African Children at Work

Anthropology Update 27 June 2012

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African Children at Work
A general anthropology blog, journal, and news update. Particularly pleased to see excellent discussions in archaeology, biological anthropology, and cultural anthropology. There is a potentially interesting point and counterpoint between the ideas of “Spoiled Rotten” and the newly released African Children at Work: Working and Learning in Growing Up for Life.

Archaeology is Consequential (and Boring), Paul Mullins
We can still accept that archaeology constructs a past, albeit with reflective understanding of contemporary politics, an appreciation for scientific rigor, and a firm voice that speaks against gross ideologically driven misrepresentations (e.g., Nazi archaeologies are the classic example, but certainly many web pages, movies, and TV shows are laden with nationalist, racist, and patriarchal distortions not supported by sound archaeological data). Archaeology may be a boring everyday practice, and mythologies may sometimes provide more emotionally satisfying answers than archaeology, but it has genuine social consequence.

Adversity, Resilience, & Adaptation, Patrick F. Clarkin
We have a lot of assets in our tool kits as a species: intelligence, love, the ability to eat diverse diets, flexible behaviors, and humor. The journey is not always pleasant, but we endure, fight on, and even smile when wounded. And still we rise. (Maya Angelou)

Inherit the wind?, Ken Weiss
We are not arguing that IQ whatever its reality is not ‘genetic’, but that it is generally not useful to evaluate people based on the geneIQ but on their actual performance. And because the more that is learned about the development and workings of the brain the more is learned about its plasticity, it’s clear that intelligence can’t be understood without due attention to the considerable environmental influences on the trait. Pulling the plug on this kind of fruitless genomics, which is growing despite these kinds of facts basically across the board, would save resources for things where that kind of science can really make a difference, and be less potentially contentious.

The Mermaid’s Tale, 26 June 2012

Spoiled Rotten: Why do kids rule the roost?, Elizabeth Kolbert
When anthropologists study cultures like the Matsigenkas’, they tend to see patterns. The Matsigenka prize hard work and self-sufficiency. Their daily rituals, their child-rearing practices, and even their folktales reinforce these values, which have an obvious utility for subsistence farmers. Matsigenka stories often feature characters undone by laziness; kids who still don’t get the message are rubbed with an itch-inducing plant.

The New Yorker, 2 July 2012

African Children at Work: Working and Learning in Growing Up for Life, Gerd Spittler and Michael Bourdillon (editors)
Most children in Africa start working from a very early age–helping the family or earning wages. Should this work be abolished, tolerated, or encouraged? Such questions are the subject of much debate: international and national organizations, employers, parents, and children often have diverse opinions and put pressure in different directions. The authors of this book contribute to the discussion through intensive fieldwork and careful analysis of children’s activities. They consider childhood and family, work and play, work in rural and urban contexts, paths to learning, work and school, and children’s rights.

LIT Verlag, 2012.

Assino por baixo!, Paulo Granjo
Convocatória para um Congresso Democrático das Alternativas
Este é o tempo para juntar forças e assumir a responsabilidade de resgatar o País. É urgente convocar a cidadania ativa, as vontades progressistas, as ideias generosas, as propostas alternativas e a mobilização democrática para resistir à iniquidade e lançar bases para um futuro justo e inclusivo que devolva às pessoas e ao País a dignidade que merecem.

Antropocoiso, 26 de Junho de 2012

Prey into Hunter? Thinking (temporarily) Like a Neoliberal, Maia Green
The niche occupied by anthropology is changing. Some of this is cataclysmic, as departments shrink and others are faced with closure. But anthropology and ethnography are struggling to find new territories outside the academy and at different sites within it. This is of course leading to debates about what `real’ anthropology is – that is the extent to which anthropological knowledge should stay as inaction research constituted from a position of criticism.

Savage Minds, 26 June 2012

No evidence of sexual selection in a repetition of Bateman’s classic study of Drosophila melanogaster, Yong-Kyu Kim Patricia Adair Gowaty, and Wyatt W. Anderson
Here we show that inviability of double-mutant offspring biased inferences of mate number and number of offspring on which rest inferences of sex differences in fitness variances. Bateman’s method overestimated subjects with zero mates, underestimated subjects with one or more mates, and produced systematically biased estimates of offspring number by sex. Bateman’s methodology mismeasured fitness variances that are the key variables of sexual selection.

Call for Papers: Comparing urban poverty from an ethnographic perspective, Conveners: Mariano Perelman and Maria Mercedes Di Virgilio
During the last few decades urban poverty has grown in many areas of the world’s large cities. The growth of cities and of urban poverty and the emergence of new social and cultural inequalities turn the debate about the struggles, conditions, practices and ways of life of large sectors in mega, medium sized and small cities, as well as in liminality borders between urbanity and new ways of rurality, into one of unusual (important) relevance. In cities with growing diversity and heterogeneous ethnic, cultural and social plurality, this increase raises a number of additional problems to the pauperization processes, such as access to public transport, housing, urban land, cultural and social services, etc. The session invites researchers to submit papers that, from an ethnographic approach, address forms of urban poverty and also those that problematize on the debate about the selection of objects and fields of research as well as the relationship between the researcher and the subjects and issues that are the object of study – such as the relationship between urban and rural ways of life, access to urban land, urban violence and urban poverty, among others. Works that analyze with an ethnographic approach the ways in which poverty and inequality are expressed and experienced in different cities will be particularly welcome.

Evolving Humanity, Emerging Worlds, 13 July 2012 deadline for papers proposals; Conference 5-10 August 2013, Manchester, UK

Call for Papers, Industrial worlds: anthropological gazes on materiality, class and value, Convenor: Margarida Marques
Anthropology has for long engaged with the industrial work and worlds from a variety of theoretical stances, subfields and even national traditions, whilst conceptual tools like materiality, class and value have been developed and proven core to those analyses. The panel calls for contributions that connect with this diverse patrimony by tackling the intricate relationships between the recent re-industrializing agendas, the actual lived experience of current and past industrial work, and the contradictory dynamics of capitalism, unfolding into myriad social processes, behind both. Topics may include (among many) the re-industrialization rhetoric itself, the changing material and symbolic value of industrial wages and their making (including how do they compare to tertiary ones) or the permanence of lost industrial worlds in people’s lives, be it through retirement allowances that still materialize the value of past work, and/or interrelated processes of nostalgia, memory, heritage, or locality.

Evolving Humanity, Emerging Worlds, 13 July 2012 deadline for papers proposals; Conference 5-10 August 2013, Manchester, UK

Andrea Mantekas Pinterest board on Anthropology
Note: Received this alert after the anthropology and Pinterest posts.

Call For Application ISCiK 2012 “Borders and places, Bounds and people”
Action Center for the Survey of Cultural Dynamics and Cultural Interactions settled in Tirana, Albania, between the dates August 14-21 2012, organizes International Student Convention in Korça (ISCiK). ISCiK is a multidisciplinary festival aiming to develop and strengthen international cooperation by gathering one world in one place. Our goal is to build an intercultural networking environment for students, to encourage exchange of their ideas and good practice, and to promote international understanding amongst students. In this way through its topic “Borders and places, Bounds and people” we wish to build alliances and demolish bounds amongst youth.
Application deadline: 15th July 2012. Late entries only permitted if spaces available.
For further information contact ISCiK e-mail addresses: or

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