anthro in the news 10/10/16

Land rights are key in Colombia

Indigenous people want land rights. Source:
Indigenous people want land rights. Source:

The Washington Post published an op-ed by cultural anthropologist Omaira Bolaños, Latin America program director for the Rights and Resources Initiative. She argues for property rights reform: “One of the most devastating aspects of the war for me was to see indigenous, peasant, and Afro-Colombian communities who spent their entire lives investing in and caring for their territories suddenly left with nothing. Displacement has a particularly destructive impact, leading to the loss of livelihoods, languages and cultures, and to the tearing apart of social fabrics — in addition to the lives lost to violence. For a lasting peace to take root, the legal recognition of collective property rights for indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities would be an important step in addressing the war’s damages and in continuing a process of comprehensive land reform.”

Disney-ification of Tibetan culture

Tibetans perform for tourists. Source: Getty Images/Kevin Frayer
Tibetans perform for tourists. Source: Getty Images/Kevin Frayer

An article in The Washington Post described the effects of the ever-growing number of Chinese tourists in Tibet. It quotes P. Christiaan Klieger, a San-Francisco-based cultural anthropologist, historian, and writer:  “It is very similar to how the United States treated its developing West 100 years ago…They are commodifying the native people and bringing them out as an ethnic display for the consumption of people back east.” Other critics point out that such domestic tourism is part of a plan to bind Tibet ever more tightly into China. Tourism development trivializes Tibet’s culture, marginalizes its people, and pollutes the environment. Tibetans are neither consulted nor empowered in this process. The top jobs and most of the profits go to companies and people from elsewhere in China.

Continue reading “anthro in the news 10/10/16”

DC event at GW on China's Tibet Policy

Multilevel Governance as a Framework for Regionalization and the Question of Tibet: Recent Developments and New Prospects for China’s Tibet Policy

When: Monday, November 17th, 12-1pm

Where: Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E Street NW, conference room 501,
Washington, DC, 20052

Tash Rabgey is a Research Professor in the Institute of Global and International Affairs and Director of its Tibet Governance Project. Rabgey, the first Tibetan Rhodes scholar, has two law degrees and a doctorate in social anthropology from Harvard University.

RSVP here!

Sponsored by The Institute for Global and International Studies (IGIS). Co-sponsored by the Tibet Governance Project and Culture in Global Affairs Program of IGIS.


Anthro in the news 11/10/14

  • Managing the Himalayan Viagra harvest

The International Business Times carried an article about the harvesting of the plant in two isolated Tibetan communities that is the basis for Viagra. The medicinal fungus is fetching big money in the Chinese market. The fungus used as an aphrodisiac, yartsa gunbu (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) results from a fungal infection in ground-burrowing ghost moth caterpillars. Research from Washington University in St. Louis reports on the unique management plan to conserve the natural resource. Most villages in the region earn 80% of their annual income during the caterpillar fungus spring harvest season. Continue reading “Anthro in the news 11/10/14”

Anthro in the news 7/7/14

  • Crypto-colonialism


Michael Hertzfeld. Source: Harvard University.

An article in The Himalayan Times (Nepal) described how the concept of crypto-colonialism, as introduced in 2002 by cultural anthropologist Michael Herzfeld of Harvard University, applies to Nepal as well as Greece and Thailand, where Herzfeld initially researched it. [Blogger’s note: A vimeo made in 2012 provides an update on Herzfeld’s thinking about crypto-colonialism].

  • Jewels of the desert
A girl and her Llama. Source: Thomas Quine.

Archaeologists from the University of Wroclaw have uncovered 150 graves of a little known community that inhabited the Peruvian side of the Atacama Desert prior to the 7th century C.E. According to archaeologist Jozef Szykulski of the Institute of Archaeology of Wraclow University, Poland: “These burials are of the virtually unknown people who inhabited the area before the expansion of the Tiwanaku civilization.” Continue reading “Anthro in the news 7/7/14”

GW event: Multilingual Proficiency and Employment Opportunities for Tibetans

Case Study of Rebgong

Monday, May 20, 2013
Mickey East Conference room, suite 501, 5th floor
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street NW

Yumkyi Dolma is a graduate student at the Central Minzu University in Beijing who specializes in education. She has conducted fieldwork on the impact of multilingual education in the northeastern region of Amdo (Qinghai province). She is currently completing a visiting fellowship at the University of Maryland where she focused her studies on sociolinguistics.

Co-sponsored by the Global Policy Forum