Friday, April 30, 2010

Free access to BANDIT articles in Wiley-Blackwell journals

The BANDIT blog has teamed with the good people at Wiley-Blackwell to provide free access to highlighted articles in American Journal of Primatology, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, American Journal of Human Biology, and Evolutionary Anthropology. BANDIT will no longer be posting full pdfs of articles, but you can reach the official Wiley-Blackwell pdf from BANDIT links. Caveat: free access to these articles will expire within a few days, so be sure to visit the blog frequently to check on article updates.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spatial Cognition, Spatial Perception: Mapping the Self and Space

Dr. Francine Dolins, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan at Dearborn, is the co-editor of a new collection of works exploring spatial cognition, with an emphasis on human and non-human primates.
Spatial Cognition, Spatial Perception: Mapping the Self and Space

"How does knowledge of the body in space relate to an understanding of space itself? Spatial cognition is discussed from two closely related perspectives: the internal mapping of external stimuli (e.g., landmarks and sensory perception of environmental information) and the internal mapping of internally perceived stimuli (e.g., kinesthetic and visual imagery), and their subsequent effects on behaviour. Clarification of what spatial information is present in most perceptual processes and how this is used cognitively in relation to the self in space is then established. Major points and controversies of the various models are discussed, along with evolutionary perspectives of spatial perception and object recognition and comparisons between human and non-human spatial cognitive abilities and behaviours. Written for postgraduate students and researchers, the authors present theoretical and experimental accounts at multiple levels of analysis - perceptual, behavioural and cognitive - providing a thorough review of the mechanisms of spatial cognition."

New edited volume on the gibbons

Dr. Susan Lappan, adjunct assistant professor of anthropology at Appalachian State University, and Dr. Danielle Whittaker, postdoctoral research associate at Indiana University, are the editors of a wonderful new volume published by Springer: The Gibbons: New Perspectives on Small Ape Socioecology and Population Biology

"The small apes, or gibbons, are among our closest living relatives, yet they have received little attention from the scientific community and the public in comparison with the other living apes. This oversight is not due to lack of appeal; their physical beauty, graceful acrobatic movements, and thrilling songs make it clear why gibbons are always among the most popular animals in zoos. Rather, the inherent difficulties involved in studying or filming gibbons in their natural habitats and, in some cases, the misconception that among apes, smaller means lesser, have led many researchers and filmmakers to focus their attentions elsewhere. Nonetheless, a growing number of intrepid field and laboratory researchers have made steady progress in the study of gibbon behavior and ecology over the last several decades. This volume is a systematic compilation of recent research on gibbon socioecology and population biology with a focus on understanding gibbons in the context of their natural habitats, and includes contributions on a range of topics, including gibbon biogeography, the ecological roles played by gibbons in their ecosystems, the origins and functions of key gibbon social and ecological adaptations, and the conservation status of wild gibbon populations."

Conservation funding opportunity

Thanks to Dr. Danielle Whittaker (PhD in Biological Anthropology from CUNY in 2005 and currently a postdoctoral research associate at Indiana University) for this tip:

"Here is some information about applying for a grant from the Lindbergh Foundation, which supports work related to conservation - specifically, their mission is to enable a balance of nature and technology. Graduate students, postdocs, and faculty are all eligible for these grants, which are a maximum of $10,580. I received one of these grants for my dissertation work in 2004, and would be happy to advise anyone interested in applying for a Lindbergh Grant."

Thanks Danielle! If any BANDIT readers have questions about the program, I will be happy to pass them on to Danielle.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Academic Job Wiki

This doesn't need a lot of introduction from me, but if you are or have been on the market recently, check this link out for up-to-date info on the job search in our field.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Special AJP issue on Conservation Education highlights the work of BANDIT members!

The American Journal of Primatology has produced several special issues that explore in depth a central theme in primatological research. The May 2010 issue, guest edited in part by Dr. Francine Dolins, Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan at Dearborn, addresses the creation, implementation, and impact of conservation education programs. In addition to Francine's efforts as editor and author, Dr. Hogan Sherrow, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Ohio University, also makes an important contribution to the discussion. Check out the issue's table of contents, and be sure to read these pieces:

Francine Dolins, et al.:
Conservation Education in Madagascar: Three Case Studies in the Biologically Diverse Island-Continent

Hogan Sherrow:
Conservation Education and Primates: Twenty-First Century Challenges and Opportunities

Monday, April 26, 2010

Primates in Perspective, Redux

Dr. Rebecca Stumpf of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Dr. Christina Campbell at California State University at Northridge (both assistant professors!) are two members of a great team of editors (including Agustin Fuentes, Katherine C. MacKinnon, and Simon Bearder) that has produced a brand spankin' new second edition of Primates in Perspective. If you meet any of them, be sure to get them to tell you how much fun editing a book is.

Dr. Erin Riley's new paper in Evolutionary Anthropology

A woman who invokes Alfred Russell Wallace AND uses an awesome word like "depauperate" in her abstract has a mind to be reckoned with. Plus, I always covet her earrings (your miles may vary). Erin is an assistant professor of Anthropology at San Diego State University.

The Endemic Seven: Four Decades of Research on the Sulawesi Macaques

Student loan forgiveness: dream or reality?

For many of us, a PhD was a dream that could only be attained through the use of student loans. Many, many, many loans. (For example, I taught anatomy in a different program that did not award tuition remission to anthropology graduate students, only its own. To qualify to teach I had to carry a certain number of hours. To be able to afford those hours, I had to take out loans. Multiply this by several years.) Given the amount of time graduate degrees in anthropology take, it's not unusual to be saddled for years with debt running into the six figures. I think I just had a small stroke. There are some potential solutions:

Qualified public service may earn you forgiveness on principal and interest if you have been employed FULL-TIME in that position for 10 years of repayment.
Of note to anthropological educators: " Full-time faculty at tribal colleges and universities, as well as faculty teaching in high-need subject areas and shortage areas (including nurse faculty, foreign language faculty, and part-time faculty at community colleges), also qualify."

The NIH Loan Repayment Program offers the potential for up to $35,000 per year to be forgiven if you engage in qualified research for two years. That's right: up to $70,000 of your total loan amount could be forgiven. I applied for this program during the last cycle (applications are accepted once a year). It is a rather intensive application process and you have to carry a high enough debt load to qualify - some percentage of your base annual salary. I believe you also have to be in a tenure-track or equivalent position.

The 5 areas of qualified research are appropriate for many biological anthropologists (in both human and non-human primate fields): clinical, pediatric, health disparities, infertility and contraception. Many of us do engage in research that has a clinical component, and you can also be creative as to how you frame your research. For example, my interest in the placenta and fetal development qualified me for the pediatric research program, although I ended up applying for the health disparities program instead. It's a competitive award but a wonderful opportunity to at least try to reduce your debt load. I will keep you posted - awards will be announced in June. But mark your own calendars for the December 1, 2010 deadline and start pulling your application materials together now.

Put this in my good news folder!

My paper on waist circumference and C-reactive protein is in print in the pages of the American Journal of Human Biology.

Change in Waist Circumference Over 11 Years and Current Waist
Circumference Independently Predict Elevated CRP in Filipino Women

The Thin Envelope

Oh, rejection. You are a bitch. Here's a piece in today's Chronicle of Higher Education soliciting people's strategies for coping with job market rejections. I tend to default toward self-recrimination. What did I do wrong? Why didn't they pick me? I used to keep my rejection letters in a folder and then decided that was pretty pathetic. You'd be amazed how therapeutic a shredder is in moments like that. I now keep a folder labeled "Good News Letters" on the tab. It's my little happy corner where I can dwell on the decisions that went in my favor. Let us know here at BANDIT what you do to help ease the sting of rejection, or what I consider FAR MORE DAMAGING, total silence. What is that about?!? God, people, send an email and put me out of my misery.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Beast Ape and the Bleeding Heart Baboons (no, that's not a band name, but it should be)

Great mention of the BANDIT blog on another really interesting science blog I just came across, Beast Ape and the Bleeding Heart Baboons: “ 'Beast Ape & the Bleeding Heart Baboons' is a science blog that primarily covers behavioral biology. Given the interests of the author and his primate pals, the blog covers topics such as primatology, behavioral ecology, endocrinology, psychology, and anthropology." Sounds right up our alley here at BANDIT!

Anthropology blogs? Yes, anthropology blogs.

I just found this, and listed BANDIT. Check out some other great anthro blogs:

Co-variation in ecology and craniofacial form: Steven Wang and others in AJPA

Steven Wang, ABD at CUNY/NYCEP and currently a visiting researcher at the University of Arizona, is part of a collaborative team (including Karen Baab, Sarah Freidline, and Timothy Hanson) that recently published a paper in AJPA on variation of modern H. sapiens cranial characteristics and their correlation to ecological variables. Always nice to see graduate students publishing!

Relationship of Cranial Robusticity to Cranial Form, Geography and Climate

Midwest Primate Interest Group (MPIG) 2010 meeting - First Call for Papers

MPIG has quickly become one of my favorite meetings: it's relatively small, it's extremely student-friendly (undergrads are frequent presenters), it's only a couple of days so doesn't kill you with tedium, and it highlights the amazing concentration of biological anthropologists in the Midwest. You DO NOT have to be from the Midwest to participate or attend. Put it on your calendar!

Dear All,
I wanted to take this opportunity to announce the first call for podium and poster presentations for our 6th Annual Meeting of the Midwest Primate Interest Group, September 24th and 25th in Chicago. Our 2010 meeting will be co-sponsored by Dr. Julienne Rutherford of University of Illinois at Chicago and Dr. Robert Martin of the Field Museum.

Attendees will have after-hours access to the Ancient Americas and Evolving Planet exhibits! The Saturday paper and poster session will be held at the UIC College of Dentistry, which houses the DuBrul Comparative Skeletal Archives, a wonderful resource for biological anthropologists and anatomists.

Visit the MPIG website at for additional information.

Agustín Fuentes

Waddling and Toddling: Dr. Libby Cowgill wins the prize for my favorite article title

Dr. Libby Cowgill of University of Central Florida (second year on the tenure track) has two new articles this year, both in AJPA. One is an empirical survey of the postcranial skeletal robusticity in Neandertals and modern humans, which was the focus of Libby's dissertation work (Washington University, 2008) and the other is a collaborative study (with Anna Warrener, Herman Pontzer, and Cara Ocobock) of the biomechanics of young children who, you know, waddle and toddle.

The Ontogeny of Holocene and Late Pleistocene Human Postcranial Strength

Waddling and Toddling: The Biomechanical Effects of an Immature Gait

Self-promotion is not a crime

As you may have gathered, one of the goals of BANDIT is to let others know about the fantastic work we are doing. I will post news stories and article alerts as I find them, but please do not hesitate to let me know about your recent publications or other achievements so I can post them here. This community is a place to celebrate, commiserate, and collaborate.

BANDIT member Dr. Katie Hinde in American Journal of Primatology

Dr. Katie Hinde, currently a postdoc at the California National Primate Research Center and the University of California Davis has a paper out in AJP today. In addition to her impressive moves on the dance floor, Katie is doing some fabulous work on the role of lactation and milk composition in intergenerational programming of temperament in macaques. She's that cool.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dr. Kate Clancy, another BANDIT member with a great blog

Kate Clancy is an assistant professor (second year on the tenure track) of anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This is a truly fantastic department, with at last count TEN biological anthropology faculty. (Let that sink in. Awesome, right?) In addition to this tremendous disciplinary breadth, these faculty members are also just plain great people. Kate (with Dr. Rebecca Stumpf) heads the Laboratory for Evolutionary Endocrinology, where she and her students are exploring really fascinating work on inflammation and reproductive function. Kate is producing a thoughtful, engaging, and personable blog that I think will be of interest to BANDIT members. Check it out!

BANDIT blog added to Primate Info Net blog list. See what else is out there!

Gwen Robbins at Appalachian State making breakthroughs in Donner scholarship!

Dr. Gwen Robbins, friend of the BANDIT blog, recently made news with her fascinating work on the Donner party. Congratulations, Gwen!,b=facebook

Memorandum to Graduate Departments: Send Your Pearls to Us - Commentary - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Really interesting piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education about careers at community colleges. This is a sector we don't talk much about, as most of us don't have a lot of personal experience and none of us got our PhDs from one. Our advisors, if they mention them at all, get queasy about it. But market realities are just that - realities - so learning about the full range of options, and the good and bad experiences academics have as professors at community colleges, is an important part of preparing our graduate students and ourselves for a career in biological anthropology.
Memorandum to Graduate Departments: Send Your Pearls to Us - Commentary - The Chronicle of Higher Education

(If you can't access the full article, consider looking it up online through your university library.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Primatologist in the local news!

Please check out this great profile of Jill Pruetz, a primatologist at Iowa State University. Nice to see a local paper take notice of one of our own!

Well, that was awkward...

Are you involved in some kind of uncomfortable political situation in your department, with your former advisor, or with some new collaborators? Consider sharing your experience with your colleagues in BANDIT. You can send me your story with details/names removed and I will post it to the blog, OR use an anonymous name to comment on this post.

Biological Anthropologists Anonymous

Hi, my name is Julienne and I am a biological anthropologist. For reals. It always felt weird saying that when I was in grad school but since I graduated in 2007 it feels more and more like an actual piece of my identity, and I have to say, it's pretty cool. However, once I finished, I found myself looking around wondering, "Damn. Now what?" Our focus for so many years is the dissertation - what is it? how do we do it? who pays for it, other than our livers? - so when we're finished (and the celebratory hangover wears off) many of us are left realizing that we don't have a clue how to manage this early phase of our professional careers. That's why I held a happy hour for the new biological anthropology investigators at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists meeting this year, largely out of selfish motives, i.e. I don't know what I'm doing a lot of the time. I can has help?

I want those of us in that loosely defined "early phase" of our professional careers as biological anthropologists to have a community to draw on, a safe place where we can share our experiences: on the job market and the tenure track, in the lab and the field, through microscopes and binoculars, from post-defense to pre-tenure, as adjuncts, assistants, visitors, and academic hobos of all stripes. So, I'm introducing the Biological ANthropology Developing Investigators Troop, or BANDIT, in the hopes of bringing together a troop of like-minded primates lucky enough to have a career in studying other primates in their endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful.

I hope we use this blog as a clearinghouse of information, websites, and links to documents (e.g. syllabi!) of use and interest to the group. I would also like to see us use it to post anonymous questions of a sticky nature (e.g. "What did I do to piss off my department chair and what can I do to fix it?") so we can counsel each other. Since most of us only see each other a couple of times a year at most, let's pull up a virtual chair and lend a virtual ear. Many of us are in departments where we are the only biological anthropologist (and in some cases, the only anthropologist, period) so we have much to offer each other, even if it's only tea and sympathy (or preferably, martinis and vindication).

Welcome, and please spread the word!