Spring Term, 2016
Anthropology Tan Sack Lecture Series
Friday's at Noon
Waldo 201A


April 15 - Dr. Shireen Hyrapiet - Oregon State University, Geography
"The Politics of Place and Meaning Making: A Study of the Hand-Pulled Rickshaws of Kolkata, India"

Hand-pulled rickshaws have existed in Kolkata, India for over a century. In 2006, a government directive ordered the rickshaws banned from the city on the grounds that they are inhumane, they cause traffic problems, and their high degree of visibility causes problems for Kolkata’s “globalizing” image. A decade since the ban, rickshaws continue to ply the city’s streets. Through an examination of cultural politics and place- and meaning-making, the profession is explored to highlight the services, beyond the role of transportation, provided by the rickshaw and its pullers. By carving a unique niche for themselves within the local community and specific to the socio-economic and cultural context of the city, the rickshaw pullers have negotiated their place in the city and the persistence of their profession.

Bio: Dr. Shireen Hyrapiet grew up in Kolkata, India. She has an undergraduate degree in Geography from Loreto College, India, a Master’s degree in Fire and Emergency Management Administration from Oklahoma State University and a PhD in Geography from Oklahoma State University. Shireen is an instructor at Oregon State University and teaches courses on the Geography of the Non-Western World, Asia, and Latin America. She also teaches courses on Sustainability for the Common Good, Environmental Justice, Disaster Management, and will offer a new course on Human-Environment Geography in the fall of 2016.

April 22 - Jyl M. Wheaton-Abraham, Oregon State University, Anthropology Masters
"Dancing Naked in the Marijuana Fields: An Emerging Perspective on Cannabis."

Humans have sustained a relationship with cannabis for thousands of years. Looking at the history of cultivation, prohibition, and the growing mobilization towards medicinal and recreational use, this discussion will contrast our cultural understanding of cannabis, with the recent discovery of the endocannabinoid system, and the human need for compounds found in the cannabis plant.

Bio: Jyl M. Wheaton-Abraham has a Master’s in Applied Anthropology from OSU. She is a businesswoman in the medicinal cannabis industry on the Oregon Coast and has been involved in cannabis cultivation and processing for many years.

May 6 - Dr. Mehra Shirazi - Oregon State University, Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies
“My experiences working with the Imamia Medics International (IMI) Organization in a Southern Iraqi Camp for Refugees & Internally Displaced People.”

IMI is a global medical organization incorporated in the United States in 1994 and accredited by the United Nations in 2000. Its membership is comprised not only of physicians, pharmacists, nurses, scientists and other healthcare professionals, but also of individuals committed to enhancing the medical, social, intellectual and spiritual well-being of communities in need. IMI’s activities range from educational programs, community based clinics, vaccination programs, maternal and child care programs, health missions, disaster relief operations and international health policy work. I spent three weeks with them in Southern Iraq in my capacity as a health care worker and as a translator. My talk will be a summary of my time with IMI.

Bio: Dr. Mehra Shirazi, earned a PhD in Public Health from OSU in 2006. From 2007-2009 she was a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley.  She then joined the Women Gender and Sexuality Studies faculty in the School of Language, Culture, and Society at OSU as an assistant professor.  Her current research explores health disparities through a lens of social justice with particular regard to class, race, gender, immigration, and the environment. Dr. Shirazi uses a community based participatory approach with an emphasis on immigrant and refugee Muslim women’s health.

May 13 - Sarah Walker - Oregon State University, Masters of Arts
"Pottery, Politics, and Trade Routes: Evaluating Independence in Late Classic Jalieza, Oaxaca"

Monte Alban, located in the state of Oaxaca in Southern Mexico, was the captial of the Zapotec civilization. This site, with political, military, and economic influence and control, helped to consolidate the three arms of the Oaxaca Valley, resulting in a state-level polity which lasted over 1,000 years, from ca. 500 B.C. to ca. 850 A.D. At the close of the Late Classic period, however, the state seemingly dissolved and the main site shrank from a peak population of 24,000-25,000, down to just a few thousand people. It has been hypothesized by researchers that the growth of regional centers of elite power caused the state to fracture and lose authority. This study evaluates the possible economic independence of one regional center, Jalieza, Oaxaca. Sitting 20 km to the southeast of the central seat of Monte Alban, Jalieza had grown into a community of 16,000 people by the Late Classic period, and was the second largest community in the valley. Using a combination of Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) along with spatial statistics and trace element analysis of pottery via INAA, this lecture will examine whether or not the Jaliezans were becoming economically independent from the capital of Monte Alban.

Bio: Sarah Walker spent the past four years researching Mesoamerican culture and archaeology with Dr. Leah Minc. Sarah spent the summer of 2014 in Oaxaca, Mexico completing archaeological fieldwork for her Master's thesis, the research to be discussed here. This past March she successfully defended her research and received her M.A. in the Applied Anthropology program at OSU.

May 27 - Dr. Hanna Gosnell - Oregon State University, Geography
“Making Sense of the Malheur”

Professor Gosnell’s talk will put the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation in context by reviewing the history of federal land ownership and governance in the US West and juxtaposing longstanding sagebrush rebellion tendencies with the more recent emergence of collaborative community based conservation and a growing interest in "the radical center.” 

Bio: Hannah Gosnell, author of over 30 articles, is an Associate Professor in Geography at OSU. Her research interests revolve around human dimensions of global environmental change, rural geography, agricultural landscapes, and ranching in the U.S.

June 3 - Dr. Margaret Mathewson - Oregon State University, Anthropology 
"Behind the Scenes of the Russian Version of “Night at the Museum”

Western Native American tribes are documenting their own objects in museum collections to augment the information in their own Cultural Resource departments and museums.  Margaret Mathewson has been hired by several Western tribes to study early basketry collections in Europe and Russia, with tribal members.  Those museums are also happy to have comments from the source--tribal members bring material samples and do demonstrations of technique.  The Kunstkamera museum in St Petersburg was Margaret’s latest trip.  The museum is currently working on a publication of the California materials it houses.  Margaret’s talk will be about what her group found while visiting the museum.

Bio: Margaret Mathewson is a scholar, teacher and basket maker, weaving traditional styles since 1980.  She did her graduate work at UC Berkeley focusing on contemporary issues in the maintenance of ancestral ways among native peoples in California.  She also did post-doctoral work at the Smithsonian studying old basketry collections and working with tribes to revive traditions. In addition, she teaches courses at Oregon State University and the University of Victoria, Canada as well as at her own Ancient Arts Center in Lobster Valley, Oregon.

Margaret’s more recent work has been with museums, tribal and other, to identify basketry and to create exhibits in collaboration with tribes, focusing on Native plants and ancestral technologies.  A resident of Oregon, she runs the Ancient Arts Center, a retreat and school with classes in basketry, food ways, spinning, dying and felting, hide tanning, carving, pottery, stone and bone tools and many other skills from around the world. Her own basketry work is a mix of ancient and modern and reflects her studies of the traditions of Europe and Japan as well as North America.  All her work uses natural materials.


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