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Christianity In Anthropological Perspective
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 19:00
Jesus of Nazareth was a revolutionary freedom fighter, leading a mass movement of Jewish resistance against the Roman occupation of his country. After the defeat of his uprising and his capture and crucifixion by the Romans, the memory of 'the Messiah' was preserved by diverse groups of followers. In one of these traditions, that of Saint Paul, the real Jesus became transformed into a sacrificial lamb. As in ancient traditions throughout the world, blessings were believed to flow from the shedding of blood. It is this mythologized 'Lamb of God' who is still revered by Christians today. In this talk, we will explore why the earliest Christian communities were organized along strictly communist lines.
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The Hadza foragers of Tanzania, one of the world’s few remaining hunting and gathering populations, are currently experiencing large scale shifts in their ecological, nutritional, and socio-political landscapes. Climate change, increased interaction with aid organizations, heightened participation in ethnotourism, and the expansion of wildlife conservation areas have led to conspicuous changes in their identity, patterns of subsistence, and degree of market integration. Despite a long standing (and ever growing) interest in conducting research among the Hadza, very few data are available on how such changes are impacting subsistence and mobility. Here, I discuss my recent trip to Tanzania where I worked with Hadza community members who acted as data collectors and research informants. We collected baseline information on ecological change, land rights, food and water insecurity, and the implications of sharing an ever-shrinking amount of land with an ever-growing number of people (both from within their community and outside). These data not only act to dispel the myth that foragers remain immune to the products and processes of modernization, but also contextualize contemporary variation in subsistence regimes and highlight the resiliency that foragers exhibit in the face of change.