Department of Anthropology
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PublicationTowards World Citizenship: Ethnography of the World Culture Initiative and Multicultural Curricula(2007-04-01) Leonard, Elizabeth Publication"Pro-Poor" Tourism in Nicaragua: A Case Study of the Telica Rota Natural Reserve(2016-12-12) Bridges, Megan MThe following paper is an ethnographic study that was conducted over the course of eleven months while working in León, Nicaragua, for an international NGO. It adds to existing literature that illustrate the shortfalls of community-based tourism projects, particularly when multiple stakeholders are involved. It focuses its attention on the cultural misunderstandings between the NGO, municipal government, and a rural tourism cooperative regarding tourism development and land management. Furthermore, it highlights the cooperative’s efforts in maintaining its agency when it felt as though its interests were being ignored by organizations with greater social, political, and economic capital than they had. PublicationChoice, Control and Childbirth: Cesarean Deliveries on Maternal Request in Shanghai, China(2016-04-01) Wang, EileenCesarean deliveries on maternal request (CDMR) have become increasingly common in China within the past 20 years, coinciding with the dramatic rise in cesarean section rates. In recent years, the state has tried to control the escalation of cesarean section rates by restricting those that are considered medically “unnecessary” and particularly those requested by mothers. Drawing upon eight weeks of ethnographic fieldwork and 34 interviews with women, providers and family members at a district hospital in Shanghai, this thesis looks at the sociocultural context that influences mothers in China to request cesarean deliveries, as well as the ongoing negotiations among the state, doctor and woman over control of the childbirth process. Examining the politics of delivery decision-making, in turn, provides a platform for understanding reproductive governance, childbirth and the underlying system of health care in China. PublicationThe Bioarchaeology of War(2012-04-01) Rubin, KatieThe following is a report on the perimortem cranial traumas observed at the Hasanlu archaeological site with the sole purpose of relating these traumas to their causative implements. Nineteen of 187 skulls from Hasanlu were selected for extended analysis based on the clarity of their perimortem wounds; a sample of all weapon types recovered from the site was also analyzed. Sixty-three definite or very likely perimortem primary points of impact were identifiable on the 19 skulls, corresponding to both blunt and sharp force trauma. Evidence was found for cranial trauma induced by falls, maceheads, swords, daggers, and possibly spears. As a whole, the association of the cranial traumas with causative weapons suggests something previously unknown about the battle at Hasanlu: that combat took place at very close range. Thus, this novel association of trauma with weapons may enhance our understanding of a single devastating day 2200 years ago, ancient Near Eastern warfare as a whole, and ultimately, the history of human violence. PublicationDiabetes in the U.S. Asian-Indian Population: Finding Answers in Diet and Lifestyle(2006-04-01) Cherian, Teenu PublicationThe Genetic History Of The Otomi In The Central Mexican Valley(2013-04-01) Zillges, HaleighThe Otomí, or Hñäñhü, is an indigenous ethnic group in the Central Mexican Valley that has been historically marginalized since before Spanish colonization. To investigate the extent by which historical, geographic, linguistic, and cultural influences shaped biological ancestry, I analyzed the genetic variation of 224 Otomí individuals residing in thirteen Otomí villages. Results indicate that the majority of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotypes belong to the four major founding lineages, A2, B2, C1, and D1, reflecting an overwhelming lack of maternal admixture with Spanish colonizers. Results also indicate that at an intra-population level, neither geography nor linguistics played a prominent role in shaping maternal biological ancestry. However, at an inter-population level, geography was found to be a more influential determinant. Comparisons of Otomí genetic variation allow us to reconstruct the ethnic history of this group, and to place it within a broader-based Mesoamerican history. PublicationThematic Analysis of the Culture of UNICEF in Response to Polio Eradication Efforts(2015-01-01) Albala, SarahUNICEF is the largest contributor of vaccines to the developing world. Under the framework of Global Polio Eradication Initiative, UNICEF has deployed a strategic approach called the Communication for Development (C4D) approach that utilizes community engagement to effectively disseminate the oral polio vaccine (OPV). UNICEF stresses how the C4D approach results in the structuring and implementation of programs that reflect the community's thoughts and actions. Documents focused on the existing C4D approach in Pakistan were analyzed to see how themes of community knowledge are relayed according to document type and level. Based on the various levels of documentation (ranging from a qualitative study of community thoughts to briefs presented to UNICEF experts), it appears that while community ideas surrounding OPV and Polio are at first recorded in their full nuance, this complex information is lost at the highest level of documentation. This points to a cultural of optimism that may be obstructive to critical and strategic thinking. PublicationThe Comadrona: A Dying Profession or Secret Society? The Effects of Modern Medicine on Traditional Practice(2012-04-01) Romero, Vanessa PublicationAn Anthropological Perspective on the Conflation of Health and Justice: the Case of Obstetric Fistula in Sub-Saharan Africa(2012-04-01) Wasik, MonikaIn a globalized world of seven billion people, the persistence of disparities in accessibility to maternal health services between developed and developing nations is astonishing. Poor health often places women in socially marginalized positions. Recognizing this compels us to emphasize the importance of examining the relationship between women’s rights and women’s health. Contextualizing the case of obstetric fistula in sub-Saharan Africa within the fields of global health and medical anthropology, this paper demonstrates that health is a woman’s right, and that the human rights approach can be used as the primary tool for female empowerment. To address maternal health issues, I suggest a middle path between top down and grassroots approaches. In the final section, I will share some reflections on the background research I conducted in Ethiopia during the summer of 2011. PublicationMore Than Just A Diet: An Inquiry Into Veganism(2014-04-01) Mann, Sarah EBACKGROUND: The vegan diet has gained momentum in recent years, with more people transitioning to the diet, whether for health or more ethically based reasons. The vegan diet, often characterized as very restrictive, is associated with health benefits but raises concerns. Controversy regarding the diet exists within the public sphere, with those actively supporting and advocating for it, and others questioning its purpose and proposed benefits, even disparaging its existence, perhaps because of a lack of knowledge about the diet. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to provide a fuller picture of the vegan diet, encompassing both the nutrition and health of the vegan diet as well as related ethical beliefs by studying scientific and popular literature in tandem. Furthermore, the study aimed to provide an insider’s perspective of the vegan diet as a means of combating stereotypes and making the diet more relatable/understandable to those who are not vegan. By combining all three sources, the project aims to educate the public regarding a diet and lifestyle that is often perceived, at least partially, in a negative manner. METHODS: The research was conducted in two parts – literature review and interview study. A literature review of both the scientific and the popular literature was conducted and reviewed from August to November. Pubmed database was used to research the scientific findings while food blogs, vegan websites, and newspaper articles comprised the popular literature. The interview study involved semi-structured, one-time, in-person private interviews conducted during February and March. Twenty vegans (10 students from the University of Pennsylvania and 10 Philadelphia residents) were interviewed and questions targeted personal history of veganism, related health beliefs, factors influencing the decision to become vegan, and diet composition. Once all data was obtained, it was analyzed in tandem. RESULTS: Findings suggest that a well-rounded vegan diet is healthy and such is evidenced by the variety of whole foods and increased vegetable and fruit intake. Health benefits include a decrease in cholesterol, lipid levels, blood pressure, weight, and a reduced risk for a variety of diseases including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Despite the benefits, health concerns do exist, especially in regard nutrient deficiencies, without a well-planned and varied diet. Nutrient concerns include calcium, vitamin D, iron, and particularly vitamin B-12 for which supplements should be taken. The nature of the interviews conducted for this paper was such that a comprehensive but diverse collection of information was obtained, precisely because the interviewees have chosen the vegan diet for a multitude of reasons, and approach their diet and lifestyle in varied ways. However, there are some commonalities that were revealed. Results of the interview studies demonstrate that about half of the vegans are potentially at risk for vitamin D deficiency because most are taking neither vitamin D supplements nor a multivitamin. Comparing the scientific literature with the interview results reveal that most of the vegans include working out within their daily routines, such that they place emphasis upon physical fitness, suggesting that the vegan lifestyle has benefits beyond merely nutritional. Finally, comparing popular literature to the information gleaned through the interviews conducted establishes that many of the stereotypes regarding the vegan diet are unfounded. CONCLUSIONS: The vegan diet is one that is chosen by individuals for various reasons, including health and/or ethical reasons. While many health benefits exist, it is essential for those who are vegan or are planning to become vegan to be educated about potential nutrient deficiencies to prevent adverse outcomes. In addition, it is evident that the vegan diet is much more than a diet itself, but has developed into a lifestyle, often associated with animal rights and environmental advocacy as well as a greater concern for physical activity and mindfulness. Further research begs the question of whether the health benefits associated with the diet are solely attributable to the diet or in conjunction with a greater physical activity level and mindful living. With regard to providing an accurate picture of veganism in the popular literature, it is essential to combat negative unsubstantiated stereotypes and myths by providing vegans with unbiased voice with which to share their own stories and beliefs. Lastly, the popularity of the vegan diet and the question of whether it is nutritionally sound, raise issues of anthropologic significance. Specifically, it prompts consideration of whether our ancestral diet was vegetarian in nature, or depended upon meat for evolutionary progress. Moreover, this study demonstrates that the human diet has changed over time, such that our dietary needs, choices and preferences are inherently reflective of cultural and nutritional anthropology.