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RACE at the Smithsonian on September 21

The RACE: Are We So Different? Exhibit is at the Smithsonian Institute ‘s National Museum of Natural History. In tandem with the exhibit, Smithsonian is hosting a monthly series of events entitled The Scholar is In and The Scholar is Online.

The Scholar Is In is a new program series for RACE: Are We So Different?, a temporary exhibition on view at the Museum through January 8, 2012. Visitors can meet and talk with anthropologists, scientists, historians, sociologists, and other researchers about race, science, history, and society in the exhibition hall.

On September 21st, meet Dr. Tom Guglielmo in the RACE: Are We So Different? exhibition from 1pm to 3pm. Dr. Guglielmo is Associate Professor in the George Washington University’s American Studies Department. He will talk about his current research, including a book tentatively titled Race War: World War II and the Crisis of American Democracy. He’ll discuss how race shaped the draft, military blood banks, and other stories in a multiracial synthesis of Americans during the war years.

Can’t make  it to the museum?  Visit RACE’s virtual exhibit and chat with Dr. Tom Guglielmo from 3pm to 4pm online. Click here to meet us at 3pm.

Prof. Guglielmo’s teaching and research interests include race and ethnic studies, immigration, and twentieth-century U.S. social, cultural, and political history. His book, White on Arrival: Italians, Race, Color, and Power in Chicago, 1890-1945, won the Allan Nevins Prize from the Society of American Historians and the Frederick Jackson Turner Award from the Organization of American Historians.

Surprising Prevelance of Autism in South Korea

AAA member, Roy Richard Grinker is making global headlines as senior author for a study unveiled this week on autism. The study, a collaborative effort by Yale Child Study Center and George Washington University and to be featured in The American Journal of Psychiatry, sought to gauge the rate of childhood autism in a middle-class city in South Korea. The rate within the community studied indicated that 2.6 percent of all children aged 7-12 years old were diagnosed with autism.

“South Korea was chosen not only because autism prevalence had not been measured there, but also because its national health care system, universal education and homogeneous population made it a promising region for a planned series of studies that will also look at genetic and environmental factors in autism,” said New York Times reporter, Claudia Wallis.

CNN reported Grinker’s response to the study as surprising but not alarming. Grinker believes the study’s estimate reveal that “autism is more common than we think it is.”

Nature.com interviewed Dr. Grinker on their news blog to gain an insight on the study. Aside from discussing the take home message of the study, blogger Meredith Wadman asks:

It seems that by definition, if you were largely in schools that are not for special needs or intellectually impaired kids, that you must have been discovering milder cases on the autism spectrum. Wouldn’t it be hard for a profoundly affected child to pass in a mainstream school?
In the US we are so sensitized to picking up special needs and providing services. But not every country in the world does that. Depending on the state, 10-15% of American kids are getting some special education services. That number is less than 1% in South Korea. So of course you are going to find those kids in mainstream school environments. Sixteen percent of the kids that were in the mainstream schools that we diagnosed had some degree of mental retardation. Also there were certainly children that I saw in schools that had significant impairments. But South Korea has a pretty strong mandate for inclusion, legally. They have laws in place for inclusion. Unfortunately that inclusion does not come along with a lot of services. Some kids can get by and adapt to the situation.

Visit the links below for additional details of this study and media coverage:
Autism Speaks
CNN
Nature.com
NBC Today Show
National Public Radio
New York Times

Looking for more information on autism? Check out the Ethos issue on Rethinking Autism, Rethinking Anthropology.

Are you an AAA making headlines? Let us know! We feature newsmakers on the AAA Members in the News webpage.

Humanities at the Forefront of Congressional Vote on National Budget

The Annual Meeting for the National Humanities Alliance took place on March 7, 2011 at George Washington University, followed by Humanities Advocacy Day on March 8 at Capitol Hill. The Annual Meeting was an opportunity to provide concrete ways to exemplify and frame arguments to support the humanities, skills meeting participants would need for the following Advocacy day.

AAA’s Director of Public Affairs, Damon Dozier was featured in a three member panel that exemplified the field of humanities. Dozier emphasized the importance of education through the biological sciences and cultural perceptions o f race. Through the RACE: Are We So Different? public education program, AAA has spurred dialogue across the nation to embrace cultural differences and rethink preconceived notions of race and racism in the United States.

Bill Davis, AAA’s Executive Director, joined NHA’s national delegation that met with congressional members that hold stature within congressional committees. Damon Dozier and Joslyn Osten, Marketing & Communications Manager, joined first-time constituent lobbyist, Hollis Clayson of Northwestern University in meeting with the representatives of Illinois. While all meetings with congressional staffers were fruitful, feedback led to the conclusion that the representatives who have a history of supporting humanities will work out the best possible solution to minimize the financial impact of the national budget on humanities funding.

Although NHA’s Advocacy Day was a success, lobbying for humanities funding cannot be completed in just one day. Congress will be voting this week and in the coming weeks on bills and revisions to settle the national budget. NHA and AAA need your help in communicating the critical need for funding the research and grant-related programming offered in your communities today. Contact your congressional representative now to demonstrate your support for humanities and visit NHA’s website to stay tuned in to the latest budgetary developments.

New PhD Program at George Washington University

In contrast to our recent post about schools closing anthropological programs, we are pleased to find the Anthropology department at George Washington University to be flourishing to the point that they need to expand to a PhD program in Anthropology.

George Washington’s Anthropology Department was established in 1892. Faculty train students in the fields of Sociocultural Anthropology, Archaeology, Linguistic Anthropology and Biological Anthropology.

The department’s long-standing partnership with the Smithsonian and access to Washington, DC’s archival collections and influential policy-making institutions encourage intellectual creativity, effective communication and vigorous scholarship.

The department is seeking candidates with a strong background in anthropology or related disciplines. Contact Professor Richard Grinker or visit the website for more information. Applications will be accepted in the Fall of 2011.

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