I’m claiming bragging rights today, because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for something that I have been working on for about two years. I talk a lot about mythology, food and culture in this blog and I thought it would be nice for everyone to know that I’m not just pulling this stuff out of my ass. There is actual research going on behind the scenes.
I have been working a Graduate Certificate through the Center for World Indigenous Studies (CWIS) and yesterday my professor, Dr. Rudolph C. Rÿser, requested a final edit of my literature review article for publication. Yes, that’s right. Publication in a scholarly journal. The article is entitled “Indigenist” and Universal Psychological Theories: The roles of genetic, diet and culture in healthcare for non-western populations. Here is a little excerpt from my current paper for you:
Two main research approaches to determining the dietary effects of globalization are the nature approach based on theories such as evolutionary psychology, and the nurture approach based on social-cultural psychology that reflect “universal” and “indigenist” theories. Studies examining nature factors include research on genetic predisposition, thrifty genotypes, and inheritable taste preferences often focus on issues such as diabetes, alcoholism and depression among many others. Studies examining health issues from a social-cultural perspective identify mytho-religious and cultural norms and expectations as lenses to determine a productive treatment for these types of health issues. Examples of mytho-religious or cultural norms might include beliefs about causes and cures for illness, social acceptance and attitudes toward illness and traditional knowledge and lifestyles.
I have another one coming down the pipeline examining the dynamics of the globalizing economy, not only in first world nations but also, in developing countries and for indigenous populations. Associated with every new technology is a social upheaval and with social upheavals come changes in mental models and mythologies. Current technologies feeding globalization may have the biggest impact on human history since the move from hunting and gathering to agriculture in terms of our approach to food cultivation and fundamental belief systems built upon food resources. An impact which, in turn, affects the physical and mental health of all peoples. As we look into these subjects with a razor of scientific method through a western eye, we can see an alternate way of knowing about the world we live in embodied that the very ancient Native American story of the Spider Woman. The goddess who is alive and well in the web of technology and her message is still relevant to everyone.
The main publication CWIS supports is The Fourth World Journal. If you are interested in the topic or just bored at work today, check it out.
The Fourth World Journal (FWJ) is the world’s leading publication for ideas and analysis about and by writers from some of the world’s more than six thousand Fourth World nations. Leading activists and scholars contribute lively and informative articles and essays and reveal what otherwise often remains hidden.
FWJ delivers to the reader analysis, ideas and thorough scholarship that explains world events or activities that address climate change and the environment, political change, history, economics, social change, traditional knowledge systems and the creative arts.
CWIS is located in (yes) lovely Olympia, WA. It has a library, a small but excellent collection of books available for purchase and a large but excellent list of resources. I’m personally looking forward to reading Cooking, Eating, Thinking: Transformative Philosophies of Food. Check them out at http://cwis.org/WhoWeAre/