Landscapes of Rememberance and Embodiment

Last week, I attended the first Latin American and Caribbean Lunch of the semester, hosted by OU’s Center for the Americas. Jessica Cerezo-Román, an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology, came to speak to us about her medical anthropology research on ancient Native American burial traditions in the Southwestern US/Northern Mexico. Her talk was titled “Landscapes of Remembrance and Embodiment: Between the Classic Period Hohokam and Trincheras Traditions.” Although I had known nothing about these tribes and their culture, I chose to come to the presentation because I find medical anthropology fascinating. I had the opportunity to take my first class in the anthropology department last year, and loved learning about anthropology’s contributions to our understanding of past civilizations.

Cerezo-Román’s research focuses on primarily two tribes that existed in the pre-Hispanic borderlands. The Hohokam tribe lived in what in now central and southern Arizona, with evidence of early Hohokam around 1 AD and late Hohokam around 1500 AD. Meanwhile, Trincheras Native American culture blossomed in the present-day Mexican state of Sonora. Most of the skeletal samples examined by Cerezo-Román were estimated to come from the Classical time period in the Americas, between 1150-1500 AD.

While the Hohokam and Trincheras cultures were both apparently complex and fascinating, Cerezo-Román focuses her attention and expertise on revealing details about the burial practices of these tribes. From here, she is able to infer a surprising amount about the ancient societies. She shared with us her primary research questions: “What does treatment of the dead tell us about social interactions on a broader regional level?” and “What do cremation funerals tell us about ideologies of group identity?”

One interesting aspect of the burial practices of both tribes is the prevalence of cremation. Most often, the ashes of the deal would be placed in vessels (clay pots) and laid on the earth. However, she also found that ashes would sometimes be apparently scattered without a vessel. What’s more, there are some fascinating distinctions between the typical locations of remains that reveal differences between the two tribes. While their burial practices might appear identical at first, the Hohokam and Trincheras differed greatly in where they placed their dead. The Hohokam tended to place the cremated remains, either in vessels or without, near the person’s family home. Sometimes, the vessels would even be found in the home itself. Interestingly, this was never the case in Trincheras villages. Instead, remains would be placed in communal cemeteries in unmarked vessels. This says a lot about how the two tribes thought of their deceased. In Hohokam tradition, the location of the ashes suggests a stronger connection to the dead, as well as a commitment to remembrance of individuals. But in Trincheras settlements, the burial patterns emphasized a much more collective mindset. It seems especially significant that the dead were all placed in unmarked and unadorned clay vessels, regardless of the person’s status place in society. I imagine that Trincheras society must have been remarkably cohesive and perhaps humble, with a strong value for collectivity and commitment to the whole.

Overall, Cerezo-Román’s presentation was fascinating. She came with a wealth of content to share with us, and was clearly passionate about her research. I could tell that I was not alone in my interest, as there were more questions and comments afterward than I have ever seen at one of these lunches! I’ve already registered for the next Latin American and Caribbean lunch, and am looking forward to it!

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OU in Puebla

This past semeter I have been giving alot of thought into going to Puebla to study abroad. I have met several people that seemed to really enjoy there time they spent there. Another bonus for this center is there are shadowing opportunity that are offered for students interested in the medical field. I think the only thing that is holding me back from signing up for this study center is I want to sudy abroad where I am forced completely out of my comfort zone. That way I can improve my spanish skills. I feel that maybe just doing an exchange program where I am not able to take any english classes. I have met with an advisor to go abroad but I am still unsure exactly which direction I plan to go in. All I know is that I need to despartly work onmy spanish skills. I thinking about going to a country that offers an intensive spanish course that way I do not struggle to much with my classes and navigating around.

Impeachment Corruption and election

This lucheon was very informative especially since I feel as though we just dealt with the same thing here in the US. Watching a small clip of filmaker Maria Ramos documentary was enlighten. I had never really paid attention to brazilian politics. Aparently there was corruption at bay that included many politicians and when the public got light of this there seemed to be alot of finger pointing. One thing Ramos that said that stuck out was how she felt that the country of brazil is divided. Which is how I feel that the United states has become since our last elections. Also when she described the politicians that were up to become president she did not seem thrilled about either candidate almost as though it came down to choosing the lesser of two evils which is how I felt this last election went for the united states. Another thing that intriged me was when Dr. Kinney spoke on reduces the brazilian goverment corruption scam to a conspiracy would allow us to ignore underlying social factors that are set in places that allowed this corruption to take place. I found this idea to be very interesting since in our own goverment news alomst every other day there is some talk of a conspiracy that occured in the last election without noone focusing on the structures that are set in place that allowed the so called coruption to be able to take place. I enjoyed this lucheon , I was able to learn alot of things in regard to the brazilian government and see both the differences and similarties it had in regards to the US govenment

The Day of the Dead

This festival was awesome. There was so much to do and yes the inner child in me was tempted to get on a ride but due to my growing hunger I was able to surprees my urges. There so many food trucks to choose from however in the end I ended up going to a truck that had street tacos on the menu. Once I had finished my tacos I went to the rides. And of course when you visit any true festival you must get a funnel cake. This was probably the highligth of my night. I love funnel cakes. They were so good. I also went around and looked at the booths that were setup and saw skulls that were painted as well as dolls , and tshirts. The art work was amazing. I walked around for a bit then settled into watch the performances on stage. They were really good my favorite would have to be everyone. Now sincemy spanish skills a limited it helped that my friend was able to translate. I can not wait to go to the festival next year especially since I plan to bring more money.

GEF

I always seem to enjoy the first GEF meeting of the year. With everyone going in twenty different directions its cool that we can all get together and discuss what we have been up to. THE PARTICULAR PART I enjoy the most is hearing the members discuss the differet places they have been. I also love when older members tell younger members to go abroad alone. I feel this is the best advice one can give when it comes to studying abroad. As a freshman I was very afraid to step out on my own and do my own thing. I FELT THAT i need to have a friend to go abroad with or I would not enjoy it as much. Which is so far from the truth it is not even funny. I loved getting out and being on my own, when I went abroad and look forward to doing so again. Another part I enjoyed of the meeting is that we split off in groups my the places we traveld or are interested in traveling. I always find myself in the Central/Southamerica group. I know I have one last opportunity to travel abroad however I have no idea which country to go to.This meeting always serves a dual purpose for me, one is I get to catch up with other gef members and the other is that it reminds me that I need to plan my secound trip.

Hot cocoa & cookies

I really enjoyed myself decorating cookiesand talking to international students. This event was a great way for me to end a rather stressful semester. This even also allows you a easier way to get to know international student without it being so awakward. From my last experience with decorating cookies I improved my decorating skills. So this year when I attempted to spell “JOY” on my cookie it looked alot better. One international student I had the pleasure of meeting was named Charlie she is from Shanghai China.I was dicussing with her about her major which i was surprised that she was a advertising major.She is honestly the first person I had come across on campus that was an adverstisng major which was pretty cool. Unfortunatly shes only here for one semeter but she seemed to really enjoy the classes she took here. I then began to ask her what she thought of american food. I was surprised that she loved burgers and disliked tacos. She also said that were she is from is very americanized and how clubs play american music which was intersting since i could not think of a club in the US that played chinese music.Some how we landed on the topic about shopping and how she was brave enough to go “black friday” shopping. I was so surprised that she loved it so much and it was what made her feel like oklahoma was an actual city. She seemed to love that there was so many people which was very funny to me since big crowds overwhelm me and I tend to aviod them at all cost. I really enjoyed talking to Charlie and glad this event was offered. I look forward to going again in the next fall.

Arabic Film Club

Last semester, I was involved with Arabic Film Club. The club met every other week on Friday afternoons and members spent time watching Arabic films and cartoons. My favorite meeting was when we watched Emara: Emirates Hero. The show features a girl named Emara, who we quickly discover is a superhero in disguise. We were only able to watch the first season and although it ended pretty abruptly, it was very interesting. In the show, Emara is a strong, young woman who fights crimes. This cartoon was especially interesting to me because I normally wouldn’t expect an Arabic cartoon to feature a female super hero. I am glad I was a part of Arabic Film club because I would never have watched an interesting cartoon like Emara in my own time.

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Ethiopia and Eritrea Sign Peace Agreement

Last year, Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace agreement, ending a dispute that had been waging for many decades. the conflict first started in 1998 when Eritrea invaded Ethiopia because of disputed land. However, a peace agreement was signed in 2000 to end the bloody dispute. In the end this peace agreement wasn’t effective because Ethiopia later claimed it was dissatisfied with the final deal and tensions quickly emerged again. Since then, there has been a very unstable border between Ethiopia and Eritrea until just last year. Fortunately, this new peace deal will establish lasting peace between the two countries.

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The Assassination of Jamal Kashoggi

One sad but influential world event that happened last semester was when Jamal Kashoggi was murdered. Jamal Kashoggi was a columnist for the Washington Post and often criticized the Saudi Arabian government. On October 2, Kashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian consulate but he never left. At first, the Saudi government claimed that Kashoggi left the consulate alive, but later admitted that he had been murdered inside the consulate. Even after admitting this, the Saudi Arabian government denied any involvement in the murder. However, the CIA later concluded that the murder was ordered by that the Saudi crown prince ordered the assassination. This event was so influential because it caused diplomatic hardships between Saudi Arabia and many of its allies, including the US. Since then, many countries have cancelled their arms agreements with Saudi Arabia.

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Ilham Fair – Fall 2018

On November 9th of last semester, I attended the Ilham Fair. The Ilham Fair offered community members the chance to be immersed in Arab culture for the night. The fair included live Arabic music, calligraphy, and henna painting. My favorite part of the fair was listening to the live music. The music is very different from most of the music I listen to but it was still very entertaining. I enjoyed this event because instead of just learning about Arab culture in a classroom setting, I had to opportunity to experience Arab culture. I think events like these are important because they encourage community members to expose themselves to diverse cultures and perspectives.

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