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“Body Modification: Anatomy, Alteration, and Art in Anthropogeny“ is the topic of a FREE, virtual public symposium hosted by the CARTA: UC San Diego/Salk Center for Academic Research & Training in Anthropogeny on FRIDAY, Feb. 9, 2024 (Beginning 10:00 a.m. Pacific with Q&A and expert discussion and commencing ~ 1:30 p.m. Pacific), co-chaired by Mark Collard (Simon Fraser University) and Francesco d'Errico (University of Bordeaux). Register for FREE:

Event Summary: Permanent body modification is an intriguing phenomenon. It is regularly practiced by living humans but is not seen in other extant mammals. It is highly variable within and between cultures. It is also often both expensive and risky. All of these characteristics—its uniqueness, its variability, and its actual or potential costliness—make permanent body modification an important behavior for scientists to understand. However, the scientific study of permanent body modification is in its infancy. The goal of this symposium is to provide a snapshot of where we are at with regard to research on permanent body modification and to identify questions that should be prioritized over the next decade. The symposium will bring together academics from a number of disciplines as well as practitioners from the permanent body modification industry. We will cover a wide range of historical and contemporary permanent body modification practices, including but not limited to tattooing, piercing, finger amputation, and cranial modification. In addition to considering the ‘when’ and ‘where’ of permanent body modification, we will delve into the motivations behind this behavior, considering both the personal justifications offered by participants and the scientific hypotheses proposed to explain it.

Additional Information: For updates regarding the live webcast on FRIDAY, Feb. 9, 2024, follow CARTA’s X/Twitter (@CARTAUCSD), Facebook (@ucsdcarta), and LinkedIn accounts and/or visit the event page: For more information, please email: [email protected] or [email protected].

Funding for this online-only symposium was provided by many generous CARTA friends like YOU. Closed captioning for recordings was made possible by CARTA Patrons Ingrid M. Benirschke-Perkins and Gordon C. Perkins.


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