Highlights: Disability in History, A 7 Year Walk, & Science Writing

14 Jan

The first few weeks of 2013 have been pretty busy so far, but I have noticed several interesting articles that are worth a read.  Regular readers of this blog will know I have a personal interest in disability and it’s effects upon the individual and society, from both the prehistory and historic periods.  As such I am excited to highlight the work of English Heritage and their information on the European centered ‘History of Disability: From 1050AD to the Present Day‘ webpage.  The site has a wonderful overview of the changing attitudes and roles that disabled people faced throughout this period.  Taking in the broad categories of the Medieval period, the Tudors, and the later centuries block by block, the website helps provide information on the social aspects of physical and mental disability in the various period societies.  In conjunction with the website, I also came across this article ‘Graciosi: Medieval Christian Attitudes to Disability‘ by Cusack (1997: 414-419), published in the Disability and Rehabilitation journal, which is free to view on the Academia website.  It is an interesting read, and helps to  introduce the Medieval and later period views on disability and the social implications for individuals affected.

Meanwhile over at the BBC website there is an article on Paul Salopek and the journey he hopes to make over the next 7 years.  Starting in Ethiopia in East Africa and ending near the southern point of South America in Tierra del Fuego, Salopek hopes to walk the entire journey to retrace the journey of early humans and the evolution and expansion of Homo sapiens.  Specifically the biologist and journalist will be relaying his thoughts and encounters with people each and every day of his journey, helping to detail the explosion of modern man, whilst also taking the time to articulate his views via ‘slow journalism’, as opposed to today’s fast paced news sites and blogs.

Directly related to this is a recent entry on John hawks’ weblog, titled ‘Online Communication Bias Upon the Public Perception of Science‘, where the renowned palaeoanthropologist highlights a recent Science article by Brossard & Schuele (2013: 40-41) on the negative effects of science representation in online and digital media.  The comments by Hawks are quite eye opening, as is the original paper (unfortunately behind a pay wall).  The article highlights and relates to the way we (as a public body) consume science articles in the fast moving digital world of journalism through popular and established media, particularly the main papers.  The authors found that the main body of the article is often misunderstood, with the comments sections in particular affecting the readers comprehension of the articles themselves.

So this is a brief update into my recent readings.  The next few blog entries will concentrate on the next Skeletal Series update, which have admittedly been a long time coming.  Further to this I will also write about an exciting and informative methodological update in relation to the ‘Bioarchaeology of Care‘, as espoused by Tilley & Oxenham (2011).  Generously Tilley has emailed me a copy of her recent paper, and it provides further detailed information on how the disabled individuals found in the archaeological record are assessed for care.

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6 Responses to “Highlights: Disability in History, A 7 Year Walk, & Science Writing”

  1. Amedar Consulting January 15, 2013 at 9:42 am #

    Nice read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing some research on that. And he just bought me lunch since I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

  2. confusedious February 1, 2013 at 1:40 am #

    Hello stranger! Speaking of Oxenham and Tilley, it just so happens that I just had a rather nice chat here in Canberra earlier today with Tilley (in which yourself and your blog were mentioned). Small world ain’t it? I have been rather neglectful of my blog lately – work has been pretty time consuming as my teaching portfolio has been growing by leaps and bounds.

    How are things with the thesis?

    • These Bones Of Mine February 2, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

      Hello!
      The thesis is all done my friend, handed it in in September, and I graduated in early January. I bet you are pretty busy though, definitely looking forward to reading more of your work.
      It is indeed 😀 Quite graciously Tilley sent me an article on her methodology, and I just need to get around to writing an entry about it. How are you doing? How are you finding the teaching?

      • confusedious February 2, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

        Well congratulations on the graduation! What are your plans now? So that was your Master’s right? Is a PhD in your future?

        Yes, quite right, things are pretty busy for me. I am finally in dedicated thesis mode, and won’t have to be juggling coursework any longer – makes life much simpler. I have a pretty good arrangement as far as supervisors go, with one bioanthropologist who specialises in population dynamics and health, and a genetecist who works principally with the genomics of human health and disease. I am currently working out the nuts and bolts of how my statistical analyses will be performed. I have mostly gotten the hang of interpreting HapMap data, so things seem to be on track.

        Should this project all go well it will mean an upgrade from my current Master of Biological Anthropology to the oddly titled Master of Biological Anthropology (Research). My thesis is due around June, from there I’m hoping for a neat segway into a PhD.

        Teaching is wonderful, I love every minute of it. Long term my goal is to lecture, I would even go as far as to say that I enjoy teaching more than research. This year I will most likely be teaching three sets of classes; a first year human biology course for international bridging students hoping to enter science degrees, a crash course in academic English for (again) international students, and a first year sociology based course as a part of the new Associate Degrees that the ANU is offering. Have you done some teaching?

        • These Bones Of Mine February 13, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

          Hey, sorry for the delay. have wonderfully just had a dental abscess that required surgery at a hospital and the removal of two teeth (lower left 1st and 3rd molar), and I’m still recovering from this (still got facial numbness, and with the Fibrous Dysplasia I bled a lot during surgery). I do indeed have my masters now, and I haven’t got any plans for a PhD as of yet, though it is always a possibility in the future I think. I sadly haven’t done any teaching either. I’m currently on the job hunt and it isn’t going particularly well! The courses that you teach on sound fantastic and it also sounds like you are getting quite a lot from it too. Please keep me up to date on your research, I’d definitely be interested in it!

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