Anthropologists discuss ‘diversity of humanity’ at annual conference

March 26 — When Diego Díaz Córdova was 9 years old, a teacher told him he should become an anthropologist.

His first thought: “What is that?” But the idea stuck in his head and he later became passionate about this field and obtained a doctorate in anthropology.

“We could say that it is science that [studies] the diversity of humanity from the beginning, from the Pleistocene to the present day,” Díaz Córdova said Tuesday at the annual meeting of the International Society of Applied Anthropology.

“Actually, maybe the key word is ‘diversity,’ I think. That’s why you get this diversity of topics at the conference,” he said, gesturing to various rooms in the conference. ‘Eldorado Hotel and Spa, in downtown Santa Fe.

Díaz Córdova traveled to the conference from Argentina to present research on improving care for premature babies.

Hundreds of other anthropologists and locals attended the first day of the conference – a free “local day” for the public – to learn about topics ranging from wildlife conservation to the culinary heritage of borderlands between the United States and Mexico.

Many participants gathered around an exhibit on the history of the imprisonment of Japanese Americans in New Mexico during World War II, a subject close to their hearts: while other camps he American internments were isolated, the Santa Fe internment camp, which confined more than 4,500 men between 1942 and 1948, spanning 80 acres just a mile and a half from the center of the city.

Other conference attendees listened as social scientists discussed work to address New Mexico’s problems, including climate change and the social isolation of Mexican immigrants. One such panel on Tuesday addressed health disparities in New Mexico among LGBTQ+ youth.

These disparities exist as early as middle school, or “earlier than expected,” said Alena Kuhlemeier, an assistant professor at the University of Mexico, presenting research on the topic.

Research has already established that LGBTQ+ high school students experience “crazy” health disparities, such as increased rates of depression, suicidal tendencies…

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