The New Almaden Mining Historic District takes its name from the Almaden mercury mines in Spain. Originally developed by the Romans, they were renamed by the Eighth Century Islamic conquerors of Spain and called “Al Madan” (The Mine). The name survived for well over a thousand years and was reused when mercury was discovered in California. In the March 2018 Sourisseau Academy photo album Sourisseau Board Member and Anthropology Professor Charlotte Sunseri explores the history of New Almaden, from the California Gold Rush to the early Twentieth Century.
The New Almaden Quicksilver Mine brought technical expertise from around the world. Miners came from Mexico, from Chile, and from as far away as Cornwall. In the March 2018 Sourisseau Academy news video Ralph Pearce details the story of the tremendous growth of the ethnic diversity of the Santa Clara Valley’s populace during the decades of quicksilver production at New Almaden.
Today’s multilingual voter pamphlets do not have instructions in French, German, Italian, or Portuguese. But as historian Ralph Pearce reveals, between 1848 and 1920 those ethnic groups were among the most prevalent communities in the Santa Clara Valley. The February 2018 Sourisseau Academy photo album explores San Jose’s early immigrants and their interesting ethnic neighborhoods.
“I love bones. My appreciation of the beauty of skeletal anatomy started at a very young age,” writes Anthropology Professor Elizabeth Weiss in a University of Florida Press blog post, “Human Variation: More Than Skin Deep.” In the post Professor Weiss discusses insights from her new book, Reading the Bones: Activity, Biology, and Culture. For example, “forensic anthropologists are attempting to use bone variation to identify more than just age, sex, and cause of death. Some have used differences in upper arm bone diameters to look at whether the individual was left- or right-handed, arguing that the strength of the bone indicates which arm was used more.” Fascinating!
From the 1860s to World War II, most of the money in Santa Clara County was stacked in the vaults of San José banks located within two blocks of First and Santa Clara streets. In the January 2018 Sourisseau Academy photo album Michael Hurley, retired attorney and Sourisseau Board member, details the history of late 19th century and early 20th century banking in the region.
In the January 2018 Sourisseau Academy news video SJSU Professor Emeritus of Anthropology Tom Layton continues his exploration of unusual Santa Clara Valley architecture.
Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Assistant Professor Elizabeth Sweet was interviewed for a Toronto Star article: “Why toys are more divided by gender than ever before.” Professor Sweet is one of seven new faculty members in the College of Social Sciences. Thank you for your public engagement efforts, Professor Sweet!