You aren’t what you eat, exactly. But over many generations, what we eat does shape our evolutionary path. “Diet,” says anthropologist John Hawks, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, “has been a fundamental story throughout our evolutionary history. Over the last million years there have been changes in human anatomy, teeth and the skull, that we think are probably related to changes in diet.”
Almost every day, there’s at least one story in the news that involves racism, sexism or another kind of bigotry. But when you hear those stories, do you think, “Well, that’s not me”? Turns out, even among the best-intentioned people, unconscious biases can exist. So how can we identify these biases, and is it possible to overcome them?
Until last year, Abigail Swetz was a teacher at O’Keeffe Middle School. There, she made a difference in the lives of 60 students a year for six years, but yearned to do more. She left teaching and is now a graduate student at UW-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs with the intention of going into nonprofit advocacy work.
Enslaved for nearly 70 years, George Moses Horton was perhaps the unlikeliest man of letters. After teaching himself to read, he took to poetry, composing and memorizing verses in his mind. Part of Horton’s repertoire, however, was lost in time. Although Horton released three collections of poetry — becoming the first slave and African American to publish a book in the South (The Hope of Liberty, 1829) — there was no record of other types of works until recently, when Jonathan Senchyne, an assistant professor of book history in the UW’s Information School, took a serendipitous trip to the New York Public Library.
Not all smiles are expressions of warmth and joy. Sometimes they can be downright mean. And our bodies react differently depending on the message a smile is meant to send. Research led by Jared Martin, a psychology graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, shows that smiles meant to convey dominance are associated with a physical reaction - a spike in stress hormones - in their targets. On the other hand, smiles intended as a reward, to reinforce behavior, appear to physically buffer recipients against stress.
Students, staff and faculty collaborated to create “Whirling Return of the Ancestors," which highlights one tradition of the Yorùbá people in Western Africa. The gallery came about because of a collaboration between the Art History Department, the Afro-American Studies Department, the School of Human Ecology, the Ruth Davis Design Gallery and students. This is the first exhibit in the Ruth Davis Design Gallery that was formed out of a partnership with other departments at UW, Newell says.