Anthro in the news 01/19/15

  • Afghan-American youth who turn to extremism

Morwari Zafar writes in Time magazine about why some Afghan-American youth may turn to radicalism. Zafar is conducting fieldwork among Afghan-Americans for her dissertation in social anthropology at the University of Oxford. She writes: “The current policy climate risks insularity by focusing on external motivators — such as unemployment, disenfranchisement and susceptibility to recruitment via social media. Such an approach raises valid points, but it is conducive only to identifying a limited range of resolutions.” [Blogger’s note:  Morwari Zafar is a visiting scholar with the Culture in Global Affairs Program, within the Elliott School’s Institute for Global and International Studies, at GW].

  • Korean adoptees seeking Korean roots

The New York Times Magazine carried an article describing how many Korean adoptees, from locations around the world, are returning to the Republic of Korea. The article mentions the work of Eleana Kim, associate professor of anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, and author of Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging. Kim notes that many adoptees fear that searching for their Korean roots is seen as a betrayal of their  adoptive parents and they dread “coming out” to their adoptive parents, whether in the form of birth-family searches, returning to birth countries, or criticizing the adoption system.

  • Spotlight on Breastfeeding

On NPR, biological anthropologist and blogger, Barbara King of William and Mary, interviews cultural anthropologist Katherine Dettwyler of the University of Delaware on cross-cultural breastfeeding practices. Dettwyler discusses cross-cultural patterns of which mothers decide to breast feed and for how long as well as social stigma toward women who may breast feed for “too long” in some people’s opinion.

  • Book in the news: Social inequality in South Africa

Seattle radio KUOW interviewed a co-author of a new book on South Africa showing that the country is less equal today than during apartheid. After Freedom: The Rise of the Post-Apartheid Generation in Democratic South Africa is an ethnographic account of seven young South Africans whose lives illustrate the realities of South Africa today. It is written by cultural anthropologist Katherine S Newman, provost at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Ariane De Lannoy, a sociologist and researcher at the University of Capetown. The radio interview ranges from the research methods, some of the people in the book, and parallels between poverty in South Africa and in the United States. Continue reading “Anthro in the news 01/19/15”

Anthro in the news 12/22/14

  • On U.S.-Cuba relations

An article in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the possible opening up of U.S.-Cuba relations quoted cultural anthropologist Kathleen Musante of the University of Pittsburgh who travels to Cuba frequently with students: “I think we all miscalculated the pressures on Raul Castro…The economy in the last three or four years has appeared as desperate as it was after the Soviet Union’s collapse. I think there is no going back now.” Continue reading “Anthro in the news 12/22/14”

Anthro in the news 10/20/14

  • Anthro advice: Don’t panic over Ebola

An article in the Springfield News/Sun (Ohio) on the Ebola epidemic advised against panic in the U.S.  It quoted Simanti Dasgupta, an anthropology professor at the University of Dayton in Ohio. According to Dasgupta, this disease can further the “othering” of Africa as a “wholly dark” place rather than a continent that encompasses deserts, jungles as well as ports and big cities. Continue reading “Anthro in the news 10/20/14”

Anthro in the news 9/8/14

  • Ebola can be stopped according to double docs

The dynamic duo of medical anthropologist/physicians, Jim Young Kim and Paul Farmer, published an op-ed in The Washington Post arguing that Ebola can be stopped if an effective response system is put in place:

“Ebola is spread by direct physical contact with infected bodily fluids, making it less transmissible than an airborne disease such as tuberculosis. A functioning health system can stop Ebola transmission and, we believe, save the lives of a majority of those who are afflicted…To halt this epidemic, we need an emergency response that is equal to the challenge. We need international organizations and wealthy countries that possess the required resources and knowledge to step forward and partner with West African governments to mount a serious, coordinated response as laid out in the World Health Organization’s Ebola response roadmap.” Continue reading “Anthro in the news 9/8/14”

Anthro in the news 8/25/14

  • Kidnapping of two Amish girls in upstate New York

The New York Times reported on the kidnapping and sexual violation of two Amish girls in Oswegatchie, New York, near the U.S.-Canada border. The two sisters were abducted from the roadside vegetable stand in front of their house. The police needed photos of the girls to issue an alert, but the family had none because the Amish people generally prohibit photographs partly based on the biblical injunction against likenesses. Thus, cultural norms among the Amish made it especially difficult to conduct the search for the girls. Fortunately, the girls were released from their abductors and returned to their family.

The article quoted Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, a professor of anthropology at nearby State University of New York at Potsdam, who has studied the Amish for years:  “They are in the world but not of the world…They rely on the world. They couldn’t make a living without the world.” Yet, she added, the Amish regard their life on Earth as a passage to eternal life: “They are passing through this world without becoming part of it.” [Blogger’s note: I hope these two girls will, with their faith and their community, be able to recover from the terror and suffering they experienced]. Continue reading “Anthro in the news 8/25/14”

Anthro in the news 8/18/14

Anonymous members protest corrupt governments and corporation in Washington, D.C., in 2013.
  • Anonymous group, transparency, and Ferguson, Missouri

The fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, by a police officer raises deep questions about police racial bias and public transparency following the shooting. The New York Times and other media described the role of Anonymous, an international hacker group, which claimed to have the name of the police officer responsible for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. “We have the name of the shooter,” the group tweeted. “We just can’t verify. We need to either talk to witnesses or get a second leak source.” Since then, the authorities in Missouri released the name of the office involved in the shooting but the incident is still shrouded in mystery and the town of Ferguson a site of unrest. Continue reading “Anthro in the news 8/18/14”

Anthro in the news 8/4/14

Protective gloves and boots of medical personnel dry in the sun. Source: CNN.
  • On the move: Ebola and ebola fear

Ebola is a fast-spreading virus that liquifies internal organs and kills six in 10 victims. It is not clear if it is a new disease or has been around for a long time. Some academics have talked about it being responsible for the Black Death plague epidemics of the Middle Ages which killed millions across Europe and Asia. The current outbreak has killed hundreds, it has infected over 1,200 people of whom 670 have died. So far, cases have been reported in three countries: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Local, regional, and international travel could speed up the spread of the disease.

The Daily Record quoted Cambridge University’s Peter Walsh, a biological anthropologist and ebola expert: “It’s possible someone infected will fly to Heathrow having infected other people sitting next to them or by using the toilet. Continue reading “Anthro in the news 8/4/14”