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2 March 2016

Current Issue

Winter is drawing to a close, with spring offering fleeting glimpses of the bright blue skies it holds in store for us. The academic year 2015/16 is at its midpoint, and staff and students are now feeling settled into the year. Our new staff, Dr Emily Woodhouse in Human Ecology and Dr Maria Martinon-Torres in Paleoanthropology, have settled in well. Dr Martinon-Torres immediately set about to create a wonderful opportunity for our students to join a field-camp in Europe’s most important fossil excavation site in Atapuerca, Spain, as part of their coursework, and developments are underway to extend a special relation to paleoanthropological departments and associated field-sites in China. To our delight, our Teaching Fellows are staying with us for a further academic year to the end of 2016/17.

We are proud to report the promotion of five staff to Senior Lecturer and Reader and a further two staff to Professor. This success at promotion is a clear indication of the department’s thriving research culture. We have also seen the culmination of some of our large ERC grants. Daniel Miller’s social networking project Why We Post is a project by nine anthropologists who conducted nine simultaneous 15 month ethnographies on the use and consequences of social media at sites including a factory town and a rural town in China, a town on the Syrian-Turkish border, low income settlements in Brazil and Chile, an IT complex set between villages in South India, an English village, and small towns in Italy and Trinidad. We have now seen the publication of the first three of 11 volumes of research as free Open Access volumes by UCL press, the Launch of the Why We Post free e-learning course (English version on FutureLearn, seven other languages on UCL eXtend), and the Launch of the project website with over 100 films also in eight languages.

2nd year undergraduate Jordan Murr has set up the Anthropology Book Club, with Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches you and you Fall Down providing the material for the launch of the book club. Anthro Society has organised several events for the year, the previous highlight being Humour: It’s no Laughing Matter with Alex Pillen, Jerome Lewis and Volker Sommer, an excellent debate which has been written up in this issue by 1st year undergraduates Aline Aronsky and Jessica Edney, the latter of who we welcome to the editorial board of Anthropolitan. And on Wednesday 9th March Dr Adrian Poole and PhD students Alice Rudge and Camille Oloa-Biloa will take us on a journey On the Importance of Music in Anthropology.

During the autumn term the Anthropology in the Professional World series, organised by Dr Hannah Knox, was comprised of guest speakers from Intel, Ipsos Mori, DFID and BAMM London (a collective of photojournalists, videographers, strategists and researchers).

The third annual Mary Douglas Memorial Lecture will be held on Wednesday 25th May in UCL’s Archaeology Lecture Theatre (which adjoins Anthropology’s foyer), with Dr Michael Thompson giving a talk on How Banks Think.

We now approach dissertation and exam season, and I wish good luck to all of our hard-working students.

Professor Susanne Kuechler
Head of Department

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