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McGill Reporter
December 9, 2004 - Volume 37 Number 07
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A room of one's own for ethnology

"The proper study of mankind is man," said Alexander Pope. If we are to take the old chauvinist as the authority in such matters, then the hot place to study on campus is the third floor of the Redpath Museum.

Caption follows
Mbundu figurines of ivory, leather, iron; collected in Angola by Frank and Annie Read, circa 1900
A. Gibbs

After a mere 122 years, the Redpath finally has a dedicated gallery for the museum's ethnology collection, which include Egyptian mummies, Meso-potamian cuneiform, Sinhalese medical implements, Chinese 'lotus' shoes, African hair ornaments, and many objects of great interest.

"The Redpath has primarily been known as a natural history museum, but right from the beginning, when they did the groundbreaking in 1882, it was acknowledged that there were these objects of cultural history that were part of the museum," explained Barbara Lawson, curator of the ethnology collection.

Overall, the Redpath ethnology collection consists of over 17,000 objects. The new gallery has 1,000 objects from the collections on display in specially constructed cases.

"I like to say it's an index, or a table of contents to the holdings of the museum, because it gives you a taste of the types of material we have represented in our collections," said Lawson.

That index spans the globe: the holdings of the ethnology collection covers the South Americas, Asia, Africa and the ancient Mediterranean. Having a dedicated gallery allows the material to be presented in a coherent and focused way.

"There's a lot of narrative conflicts when you have, say, a gorilla in the middle of a place where you're trying to develop displays of cultural material. To have a space that is set apart allows one to concentrate on certain kinds of cultural themes," said Lawson.

The Redpath Museum is open Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, and Sunday, 1 pm to 5 pm.

Kick the filthy habit!

Experts agree that the best time to quit smoking is what is clinically referred to as "now." Were it that simple, however, few of these same experts would have jobs. So, for all of you who are planning on dropping the filthy weed for the New Year, the McGill Program in Cancer Prevention is sponsoring a seven-week program to help people quit. Running from January 12 to February 23, the Smoke-Free Clinic provides information and support for all you quitters out there.

A cigarette burning in an ashtray

For those of you who are more interested in the why's of smoking than the how's, Pharmacology and Therapeutics professor Paul Clark is giving a talk on January 13 to discuss what makes nicotine so addictive.

"I'm going to be discussing the idea that people smoke in order to get dopamine release in the brain," said Clark, explaining that there is a lot of disagreement in the scientific community as to whether or not dopamine release is the culprit, when much recent literature would indicate otherwise. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure and arousal.

"I might ask why this dogma continues, even though there is very little evidence to support it."

Smoke-free Clinic, Jewish General Hospital, 3755 Cote St. Catherine Road, Rm C107, $120 for seven weeks. Discount for students. Contact 340-8222 Ext. 4947.

"Nicotine, cigarettes, reward and dopamine — Much ado about nothing?" January 13, 4 pm to 5 pm, Dr. Paul Clark, Research and Training Building, 1033 Pine Avenue West, Rm 138. Contact 398-4176.

Ice skating is nice skating

Not every country on earth is blessed with Montreal's bracing winter climate. Adapting to the changed pace of life can be tough: one can only hide inside one's apartment playing pinochle for so many nights in a row.

A pair of skates

The McGill Alumni Association and the Office of International Student Services is reaching out to those international students that may need some help, by hosting a free skating party. They're taking baby steps: the event is in the atrium of 1000 de la Gauchetière West, where they don't even need to go outside. Skate rentals and instructors from McGill's hockey squad will be on hand for newbies.

Staff can get their chance to strap on the blades at the Principal's Holiday Skating Party. Santa Claus will be there, and food and beverages will be on hand. It's a family event, so bring the little ones as well.

Skating for all international students Friday, December 10, 7 pm to 10 pm. Register at the International Student Services (ISS) Office, Suite 3215, 3600 McTavish.

Principal's Holiday Skating Party Sunday, December 19, 2 pm to 4 pm, RSVP before December 15 to one of the following offices and specify the number of children and adults in your party. Welcome Centre, 398-6555; Human Resources, 398-6758; Athletics, 398-0273. Location: McConnell Winter Stadium. Admission: Donation to Yellow Door's "Food For Thought" Program.

Baby, it's cold outside

Now that the snow is blowing there's no better time to get rid of your winter clothing. Go on! Take it off!

A man shivering in a coat

Before you call the friendly doctors with the white coats to swing by the Reporter offices, we're only advocating that you donate your winter duds — at least those you aren't using anymore — to McGill Chaplaincy's Annual Coat Drive, which will give your mink stoles and cashmere sweaters a new life on the backs of a deserving student.

Students from frost-free locales like Saudi Arabia or Micronesia might be a little unprepared for some of the more rigorous sartorial regimes required by our winters.

The clothes are collected and than displayed in Chaplaincy's suite in the Student Services Building.

From November to February, students are invited to drop by Chaplaincy to peruse the clothes to see if there is anything they can use. The staff there help them navigate the intricacies of wool vs. fleece vs. Thinsulate. The coat project also has a few children's clothes to offer, as a number of students come to Canada with young families.

Chaplaincy Services, Brown Student Services Building, Suite 4400, 3600 McTavish Street, 398-4104.

Book bargains for staff and students

We're a right smart bunch of fellers and ladies here at McGill, so with the holidays approaching, what else would we want to buy but books? Either for Christmas gifts for those celebrating Christmas, or for those who simply have the week off to pass the time, a book is never a bad idea.

So it's a good idea to swing by the McGill Bookstore's Annual Family Day, for staff and students, on Saturday, December 11.

"We do it every year, as a thank you to the McGill community for their support over the year," said Bookstore manager Jack Hannan.

In addition to a hefty 25 percent discount on most items in the store, the store is providing entertainment for the kids. There will be cookies, juice, colouring contests and face painting for the children, and possibly a story reading, which will serve as a nice diversion before they start harassing parents to but them a copy of Charles Taylor's Modern Social Imaginaries, which we believe will be bigger than the Harry Potter series this year.

Annual McGill Bookstore Family Day Saturday, December 11, 10 am to 5 pm. Bring McGill ID. More information: Jack Hannan, 398-8357. The discount does not apply to textbooks, medical supplies or electronic equipment.

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