Katherine Ann Dettwyler
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Katherine Ann Dettwyler is an American anthropologist and advocate of breastfeeding. She was an adjunct professor at the University of Delaware, a relationship that ended after she made controversial comments on the death of a college student who had been imprisoned in North Korea.
Background and education
Katherine Ann Dettwyler was born on 3 February 1955 at McClellan Air Force Base in California. She earned her BS in Anthropology from the University of California, Davis, in 1977, her MA from Indiana University Bloomington in 1981, and her Ph.D. in Anthropology also from IU Bloomington in 1985.
Dettwyler taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi from 1985 to 1987. She taught at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas in the Anthropology department from 1987 until 2000, when she took early retirement from her position as a tenured Associate Professor and moved to Delaware with her husband and children.
Through the 1990s she served as a nutritional anthropologist/consultant to a number of organizations providing nutrition education in Mali, while performing field research there. She taught part-time as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Delaware, and continued to write and speak at conferences and universities.
Advocacy of breastfeeding
Dettwyler is known for her work studying the duration of breastfeeding in humans as it relates to other mammals, principally the nonhuman primates. According to her research, the natural age of weaning is 2½ to 7 years old as determined by weight gain, length of gestation, dental eruption, and other factors.
Comments on death of Otto Warmbier
Otto Warmbier, an American college student visiting North Korea, was arrested and imprisoned for taking down a poster. After almost a year and a half with no contact with his family, he was released and returned to the United States in a comatose condition. He died shortly after his repatriation.
Dettwyler wrote about this on her personal Facebook page and in the comments section of a National Review article. She said Warmbier was "typical of a mindset of a lot of the young, white, rich, clueless males who come into my classes"; that "these are the same kids who cry about their grades because they didn’t think they’d really have to read and study the material to get a good grade", and that Warmbier's parents are "ultimately are to blame for his growing up thinking he could get away with whatever he wanted. Maybe in the US, where young, white, rich, clueless white males routinely get away with raping women. Not so much in North Korea." She also wrote that he "got what he deserved".
- Reflections on Anthropology: A Four-Field Reader (2003) ISBN 0-07-248598-1 – co-editor with Vaughn M. Bryant
- Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives (1995) ISBN 0-202-01192-5 - co-editor with Patricia Stuart-Macadam
- Breastfeeding: A Mother's Gift (1999) – co-editor with Patricia Stuart-Macadam
- Dancing Skeletons: Life and Death in West Africa (1994) ISBN 978-0-88133-748-8. 1995 Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology.
Selected academic journal articles
- Dettwyler, K. A. (2004). "When to wean: Biological versus cultural perspectives". Clinical obstetrics and gynecology. 47 (3): 712–723. PMID 15326433. doi:10.1097/01.grf.0000137217.97573.01.
- Dettwyler, K. A. (1991). "Can paleopathology provide evidence for "compassion"?". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 84 (4): 375–384. PMID 1828940. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330840402.
- Dettwyler, K. A. (1989). "Styles of Infant Feeding: Parental/Caretaker Control of Food Consumption in Young Children". American Anthropologist. 91 (3): 696–703. JSTOR 680874. doi:10.1525/aa.1989.91.3.02a00100.
- "Professor who said ‘clueless white male’ Otto Warmbier got ‘what he deserved’ won’t be rehired". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
- "Inside the mind of Kathy Dettwyler - Curriculum Vitae 2014". 21 September 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
- "Katherine Dettwyler". MyLife. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
- "Curriculum Vita" (PDF). kathydettwyler.weebly.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 25, 2015.
- "Katherine A. Dettwyler - Info". ResearchGate. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
- "A Natural Age of Weaning", by Katherine Dettwyler, brief version of chapter "A Time to Wean", in Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives, pp. 39–73, ed. Patricia Stuart-Macadam and Katherine A. Dettwyler, 1995, ISBN 978-0-20201192-9
- "About the author". kathydettwyler.weebly.com. Archived from the original on December 20, 2014.
- "Katherine A. Dettwyler: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle". Amazon.com. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
- "U. Delaware prof under fire for saying Otto Warmbier got 'what he deserved' in N. Korea". Retrieved June 27, 2017.
- UD issues statement. UDaily, June 25, 2017.
- Hawkins, Derek (June 26, 2017). "Professor who said ‘clueless white male’ Otto Warmbier got ‘what he deserved’ won’t be rehired". Washington Post. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
- North Korea captive Otto Warmbier 'got exactly what he deserved,' college prof says
- Personal website (archived from the original)
- Curriculum Vitae (archived)
- Review of Dettwyler's session at the 1999 LLLI Conference, by Robin Slaw (originally published in New Beginnings, Vol. 16 No. 5, p. 171)
- Archives of LACTNET, a high volume mailing list for lactation information and discussion, to which Dettwyler has contributed since 1995
- Busting Out, a 2004 film about breasts by Stir It Up Productions, featuring an interview with Kathy Dettwyler