Anthro in the news 4/21/14

• In Boston, after the bombs

An article in The Boston Globe explored the experiences of Muslims in Boston following the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon. Fortunately, an anti-Muslim backlash did not occur.

Islamic Society of Boston headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

Islamic Society of Boston/Wikipedia

The article quotes Nancy Khalil, a doctoral candidate in social anthropology at Harvard: Years ago, she remembered “trying to explain who we really are, in these really anxious, tense meetings” with Jewish leaders, who were then trying to reconcile their desire for better interfaith relations with their communities’ concerns about a mosque founder’s anti-Semitic statements and alleged extremist ties.

“It was an unbelievable moment for me, and it was really indicative of the type of relationships that we now have across institutions and across communities,” Khalil said. “Because it wasn’t just the leaders being welcoming … It was everybody in that temple being welcoming. And that Muslims were comfortable staying there and mingling afterwards, that was telling.”

• U.S. evangelical churches reach out to save minds as well as souls

In an op-ed in The New Times, Tanya Luhrmann, Watkins University professor of cultural anthropology at Stanford University, writes about some movement in U.S. evangelical churches moving into the area of mental illness.

Rick Warren speaks at the 2006 TED conference

Rick Warren at TED, 2006/Wikipedia

She notes the pastor Rick Warren, whose son committed suicide one year ago after struggling with depression. Warren, the founding pastor of Saddleback Church, one of the nation’s largest evangelical churches, teamed up with his local Roman Catholic Diocese and the National Alliance on Mental Illness for an event that announced a new initiative to involve the church in the care of serious mental illness.

According to Luhrmann, the churches are not trying to supplant traditional mental health care but instead complement it: “When someone asks, Should I take medication or pray?” one speaker remarked, “I say, ‘yes.’”

Members of the churches think there are not enough services available. Further, many people do not turn to the services that exist because of the social stigma. [Blogger’s note: In other words: all hands on deck to help fight mental health problems. And heads up to the health care system to do more and do better work and try to address the stigma problem.]


Faculty position at the University of Sussex

The Department of Anthropology, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex is recruiting a permanent Lectureship/Senior Lectureship in Anthropology and International Development.”We are seeking to appoint an outstanding individual who will enrich our exciting research agenda in Anthropology and International Development and contribute to the delivery of our teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Candidates should hold a PhD, have a good publication record and provide evidence of a strong research agenda linked to past and future grant applications. Applicants will be dynamic researchers using a broadly anthropological approach to consider contemporary development challenges. Their work should complement and strengthen current research and teaching in Anthropology and International Development including, but not limited to, corporate social responsibility, human rights, gender and sexualities, social movements and activism, and the use of digital media and the arts in development. First-hand experience of international development work and familiarity with development tools and practices would be an asset.”

The closing date for applications is Wednesday, May 14th, 2014.

For details, see:

Anthro in the news 4/14/14

  • Health equity, smart aid, and “stupid deaths”

KPBS radio (San Diego) interviewed medical anthropologist and health activist Paul Farmer about how to improve health care around the world. Farmer talked about how to ensure equal access to health care through smart aid and the need to avoid what he calls “stupid deaths”. He comments on the “equity approach” in responding to a question about the aftermath of the Rwanda genocide. He also addresses tough questions about HIV/AIDs and how to help the poorest people [with youtube].

  • Jim Kim: On leadership and cholera

Meille River adjacent to United Nations Nepalese camp in Haiti, October 2010. Source: LA Progressive

The Washington Post carried a brief interview with Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank and a medical anthropologist and physician. Kim discusses leadership and the need to develop a thick skin, in some areas, and openness in others [with video].

During the April 12 meetings of the World Bank, Kim called for a renewed sense of urgency and more coordination from the international community to help Haiti eliminate cholera, which has killed thousands of Haitians since its outbreak in October 2010.

  • Sports, power, and universities

In The Financial Times, Gillian Tett wrote an article inspired by a new book by Bill Cohan, a banker turned journalist who has previously written exposés on Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns. His book is an account of a 2006 rape allegations against Duke University’s men’s lacrosse team. Tett, who has a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology, says: “And after reading his exhaustive, fascinating tale, The Price of Silence, the only thing that surprises me is that there are not more academics working in this nascent discipline of sports anthropology, given how much material there is to explore.” At the end of her article, Tett asks another big question: “…why should universities be so dominated by sports?” (more…)

Anthro in the news 4/7/14

Health specialists work in an isolation ward for patients in Guékedou, southern Guinea. Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images.

  • Cultural anthropologists fighting Ebola

National Public Radio (U.S.) reported on the role of cultural anthropology in efforts to prevent the spread of Ebola in Guinea. Doctors, nurses and epidemiologists from international organizations are flying in to help, along with cultural anthropologists. Understanding local beliefs can help get communities to trust international health care workers, says Barry Hewlett, a medical anthropologist at Washington State University. Hewlett was invited to join the Doctors Without Borders Ebola team during an outbreak in Uganda in 2000. There are anthropologists on the current team in Guinea as well. (more…)

CIGA Working Paper by GW graduate, Greyson Conant Brooks

A CIGA working paper, The Lighthouse and the Landing Pad: Transnational Commodification of a Global Gay Identity and a Ugandan LGBTI Rights NGO, is now available.

The author of this paper, Greyson Conant Brooks, holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Colby College and an M.A. in Anthropology with a concentration in International Development from the George Washington University. He wishes to acknowledge and thank the following for financial, logistical, analytical, and personal support: the activists and advocates at SMUG, The Lewis N. Cotlow Fund at GW, Stephen Lubkemann, Barbara Miller, Attiya Ahmad, Ujala Dhaka-Kintgen, Erica Wortham, Melissa Minor Peters, Tina Levine, Steven Barry, Leslee Brooks, Stanley Brooks, and Michael Barry. (more…)

Anthro in the news 3/31/14

  • Source: Huffington Post/Moupali Das.

    Conversation with Paul Farmer on World TB Day

The Huffington Post carried an article marking  World TB Day and this year’s focus on finding and treating the 3 million people with active TB who are missed by public health systems. It presents responses from Paul Farmer — medical anthropology professor, doctor, and health policy advocate – to several questions including why he started working on TB, the specific challenges in working on TB, and more. (more…)

DC event: African Diaspora and Development

African Diaspora and Development

When: Saturday, April 12th, from 2:30 – 6 pm

Where:Embassy of Cote d’Ivoire (2424 Massachusetts Avenue, NW), Washington DC

Maison D’Oeuvres Pour Le Developpment Economique et Du Leadership Pour la Cote D’Ivoire and the Consortium of African Diaspora in the United States (CADUS) invites you and your colleagues to attend a forum on “African Diaspora and Development Partnerships.”  Ambassador Amina Salum Ali, the African Union’s Permanent Representative to Washington, will be the keynote speaker for this event.

Please RSVP to Janet Kah Le Guil at <>


Anthro in the news 3/24/14

  • Flight 370 mystery shrouded in politics

An article in Firstpost reviewed several puzzles involved in the missing Malaysia Airline Flight 370, and discussed how various theories implicate Malaysian politics. It suggests that unchallenged power has bred political apathy and inefficiency. In terms of the stumbles over the missing plane search, the article quotes Clive Kessler, emeritus professor of sociology and anthropology at the University of New South Wales, who says that the government “lacks the ability to handle many technical matters with assurance and to communicate its purposes globally with clarity and agility.” (more…)

Call for submissions: Anthropology in Action journal

The Anthropology in Action journal welcomes research-based papers, commentaries and debate, and literature review articles as well as reviews of events, books, films and blogs.

The journal is keen to increase the diversity of writing included in the journal, so in addition to reports of research that is relevant to engagement of anthropology with public policy and practice, the editor seeks more pieces that discuss career options for anthropologists and writing about experiences of those who are working outside academic anthropology.

When submitting an article, please supply an abstract (100–150 words), up to eight key words, and a brief biographical note. Full instructions can be found at:

Dr. Christine McCourt, Editor, Anthropology in Action
Professor of Maternal & Child Health, School of Health Sciences
City University London

Anthro in the news 3/17/14

  • Beauty pageants: women’s empowerment via male purview?

Future political leaders? December 30, 2010.

An article in The New Statesman leads with this line: “In the US, beauty pageants are an increasingly popular way for young women to begin a career in public office.” The article begins by discussing (female) beauty pageants as a business, noting that in the U.S. there are two main franchises, Miss America and Miss USA, which run competitions nationally and statewide, down to local level. In addition, countless small, independent events occur annually with a high degree of specificity: Miss Chinatown USA for Chinese Americans, Miss Latina US, Miss Black Deaf America, and Miss Earth United States.

The article describes the work of Beverly Stoeltje, a professor of cultural anthropology at Indiana University. She says that although American culture was founded on the rational principles of a republic, a yearning remains for something of the Old World: “We have these pageants, which crown these queens. In this culture, since we don’t have monarchs, we create them.” (more…)