How contemporary events are exposing systemic inequalities
The pandemic of 2020 is wreaking havoc on the scientific enterprise – for palaeoanthropologists, altering everything from where and how we give lectures, to whether we travel to conduct fieldwork or access fossils. But the pandemic is also highlighting underlying systemic issues in the way we do science and develop collaborative partnerships, including the persistence of racist, patriarchal and colonial practices, issues which have similarly animated the #BlackLivesMatter and #RhodesMustFall movements. These issues have been with us since the time of Raymond Dart (and before), and persist in our practices and scientific narratives, determining who maintains status and authority.
Join Professor Rebecca Ackermann from the University of Cape Town for this discussion recorded on 17 September 2020 on how do we turn the current crisis into what Arundhati Roy calls a “portal moment,” where we transform palaeoanthropology into something better and move our scientific practices beyond what they were?
Presented by Griffith’s Australian Centre for Human Evolution.
Date: Thursday 17 September 2020 Time: 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm Location: Live webstream
Professor Rebecca Ackermann
Rebecca Ackermann is a biological anthropologist, Professor in the Department of Archaeology, and Deputy Dean of Transformation in the Faculty of Science at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa.
She was the founding Director of UCTs Human Evolution Research Institute, and is currently its Deputy Director. Her research focusses on evolutionary process, and specifically how gene flow, drift and selection interact to produce skeletal diversity through time in our human ancestors. Her research is illuminating the complex origins of our species.
Rebecca is an acclaimed lecturer and recipient of the UCT Distinguished Teacher Award and is engaged in discourse and policy development around sexism, racism and transformation of her discipline more broadly.
The Raymond Dart Lecture series
Born and raised in the Brisbane suburb of Toowong, Raymond Dart is one of Australia’s most celebrated palaeoanthropologist. Raymond is best known for his involvement in the 1924 South African discovery of the first fossil ever found of Australopithecus africanus, an extinct hominin closely related to humans.
The Raymond Dart Lecture is an annual Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution event paying homage to Raymond Dart by presenting some of the brightest minds and newest research in paleoanthropology.
Prof Ackermann, Griffith Uni urged you to come to Brisbane, post Covid. Aust has many evolutionary 1sts to occupy your mind, while your here. It was great having you provide the 2020 Dart lecture, the same day I turned into a young fossil, age 80. You are probably aware that Darts Taung child kicked off one of the biggest scientific frauds in Anthropological history. Australias 1st evidence of human occupation, the Talgai scull became an intrical part of that deception. Darts friend Phillip Tobias did everything possible to expose the perpetrator. 108 yrs later The Royal Society states. fraudster unknown.
Rebecca my friends Uncle Reg Sprigg in 1946, discovered in Sth Aust, the oldest, ancient collection of Ediacaren fossil impressions. Your compatriot Professor Mary Drosser, UCR has recently found the worlds oldest bilateran, animal ancestor, at the same location. Mary & her family have been studying this location, every year for 25yrs. Rebecca we hope you get here in 2021..
The reference above in my previous comment to one of, The biggest fraud in Anthropological history, became known as The Piltdown Man controversy, A hundred or more investigations were carried out & tens of thousands of pages of research published,. In 2020 Fraudster still unknown.
Professor Ackermann, Thank you for your lecture, involving amongst other things Gender Equality & Recognition. When it involved our amazing Raymond Dart, he in essence may not have been the Raymond Dart who this lecture is named after, without a major input from his female friend..She was his 22 yr old student,.Josephine Edna Salmons. He said of her as an Anatomy Demonstrator, there was no more vigorous collector. In the papers he sent to Nature which were published on February 7,1925 he states that Josephine bought him a small scull. Credit was given to Dart for the discovery, but In his writings Dart always acknowledged Salmons, & his indebtedness to her. The opening line in Nature says,Without her aid, the discovery would not have been made. .
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