¡SOLAS Presents! FRG Recipients: Sarah Leister and Corey Ragsdale Thursday, April 23rd, 12:00 @ the LAII
Join SOLAS at the Latin American & Iberian Institute for the final ¡SOLAS Presents! Lecture Series event of the semester with a presentation from FRG recipients Sarah Leister and Corey Ragsdale.
Biological Consequences of Cultural Interaction in Postclassic Mexico
Corey Ragsdale received his M.S. in Biological Anthropology and is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at UNM.
Economic, political, and cultural relationships connected virtually every population throughout Mexico during Postclassic period (AD 900-1520). Much of what is known about population interaction in prehistoric Mexico is based on archaeological or ethnohistoric data. What is unclear, especially for the Postclassic period, is how these data correlate with biological population structure. I address this by assessing biological distances among 28 samples based upon a comparison of dental morphology trait frequencies, which serve as a proxy for genetic variation, from 810 individuals. These distances were compared with models representing geographic and cultural relationships among the same groups. Results of Mantel and partial Mantel matrix correlation tests show that shared migration and trade are correlated with biological distances, but geographic distance is not. Trade and political interaction are also correlated with biological distances in Central Mexico, but not in West Mexico. These results indicate that trade and politics likely played a major role in shaping patterns of interaction between populations, and that the socioeconomic differences between Central and West Mexico allowed for different venues of population interaction. This study also shows that the biological distance data support the migration histories described in ethnohistoric sources.
"We Know Where We Stand": Contesting and Constructing Knowledge in Nicaragua's Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemic
Sarah Leister is a M.A. candidate in the Latin American Studies program at UNM.
Chronic kidney disease of non-traditional causes (CKDnt) is affecting sugarcane workers in northwestern Nicaragua at extremely high rates. In the last 10 years, it is estimated that 46% of male deaths in the city of Chichigalpa were caused by CKDnt. A variety of global and local actors have converged upon this public health crisis in search of biomedical causes of the disease and methods to prevent devastatingly high rates of premature death. At the same time, ex-sugar cane workers face extreme poverty and illness as many mobilize in protest against harsh labor practices in the local sugarcane company and a lack of governmental support for workers. Based on two months of field research, at La Isla Foundation, a local NGO committed to addressing the epidemic; and 10 interviews with sugarcane workers, family members of CKD-affected individuals, and a scientific researcher, Sarah will present her findings on the politics of knowledge production surrounding this crisis. She will look at how CKD has mobilized local and international actors around workers’ rights and how knowledge production has individualized and interiorized disease, thereby eclipsing structural violence.
For a PDF of the event flyer, click here.
¡SOLAS Presents! FRG Recipients: Grant Florian and Matthew Schwartz Wednesday, March 18th, 12:00 @ the LAII
Join SOLAS at the Latin American & Iberian Institute for a ¡SOLAS Presents! Lecture Series event with a presentation from UNM graduate students Grant Florian and Matthew Schwartz.
Ayahuasca, Religious Syncretism, and Modernity in the Brazilian Amazon
Grant is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at UNM.
The Santo Daime religion was established in Northwest Brazil in the early 20th century, drawing converts from mixed race "caboclo" communities, which were impacted by the decline of the Amazon rubber boom. The religion blends indigenous practices like the sacramental use of the psychoactive tea ayahuasca with folk Catholicism and Afro-Brazilian religion. In recent decades Santo Daime has begun attracting middle class converts from Brazil's urban centers and abroad. In his presentation, Grant discusses his visit to two rural Santo Daime communities in Northwest Brazil - Céu do Mapia and Colonia 5000 - both of which are home to rural people whose families were involved in the rubber trade, and pilgrimage sites for practitioners of the Santo Daime religion from around the world.
Matthew is a PhD candidate in Human Evolutionary Ecology in the Department of Anthropology at UNM.
Although much has been written about the links between oral health and reproductive status, there is very little consensus on the causal relationship between reproductive status and putative sex differences in oral health. Researchers have identified myriad pathways from reproduction to oral health, such as increases in the consumption of cariogenic foods during gestation and a tendency of females to eat cariogenic foods in general. Pregnancy related changes in female hormonal profiles also increase the likelihood of periodontitis and tooth caries through a decrease in salivary flow and buffering capacity. Despite the abundance of data on the subject, there have been no studies that have definitively linked oral health causally to reproduction using an evolutionary framework. Matt’s research is on the downstream oral health consequences of female reproduction. He investigates the link between reproduction and the behavioral and biological mechanisms underlying oral disease among the Tsimane.
For a PDF of the event flyer, click here.
One and A Half Teeth Per Child: Tooth Loss and Oral Health Among Tsimane Females