Archive | From the news

Rumors of cell phone deaths greatly exaggerated

From Chris Pinney, UCL Anthropology and Northwestern University:

An Example of the New American Orientalism, but raises interesting questions of the materiality of transmission. William Mazzarella’s “Internet X-Ray: E-Governance, Transparency and the Politics
of Immediation in India” Public Culture 18(3) Fall 2006 has an interesting analysis of new technologies and ‘rumour’ in South Asia.
See the following news story from the Chicago Tribune, (full story pasted in the ‘continue reading’ section for those of you who are not registered):,1,6246569.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

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Darwin, Creationism and Museums

1_Darwin Tree B 36.jpg
Tree of Life.A reproduction of the first-known sketch by Charles Darwin of an evolutionary tree describing the relationships among groups of organisms.The image was featured in Darwin, the most in-depth exhibition ever mounted on this highly original thinker.The exhibition ran from November 19, 2005, through August 20, 2006, at the American Museum of Natural History. © By permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

Last year my graduate students in the class Anthropology and Museums wrote a collective review of the Darwin Museum. It was a great exercise in using the material and visual configuration of an exhibition to think through broader issues about the intersections between science and the public. The review has just come out in the journal Museum Anthropology, and here is the introduction:
“When the exhibition, Darwin, opened at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) on November 19, 2005 there was a certain amount of trepidation in the air.…

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Even more disturbing auctions….

Following our ebay theme of disturbing auctions and reflectoporn, this story in the Guardian describes how a Cambridge student was banned from ebay after putting himself up for sale. Ebay countered that his “listing breached eBay’s No Item policy and has been removed … You may not list intangible items or items whose existence cannot be verified, such as ghosts, souls or spirits.”…
Ebay bars man who advertised himself for sale

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Touch and Object Handling in the Context of Museums

UCL Museums & Collections is running a series of workshops exploring touch and object handling in the context of museums. This series is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The third workshop centres on ‘Touch and memory: the role of reminiscence’ – see details below:
Workshop 3: “Touch and memory: the role of reminiscence”
University College London
Archaeology Lecture Theatre
Friday 5th January, 2007, 10 am – 4 pm

  • Dr. Alberto Gallace, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford
  • Professor Mike Rowlands, Department of Anthropology, University College London
  • Emma Clarke, Head of Audience Development and Communities, Learning and Information Department, British Museum
  • Laura Phillips, Audience Development and Communities, Learning and Information Department, British Museum
  • Bernie Arigho, Director of Reminiscence Research and Development, Age Exchange
    To book a place and/or for further information contact Devorah Romanek on email:
  • Therapeutic approaches to touch: Object handling and hospital patients
    Friday 2 February 2007, Royal London Homeopathic Hospital
  • Knowledge transfer in object handling: with specific reference to disadvantaged or
    underrepresented groups.
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Hornsleth: identity cards, ethics, and ‘art’

I read about this on the BBC this week and felt so uncomfortable I thought it was worth a post here:
The Danish artist Kristian von Hornsleth has drawn criticism from the Ugandan government from intervening in the state project to get everyone to have identity cards. He has offered pigs and goats to the inhabitants of one particular village in exchange for them taking his name in this process.
Storm over pig-for-name artist
At first I thought this was a provocative and interesting intervention into the issue of forcing citizens to conform to state regulated identity practices and materialities. Carrying federally recognized id cards is taken for granted in the USA but remains a contentious issues in the UK.
Then I went to the artist’s website (…

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