HRAF News Vol. 2022-5
Showcasing eHRAF Teaching and Research
This month we are pleased to showcase examples of teaching and research using the eHRAF databases. These include a comparative research paper assignment at the University of Connecticut and the graduate program in Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology at University College Dublin. We have also announced a job opening for up to four Research Associates investigating responses to climate hazards. The application deadline is May 25. Additionally, we are delighted to feature Eric Nana Osei-Akoto, HRAF Global Scholar from Ghana.
Matthew Longcore, HRAF's Manager of Outreach and Member Services who also teaches anthropology and archaeology at the University of Connecticut, takes a comparative approach in his introductory courses and regularly incorporates the eHRAF databases into his teaching.

In the Spring 2022 semester, Professor Longcore taught ANTH 1000W Peoples and Cultures of the World, an introductory writing-intensive course in cultural anthropology. To meet the writing requirement, students are expected to submit a comparative research paper using eHRAF World Cultures.

Here is the research paper assignment in Teaching eHRAF.
The paper should address a specific cultural behavior or topic of their choice (e.g. romantic kissing) and a related research question (e.g. is romantic kissing a cultural universal?). Students use data from eHRAF World Cultures to answer the question and must select any three cultures to research their topic.

The graduate program in Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology at University College Dublin, coordinated by Professor Graeme Warren, is designed for students interested in the fascinating world of hunter-gatherers. It emphasizes the remarkable diversity of hunter-gatherer communities with case studies drawn from across the globe. Students benefit from access to the eHRAF World Cultures and eHRAF Archaeology databases, which enable searching ethnographic and archaeological data across a worldwide sample of hunter-gatherer societies, past and present.

During their studies, program participants learn how to search the eHRAF databases to locate examples of hunter-gatherer diversity and to test theories and hypotheses from their research. To illustrate why they chose this degree program and how eHRAF has been central to their studies, HRAF presents reflections from three students who took part in the first cohort of the program.

HRAF is seeking two full-time (or possibly up to four part-time) Research Associates to join our research team working on a comprehensive modeling project through the Minerva Research Initiative. The principal investigators of the 3-year grant, "Response to Shocks and Hazards Associated with Climate" are Eric Jones, HRAF President Carol Ember, Sergey Gavrilets, and Michele Gelfand.

In the beginning stages, we are looking for individuals who have experience reading and analyzing qualitative texts (especially ethnographic documents) to make coding judgments. Other desired skills are data management, knowledge of statistics, and writing R code. We prefer individuals with a recent PhD or advanced graduate training in anthropology or a related field, but we will also consider individuals with less graduate training and with appropriate experience to be hired as research associates.

We plan to assess a suite of variables including the frequency, severity and predictability of disasters and other resource stressors, cooperation and beyond household sharing, continuity of cultural norms and practices, community cohesion, livelihood diversification, political participation, and tightness or looseness of societal norms.

Eric Nana Osei-Akoto is a doctoral student at Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission, and Culture in Akropong-Akuapem, Ghana. As a part-time student who also works full-time, Eric says that electronic sources have proven an invaluable resource for his studies, as he often does not get time away from work to visit the library. Furthermore, the school's library and the libraries of other universities in Ghana do not always have the sources needed for his writing.

Eric's doctoral research examines beliefs about how the natural and the supernatural interact in medicine and healing in the practice of traditional herbal medicine. The research investigates the views of, and attitudes to, traditional herbal medicine by Ghanaian Christians, Muslims, and Primal religious believers. It evaluates the extent of the influence of practitioners' religious beliefs on modern (often referred to in Ghana as 'scientific') herbal medicine practice, a neo-herbal practice that tends to accentuate the application of science and technology and limit or, in some cases, disavow the involvement of spiritual practices.

HRAF is honored to welcome Eric Nana Osei-Akoto as one of our HRAF Global Scholars for 2022. We wish him continued success with his research.

HRAF at Yale University|