Anthro in the news 1/5/15

Source: Francisco Leong/Agence France-Presse. Getty Images
  • Paul Farmer in the news

Farmer zings M.S.F.: The New York Times quoted Paul Farmer, medical anthropologist and professor at Harvard University, in an article about controversy over the use of IV therapy for Ebola victims in West Africa. Two of the most admired medical charities are divided over the issue. Partners in Health, which has worked in Haiti and Rwanda but is just beginning to treat Ebola patients in West Africa, supports the aggressive treatment. Its officials say the more measured approach taken by Doctors Without Borders is overly cautious.

Farmer, one of the founders of Partners in Health, using the French initials for Doctors Without Borders (MSF), is quoted as saying: “M.S.F. is not doing enough…What if the fatality rate isn’t the virulence of disease but the mediocrity of the medical delivery?”

Farmer joins the movie stars: The Huffington Post reported on an effort by The Hunger Games movie stars to keep pressure on efforts to stamp out Ebola. They created a YouTube video which includes luminaries Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Jeffrey Wright, Mahershala Ali and Julianne Moore….and Paul Farmer.

Farmer was right: Ross Douthat, a regular columnist for The New York Times, reflected on three errors he had made in 2014, one of which was to assume that the Ebola crisis would arrive in the U.S. Therefore, he supported travel restrictions. But now, he writes, “Two months later, there has been no wider outbreak, most of the cases treated domestically have resulted in a cure, and the president and his appointees can reasonably claim vindication (as can Dr. Paul Farmer who argued in an October essay that with Western standards of medical treatment, Ebola victims could have a 90 percent survival rate). Continue reading “Anthro in the news 1/5/15”

Anthro in the news 8/18/14

Anonymous members protest corrupt governments and corporation in Washington, D.C., in 2013.
  • Anonymous group, transparency, and Ferguson, Missouri

The fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, by a police officer raises deep questions about police racial bias and public transparency following the shooting. The New York Times and other media described the role of Anonymous, an international hacker group, which claimed to have the name of the police officer responsible for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. “We have the name of the shooter,” the group tweeted. “We just can’t verify. We need to either talk to witnesses or get a second leak source.” Since then, the authorities in Missouri released the name of the office involved in the shooting but the incident is still shrouded in mystery and the town of Ferguson a site of unrest. Continue reading “Anthro in the news 8/18/14”

Anthro in the news 7/7/14

  • Crypto-colonialism

 

Michael Hertzfeld. Source: Harvard University.

An article in The Himalayan Times (Nepal) described how the concept of crypto-colonialism, as introduced in 2002 by cultural anthropologist Michael Herzfeld of Harvard University, applies to Nepal as well as Greece and Thailand, where Herzfeld initially researched it. [Blogger’s note: A vimeo made in 2012 provides an update on Herzfeld’s thinking about crypto-colonialism].

  • Jewels of the desert
A girl and her Llama. Source: Thomas Quine.

Archaeologists from the University of Wroclaw have uncovered 150 graves of a little known community that inhabited the Peruvian side of the Atacama Desert prior to the 7th century C.E. According to archaeologist Jozef Szykulski of the Institute of Archaeology of Wraclow University, Poland: “These burials are of the virtually unknown people who inhabited the area before the expansion of the Tiwanaku civilization.” Continue reading “Anthro in the news 7/7/14”

Valentine’s Day goes global and so much news about it!

It’s fascinating to see how certain holidays spread around the world, and how they are marked, celebrated, and “localized” in different countries and regions and among different groups. Valentine’s Day is clearly going global, but with many regional and local permutations. Some of those variations have to do with the very fact that Valentine’s Day is associated with love and romance and, let’s face it, sex. Here are some news bits about Valentine’s Day 2014 around the world.

Cupid
Cupid. Flickr/Arwen Willemsen

Just wanting somebody to love:

In France, Internet dating rises before Valentine’s Day. According to an article in The Global Times, “The Internet is powering Cupid’s wings in France, with use of online dating sites soaring, according to matchmakers preparing to help singletons maximize their seduction opportunities this Valentine’s Day. Of the 18 million single people in France “one in two uses Internet dating,” said Jessica Delpirou, director in France of the Meetic dating website, which was launched in 2001 and recently taken over by the US website match.com. The run-up to St Valentine’s Day — before New Year resolutions are forgotten — is a particularly busy time. “

What’s Valentine’s Day all about?

Continue reading “Valentine’s Day goes global and so much news about it!”

Anthro in the news 9/9/13

• Bullshit jobs a new category of employment

The Sydney Morning Herald published an article by cultural/economic anthropologist David Graeber of the London School of Economics on nonsense, or bullshit jobs, jobs that involve a lot of time devoted to activities that really do not need to be done.

The Office cast
The kinds of bullshit jobs under The Office's Michael Scott are all too real for some. Credit/Wikipedia

Graeber argues that by eliminating the bullshit work, people could be freed to “pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions and ideas.”

The last century in the U.S. has seen the decline of productive jobs in industry and farming along with “the creation of whole new industries such as financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors such as corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources and public relations.”

The Guardian picked up on bullshit jobs and published an article with tips about how to tell if you have a bullshit job as well as help assessing the amount of bullshit that may be involved in your not-totally-bullshit job.

• Interview with Jim Kim on Syria and more

Jim Yong Kim, World Bank president and medical anthropologist, was interviewed by Bloomberg News. He discusses the possible military strike against Syria in terms of its economic consequences. He also mentions the humanitarian connection, from his perspective as a medical doctor, about the use of chemical weapons. When asked about his views on who might be the next U.S. Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen or Larry Summers, he said that both are excellent.

http://player.ooyala.com/player.js?embedCode=ZqOTM5ZToi3Z2TNYgx5WY8X7U7Zrzonw&playerBrandingId=8a7a9c84ac2f4e8398ebe50c07eb2f9d&width=525&deepLinkEmbedCode=ZqOTM5ZToi3Z2TNYgx5WY8X7U7Zrzonw&height=360&thruParam_bloomberg-ui%5BpopOutButtonVisible%5D=FALSE

[Blogger’s note: it seems that Dr. Kim may have an advanced degree in diplomacy, along with his anthropology and medical degrees].

Continue reading “Anthro in the news 9/9/13”

Anthro in the news 7/1/13

• DOMA and beyond: it’s complicated

The Los Angeles Times published an article by Rosemary Joyce, professor of anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley. She is quoted as saying: “One doesn’t have to go far afield to question the idea that marriage has always been defined the same way.”

The Huffington Post published an essay by Tom Boellstorff, professor of anthropology at the University of California at Irvine. He offers four points, the first of which echoes Joyce’s:

Defense of Marriage Act
January 10, 2009 Chicago protest of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Flickr/Kevin Zolkiewicz
  1. social scientists and historians have shown that many forms of marriage and kinship exist, and have existed, around the world, and heterosexual marriage itself takes many forms;
  2. the victory is bittersweet given the Supreme Court’s finding of a key element of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional;
  3. both the DOMA and Proposition 8 decisions were 5-4 rulings and this split represents divisions in society and suggests that heterosexism and homophobia will not disappear with these court rulings;
  4. finally, it is important to anticipate questions about what is “normal.”

• Structural violence and popular revolts

A Brazilian news source carried an article about the uprisings there and mentioned cultural anthropologists Paul Farmer, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, and Philippe Bourgois.

The article points to how social exclusion plays a role in fomenting protest and predicts that given structural limitations, the government, even if it wants to, cannot resolve the major issues on the table in the short term. [Blogger’s note: the article is in Portuguese; my thanks to my colleague, David Gow, for this synopsis].
Continue reading “Anthro in the news 7/1/13”