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Update 23 January 2013 – Anthropology of Development & more!

Haiti Anthropology DevelopmentRecently coming across the anthropology blog-feed. Lots of stuff! In the middle is a a short sub-theme mix on anthropology and development, aid, Africa. Also scroll down for some announcements and calls for papers.

Digital Anthropology’s To Do List, Matt Thompson
At the 2012 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association we hosted the first business meeting of the Digital Anthropology Group. I ran the meeting like a focus group and the forty or so anthropologists in attendance, from grad students to senior professors, participated with gusto.

Savage Minds, 22 January 2013

…Rob Weir needs to go get his shinebox, Alex Golub
Rob Weir then goes on to trot out the oldest, saddest argument in the book against open access: the only way to cover the costs of journal production is by charging fees for access. A lot of the time when people like Rob Weir say this they believe that they are the hard-nosed realists who are speaking truth to a bunch of naive activists. In fact, the opposite is true–it is inevitably those people who have thought least about scholarly publishing and know little about open access who make this claim. People like Rob Weir are not spoiling the party for all us activists, they are simply late to it.

Savage Minds, 22 January 2013

Supper Conference Audio Archive, Wenner-Gren Foundation
Under its program of Supper Conferences, the Foundation invited scholars to present papers on research before an audience of interested colleagues. The Wenner-Gren Foundation currently has audio posted for

  • Ruth Benedict, Learned Cultural Behavior in Civilized Nations (March 14, 1947)
  • Raymond Firth, Dynamic Theory in Social Anthropology (April 11, 1962)
  • L.S.B. Leakey, Recent East African Early Hominid Discoveries (March 26, 1962)
  • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Significance and Trends of Human Socialization (April 8, 1948)

The complete list of recorded Supper Conference presentations is long and includes such now-historic names as Kroeber, Lowie, Radin, Evans-Pritchard, Fortes, Mead, Linton, Dart, Hallowell, Benedict, White, Redfield, Huxley, Teilhard de Chardin and Wilson. The Foundation will continue to post recordings on this site, however please contact us if you have a special interest in any of the recordings that are not yet available here.

2012 Anthropological Anatomy Research Winners!, Julienne Rutherford
At last year’s AAPA meeting in conjunction with the anatomy career workshop sponsored by the American Association of Anatomists and hosted by me and my colleague Alison Doubleday, a student prize competition was held to recognize student poster and podium presentations that best implemented anatomical methodologies in innovative anthropological research.

Happy Birthday Gramsci!, Kerim Friedman
For any account of “hegemony” to be properly Gramscian it needs to be similarly grounded in a theory of the state. All too often it seems to be little more than an excuse for cultural studies types to avoid discussing political economy. Gramsci is evoked as a means of legitimating a self-indulgent obsession with Buffy rather than the kind of historically grounded work Gramsci was actually doing.

Savage Minds, 22 January 2012

On Science, Social Science, and Politics, Daniel Lende
Sarewitz is using academic politics to try to fight larger politics. That’s the wrong approach. Social scientists and scientists should be grouped together, rather than split apart. They both offer authoritative knowledge, acquired through long training, membership in specific communities, and standards of evidence. People generally recognize these sorts of claims to authority better than “the truth” or “I know more than you do.”

Neuroanthropology, 21 January 2013

Disease driven poverty, Daniel M. Parker
In an age when many scientists appear to be looking “for the gene for (fill in your favorite thing to study)”, poverty traps and households are an interesting thing to ponder. Poverty and the apparent predisposition of household members toward succumbing to disease can look like a genetic effect. If it runs in families, and certainly both poverty and sickness do, then it can look a whole lot like there is a genetic reason for it. I think that poverty trap models are therefore a nice illustration of how we could arrive at the same phenotype (poverty and sickness) from purely socio-economic and ecological factors.

The Mermaid’s Tale, 21 January 2013

Mali Meditations, Paul Stoller
The other element that is lost in the news shuffle is the social and cultural resilience of West African peoples. What has impressed me repeatedly during many years of research among a variety of West African populations is their capacity to adapt brilliantly to the considerable challenges of everyday life. No matter the challenge, most of them have been able to meet it. If they feel the pain of poverty, illness or dislocation, to borrow from the title of Scott Youngstedt’s recently published book about urban life in Niger, they are nonetheless Surviving with Dignity.

Other Africas, Rob Gargett
The sheer weight of scholarship and attention lavished on the Egyptian sequence has eclipsed any accomplishments that otherwise might have caught the eye of art historians or interested members of the public. As anthropologists, we could probably argue endlessly as to whether or not the explanation lies in an inherent racism among Egyptologists, mere ethnocentrism, elitism or any of a number of other “ism”s. The fact remains–the world doesn’t hear much about the other great archaeological and historically important cultures of Africa beyond the valley of the blue Nile.

How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster (book review), Tobias Denskus
Jonathan Katz avoids broad and sweeping suggestions in his final reflections, but reminds the reader that investment in functioning local structures are an essential part of ensuring resilience to natural disasters and becoming responsible in case of recovery efforts. He also reminds the (American) consumer once again that the low-wage Haitian garment industry can all too easily be sold as a success story of ‘better than nothing’ when other local initiatives, for example in rural agriculture, are underexplored.

Kin Porn, Guillaume Lachenal
The picture tells an almost familiar story. The story of “a place where the future had come and gone”, as V.S. Naipaul wrote about Kisangani’s colonial ruins. The IEM made tangible and present a past of lootings and crises, but also a past of promises and hopes–long gone. The ruined IEM was a landmark in the affective landscape of Kinshasa, a symbol of decline and renunciation, a monument of crisis and neoliberalism, and at the same time the concrete proof that something else had been, and may still be, possible.
This article is part of the series: The archaeology of past futures, or fieldwork by fragments.

Somatosphere, 21 January 2013

Antropología ecológica: el hombre que confudió a la naturaleza con el paisaje
El antropólogo Tim Ingold, que se define a sí mismo como un “perpetuo estudiante de antropología”, es un apasionado de las ciencias naturales y del compromiso ético y político que tienen todas. Por eso, intenta aunar la separación teórica entre la evolución y la historia, el mundo cultural construido y un mundo natural dado. “Estamos impregnados de una cierta noción de la historia como un proceso de civilización en el que los humanos se han alzado gradualmente por encima de la naturaleza”

The unexamined walk is not worth taking, Anne Buchanan
Of course what this all brings up is the question of whether there are genes for behavior or not. Or, is behavior an emergent property for which the groundwork is laid by genes that give us all the ability to scavenge and steal, care well for our young, and a whole host of things besides? If so, we aren’t going to find genes ‘for’ kleptoparasitism, just as we aren’t going to find genes for good parenting–or bad.

The Mermaid’s Tale, 23 January 2013

BREAKING! Ruth Benedict, Patterns of Culture, International Superstar!, Jason Antrosio
Ruth Benedict’s Patterns of Culture trumps Jared Diamond for conceptual clarity, writing style, ethnographic example, and impact. Pretty good for 1934.

Living Anthropologically, 23 January 2013

Announcements, Calls-for-Papers

AFA Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary this Year!, Association for Feminist Anthropology
The Association for Feminist Anthropology welcomes sessions to be considered for inclusion in AFA’s programming for the 112th AAA Annual Meeting, to be held in Chicago, November 20-24, 2013. The 2013 AAA theme is “Future Publics, Current Engagements.” In conversation with this theme–and in celebration of the AFA’s 25th anniversary in 2013==we encourage panels and papers.

Call for Participation: Toward Sustainable Foodscapes and Landscapes, The concepts of “foodscapes” and “landscapes” invite us to consider the broader conditions, connections and consequences of food and agricultural issues. Food is more than a simple problem of consumer behavior, just as land use involves more than farmer or policy decisions. Foodscape and landscape perspectives situate the producing, distributing, acquiring and eating of food within a richer and more complex understanding of social, cultural, economic and political processes.

Food Anthropology, Due Date February 1, 2013

Cultural Heritage Management Program in Egypt
The Master in Cultural Heritage Management is a multidisciplinary postgraduate program designed for students and professionals who are interested in heritage conservation, site management, museum studies, tourism, creative industries, architectural heritage, historical towns, and cultural landscapes.

anthropologyworks, 23 January 2013

Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America
At a time of heated and divisive debate over immigration, Third World Newsreel is proud to release HARVEST OF EMPIRE, a feature-length documentary that examines the direct connection between the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the immigration crisis we face today. Based on the groundbreaking book by award-winning journalist Juan González, HARVEST OF EMPIRE takes an unflinching look at the role that U.S. economic and military interests played in triggering an unprecedented wave of migration that is transforming our nation’s cultural and economic landscape.

The Local Production of Neoliberal Forms of Governance in the Middle East, Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting
Neoliberalism is a term that refers to forms of governance which have emerged in the past couple of decades and refers to the expansion of economic rationalities into all domains of social-political life. The expansion and reproduction of neoliberal forms of governance in non-Western countries has been examined by a number of scholars who seek to understand the political effects of neoliberalism. In these studies the global has often been pitted against the local and the focus has been on the ways in which neoliberalism is imposed upon a number of national contexts, political dynamics and historical trajectories. In contrast to this ‘diffusion hypothesis’, in this panel we seek scholars who critically and empirically revisit the ‘actually existing’ politics of neoliberalism in the region, and seek to uncover the mechanisms through which neoliberal forms of governance are produced locally by actors on the ground. Put another way, we want to understand how neoliberal forms of governance are adopted, reimagined and reproduced with reference to local cultural-religious values, domestic narratives and national histories. We are especially interested in studies which examine the ways in which neoliberal ethics, practices and subjectivities are reconstituted differentially in various local settings. Possible topics include: economic crises, blending of religious values and neoliberal ethics, democratic politics, developmental states, gender issues, poverty reduction, higher education, cities and health.
Please submit abstracts (200-300 words) to both gizem.zencirci@gmail.com AND damlaii@gmail.com by February 1st, 2013.

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