News » Archives » March 2016

Molecular Anthropologist Uses Genetic Evidence to Re-examine Ideas of Race and Ancestry

Author: Carrie Gates

Jada Benn Torress Icon

For decades, scientists have considered race to be a biological category that could predispose someone to certain diseases. Jada Benn Torres believes the issue is more complicated. Molecular anthropology, she contends, can help offer a clearer picture of why some people get sick and others don’t. Benn Torres, an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology, is researching uterine fibroids, a common health problem for which race is listed as a risk factor.

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Alumni Reflection: Finding the Answer to the 'Major' Question

Author: Rebecca Mayus

Rebecca Mayus

If you had asked me at the beginning of my freshman year at Notre Dame whether I planned to pursue a career in anthropology, I almost certainly would not have replied in the affirmative. In fact, my response would likely have been more along the lines of “What exactly is anthropology?” Like many new college students, I had never been properly introduced to the field, and had no real concept of what it was that anthropologists actually did. All I had to go by were a few largely random names that had cropped up in the news or my past schoolwork: Paul Farmer, Franz Boas, Jane Goodall, Indiana Jones (all right, maybe that last one is a little out of place).

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Anthropologists’ New Books Illuminate Challenges of Human Migration That Span Centuries

Author: Brian Wallheimer

Donna Glowacki and Maurizio Albahari

Their subjects are separated by hundreds of years and thousands of miles, yet two recent books by Notre Dame anthropologists have striking similarities on the driving forces behind human migration. Living and Leaving: A Social History of Regional Depopulation in Thirteenth-Century Mesa Verde, by Associate Professor Donna Glowacki, untangles the web of reasons why an entire culture simply packed up and left the Four Corners region nearly 800 years ago. Crimes of Peace: Mediterranean Migrations at the World’s Deadliest Border, by Assistant Professor Maurizio Albahari, examines why African and Middle Eastern migrants and refugees risk their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. The books have played a major role in establishing Notre Dame’s Department of Anthropology as a source of insight and perspective on significant social issues.

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