Past Events

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October 16, 2017
9:00am to 5:00pm

Software Carpentry aims to help researchers get their work done in less time and with less pain by teaching them basic research computing skills. This hands-on workshop will cover basic concepts and tools, including program design, version control, data management, and task automation. Participants will be encouraged to help one another and to apply what they have learned to their own research problems.

For more information on what we teach and why, please see our paper "Best Practices for Scientific Computing".

Software Carpentry: R Workshop

Who: The course is aimed at graduate students and other researchers. You don't need to have any previous knowledge of the tools that will be presented at the workshop.

Where: Young Research Library. Get directions with OpenStreetMap or Google Maps.

When: Oct 16-17, 2017. Add to your Google Calendar.

Requirements: Participants must bring a laptop with a Mac, Linux, or Windows operating system (not a tablet, Chromebook, etc.) that they have administrative privileges on. They should have a few specific software packages installed (see here). They are also required to abide by Software Carpentry's Code of Conduct.

Accessibility: We are committed to making this workshop accessible to everybody. The workshop organisers have checked that:

  • The room is wheelchair / scooter accessible.
  • Accessible restrooms are available.

Materials will be provided in advance of the workshop and large-print handouts are available if needed by notifying the organizers in advance. If we can help making learning easier for you (e.g. sign-language interpreters, lactation facilities) please get in touch (using contact details below) and we will attempt to provide them.

Contact: Please email lib_archivehelp@em.ucla.edu for more information.

Young Research Library
Tim Dennis (UCLA Library) lib_archivehelp@em.ucla.edu
October 13, 2017
4:00pm to 6:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Norman Yoffee, University of Michigan

Old Assyrian texts from Mesopotamia, ca. 1950-1750 BCE, shed light on merchants and markets in Mesopotamia and the relationship between merchants and the Old Assyrian state. In this lecture, I review recent research on Old Assyrian trade and the implications for understanding trade in other times and places in the Ancient Near East and elsewhere. I also consider why there is a recent explosion of studies on trade by archaeologists and provide brief examples.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson mswanson@ioa.ucla.edu
October 11, 2017
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Di Luo, Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Global Asia, New York University Shanghai

Buddhist architecture in China since the 11th century has often featured miniature pagodas and pavilions in the interior. These downsized "buildings," appearing in ceiling domes and murals and sometimes functioning as altars, bookcases, and reliquaries, assumed the role of the "holy of holies" of the space. My study of these miniatures focuses on the scaling principles they adhered to, the woodworking tradition they epitomized, and the religious significance of the phenomenon of miniature-making. The downscaling procedure, I argue, was not a purely technological problem, but deeply rooted in the Buddhist view of the composition and formation of our world. This Buddhist ideal was best demonstrated by a hierarchical set of numerals found in miniature architecture. With the assistance of digital tools, we are able to expose and scrutinize the fascinating numerical relationships existed in Buddhist architecture.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson mswanson@ioa.ucla.edu
October 4, 2017
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Speaker: Debby Sneed, PhD Candidate, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA

In this talk, Debby will use literary and archaeological evidence to argue that ancient Greeks not
only tolerated the birth of deformed and disabled infants, but also expressed optimism about their futures and actively attempted to accommodate their needs. Modern studies tend to resolve this issue quickly, relying heavily on references by Plutarch, Aristotle, and Plato. These authors’ statements about the fate of deformed infants, however, bear no easy or straightforward relationship with the reality of the ancient world. If we situate these authors and their works within their appropriate contexts, we recognize that their presentations of infant exposure and infanticide are prescriptive, not descriptive. By expanding our analysis to the Hippocratic physicians, as well as to other works within the Aristotelian corpus, we find a wide range of evaluations of infants born with congenital deformities. What is more, the production of feeding bottles from the Late Bronze Age through the Roman period also demonstrates active efforts to accommodate infants (and sometimes children and adults) who were premature, weak, ill, or presented severe orofacial deformities such as cleft palate. Finally, an argument from absence: bioarchaeologists have produced no positive proof for the killing of deformed infants from any population in Greece. Taken together, the evidence demonstrates that the exposure of deformed and disabled infants was far from the rule in ancient Greece

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson mswanson@ioa.ucla.edu
June 7, 2017
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Speaker: Kristine Martirosyan-Olshansky, Ph.D. Candidate, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA

This talk is a summary of field research conducted by Cotsen/UCLA doctoral student Kristine Martirosyan-Olshansky at Masis Blur, Armenia, over the course of three seasons from 2012-2014. Excavations at Masis Blur have unearthed Neolithic habitation layers (ca. 6200 – 5400 cal.BC) belonging to the Shulaveri-Shomutepe culture, with a rich material culture and several important new discoveries. Many questions have been raised concerning the origins and sudden appearance in the Southern Caucasus of sedentary communities having fully domesticated plants and animals. The abrupt abandonment of their settlements at the end of the Neolithic period is also still just as obscure. Certain cultural elements and fragments of imported pottery within otherwise Aceramic settlements attest to relations with societies in northern Mesopotamian area. This talk highlights findings from recent fieldwork at Masis Blur and discusses the new data within the framework of Neolithization processes in the Southern Caucasus. 

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson mswanson@ioa.ucla.edu
June 2, 2017
4:00pm to 6:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Sonali Gupta-Agarwal, UCLA 

Traditions are transmitted through teaching and learning. The manner in which knowledge relating to craft production gets transmitted can help us in understanding the causes behind cultural continuity and change. By using an anthropological approach to find teaching and learning patterns, I investigate the role of potters in
modern day pottery workshops of Egypt and India in the transmission of knowledge relating to pottery production. Employing video footage using a video annotation research tool, I discern subtle gestures and postures of potters engaged in the process of pottery production and statistically examine these to reveal patterns specific to each workshop. I transpose the method and understanding gained from the study of modern potters to the archaeological context in Karanis, Egypt. Teaching and learning of pottery making leaves recognizable markers on the vessel that can be traced metrically. My research suggests that one can trace ancient communities of practice, knowledge transfer and interpret continuity or change in material culture as part of an ongoing learning tradition.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson mswanson@ioa.ucla.edu
May 31, 2017
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Patrick Hajovsky, Associate Professor, Art History, Southwestern University

Taking a critical perspective, I argue that Aztec "luxury" objects worn or held on the body linked valor and value to tonalli, the heat-life energy that manifests personality and fate, and yollotl, the heart, source of blood and center of human life. The Aztecs explored the equivalences and differences between luxury materials--lapidary, gold, feather--through synesthetic metaphors that tied visual art to Nahuatl poetry. Forms made of these materials further emphasize these essential connections between person and object, which allowed the object to become a surrogate of the owner's agency. This is important to consider in the Aztec economy of sacrifice and the logic of state of control.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson mswanson@ioa.ucla.edu
Fowler A222
May 26, 2017
4:00pm to 6:00pm

NOTE: This Friday Seminar has been cancelled. 

Speaker: Dr. Jeremy Mumford, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Brown University

In 1558, in Spanish Peru, the Inka princess Cusi Huarcay married her brother, Sayri Thupa, with the blessing of the Catholic bishop of Cuzco, carrying the Inka tradition of sibling marriage into the colonial era. In 1570, King Philip V of Spain married his niece Anna of Austria, the daughter of his cousin and his sister. Each marriage reflected a royal practice of close-kin marriage forbidden to ordinary people, in Peru just as in Europe. Scholars have never seen them as comparable: on the one hand, the apparent magical thinking of the Inkas, who believed kings were descended from the Sun and should not pollute their blood with outsiders; on the other the apparent pragmatism of European monarchs, for whom endogamy was a tool in geopolitical strategy. In fact, there was pragmatism behind the magic and magic behind the pragmatism. In both kingdoms, close-kin marriage was a way that kings and queens sacralized themselves through breaking the most intimate and dangerous of laws. This research project, juxtaposing these two traditions of power and sexuality, opens a window into how entangled states create a shared political culture under colonialism.

Fowler A222
Matthew Swanson mswanson@ioa.ucla.edu