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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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: go.gwu.edu/LCWU

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

Call for submissions: Gendered Perspectives on International Development Working Papers

Michigan State University invites the submission of article-length manuscripts (6,000-9,000 words) for peer review and publication in our Gendered Perspectives on International Development (GPID) Working Papers series. We seek materials at a late stage of formulation that contribute new understandings of women and men’s roles and relations amidst social, economic, and political change in the developing world.

The goals of GPID are: (1) to promote research that contributes to gendered analysis of social change; (2) to highlight the effects of international development policy and globalization on gender roles and gender relations; and (3) to encourage new approaches to international development policy and
programming.

GPID cross-cuts disciplines, bringing together research, critical analyses, and proposals for change. Individual papers in the series address a range of topics, such as gender, violence, and human rights; gender and agriculture; reproductive health and healthcare; gender and social movements; masculinities and development; and the gendered division of labor. We particularly encourage manuscripts that bridge the gap between research, policy, and practice.

The GPID series is an open access publication. Further information and previously published papers can be viewed at: http://gencen.isp.msu.edu/publications/call.htm

If you are interested in submitting a manuscript to the series, please send a 150 word abstract summarizing the paper’s essential points and findings to Dr. Anne Ferguson, Editor, or Rowenn Kalman, Managing Editor, at papers@msu.edu. If the abstract suggests your paper is suitable for the GPID Working Papers, the full paper will be invited for peer review and publication consideration.

Wilson Center Environmental Change and Security Program events in DC

A Dialogue: Integrated Multi-sector Approaches – What Works and What’s Next?
When: Tuesday, September 10th, 2:30 – 5pm
Where: 6th Floor, Wilson Center

After five years of implementing a holistic development approach that combined family planning, health, livelihood opportunities, and conservation efforts, the USAID-funded BALANCED Project will offer insights drawn from its accomplishments and lessons learned, as well as from experiences with scaling up integrated approaches in Africa and Asia. A short documentary on BALANCED’s efforts to improve women’s lives in rural Tanzania will be screened, followed by an interactive discussion designed to inform future development work. Reception to follow.

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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.

Book note: Shaping the Motherhood of Indigenous Mexico

Shaping the Motherhood of Indigenous Mexico by Vania Smith-Oka. Vanderbilt University Press, 2013.

Shaping the Motherhood of Indigenous Mexico book cover
Vanderbilt University Press
Mainstream Mexican views of indigenous women define them as problematic mothers. Development programs have included the goal of helping these women become “good mothers.” Economic incentives and conditional cash transfers are the vehicles for achieving this goal.

This book examines the dynamics among the various players – indigenous mothers, clinicians, and representatives of development programs. The women’s voices lead the reader to understand the structures of dependency that paradoxically bind indigenous women within a program that calls for their empowerment. The cash transfer program is Oportunidades, which enrolls more than a fifth of Mexico’s population. It expects mothers to become involved in their children’s lives at three nodes–health, nutrition, and education. If women do not comply with the standards of modern motherhood, they are dropped from the program and lose the bi-monthly cash payments.

Smith-Oka explores the everyday implementation of the program and its unintended consequences. The mothers are often berated by clinicians for having too many children (Smith-Oka provides background on the history of eugenics and population control in Mexico) and for other examples of their “backward” ways. One chapter focuses on the humor indigenous women use to cope with disrespectful comments. Ironically, this form of resistance allows the women to accept the situation that controls their behavior.

On violence against indigenous women in Latin America

Karmen Ramirez Boscan is a Wayuu indigenous woman from Colombia. She has worked as a consultant for the International Labor Organization (ILO) and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, Switzerland. She writes in Al Jazeera that violence against indigenous women is a the twofold challenge. One challenge is the militarization of indigenous territories that forces women to face unconscionable abuses based on gender discrimination. The second challenge is the presence of multinational companies (MNCs) in indigenous territories: “When established, MNCs were expected to greatly benefit indigenous peoples, but now they have become an endless source of frustration… Unfortunately, there are no official statistics to show the impact of these mega projects and MNCs on indigenous women. “

Update on Iran: women's movement and civil society

Below please find links to an audio interview with Parisa Kakaee, Iranian women and children’s rights activist, about the impact of sanctions on the women’s movement and civil society in Iran.

http://www.icanpeacework.org/
http://www.theglobalobservatory.org/interviews/456-interview-with-parisa-kakaee-iranian-women-and-childrens-rights-activist-.html

Thanks to Sanam Naraghi Anderlini for providing this information. Anderlini is Co-Founder, International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) and Senior Fellow, MIT Center for International Studies.

Anthro in the news 6/27/2011

• The trauma of war and rape
In the first of a two-part story, CNN highlights the work of cultural anthropologist Victoria Sanford, whose research has involved listening to victim narratives of Maya women in Guatemala since her doctoral studies at Stanford University in the early 1990s. A Spanish speaker who had worked with Central American refugees, she befriended the few Maya in the area. “I was moved by their stories, but even more so because they were intent on someone hearing them,” she said, “And no one was listening.” She joined the nonprofit Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology investigative team and went to Guatemala. Sanford talked to the women, who told other women about her, and soon she was recording their stories. Over time, and after hearing many stories, Sanford suffered from a kind of “secondary trauma” including paralysis.

• Conflict in Uganda and a possible love complication
The New York Times quoted Mahmood Mamdani, professor anthropology and government at Columbia university, in an article about an ongoing bitter personal rivalry in Uganda that involves President Musaveni and his rival and former friend, Kizza Besigye. Things may be complicated, the article suggests, by a woman, Winnie Byanyima, who is married to the president’s rival but who may have had a romantic involvement earlier with the president. Other matters are likely part of the story as well. Mamdani comments that the government is “clueless” about how to deal with Besigye’s opposition movement. He didn’t comment on the love factor.

• Culture and asthma
Cultural context and behavior shape the diagnosis and treatment of asthma according to David Van Sickle, medical anthropologist and asthma epidemiologist of Reciprocal Labs in Madison, Wisc. Van Sickle’s fieldwork in India revealed that physicians were hesitant to diagnose patients with asthma because of social stigma.

• Treating autism: two cases in Croatia
Drug Week covered findings from a study conducted in Osijek, Croatia, which discusses the treatment of autism in a boy and a girl with risperidone. K. Dodigcurkovic and colleagues published their study in Collegium Antropologicum.

• Profile of a forensic anthropologist
The Gainesville Sun carried a profile of Michael Warren, an associate professor of anthropology and director of the C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Florida. He has conducted hundreds of forensic skeletal examinations for the state’s medical examiners and has participated in the identification of victims of mass disasters and ethnic cleansing, including the attacks on the World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina and the recovery and identification of the victims found within the mass graves of the Balkans. He recently testified in the Casey Anthony murder trial.

• Medieval persecution
The remains of 17 bodies found at the bottom of a medieval well in England could have been victims of persecution, new evidence suggests. DNA analysis indicates that the victims were Jewish. They were likely murdered or forced to commit suicide. The skeletons date to the 12th-13th centuries, a time of persecution of Jewish people in Europe. Professor Sue Black leads the research team. She is a forensic anthropologist in the University of Dundee’s Centre for Anthropology and Human Identification.
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Mainstreaming gender in the military to improve security and development

Guest post by Ally Pregulman

The United States’ perspective on gender in the military and the security sector as a whole is substantially different from how many other countries, particularly African countries, view their security. On January 19th, the US Institute for Peace (USIP) held a panel on mainstreaming gender in the military and the security sector, which lead to a broader discussion of perceptions and reform of the security sector.

Alpha Company
Alpha Company. Credit: Anneh632, Creative Commons, Flickr

According to Lt. Colonel Shannon Beebe, many Africans view their security in terms of human security: poverty alleviation, health, environmental shock / natural disasters, and reforms, instead of the traditional United States view of security as physical security: types of force and real threats. This perspective provides an opening for women to enter into the military; integrating gender in African militaries allows women to help with many of these alternate types of security concerns, including water and sanitation, health, and infrastructure.

The evolution of security perspectives stems from integrating women in the military. As the military becomes more gendered and diverse, it can focus more on issues of human security. In Senegal, studies show that having a president interested in gender issues helps move this issue forward. National strategies on equity and equality, cooperation with the Senegalese Ministry of Gender, and involving women in the process of integration all contributed to the success of mainstreaming gender in the military.

Panelists from the United States offered a different perspective. Although women participate in many roles of the armed forces in the United States, there are some areas, such as the Special Forces, that remain closed to women. Colonel David Walton, an instructor from the special warfare school, conceded that gender mainstreaming is not really taught to Special Forces trainees because of time constraints that require prioritizing the curriculum. Gender needs to be incorporated into the military from the ground up, in order to emphasize its importance and ensure its incorporation into every aspect of military training and daily life. All of the panelists echoed the sentiment that making gender a separate issue would be inefficient and ineffective.

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