and most perilous conditions in which they had no portable water, were starving, and had been lost getting through the jungle without getting any rest. This takes several days and few do not survive the harsh environment while the remaining path is mountains still. From that moment on in the journey, their survival had become much more to them than the money or opportunity they ever wanted. To have a safe arrival into many of the countries despite their situation, they paid their way in to cross though. Even if being granted a visa in the U.S., it is a serious risk to be in a detention camp and deported back to Haiti, which is their worst fear. This is especially true with the current anti-immigrant agenda of the U.S.). When they reach and are able to pay the most expensive fee to enter Honduras, it finally is rewarding to them to be closer than ever to their destination, Mexico.
The impact of globalization and ethnic social inequality historically portrays how these African descendants have had to generalize their culture in the Americas after imperialist rule.The first conquered territory was Haiti and the Dominican Republic by the Spanish and then the French when then the island fought for its' independence. er losing their personal freedoms as slaves for centuries. The first conquered territory by the Spanish as well by the French (and the U.S.) was Haiti and the Dominican Republic until they had fought for their independence. With a continually changing world affected by supply and demand, these colonists had created an unfair and extreme disadvantage on these people which caused these migrations from Haiti to occur. Much of the African identity to Haitians has been lost as the history of their slavehood and depleted resources have been forced on them. Therefore, these people have lost more than enough ,but still stand together while facing global injustice to this day. With a continually changing world affected by supply and demand, there are levels of extreme differences in wealth and the unfortunate conditions of those who lack it to move out of their country for various prosperities which as an identity to the Haitians have been lost due to the migration as African slaves in colonization and depleted resources forced on them. Therefore, these people have lost more than enough and are still being abused globally.
Espacios Migrantes is an independently formed non-profit organization that aims to give the resources to immigrants that are in Tijuana including language classes, connections to legal services, and making a change politically to fight for their rights. As the Haitian flag above the stage triumphantly proclaims, "L'Union Fait La Force" meaning "there is strength in unity". Everyday, there are volunteers and immigrants working together in solidarity to improve the standards of living and progress of these conditions socially and politically in Mexico.
At the event, I had noticed that these people dance to upbeat music and enjoy welcoming everyone to participate. It is an exciting moment to watch them break into small groups and shake their shoulders, their arms spread out and their hips moving while simultaneously rotating feeling the percussion instruments during the traditional songs. We also had an amazing dinner that was a communal effort from the organization which was a plate of rice and beans, spicy chicken with sauce, and salade russe. (So amazing that I ordered seconds although they barely had enough to serve everyone there since the amount of people were not anticipated). During the rest of the night, everyone attending had been dancing. A very lively spirit was among the Haitians, and it was understandable, for they were finally united, stable, and far away from the troubling past.
In this research project, I investigated how participation in the Soviet youth pioneering organization, the Octobrists, influenced the political and cultural identity of children growing up in Soviet Ukraine during the 1960s. In this paper, I draw on interviews with my two grandparents, who participated in this program, to suggest that that this organization was designed to socially condition children to be loyal to the political ideology of the state by integrating these ideas into children's daily lives through the use of various rituals and symbols.
My interview subjects are my grandparents, Nina and Vladimir Stadnyk. They are both in their mid-60s, and both grew up in two different small farming villages in Kharkiv, Ukraine, where their pioneering experiences took place. They later moved to the city, where they met and eventually got married and had two children. Nina and Vladimir usually look serious and weary from a lifetime of hard labor and financial struggle, but their complexions warm up with reminiscence and nostalgia as I ask them questions about their childhood and translate their answers. They begin by explaining to me how the Soviet pioneering program was organized. It was divided into three age groups: the Octobrists (ages 7 to 9), the Young Pioneers (ages 9 to 14) and the Komsomol (ages 14 to adulthood.) For this study, I have chosen to narrow my focus down to the Octobrists. The Octobrists was a government initiated and funded program, whose purpose was to teach young children about communism and communist values, promote loyalty to the Soviet regime, and raise morally good citizens.
For my research, I specifically focused on Ukraine, because despite being a member state of the Soviet Union, some rural, less industrialized regions of Ukraine were known to not be completely culturally aligned with Communist Russian politics, traditions, and beliefs. I decided to interview people who grew up in these regions, because it would further demonstrate the extent to which the methods employed by this children's pioneering organization were able to socially condition the children to align with the values and ideals of the central Soviet government.
By the 1960s, the Soviet Union of Socialist Republics had been in existence for 38 years, and was able to reach the status of a global "superpower". However, the period between the 1960s and 1980s was also known as the Era of Stagnation, due to problems in social, political, and economic areas that accumulated as a result of growing public discontent with a poor standard of living for the working class.1 Both of my interview subjects mentioned unsatisfactory living conditions, however, Vladimir Stadnyk added without hesitation that "When we were children, no one cared about it. We had no toys and no television, but we never thought about it." When I asked him whether the pioneering activities contributed to this, he replied "Very much, yes. If it wasn't for the troop meetings, we wouldn't have anything to do after school because our parents worked until night. Going to the meetings was fun for me, we had different missions and they always kept us occupied."
Since both my grandparents' families lived from paycheck to paycheck (as all working-class families did during this time), children could not afford to spend any money on entertainment, which already was limited in the villages. Participating in this state-funded youth program provided most of the children's recreation. "We did so much...went camping, built birdhouses with wood, nature hikes, skiing and other sports, summer camps, parades...we went on excursions to different factories to learn about the different jobs…" recounts Vladimir. A smile crossed his lips as he reminisced about all the fun he had with his troop mates, and it become clear to me that those experiences are positive and cherished, instead of being the coercive, oppressive products of Soviet authoritarianism that most Americans considered them to be.
From the favorable way he described these activities, it is clear that the children thought positively of their involvement in these organizations. It naturally follows that because children enjoyed the activities, they also had a positive view of the Octobrists and the communist values and beliefs that it was infused with. Thus, by providing children with recreational activities, this organization used political persuasion to appeal to the participants and make the ideology and the political party behind it seem favorable.
In addition to creating a positive association between recreational activities and the political beliefs of the government, the Octobrists embedded certain rituals and traditions into these activities. These rituals had the effect of making the pioneering organization a part of the local culture as well as a common and traditional aspect of Soviet childhood. Furthermore, these rituals helped develop alignment with the communist ideology and loyalty to the state because they were often centered around these ideas.
One of these rituals was the initiation into the Octobrists. The initiation consisted of a ceremony that marked the start of the participants' career as a Pioneer. This ceremony consisted of many components, one of them being The Solemn Promise, which was recited by each young Pioneer in front of a group of other Pioneers upon joining the organization. After reciting, the new member had the Pioneer's scarlet tie tied by an older Pioneer, to symbolize becoming a full-fledged member of the organization.2 The translation of the Solemn Promise is as follows:
"I, (last name, first name), joining the ranks of the Vladimir Ilyich Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization, in the presence of my comrades solemnly promise: to passionately love and cherish my Motherland, to live as the great Lenin bade us to, as the Communist Party teaches us to, as require the laws of the Pioneers of the Soviet Union."3
The phrasing of the oath demonstrates the use of propaganda through ritual. The direct purpose of this ritual was to compel the Pioneers to publicly state their allegiance to communist values and the government. And the children did this eagerly, without protest. This is due to the fact that membership was made an achievement and privilege through the use of stratification based on behavior and academic performance.
"Only the best students were allowed into the first group...slightly less advanced were in the second group, several weeks later. The students with the worst marks and behavior were given time to 'catch up' and could be allowed to join only a year later. This encouraged me to get all perfect grades, because it would have been embarrassing for me to not be in the first group. It was
a small village, and everyone saw the ceremony and who was in which group,"
recounted Nina Stadnyk, who was in the first group to be initiated. When I asked Vladimir which group he was in, he smiled and averted his gaze before telling me he was in the last group due to his poor grades. It surprised me that he still finds this embarrassing. This reflects the powerful effect that this stratification had on the ritual. It made the ceremony important, a mark of achievement and status. Because the status of Pioneer was generally achieved rather than ascribed, the Pioneers felt proud to have this status.
The initiation ceremony can also be compared to a rite of passage ritual, since it was done during a specific point in a child's life and signified their transition from being small children to becoming Pioneers, with moral obligations and responsibilities, as per the Pioneer code and rule book. During the interview, Nina told me: "I had two older brothers who were Pioneers before I was, and I always remember seeing them come home in their uniforms, with their badges and red ascots...they talked about all their adventures... I couldn't wait until it was my turn." This sentiment is similar to other rite of passage rituals in other cultures- generally, the participants are described as being eager, proud, and excited for this special occasion.
Because these rite-of-passage rituals are community events, social solidarity is established when a new Pioneer is initiated into the existing pool of Pioneers. This social solidarity builds a sense of communitas, and thus further compels the participants to adhere to the norms and ideology of the Pioneers, in order to feel included in their community. By having communist-centered rituals that hold significance in the community, the ideas conveyed in these rituals became community values. The rituals and ideas embedded within them, as any significant community tradition, became an aspect of the community members' cultural identity. This makes sense from the propaganda standpoint, since one is most likely to support an idea if it is part of one's cultural identity.
In addition to rituals, the Octobrists targeted Soviet propaganda towards its participants through the use of symbols. Perhaps the most overt example was the Octobrist badge, which was an enamel pin of a red star with Lenin's face in the middle. My grandfather kept his badge, and I noticed how cautiously he took it off a bookshelf and out of its little box as he was showing it to me. This was something the Pioneers were required to wear to every Octobrists meeting, so it is easy to understand why he considers it a meaningful childhood relic. Constantly wearing this symbol made the children who wore it recognize it and the meaning behind it as familiar and a part of their daily life (and therefore inherent and natural), as reflected by Vladimir's comment: "...it was our badge. We all wore it... pinning it to your uniform was second nature."
The uniform that this badge was pinned on was also a vessel for symbolic value. Worn to school on certain days, the uniform was one of the many things that identified Pioneers with each other and the people. I have kept an faded, black and white photograph that was taken of my grandmother and her two brothers in their Octobrist uniforms. The girls' uniform was a collared black dress with long sleeves and a white apron, and the standard red Pioneer ascot peeking out from under the collar. The boys uniform looked like a miniature military uniform, complete with the same red ascot and a round officer's cap. The resemblance the boys' uniform bore to the actual military uniform of Soviet soldiers surprised me, but when I asked Nina about this, she simply shrugged and relied "That's just how they looked", implying that this was the norm and no one really questioned it. After doing further research on this, I discovered that the Soviet Union was able to consolidate itself as a superpower due to a large military buildup of the 1960s4 During this time, pro-military propaganda was plentiful, and military service was glorified. It became evident to me that the Octobrist uniform was used a symbol for military service and a way to promote it to the young boys who wore it.
In addition to the badge and the uniform, the Pioneer identification card was another symbol that helped instill a sense of status and belonging to the organization. Carrying this membership card was a source of pride for many children, including Vladimir, who said: "I carried mine around all the time, even on days when I didn't need it. I was always waiting for someone to ask me to show it...all my friends had one...we took good care of them and tried not to lose them...this was our documentation, our proof, so it was very important." Vladimir's comment shows that the Pioneers were not only proud to have this identification card, but also proud to be part of the Octobrists. These cards were merely paper with stamps and writing on it, but they symbolized the carrier's membership and belonging to the group as well as being an extension of the ideals and values which the group was centered around.
Through my research and interviews, I was able to analyze how being a Pioneer in the Octobrists shaped the cultural identity of the children who participated in this organization. This pioneering organization was a propaganda tool aimed at instilling national pride and communist values in young children through the combined use of various rituals and symbols. The initiation ritual accomplished this task by serving as a method of enculturation and bringing the Octobrist tradition as well as the Octobrist values into the community and local culture. Additionally, the symbols that were prominent in the daily function of the Octobrists were common symbols that unified all the participants and thus also established social solidarity with both the organization and its ideology. The sense of pride and joyful memories that my interview subjects conveyed further support the claim that the young Pioneers were psychologically shaped by these cultural rituals and symbols and that these practices generated a sense of patriotism, belonging to the group, and belief in the group's central ideology.
1. Bernstein, Seth. "Communist Upbringing Under Stalin: The Political Socialization and Militarization of Soviet Youth." University of Toronto, 2013, pp. 1–370.
2. "Era of Stagnation." Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 12 May 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Era_of_Stagnation.
3. Platoff, Anne M. "Soviet Children's Flags." UC Santa Barbara, California Digital Library, 2010,, pp. 1–83.
4. Ross, Leslie W. "Some Aspects of Soviet Education." University of Michigain, 27 Aug. 2011, deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/68955/10.1177_002248716001100420.pdf?sequence=2.
5. Sidorkin, Alexander M. "Authoritarianism and Education in Soviet Schools." Rhode Island College, 12 July 1998 digitalcommons.ric.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1017&context=facultypublications.
6. Soldak, Katya. "This Is How Propaganda Works: A Look Inside A Soviet Childhood." Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 20 Dec. 2017
7. "Solemn Promise, Motto and Rules of Young Pioneers." Literary Merit, 7 Oct. 2010, ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3WknFiJnKLwHCnL72vedxjQkDDP1mXWo6uco/wiki/Solem_Promise,_Motto_and_Rules_of_Young_Pioneers.html
1. Blumenfield, T., Harper, S., Gondek, A., & Mukhopadhyay, C. (2017). Gender and Sexuality. In Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology (pp. 226-281). Arlington American Anthropological Association.
2. Gilliland, M. K. (2017). Family and Marriage. In Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology(pp. 179-199). Arlington: American Anthropological Association. 3. Scheper-Hughes, N. (1992). Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil Berkeley & Los Angeles : University of California Press.
4. Shostak, M. (1981). Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman.Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
"Many people think that the best way to prevent patients from becoming violent is to make sure they give them a lot of drugs ahead of time. There was an era when that was believed here too. But what we've learned here is that that isn't effective at all. All we are doing is choosing the most effective method for our situation." (Nakamura 143.)
Often we take for granted the little things that allow us to wholly participate in life. Nakamura and Murphy challenge readers to practice cultural relativism with a demographic that has historically been overlooked. In The Development of Anthropological Thought, Laura Nader defines cultural relativism as a concept that attributes our behavioral differences to our cultural differences rather than racial or genetic differences (Nader 3.) Apart from the physical and emotional restraints the disabled are confronted with, they fall victim to the establishment of medicine. "They leave school or their jobs, fall out of social interactions with others; in many ways they become non-people. They may be living, but they die social deaths," (Nakamura 110.) Although many learn how to adapt and will thrive regardless of their condition, it is important to understand and acknowledge that the future may still be bleak in comparison to their able bodied individuals counterparts.
According to important figures at Bethel House, looking for a cure was not the answer for people living with mental illnesses. Sociologist Talcott Parsons talked about something he called the "sick role," which he understood as a period during which you are exempted from your normal social duties and responsibilities but in turn are obligated to try to get better and to cooperate with your doctors and nurses to the best of your ability (Parsons 1951, 452–460.) Patients in Japan are very much expected to play the sick role in hospitals, giving up their outside responsibilities and becoming a passive, compliant, and…patient (Nakamura 67-68.) Similarly, Murphy discusses the social implications of being sick and this idea that you can fail at being sick. He eloquently explains ingrained ideas that function to reject things that disorder our world in the following quote:
There is, then, a need for order in all humans that impels us to search for systematic coherence in both nature and society and, when we can find none, to invent it. Whether the human brain works according to Lévi-Strauss's theory can remain an open question, but it is an empirical fact that the mind seeks to impose systems of some kind of order upon all it surveys (Murphy 33.)
Lévi-Strauss argues that our unconscious mind helps to describe the social phenomenon that occurs in our world (Rossi 20.) In The Unconscious in the Anthropology of Claude Lévi-Strauss, Ino Rossi clarifies that the unconscious according to Lévi-Strauss is not the emotional content, energy, or even principal of activity, it is purely form empty of any content (Rossi 29.) Ultimately we look for structure and organization in order to properly gage our opinions and emotions to something. Murphy describes that illness such as his own that eventually lead to paralysis disorganized his "sick role" as he was not going to recuperate as expected when taking on the "sick role." It is the breach of order that seems to produce this disinterest and apathy for the disabled. However, his is not mutually exclusive to Murphy's case. This failure to assimilate back into culture after being cured effectively shuns out those labeled as disabled. Being ostracized from society does not occur devoid of emotion. It would be a disservice to say that those who were rejected from the typical population experienced this transition without emotional repercussion. Analyzing Murphy's experience following his paralysis as well as about those living in Bethel House, it was clear that within the disabled community there was a desire to lead similar lives to those around them in order to gain a sense of support and belonging.
Rather than looking for a cure, it was more about adapting to your new lifestyle to ameliorate your situation. Both Dr. Kawamura and Mr. Mukaiyachi at the Red Cross Hospital in Japan felt that there wasn't much use in carrying around too many things in what they called the "trash can of the soul" (kokoro no gomibako.) Using a computer metaphor, people were regularly encouraged to empty their mental trash cans so that they can open up more room for other things in order to get on with their lives (Nakamura 24.) Although it can be argued that rehabilitation medicine helps people make incredible strides in their recovery there is still no miracle cure, all it requires it hard work (Murphy 49.)"Ideally he is active, not passive, and he must try continually to outdo himself. To a degree the patient is responsible for his own recovery and this has many positive aspects. In Health and Medicine, Sashur Henninger-Rener describes an approach to medicine referred to as communal healing. Rather than looking for biomedical cures, this type of healing requires the combined efforts of those in the community to heal (Henninger-Rener 8.) It was this kind of healing and support that you found within the disabled culture. It was not so much about getting cured but finding comfort in those around you who were going through the same thing. Light describes the deaf community's belief that rather than trying to assimilate perfectly to another culture, it was the ability to sign that made up their culture. Similarly with Murphy and others who were paralyzed that utilized a wheelchair, and those diagnosed with Schizophrenia and heard voices in their heads. It was not about perfectly fitting into everyone else's culture but rather cherishing aspects of your "disability," and finding your support system within the disabled culture. Henninger-Rener writes that "having a strong social and emotional support system is an important element of health in all human cultures," (Henninger-Rener 8.)
Although a cure for paralysis or schizophrenia may not be on the horizon, healing for those considered disabled can begin immediately. Finding a support system with immediate family as well as those who are also apart of the disabled culture is key to immediate solace, however I think extending that invitation to everyone else unfamiliar with disability could help bridge the gap between those who are disabled and those who are not. Murphy describes the most perverse effect that negative relations has afflicted his own life was this desire to withdraw from many friendships simply because these past friends no longer understood how to interact with Murphy once he was in a wheelchair (Murphy 124.) His distress is echoed in A Disability of the Soul, in which Nakamura writes "because you are ill it is no reason to close your soul to the outside world" (Nakamura 34.) Disability has been the forefront of these individuals' identity and has begun to dampen their confidence to socially connect with those around them. By enhancing relationships and altering what we think we know about those living with disabilities we can initiate healing through social connection.
Someone who doesn't know me might be afraid of me at first, but if we have a true meeting of our souls, that person might come to understand me. If we can increase the number of those people who can understand even one or two at a time, then maybe my friends in the hospital might become less worried and [gain the confidence to] get discharged (Nakamura 30.)
Within the disabled culture, it seems that there is so much push to assimilate to the able-bodied culture that we do not take the time to understand those who are disabled. There is a great expectation to blend in within their abled-bodied counterparts as much as possible. For example, paraplegics or quadriplegics who rely on their wheelchair for mobility are limited in transportation because local transportation is either not handicapped equipped or difficulty of parking even with a private car (Murphy 146-147.) Among those diagnosed with schizophrenia, suffer from interactions with doctors who do not really listen and immediately increase dosages for medicine if patients talk about the voices they hear in their head (Nakamura 82.) Practice in some deaf schools is to teach deaf children to lip read and speak orally rather than learning a signed system emphasizing this expectation to blend in with the hearing community as much as possible (Light 17.) The disabled community was expected to simply ignore their disability and assimilate. Attitudes in the past have placed expectations on the disabled community to better their situation by acting "normal". However, it is moments like these that we must consider our own ethnocentrism towards the disabled community. Laura Nader describes ethnocentrism as a phenomenon that causes us to look at the world through our own lens rather than in the context of a culture being studied (Nader 5.) Reading the accounts of Robert Murphy as well as those at Bethel House, it is clear that we have failed those afflicted with disability by expecting them to lead lives similar to those considered to be able-bodied.
Hearing the stories of those that lead a different life than our own helps to us to understand the ways that we are privileged. Analysis of The Body Silent and A Disability of the Soul has highlighted the ways that the system I live in is catered to an able bodied, female living without any chronic mental illness. Understanding these shortcomings has challenged me to think about the ways that we can amend this system so that those impacted with disabilities can better integrate into society through both meaningful connections to more people around them as well as find fulfillment in the jobs they occupy.
1. Clare Hocking (2017) Occupational justice as social justice: The moral claim for
incl usion, Journal of Occupational Science, 24:1, 29-42, DOI: 10.1080/14427591.2017.1294016
2.Griffith, Lauren Miller. "Globalization." 2017. http://perspectives.americananthro.org/Chapters/Perspectives.pdf.
3. Henninger-Rener, Sashur. "Health and Medicine." 2017. http://perspectives.americananthro.org/Chapters/Perspectives.pdf.
4. Light, Linda. "Language." Arlington, VA, 2017. http://perspectives.americananthro.org/Chapters/Perspectives.pdf.
5. Lyon, Sarah. "Economics." 2017. http://perspectives.americananthro.org/Chapters/Perspectives.pdf.
6. Murphy, Robert F. The Body Silent. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001.
Nader, Laura. "The Development of Anthropological Ideas." 2017. http://perspectives.americananthro.org/Chapters/Perspectives.pdf.
7. Nakamura, Karen. A Disability of the Soul: an Ethnography of Schizophrenia and Mental Illness in Contemporary Japan. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013.
8. Parsons, Talcott. Illness and the Role of the Physician: A Sociological Perspective. Menasha, WI: Banta, 1951.
9. Rossi, Ino. "The Unconscious in the Anthropology of Claude Levi-Strauss." American Anthropologist 75, no. 1 (1973): 20-48. doi:10.1525/aa.1973.75.1.02a00020.