anthro in the news 9/26/16

Mother, mother: On police violence and race in the U.S.

At the 50th Anniversary JFK March in 2014. Source: Google Images/Creative Commons
At the 50th Anniversary JFK March in 2014. Source: Google Images/Creative Commons

The Huffington Post carried an article discussing recent writings about the problem of policing and race in the U.S. It mentions the work of Christen Smith, professor of anthropology and African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas Austin. She argues that addressing the problem of anti-black police violence also requires taking into account the traumatic and long-term deadly effects on the living, who are often women: “We know from the stories of black mothers who have lost their children to state violence that the lingering anguish of living in the aftermath of police violence kills black women gradually. Depression, suicide, PTSD, heart attacks, strokes and other debilitating mental and physical illnesses are just some of the diseases black women develop as they try to put their lives back together after they lose a child.”

Can cultural “appropriation” ever be called theft?

Screenshot of the costume for the character Maui from the film "Moana" on the Disney online store. It was pulled on September 21. Source: Hawaii Public Radio/AP
Screenshot of the costume for the character Maui from the film “Moana” on the Disney online store. It was pulled on September 21.
Source: Hawaii Public Radio/AP

Hawaii Public Radio reported on Disney’s pulling of its Moana costume for children because of the negative reaction to it as racist and derogatory. The piece quotes Tevita Kā‘ili, associate professor of  cultural anthropology and department chair at Brigham Young University Hawai‘i: “This costume should have never been made in the first place…It’s difficult for me to see how Disney can benefit and make a lot of money off of someone else’s culture…Especially someone as significant as Maui.”

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DC event: Water, conflict and peacebuilding in development: lessons for practitioners

The Environmental Change and Security Program and Middle East Program are pleased to invite you to the Wilson Center

Join us for the launch of USAID’s Water and Conflict Toolkit for Programming, a document designed to help development practitioners gain a deeper understanding of the forces driving violence and instability related to water. Written by USAID’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation, the Wilson Center, and Group W Inc., the toolkit provides guidance to development professionals not familiar with water and conflict dynamics, with the aim of developing more strategic and focused interventions.

Panelists will discuss what needs further investigation to inform this kind of programmatic strategy, the challenges in this field of study, and how the toolkit addresses those shortfalls.

Where: Woodrow Wilson Center at the Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
6th Floor Flom Auditorium

When: Monday, February 24, 2014, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm


  • Gidon BrombergIsraeli Director, EcoPeace / Friends of the Earth Middle East
  • Chris KosnikDirector, Office of Water, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Sandra RuckstuhlSenior Social Scientist, Group W Inc.
  • Aaron WolfProfessor of Geography, Oregon State University


  • Geoffrey D. DabelkoSenior Advisor, ECSP; Director of Environmental Studies, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, Ohio University

<< RSVP Here >>

Note: Photo identification is required. Please allow additional time to pass through security.

Want to attend but can’t? Tune into the live or archived webcast at (not every event is webcast live; archived webcasts go up approximately one week after the meeting date).

Join the conversation on Twitter by following @NewSecurityBeat and find related coverage on our blog at

Call for: Conference presentation proposals – Global Water and Gender Conference

A Gender Conference will be hosted by the Water Research Commission together with the Department of Water Affairs, the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), the Women for Water Partnership (WfWP) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Significant growth has occurred in the awareness of gender hierarchies in water development, management and utilisation over the past twenty years. In response, policy makers, governments and in particular the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) have translated this awareness into an unambiguous call for the intersect of class, race and gender equality within these water sectors. Nevertheless, gender gaps have widenedand the inclusion of women in decision making about water development and management at all levels is still lagging behind, while research on the different gendered uses of water remains limited and fragmented. Added to this, there has been an uninspiring pace of both policy and civil society advocacy for gender equality in the water sector; the outcome of this can be seen in the limited dialogue which still occurs between grassroots movements, civil society, policy makers, practitioners and researchers. A scarcity of funding has further exacerbated this dilemma, while an urgent need to increase the limited research skills capacity in this sector has also been identified.

To address these shortcomings to facilitate the progress of innovative solutions to the gender, class and race divides, the Water Research Commission of South Africa, in collaboration with the Department of Water Affairs, AMCOW and Women for Water Partnership (WfWP) has taken the initiative to organise a global conference on gender in water, which is scheduled for 19 – 21 February 2014 in East London, South Africa.

Participants should submit Abstracts and proposals in English by 15 September 2013, directly via the conference website, by clicking on this link. The best papers, conference proceedings and key messages will be published internationally as a book.

Water governance: Smallholder irrigation in Tanzania

Tom Franks and colleagues in the Department of Geography at King’s College, London, have written a Working Paper on “Evolving Outcomes of Water Governance Arrangements: Smallholder Irrigation on the Usangu Plains, Tanzania.” The paper reviews the development of water resources management over the past 40 years in the Kimani catchment of the Usangu plains in southwest Tanzania, showing how water management has changed over time. Experiences in the area show the importance of mapping the whole institutional landscape to ensure that physical infrastructure relates to it in order to ensure social equity among water users.

The cradle of agriculture in ruins?

By Barbara Miller

An article in The New York Times titled “Idle Iraqi Date Farms Show Decline of Economy “ (Aug. 14, 2009) describes the severe deterioration of agriculture in Iraq and highlights date farming as particularly hard hit. The article notes lack of water, fungi and pests as causal factors in the decline of the agricultural economy.

Any comments on more in-depth sources of information on the state of agriculture in Iraq? Is something more going on than drought and pests, though admittedly that’s a pretty serious combination of threats? Are anthropologists or other social scientists doing local-level studies on this topic?

These date palm trees are in Cairo, because there weren’t any Creative Commons-licensed photos of date palm trees in Iraq.