Tag Archives: Anthropology

Rudolf Virchow and the anthropology of race

Friedrich C. Luft Detlev Ganten Berlin, Germany   Fig. 1. Rudolf Virchow as anthropologist. Portrait by Hanns Fechner (1891). Rudolf Virchow, born in 1821, was arguably the most important German physician, biologist, social scientist, and anthropologist of the nineteenth century. His establishment of cellular pathology is known by all and his comment that “politics is […]

Dr. Aufderheide and the mummies

Philip R. Liebson Chicago, Illinois, United States   Curator for the Department of Physical Anthropology at the San Diego Museum of Man prepares a 550-year old Peruvian child mummy for a CT scan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Samantha A. Lewis/Released). Via Wikimedia. Public Domain. Paleopathology, the study of early animal […]

The role of lullabies in mother-baby attachment

Özge Suzan Nursan Çinar Sakarya, Turkey   Lullaby by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. 1875. From Bartoli, Damien & Ross, Frederick C. William Bouguereau: His Life and Works. Via Wikimedia. A lullaby is defined as a sweet, gentle song that is sung to entice a baby to sleep. In Turkish folklore, a mother’s voice is very important for […]

Obstetrical fistula: a malady hidden by shame

Layla A. Al-Jailani Yemen   Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels Nouria strolls across the kitchen, making lunch for her family as she does every day. Her stride is slightly wobbly, but any observer would think this was a healthy young woman. What they do not see, however, is the hidden anguish, pain, and shame […]

The snake, the staff, and the healer

Simon Wein Petach Tikvah, Israel   The Rod of Asclepius, graphite on paper, by Daniel Wein, 2021. Introduction In some ancient cultures, especially around the Near East, the snake was involved in healing. Today this seems counterintuitive. There are as many as 130,000 deaths from snake bites worldwide each year and three times that number […]

Carl Gustav Jung

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Carl Jung. Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Creative Commons. In the autumn of 1913, Carl Gustav Jung was traveling alone by train through the rust and amber forest of the Swiss countryside. The thirty-eight-year-old psychiatrist had been lately troubled by strange dreams and a rising sense of tension, […]

Female Genital Mutilation: cultural practices, historical moments, and medical issues

Alexandros Argyriadis Agathi Argyriadi Limassol, Cyprus   Photo UNICEF / Olivier Asselin. Accessed via MONUSCO on Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0 Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as any procedure that involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for […]

Wounding words

Charlotte Grinberg Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA   Still Life – A Student’s Table. William Michael Harnett. 1882. Philadelphia Museum of Art. In college, I majored in anthropology. I was interested in understanding the political, social, legal, and economic forces that influence behavior. As language is inherently related to consciousness and culture, its study was central to […]

The anthropology of chronic pain

Charles Paccione Oslo, Norway   Image of Dharmakīrtisāgara, one of the Eight Medicine Buddhas, from the upper book cover of The Sūtra of Great Liberation. Courtesy of U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Health & Human Services, [2010]. The global burden of chronic pain is large and growing. About 25% of patients […]

A traditional practice in baby care: salting

Sinem Çaka Sakarya, Turkey Sümeyra Topal Kahramanamaras, Turkey Nursan Çınar Sakarya, Turkey   Lamp made from natural Cankiri rock salt used in bedrooms in Turkey In many societies, there are traditional practices performed to protect babies from magic, witchcraft, or the evil eye. At first, it may seem that these practices would have no particular […]