On the first day of 2011, I’m looking back at last year: I made the decision to start this blog and simultaneously do my best to educate others and myself in primatology from the perspective of an undergraduate student. I think I’ve done a pretty solid job of this and I hope I can do more this upcoming year.
Instead of looking back, I’m going to look ahead. This year, my main goal is to work on presenting better quality articles–explained in a way that both trained anthropologists/primatologists and non-trained folk can understand and get something out of what I write.
I’ll be looking more into ecological models of behavior, as I’ll be taking a course in the subject and I’ll do my best to write some articles for a primatological perspective. I’m hoping we’ll go over things such as Wrangham’s model of female-bonded social groups, but it all depends on how the professor (who is also an anthropologist) decides to take the course.
I’ll also be taking courses in medical anthropology and environmental health, so expect a little bit more of a human primate perspective. I’ve been interested in medical anthropology since I’ve taken my first anthropology course, so I’ll be really excited to finally be able to learn about this a little more. Over the past few years, I’ve really been debating heavily between primatology and medical anthropology, so a personal goal for myself this year is to decide which I’d like to learn a little more about.
This does not mean I believe I can only pick one exclusively; if I decide to go for medical anthropology, I’d like to take an environmental health perspective and examine the relationship between humans and other animals and maybe use it for conservation purposes. For example, in some areas, spider monkeys are used to treat rheumatism and gorillas are consumed by pregnant women to ensure a healthy child. By receiving more training, perhaps I can use both a medical anthropology and primatology background together as a sort of “cultural broker” to avoid destroying the native culture but also having conservation interests in mind as well.
That said, I intend to look at folk medicine and other aspects of anthropology a little closer this year as well. Hopefully, I’ll be hosting Four Stone Hearth again in the near future!
As far as other personal goals aside from deciding what I’d like to go to graduate school for–I’m also going to do my best to stay as happy as possible with what I’m given; I live a good life and I know I can appreciate it some more. Additionally, I intend to use this year off to do some amazing things and maybe get some traveling in. I’ll be graduating in May of this year, and while I’m not ready to be done (I’m hoping to take a statistics course and maybe another course or two on the side), I am going to do things to bolster my resume. I’d like to get a 4.0 GPA this semester, but I’d be happy if it was above a 3.5 too.
With these things in mind, here are the five most popular posts from the blog this year. I’m hoping I can continue making quality posts like these in the future!:
5. “Oil, Blood and Fire.” — This article was written about a lesser known oil spill that’s been going on for years now in the Niger Delta and affects many species beyond just primates, though, the Niger Delta red colobus monkey is at risk because of the effects from this ecological catastrophe.
4. Monkeys on my Mind. — This was written shortly before I left for Costa Rica and experienced field work for myself. Although I’m not sure if field work is for me, I’d definitely like to give it another go before ruling it out completely. Perhaps, instead of Central America, next time I’d like to try somewhere in Asia as I’ve always really loved Asian culture and it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go.
3. Captive Breeding. — This was based on a paper I’d written for my Primate Conservation course and I think it’s one of the better papers I’ve written. That said, I’m pleased it was such a well-received article because I think it is a very critical aspect of primate conservation–captive breeding is a necessary component right now, but we also need to examine the ultimate causes in addition to this potentially proximate solution.
2. Monkey Day 2010: 10 days and counting. — I was really happy about how many people responded so favorably to Monkey Day! I was able to get some really good articles and took my first jump into Four Stone Hearth with the follow-up to this request.
1. Feminism and Primatology: A Female Primate’s Work is Never Done. — This was the most popular article this last year and I was really happy to write about it. I think feminism is a critical perspective for primatology and this is one of the sciences that really embraces its female scientists. Maybe I’ll do a follow-up on this, but I think this is my favorite article I’ve written, and I’m glad so many others agree.
I hope your 2011 will be rewarding and thank you for continuing to read This is Serious Monkey Business for another year!