Why Menstruation Matters.

Evening talk

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Camilla Power

Why Menstruation Matters.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 18:45

This talk examines the biological and cultural impact of menstruation in human evolution. It looks into which species menstruate and why this evolved. What effects would highly visible menstruation have on hominin social systems? Why did menstruation become a critical biological signal and how did this affect the emergence of symbolic culture? The widespread distribution of menstrual taboos and observances indicates their great antiquity in human belief systems. Can we offer any predictions about the various forms these take in different societies?

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Evening talk information

Our evening talks include discussion, are free and open to all.

Next evening class

Alyssa Crittenden

Continuity And Change Among A Community Of East African Hunter-Gatherers.
Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 18:45
Archaeology Lecture Theatre, entrance via the Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0BW. Tube: Euston Square. map

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.