GW event: From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World – Let’s End Violence against Women

This international video conference will link the George Washington University with Lahore College for Women’s University (LCWU) in Pakistan for a live student discussion to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. It will provide the opportunity for students at both universities to share views about challenges and prospects for change. The event is part of a new three-year partnership between GW and LCWU funded by the U.S. Department of State.

Convenors/moderators: Professor Barbara Miller, Elliott School, GW

Professor Shaista Khilji, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, GW

Professor Sarah Shahed, Chair, Department of Gender and Development Studies, LCWU

When: Tuesday, December 3 | 8:30 AM-10:00 AM

Where: 1957 E Street NW, Lindner Family Commons, 6th floor

To RSVP for this event:

Sponsored by the Elliott School’s Global Gender Program (GGP). Coffee/tea/juices will be provided.

Washington, D.C. event: Our Walls bear Witness – The Plight of Burma's Rohingya

The Rohingya, a Muslim minority in Burma, have long considered among the world’s most persecuted peoples.Denied citizenship and rendered stateless by the Burmese government, the 800,000 Rohingya lack basic rights, including the right to work, marry, and travel freely, and routinely suffer severe abuse.

Following violent attacks in 2012 that destroyed numerous Rohingya communities, more than 100,000 are now confined to displacement camps and segregated areas, where they continue to be subjected to violence including crimes against humanity.

When: November 4th, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Rubinstein Auditorium
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW
Washington, DC

Greg Constantine, Photographer

Holly Atkinson, MD, Director of the Human Rights Program
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Past President, Physicians for Human Rights

Maung Tun Khin, President, Burmese Rohingya Organization UK (BROUK)

The speakers will discuss the photographs and the stories of individuals whose lives have been affected by violence against the Rohingya and Muslims elsewhere in Burma.

Images of the Rohingya displaced in Burma and in exile taken by prize-winning photographer Greg Constantine will be projected each evening from November 4th to 8th on the Museum’s exterior walls on 15th Street SW (Raoul Wallenberg Place). This exhibition is free and open to the public.

Register and learn more here.

Anthro in the news 5/13/13

• Go directly to jail: Prison sentence for Guatemalan dictator

Fundacion Myrna Mack
Official site.

Many major news media covered the sentencing of former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt to a landmark 80 years in prison for genocide and crime against humanity. ABC News quoted Victoria Sanford, a cultural anthropologist at Lehman College, City University of New York, who noted that genocidal massacres occurred before and after Rios Montt, “but the bulk of the killing took place under Rios Montt.”

Sanford has spent about 50 months in Guatemala and participated in excavations in at least eight massacre sites. Several of the articles quote Helen Mack, a noted human rights activist, and sister of Myrna Mack, who was murdered in Guatemala in 1990 for her work on behalf of indigenous human rights .

• What would Paul Farmer say?

To Repair the World by Paul Farmer
U. of California Press

Time magazine carried an interview with medical anthropologist, medical doctor, professor, and health activist Paul Farmer, prompted by his new book, To Repair the World, a collection of his speeches including some of his commencement speeches.

The lead question is: “Are you ever tempted to tell graduates, ‘I could have saved thousands of lives with the money you spent on your degree?'”

Paul Farmer responds: “I don’t think of it that way. I think, Here’s a chance to reach out to people who probably are unaware — as I was at their age — of their privilege and to engage them in the work.” He was also interviewed on the Diane Rehm show.

• Presidential note of gratification

Leith Mullings, president of the American Anthropological Association, published an article in The Huffington Post, expressing her appreciation of President Obama’s acknowledgment of the importance of anthropology in a recent speech:

Leith Mullings
Leith Mullings

“As an anthropologist and president of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), I was especially gratified to hear President Barack Obama acknowledge the discipline of anthropology and support its scientific integrity. In a speech at the 150th anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences, President Obama said:

‘And it’s not just resources. I mean, one of the things that I’ve tried to do over these last four years and will continue to do over the next four years is to make sure that we are promoting the integrity of our scientific process; that not just in the physical and life sciences, but also in fields like psychology and anthropology and economics and political science — all of which are sciences because scholars develop and test hypotheses and subject them to peer review — but in all the sciences, we’ve got to make sure that we are supporting the idea that they’re not subject to politics, that they’re not skewed by an agenda, that, as I said before, we make sure that we go where the evidence leads us. And that’s why we’ve got to keep investing in these sciences.'”

Continue reading “Anthro in the news 5/13/13”

Hare Krishnas lose legal battle against McDonald's in Mauritius

By Sean Carey

The on-going legal battle between the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and McDonald’s over the right to sell hamburgers at the Jumbo Phoenix shopping mall in Vacoas, Mauritius, a site opposite the organization’s temple, highlighted in a previous post has taken a new turn.

The interim injunction in force since 26 February 2013 prohibiting the sale of beef products by McDonald’s was lifted on 27 March. Judge Prithviraj Fecknah was persuaded by members of McDonald’s legal team that the beliefs of religiously observant Hindus on the Indian Ocean island, the descendants of indentured labourers, about the protected status of the cow cannot trump the interests of an international fast food business.

Nevertheless, last Friday lawyers representing ISCKON, including Rama Valayden, a former Mauritian Attorney General, submitted new legal arguments to the Supreme Court, which will be heard on 18 April.

Meanwhile, last Wednesday the festival of Holi was celebrated by Hindus in residential areas (see video below), including at the Holyrood football stadium in Vacoas. Somduth Dulthumun, President of the Mauritian Sanatan Dharma Temples Federation, who has backed ISCKON in its dispute with McDonald’s, told the crowd: “We must live as one family forgetting and differences. Every Hindu has obligations to his religion. Nothing is free in life, and you have to make sacrifices to promote your religion.”

The 64 best cultural anthropology dissertations, 2012

See also the best cultural anthropology dissertations of 2011, 2010, and 2009.

Again, this year, I did a key term search in Dissertation Abstracts International to find dissertations completed in 2012 that address topics related to the anthropologyworks mission and heart.

Trophies. Flickr/Snap®

I searched for anthropology dissertations related to human rights, justice, migration, gender, health, violence, conflict, environment, and energy. As someone commented last year, this post could be called “Best cultural anthropology dissertation abstracts” since I do not read every dissertation listed. It’s true — I choose my favorites on the basis of their abstracts, assuming that an abstract does have something to do with the body of the dissertation.

So, here are my 64 picks for 2012: cultural anthropology dissertations, mainly in the U.S., that address issues that I think are really important. I am sorry that I cannot provide a more global list, since so many excellent and important dissertations are written outside the U.S./Canada. Maybe others will address this gap?

All the best to my readers, and Happy New Year 2013!

  1. Living in Limbo with Hope: The Case of Sudanese refugees in Cairo, by Gamal Adam. York University. Advisor Daniel A. Yon. This dissertation, about Sudanese refugees in Cairo, highlights the resilience and hope that distinguish refugees’ lives. The research has resulted in three key findings. First, the refugees have adopted a resource pooling strategy, which includes living in larger households, exempting the newcomers from rent and purchase of food for some time, and ensuring that the individuals who have more resources contribute more. Second, the traditional gender roles have changed and in some cases reversed, many spouses have separated, and children have lost the rights of play and education. Third, refugees are hopeful in celebrating events and setting plans for a better future despite the turbulent experiences they have gone through; most of them are resilient people who encourage each other and are rejuvenated by speeches delivered during various events which they celebrate.
  2. Documenting and Contextualizing Pjiekakjoo (Tlahuica) Knowledges through a Collaborative Research Project, by Elda Miriam Aldasoro Maya. University of Washington. Advisors: Eugene Hunn and Stevan Harrell. People in Pjiekakjoo (Tlahuica), Mexico, have managed to adapt to the globalized world. They have developed a deep knowledge-practice-belief system, Contemporary Indigenous Knowledges (CIK), that is part of the biocultural diversity of the region in which they live. I describe the economic, social and political context of the Pjiekakjoo, to contextualize the Pjiekakjoo CIK, including information on their land tenure struggles, their fight against illegal logging and policies governing the Zempoala Lagoons National Park that is part of their territory. The collaborative research is influenced by the ideas of Paolo Freire and, as a translational work, it draws on the New Rationality proposed by Boaventura De Sousa Santos that appeals for cognitive justice.
  3. Career Women in Contemporary Japan: Pursuing Identities, Fashioning Lives, by Anne Stefanie Aronsson. Yale University. Advisor William Wright Kelly. This dissertation explores what motivates Japanese women to pursue professional careers in today’s neoliberal economy and how they reconfigure notions of selfhood while doing so. I ask why and how it is that one-fourth of women stay on a career track, often against considerable odds, while the other three-fourths drop out of the workforce. I draw from interviews gathered during fieldwork in Tokyo between 2007 and 2010 with 120 professional women ranging in age from early twenties to mid-nineties. I organize these interviews along two main axes: the generation when each woman entered the workforce, and the work sector she entered. I look at five work sectors – finance, industry, entrepreneurship, government, and academia – that attract women because of the new career prospects that emerge as the sectors’ institutional policies change.
  4. “If ih noh beat mi, ih noh lov mi” [If he doesn’t beat me, he doesn’t love me]: An ethnographic investigation of intimate partner violence in western Belize, by Melissa A. Beske. Tulane University, advisor Shansan Du. I examine the cultural underpinnings which normalize gender-based intimate partner violence (IPV) in western Belize and efforts of local activists to diminish the problem. I use multiple methods to investigate why women in heterosexual dyads have come to begrudgingly accept or even justify abuse by their male partners with discourses that conflate “love” and “violence.” Joining forces with former NGO colleagues, I initiated a sustainable survivor assistance program. Continuing to incorporate new members since my time in the field, the group now offers occupational and educational assistance to survivors leaving abusive relationships, and the shelter has expanded as well and thus remains a vital resource for women across Belize and surrounding countries.
  5. Infected Kin: AIDS, Orphan Care and the Family in Lesotho, by Mary Ellen Block. University of Michigan, Advisor: Elisha Renne. This interdisciplinary dissertation in anthropology and social work examines the intersections of HIV/AIDS and kinship and its impact on orphan care and the family in rural Lesotho. It is based on fieldwork in the rural district of Mokhotlong, Lesotho. I find that HIV is a fundamentally a kinship disease and therefore: interventions for AIDS orphans need to include caregiver support; the household should be considered as a salient unit of analysis, evaluation and intervention; and biomedical or biocultural interventions for HIV/AIDS that need to incorporate the underlying theoretical framework of HIV as a kinship disease in order to be effective.
  6. Continue reading “The 64 best cultural anthropology dissertations, 2012”