Fat Babies

Our featured guest blogger today is Taylor Livingston, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at UNC-CH. Taylor’s dissertation project examines whether, how and why African-American women choose to breastfeed. She is particularly interested in the ways that public health discourses and the legacy of slavery and racism in the South shape African-American women’s infant caregiving decisions and practices.

On Thursday afternoon, Dr. Margaret (Peggy) Bentley kicked off IAAR’s Spring semester talks. Dr. Bentley discussed the importance of maternal beliefs and perceptions for understanding infant feeding practices. Dr. Bentley presented the findings from the “Infant Care” study conducted with her colleagues, Dr. Amanda Thompson, Dr. Heather Wasser, and Ms. Kenitra Williams. “Infant Care,” a longitudinal study from 2003-2010, is a descriptive project undertaken with African-American first-time mothers in North Carolina to understand infant feeding. The main focus of the study was to assess if there is a connection between early infant feeding practices and childhood obesity. Read More »

Research Insights, Emotions and the Case of Trayvon Martin

When I pulled together a panel of speakers to discuss the case of Trayvon Martin for IAAR’s second fall program, I hadn’t banked on the event being as intense and rich as it turned out to be. I wanted scholars who may never have written analytically on Martin to bring their research insights on a variety of substantive issues and theoretical questions to bear on the case. But, the take away was that research insights are not decoupled from visceral reaction and emotion. As a cultural anthropologist I knew this truism all too well thanks to work by people like Ruth Behar who talks of an anthropology that “breaks your heart.” But, I had never seen that truism play out in an event space, certainly not as intensively as it did on this particular Thursday evening. And so, as we heard about and discussed complex theoretical categories like social structure, historical process, constructions of race and discrimination, it became clear that the panelists and audience members in the room (students and faculty alike) felt the weightiness of applying those categories to the fraught case of Trayvon Martin’s death. Performing the analytical work and critical thinking together – in what a friend termed an “honest space” – was arduous, productive and riveting. Read More »

IAAR Holds Opening Event

On August 29th, close to 70 people gathered in UNC’s Wilson Library’s Pleasants Family Assembly room for the IAAR’s symposium, Voting Rights, Racial Justice, and Moral Mondays: Examining Civil Rights in the 21st Century, to launch the Institute for the new academic year and under its new director, Professor Karla Slocum. Read More »

Andrews, Crayton and Unah Speak at IAAR Opening Event


The IAAR is pleased to have three UNC faculty speak at its opening event, Voting Rights, Racial Justice and Moral Mondays: Examining Civil Rights in the 21st Century. Professors Kareem Crayton, Isaac Unah, and Kenneth (Andy) Andrews will examine recent national rulings and state legislative changes in the context of civil rights concerns past and present. Focus will be specifically on developments regarding the Voting Rights Act, the Racial Justice Act, and the Moral Monday protests placed in the context of the Civil Rights Movement. Information on these three accomplished professors can be found below.

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