hope for democracy at the grassroots
Japan Today published commentary from social anthropologist Dame Henrietta Moore, director of the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London where she also holds the Chair in Culture, Philosophy and Design. Noting the seeming political disarray in several major democratic countries, she writes: “Yet all around the world, there are growing grassroots movements challenging this status quo. Recognizing the shortcomings of the political and economic systems around them, people are seizing the opportunity to effect change for themselves and their communities.”
gay sex conviction in Korean military decried
The Korea Herald reported on the response from Americans living in the Republic of Korea to the recent conviction by the Korean military of a gay soldier for having consensual sex. The article includes comments from Timothy Gitzen, an activist for Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights for Korea and a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at the University of Minnesota: “…it’s state-sanctioned violence against its own people…It is the same argument people would use in the US to talk about segregation in the military between people of color and white soldiers…”
Sanders, Corbyn, and honesty
CNN reported about Bernie Sanders’ visit to the University of Cambridge and included comments about similarities between Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn. The article quoted social anthropologist David Graeber of the London School of Economics: “They come across as decent, honest human beings…I don’t think it’s occurred to most young people that a politician could be an honest person.”
Mother Jones published an article by David Vine, associate professor of anthropology at American University in Washington, D.C., on U.S. foreign policy interests, especially as related to its military bases. He writes: “Many of our [U.S.] 45 undemocratic base hosts qualify as fully “authoritarian regimes,” according to a democracy index compiled by the Economist. Which means American installations and the troops stationed there are effectively helping block the spread of democracy in countries like Cameroon, Chad, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kuwait, Niger, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. This support for dictatorship and repression should trouble any American who believes in the principles of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. After all, one of the long-articulated justifications for maintaining US military bases abroad has been that our military presence protects and spreads democracy.
politics behind closed doors
The Huffington Post carried commentary on U.S. health care politics by Heide Castañeda, associate professor of anthropology at the University of South Florida, Jessica Mulligan, associate professor of health policy and management at Providence College, and Mark Schuller, associate professor of anthropology and nonprofit and NGO studies at Northern Illinois University. They write: “While the FBI probe into the Trump administration’s ties to Russian meddling in the 2016 election reached a crescendo, the Republican-led U.S. Senate has been quietly considering their version of the AHCA behind closed doors and with little media attention. Despite the central importance of women’s health in the law and the disproportionate impact it will have on minority communities, all thirteen committee members charged with writing the Senate version of the bill are white men.”
high voltage grief, in a word
National Public Radio (U.S.) launched a podcast series exploring the invisible forces that shape human behavior. The first is about the experience of cultural anthropologist Renato Rosaldo, professor emeritus at Stanford University, after the death of his wife Michelle, also a cultural anthropologist. She fell from a cliff during fieldwork in the Philippines. Earlier they had spent time with a former head-hunting group where they learned of their word, liget, referring in some way to feelings related to loss of a tribal member, inspiring in the past, a head hunting raid. After Michelle’s death, Renato experienced such deep grief that he came to understand liget as a “high voltage” emotion for which he had no term in English.
take that anthro degree and…
…become a health research administrator in higher education. Barbara Koenig is the director of the Bioethics Program at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), located within the Institute for Health and Aging. The program focuses on studying and bringing attention to ethical issues in the medical, research, and healthcare fields. One of the changes Koenig intends to make is to expand the interdisciplinary field across UCSF’s four schools and to integrate ethical reflection into clinical practice, education, and research. Koenig’s interests include genetic research, social values, informed consent, and genomics, and she published widely on these and other topics. At UCSF, she is a professor in residence in the Department of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine in the School of Medicine. Her primary appointment is in the School of Nursing’s Institute for Health and Aging. Koenig has a Ph.D. in medical anthropology from the University of California and an R.N. degree.
…become a marketing management consultant. Kamal Heydarinezhad is a marketing/corporate affairs manager with Datum Business Consulting Group in Iran. He is responsible for implementing and managing marketing/communication procedures, leading marketing/communication research projects, promoting and selling marketing and communication services to prospective clients, and planning and executing communication, social responsibility, and media relation strategies for specific projects. Heydarinezhad has an M.A. in social anthropology from the University of Pune (India) and an M.B.A. certificate in marketing from Bahar Higher Education Institute (Iran).
…become a government program administrator in health and human services. L.Diane Casto is executive director of Alaska’s Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Casto has spent several years working for the state of Alaska in a variety of positions, including as director of the Office of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Most recently, she served as the Behavioral Health Policy Advisor in the Department of Health and Social Services. She got her start in the nonprofit social services arena with her first job after college, however, working with neglected and abused children. She said: “One thing I will say, in all the work I’ve done — from prevention to intervention, working with families and communities — they all tie together…The reality is, how do we deal with these issues? They are all interconnected.” She joked that her mother worried that her degree in anthropology would be useless in the job market, but instead it laid a perfect foundation. Noting that cultural anthropology is all about looking at cultural norms and how societies deal with issues: “It has served me every day of my life.” Casto has a B.A. in anthropology from Central Washington University and an M.P.A. from the University of Washington.
mummy studies in Lithuania
The New York Times reported on archaeological research involving hundreds of skeletons in a crypt beneath a church in Vilnius, Lithuania, dating from the 17th-19th centuries. Twenty-three individuals are carefully mummified, to the extent that flesh, clothing, and organs are intact. The article quotes Dario Piombino-Mascali, an anthropologist from Italy who has studied the mummies since 2011: “They are so well preserved that they almost look alive.” Recently, he and his colleagues have uncovered remnants of the smallpox virus in one of the mummies, offering the possibility of insights into its history.
clues to Harappan diet
An article in The Indian Express described the discovery at Kunal, an early Harappan site in India’s northern state of Haryana, of bones from cooked meat. Sumita Mishra, principal secretary of the Haryana Archaeology and Museums Department, said samples of soil, bones, and charcoal from the site will be tested. Archaeologists involved in the excavation say the bones may belong to Nilgai or breeds of cattle, including buffalo.