Prior Presentations by Faculty and Students


    Female behavior and the one-male unit social structure among the Gola baboons.
    Shimelis Beyene
    (Upcoming, 2009) American Association of Physical Anthropologists

    Anubis (Papio hamadryas anubis) and hamadryas baboons (Papio h. hamadryas) are so distinct in their morphology, behavior, social systems and ecology that many consider them to be different species. However, they interbreed where their ranges overlap to form expanding hybrid zones in Ethiopia. Among the derived features of the hamadryas social system is its four-level social organization. The most stable structure in this multi-level hamadryas society is the one-male unit (OMU), whose stability is often attributed to male herding behavior. However, results of this study, based on focal female sampling technique, suggest that female behavior also contributes to the temporal and spatial stability of OMUs. This long-term study, based on two different baboon groups; a predominantly anubis group with hamadryas and hybrid males, and a second group with anubis, hamadryas and hybrid baboons of both sexes, demostrates that hamadryas males form OMUs in both groups. However, these OMUs are less stable than typical OMUs in hamadryas societies. The formation of "loose" OMUs between hamadryas males and anubis females has been documented within several baboon groups in the Awash hybrid zone. The results presented herein are novel in that similar 'loose' OMUs emerge even when females members of the OMUs are hamadryas. Demographic and social factors such as the adult sex ratio, the nature of female-female relationships, and group history are proposed among possible explanations for this finding. Some of these factors, in turn, are the result of recent human induced ecological changes in the region.

    Who's Zooming Who?: Cross-Cultural Mentoring between High School and College Students
    Willis, Mary S. and Dibernard, Barbara J.
    (2009) Society for Applied Anthropology, Sante Fe, New Mexico

    Nebraska's population fluctuates through resettlement from Iraq, Sudan, Mexico, and Vietnam. Migrant high school students are forced into an awkward, liminal state; no longer children but not yet adults, less connected to birth cultures but not fully integrated into US life. To ease the transition, provide insight into U.S. culture, and establish goals, we pair college students as mentors with high school students in this situation. While these themes emerge for high school students adapting to a new home, our college mentors also experience an unsettling: experiencing new cultures, problem solving with limited resources, and re-examining high school with a new lens.

    Evaluating the race concept in the classroom and community: insight from student research
    D.L. Osborne, M.S. Willis, and S.G. Beyene.
    (2009) American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Chicago, Illinois

    Over five academic years (2003-2008) students enrolled in an upper division course on human variation were required to interview subjects (n=450) living in the Midwest regarding concepts of race. Students completed ethical research training and an IRB protocol prior to data collection. All posed the same questions to their selected sample including: (1) define race; (2) how many races exist?; (3) what proportion of ancestry determines membership into a racial group?; (4) what features, characteristics and/or behaviors do you associate with each group?; and (5) additional comments. Subject's age, self-identified racial affinity, relationship to interviewer, profession, and date, time, and location of interview were also recorded. In this sample, most respondents indicated that race exists and consistently identified Asian/Oriental, Caucasian, Native American/Indian, African-American, and Hispanic as racial entities. Other common categories included Middle Eastern, Jewish, Pacific Islander, Ethiopian, and Native of South America. Respondents suggested that as little as 25%, and as much as 75%, ancestry designated racial affiliation. Accordingly, discrete phenotypic features were associated with specific racial groups. After learning that race is socially constructed, students encountered an affirmative response for race as biology from respondents who also identified specific behaviors for each racial group. By actively engaging this important topic, students had the opportunity to examine classroom knowledge in the context of real world experience and societal stereotypes. Many students reported a change in their own perception of race while gaining a new insight into the impact of a culture who embraces race as biology.

    Graduate Students

    Trance Healing among the Ju/'hoansi: Demographics of Recipients
    Daniel Foy (co-authored with Patricia Draper)
    (2008) 108th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. San Francisco, CA.

    The trance healing cure of the Ju/'hoansi of Southern Africa is well known and described in the anthropological literature. However, to date this ethnographic coverage focuses primarily on those doing the healing, their point of view, performance, and personal characteristics. Less well known are details concerning the recipients of these cures, how they regard the benefits of trance healing, and how such treatments relate to other forms of available care.

    We present data, collected by the second author, based on interviews with over 100 Ju/'hoansi regarding episodes of serious illness and the kinds of treatment they received. Whereas anthropologists over the years have reported no apparent gender discrepancy in being treated by a healer, we found, unexpectedly, that when our interviewees were asked about the types of treatment they had received during the period of illness, women outnumbered men by a ratio two to one in reporting that the person who helped them did so through trance healing. In addition we found that older people of either sex were more likely to report having been helped by a trance healer than were younger individuals, and that in general, both men and women were more likely to report receiving assistance from opposite sex helpers during a sickness episode.

    We discuss these findings in relation to various details such as age, sex, and kinship and explain how these factors may have influenced the type of help an individual reported having received.

    Comparing the conservation discourses of Indigenous Peoples throughout America
    J. N. Cabrera-Schneider
    (2008) Poster presentation, 93rd Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    In recent years, the revival of the idea that Indigenous groups identify themselves with the principles of environmental stewardship has sparked a debate among ecological and anthropological scientists. This debate centers on whether indigenous peoples have cultural practices that are intentionally aligned with and promote conservation. The majority of recent arguments suggest that cultural characteristics of the indigenous peoples are not actually aligned with conservation. The same scientists mention that the set backs suffered by certain conservation efforts are due to the presence of indigenous peoples in reserve areas. The emergence of this debate has encouraged me to analyze some of the discourses that come form the indigenous peoples through out the American Continent. My objective is to identify and compare the common characteristics of the conservation discourses that come from the indigenous peoples in order to point out if the discourses have something similar that encourages them to think that they are associated with conservation. I have reviewed the literature from peer reviewed journals that mention indigenous conservation, sustainability, and resource management in the discourses of different indigenous peoples that live in the American continent.

    There are three main characteristics that many of the indigenous peoples conservation discourses share. The first commonality is that the conservation discourse it is used to attract the attention of third parties (e.g. international NGO, foreign governments) to their problems. The second characteristic shared is that their problems involve a lack or impediment to access resources that previously they had access to. And the third common characteristic is that their conservation discourse is usually tied to a human rights discourse. The conservation discourse of indigenous peoples is a way to call to our attention the injustice that is happening this should be taken in to consideration when conservationist thinking about conservation plans and strategies, they need also to think also of human rights and equality in the access to resources.

    Economic Openness, Corn Prices, and Rural Communities in Guatemala
    J.N. Cabrera-Schneider
    (2008) Global Studies Conference, Chicago, IL

    One component of Globalization is the economic interaction between markets; to facilitate this interaction governments have taken steps to make their borders more permeable to trade. The increased fluidity of products has had an effect on local prices. In this paper I will exemplify one effect that is the trend of price of corn in Guatemala has the same slope as the price of corn in the US, in the period of 1980 to 2006. The implication of this price similarity needs to be studied as the push for increased market integration of Guatemala with other countries continues. These are the first steps of a study trying to describe the adaptations undertaken by rural communities to the economic policies that Guatemala's government promotes.

    Undergraduate Students

    In the Waiting Room: Use and Perceptions of Reproductive Health Services in Quito, Ecuador.
    Emily Smith (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
    (2009) Society for Applied Anthropology, Sante Fe, New Mexico

    Cultural, political, and economic factors make improving quality and accessibility to reproductive healthcare for women in Latin America problematic. The purpose of this study was to examine reproductive healthcare services in Quito, Ecuador. Interviews were conducted with women at seven health centers and hospitals. Seventy women were asked to comment on various aspects of reproductive health, including: use of family planning methods, ideal vs. actual number of children, satisfaction with services, and motivations for utilizing certain centers. This study focuses on women's perceptions of healthcare services, and suggestions for improving services and access for women living near Quito's health facilities.