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AnthroCurrents – April 17, 2015

A biweekly look at recent stories on anthropology and practicing anthropologists in the popular media

  • In the discussion of female circumcision we often hear the perspective of unwilling participants who seek to escape this tradition, and of course the Western perspective is easy to obtain. Recently, The Atlantic talked to anthropologist Bettina Shell-Duncan and got the missing perspective: women who willingly participate and celebrate this custom.
  • Slate.com (in an article from New Scientist) talks about language differences when it comes to talking about smells. English is a particularly barren language when it comes to smell-speak—at least when compared with other languages, says Asifa Majid. This particular article does not go very deep into the possible interplay between language and olfactory ability, but don’t worry. I found another source for you in Neuroanthropology blog. What does it smell like when your mind is blown?
  • New Mexico’s Daily Lobo wrote a story of Louise Lamphere’s lawsuit over tenure back in the 70s. Surprisingly, no mention was made in the article of Kimberly Theidon’s current lawsuit against Harvard.
  • Access to sanitary napkins can be life changing to girls in Ethiopia who can miss up to five days of school every month when dealing with their menstrual cycle without adequate supplies. Dignity Period, a St. Louis-based non-profit, seeks to solve that problem by manufacturing an distributing reusable sanitary napkins. Dr. Lewis Wall, doctor and anthropologist, is one of the founders of Dignity Period and the Worldwide Fistula Fund.
  • Deutsche Well covers the growing “green interment” trend, and anthropologist Hannah Rumble weighs in on why these are attractive options to traditional burial.

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