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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Eating the Southwest

    On Saturday, the UA School of Anthropology hosted the 10,000 Years of Eating in the Southwest event to help celebrate its centennial. The event lasted from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., and spanned from Geronimo Plaza at Main Gate Square to the Arizona State Museum, and featured guest lectures, informative tours and fresh food between the starting and ending points.

    This particular event utilized both the food and cultural communities surrounding the university. Restaurants including Pasco Kitchen and Lounge, Gentle Ben’s Brewing Company, Wilko and Pelio Grill hosted special menus featuring southwestern dishes, while organizations such as the Community Food Bank, The People’s Farm and the Palm Oil Awareness Initiative all hosted supplementary informational exhibits and presentations in front of the museum.

    The School of Anthropology, which opened in 1915, decided to celebrate this monumental marker of its success with more than just this one event. Clea Conlin, the event’s coordinator, said the 10,000 Years of Eating affair is one of many centennial celebrations which the School of Anthropology will host throughout 2015.

    “We’re kind of doing a spread-out birthday for anthropology,” Conlin said. “In April, it just happens to be the food cluster.”

    Conlin, a history graduate student, said she contacted all the organizations, restaurants and musicians who took part in the 10,000 Years of Eating event, along with her many coworkers. She said the event aimed to attract the diverse Tucson community, rather than just those associated with the School of Anthropology.

    “We have a lot of events throughout the year for, you know, the academic part of School of Anthropology,” Conlin said. “But this event and cluster of events in April are really about family, community. We wanted it to be our one major family-friendly event where [community members] could come with their kids, get lunch, hang out on the lawn — things like that.”

    Diane Austin, director of the School of Anthropology, said the October cluster of centennial celebrations will focus more on the Tucson community and the ties the school shares with it.

    “The School of Anthropology has many connections to the Tucson community,” Austin said. “Faculty and students conduct research and offer educational opportunities in partnership with community organizations, government agencies, tribes and others here. We will be highlighting these connections during our October centennial events, which focus on anthropology and our community.”

    Austin also said this weekend’s event carried a very significant anthropological meaning, as biological and sociocultural anthropologists and archaeologists all study food’s role in both our present and historical cultures. 

    “University of Arizona anthropologists ask questions about all components of the human experience and seek to describe and interpret human behavior and culture, language, biology and the environment at many levels of organization — from molecules to ecosystems,” she said. “Food is central to human existence, so it is no surprise that it is an important topic in anthropology.”

    Austin said that 10,000 Years of Eating in the Southwest provided the School of Anthropology the opportunity to highlight its own faculty and students’ work, in addition to the work of the museum and other community partners.

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    Follow Brenna Bailey on Twitter.

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