This Week at the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences: November 24-December 1, 2017

Friday, December 1, 2017

Faculty at the UMass College of Social and Behavioral Sciences undertake research to engage the most pressing issues of our time. Our faculty are often called upon by press for their expertise. Below is a summary of the accomplishments, publications, and interviews of our faculty this past week.

Prehistoric women worked so much their arms were stronger than today’s female rowers
Brigitte M. Holt, anthropology, comments in a story about how scientists have found that prehistoric women had stronger arms than contemporary women, including semi-elite female rowers. The findings are based on a study of bones from women who lived in Central European farming communities from 5300 BCE to about 850 AD. Holt, who was not involved in the study, says, “Your bones are really an excellent biological record of your life.” The researchers say women from this early era were probably stronger because they were farmers who did hard work with their hands and arms. (International Business TimesThe Verge)

The financial cost of discrimination
M.V. Lee Badgett appeared on On the Money to discuss her research breaking down the cost of discrimination against the LGTBQ community. Badgett was recently named a Spotlight Scholar for her work on this topic. (CBC On the Money)

When Trump met Xi: how the president learned to stop worrying and love China
Paul Musgrave, political science, says President Donald J. Trump has changed his view of China as threat to the U.S. and unfair trade partner because he believes he can deal with Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, in part because Trump likes dealing with authoritarian leaders. “The dominant theme of the president’s self-image, to which we have been exposed for decades, is that he regards himself as a consummate dealmaker,” Musgrave says. “Trump seems to most often return to the theme that the Chinese drive a hard bargain but they can be dealt with.” (Vox)

7 reasons people shouldn't have children, according to science
A story on seven reasons why people might choose not to have children cites research done by Michelle J. Budig, sociology, that found when a couple has a child, men tend to earn 6 percent more while women tend to earn 4 percent less for each child they have. (Times-Union)

How military personnel get married without actually being there
Jennifer Lundquist's research is cited in this short documentary about a unique Montana law allowing military couples to be married by proxy, with two strangers as stand ins. Tom Kennedy of Armed Forces Proxy Marriages arranges about 500 marriages a year from his Montana home between couples who are deployed or about to be deployed, and want to get their affairs in order before they're shipped out. (NBC)

In other news....

The John W. Olver Design Building has received an Award of Merit in the higher education and research category as part of ENR New England’s 2017 Best Projects. (Engineering News-Record)

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Richard Moyes to visit UMass Amherst to discuss international limitations on weapons used in armed conflicts on Tuesday, December 5th. (SBS News)

The SBS Four at Four will take place on Thursday, December 7th. To RSVP and see this semester's speakers, go to the event page.