Welcome to our third issue of 2021!
Release Date: March 26th, 2021
Support Local Museums!
By Francisco Carter
Around this time last year, museums began closing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the past year, these institutions have seen large cutbacks to on-site events and programming. The reduction in revenue has unfortunately led to many layoffs — particularly toward lesser-paid staff.
In June 2020, the end of the fiscal year for the Whitney Museum, the museum reported total admissions revenue of $5.8 million. This is a significant drop from the $13.8 reported the year prior. Adam Weinberg is the director of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. “Unfortunately, the pandemic is prolonging the Whitney’s financial losses, which to date amount to $23 million,” says Weinberg. “We don’t know how long this period of extreme difficulty will continue, and we are projecting further significant revenue losses”.
Despite financial hardships, museums have slowly been loosening restrictions toward visitation. Both the Burke Museum and Henry Art Gallery are now open for holders of pre-purchased, timed tickets. We encourage anyone interested in supporting our campus’ museums to plan a visit.
Female Leaders in Anthropology
By Alex Blair
Image Credit: Sailthru.com
March is Women’s History Month. Women help set the path of anthropology by striving to develop a field that analyzes patriarchy, gender roles, cultural and social constructs through a feminist lens. Well-known women anthropologists like Jane Goodall and Margaret Mead made important contributions to anthropology, and there are many other women leaders whose work have shaped the field. Here are just a few:
Ann Dunham was an anthropologist whose research focused on the economic anthropology and rural development of Indonesia. Dunham received her bachelors, masters, and PhD degree in anthropology at the East–West Center and at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu. Dunham briefly studied at the University of Washington in 1961 and 1962. Dunham was passionate about helping alleviate poverty in Indonesia and helped develop a microcredit and microfinance program to help stimulate economic growth. While microcredit resembles a broader trend of neoliberal policies that worsen income inequality and increase debt in poor populations, much of Dunham’s work helped deconstruct common stereotypes and misconceptions of the economy of marginalized people and beliefs that the poor are responsible for their poverty. Did I mention she is also the mother of former President Barack Obama?
“Don’t conclude before you understand. After you understand, don’t judge.”
Katrina Karkazis is an anthropologist and bioethicist who has done extensive work discussing intersex and transgender issues in sports and medicine. She graduated from Columbia University with both PhD in cultural and medical anthropology and Masters in Public Health, and also completed an undergraduate degree in Public Policy from Occidental College and postdoctoral training in empirical bioethics at Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to further pursue her research and study into testosterone and culture. Karkazis is currently the Carol Zicklin Endowed Chair in the Honors Academy at Brooklyn College, City University of New York and a senior research fellow with the Yale University Global Health Justice Partnership.
"T has become a powerful technology for the production of subjectivity, the most consequential of which is gender."
Leele Dube was a sociologist and anthropologist who was a pioneer in women’s studies in Southeast Asia. Dube explored topics such as kinship, religion, marriage, sexuality, prostitution, tribes, and purdah in order to expand the literature of gender construction, power dynamics, and feminism in India. Her work inspired numerous movements and research to address gender-related issues and promote progress towards gender equality.
"Woman as a field researcher has a natural advantage. Once she overcomes the limitations of her upbringing, her greater patience can become an asset in studying the subtle nuances of daily life and has better situational adjustability."
Archaeological Sites During Covid-19
By Alondra Rodriguez
The field of archaeology has changed dramatically with the pandemic, cultural institutions in particular, were severely hit this past year. From closure to financial struggles museums and archaeological sites, even with slow reopening, still feel the impact of the pandemic lockdowns.
Archaeological sites around the world have had to adjust to less staff, staff working remotely, and of course a decline in visitors. Many sites that have reopened, such as Teotihuacan, a pre-columbian site north of Mexico City, reopened at 30% capacity with limited tickets and temperature checks (Delgado). In addition to visitors and staff, local vendors at Teotihuacan have also looked forward to reopening as they too have struggled financially (Delgado).
However, the lockdowns have also been detrimental to archaeological sites. The Antiquities Trafficking and Heritage Anthropology Research Project, or ATHAR, tracks stolen artifacts and have reported that the “online illicit trade in looted objects spiked after the pandemic hit” (Kenny). Co-director Katie Paul suggests that “crises like the coronavirus pandemic make museums and archaeological sites more vulnerable as the attention of authorities is pulled elsewhere.” (Porterfield)
Despite closures, some archaeological sites have benefited from pandemic lockdowns. Mechtild Rössler, director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee states that the decline in tourism has allowed some sites to conduct necessary conservation projects, such as technicians at Angkor Wat in Cambodia (Kenny).
The pandemic has changed the field of archaeology. Sites themselves have seen pros and cons of the pandemic, however, in terms of accessibility and affordability virtual alternatives have taken center stage. Though not yet seen with archaeological sites, “online exhibits” and “curator video chats” at museums (Spolar) and virtual support for small excavation teams and virtual conferences (Jarus) have been on the rise. These alternatives could be implemented in some way at archaeological sites, providing the opportunity for visitors to explore sites until more of the world begins to lift pandemic restrictions.
Delgado, Diego. “Mexican archaeological ruins reopen with masks, distancing.” ABC News, 10 September 2020, https://absnews.go.com/International/wireStory/mexican-arhcaeolgical-ruins-reopen-masks-distancing-72936435.
Jarus, Owen. “What archaeology will look like in 2021.” Live Science, 4 January 2021, https://www.livesceince.com/archaeolgy-in-2021.html.
Kenny, Nancy. “From lockdowns to looting: how Covid-19 has taken a toll on world's threatened heritage sites.” The Art Newspaper, 8 January 2021, https://theartnewspaper.com/news/toll-of-virus-on-world-s-threatened-hetitage-sites.
Porterfield, Carlie. “Smugglers Are Using Coronavirus Lockdowns to Loot Artifacts.” Forbes, 20 April 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/carlieporterfield/2020/04/30/smugglers-are-using-coronavirus-lockdowns-to-loot-artifacts/?sh=426f10fd36bf.
Spolar, Christine. “When the world reopens, will art museums still be there?” National Geographic, 30 December 2020, https://nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/how-museums-are-staying-alive-during-coronoavirus.
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