• On the Foreign Policy list
In its December issue, Foreign Policy magazine named Paul Farmer, medical anthropology professor at Harvard and co-founder of Partners in Health, as number 35 in the list of top 100 innovative thinkers of 2010 “for showing the world what to do and what not to do in Haiti.” The four-column spread on Farmer includes 5 Lessons from Haiti’s Disaster.
Many of the FP’s great thinkers 2010 included a note about what they are reading. David Petraeus, number 8 on the list, is reading Thomas Barfield’s Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History. Clay Shirky, number 67, mentioned James Scott’s Seeing Like a State.
• Wiki leaks and Chagossians
Cultural anthropologist Sean Carey of Roehampton University wrote about some of the political machinations surrounding leaked cables related to Diego Garcia in the New Statesman and he was quoted in the Express. David Vine, professor of cultural anthropology at American University, published an article describing the use of faux environmentalism to prevent the return of the Chagossians to Diego Garcia.
• Anthro’s mission possible
The Chronicle for Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed carried an article about the revised mission statement of the American Anthropological Association which deletes the word “science.” CNN, Nature, and several bloggers have chimed in.
• What the Nacirema want
Gillian Tett, cultural anthropologist and writer for the Financial Times, compares publishing books in Britain and the US. Self-deprecation, she says, sells well in Britain. In the US, however, self-doubt is not appreciated in a writer: “you must act as if you are an expert, filled with complete conviction.”
• In memoriam
C. Scott Littleton, anthropology professor and department chairman at Occidental College, died November 25 at the age of 77 years. He was known for his studies of comparative Indo-European mythology and folklore, Arthurian legends, Japanese culture, and unidentified flying objects. Littleton taught a range of anthropology courses at Occidental from 1962 to 2002 and served as chairman of the sociology and anthropology department in several stints from 1967 to 1994. After the anthropology department split off, he was its chairman from 1995 to 2000. Besides scholarly works, Littleton authored a science fiction novel, Phase Two.