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2011 Postdoctoral Fellows Conference: Moving the Middle to the Foreground: Re-Visiting the Second Epidemiological Transition

by Ed Hagen last modified Mar 09, 2011 07:12 PM
This is a two-day conference hosted by the South Carolina Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology and the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, April 18-19, 2011. The central theme of this conference focuses on addressing the causes and consequences of the second epidemiological transition through an interdisciplinary integration of skeletal, archaeological, biochemical and historical evidence.
This second epidemiological transition, the increase in longevity and mortality from chronic disease that coincided with industrialization and the rise of modern environments, was one of the greatest social and ecological transformations in human history. However, because of incomplete historical evidence (census & vital statistics), the causes and extent of the transition remain poorly understood. This has even led to a rethinking of the widely held view that modern environments are bad for us; some scholars have argued that the documented rise in chronic disease mortality is due to secular improvements in historical mortality data collection. Data and methods from bioarchaeology, cemetery studies, social history, immunology, environmental studies, and geochemistry have been sorely underutilized in studies of the transition. However, a critical integration of evidence from these and other fields promises to elucidate little understood but integral aspects of the transition, such as regional variability in its causes, timing, and effects; changes in morbidity; the health of women, children, and the poor; and the role of environmental quality and industrial pollution in the historical rise of cancer and immune dysregulatory diseases, such as allergy; as well as expanding investigations outside of the traditional focus on Britain and America. Leading international scholars from different disciplines and sub-disciplines have been invited to participate in a two-day conference to demonstrate the application of diverse data sets and methods from these fields to expanding our understanding of the causes, nature, and effects of the transition. In addition to these public presentations, research presented at the conference will be published in an accompanying conference volume (via the University of South Carolina Press) that will locate, through concrete example, both problems and advantages of using an interdisciplinary approach to evaluate the causes and consequences of the second epidemiological transition.

All interested individuals are invited to attend the 2011 Postdoctoral Fellows conference. Please contact the conference organizer, Molly Zuckerman, PhD, for additional information on attending or see the conference website for travel information, registration (admission to the conference is free), as well as the list of presenters, abstracts and the schedule of papers.

Date: April 18-19, 2011

Location: The Inn at USC, Columbia, SC.

Conference organizer: Molly Zuckerman, PhD
South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology
University of South Carolina
1321 Pendleton St. Columbia SC 29208
Phone: 803-576-6572
Fax: 803-254-1338

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