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Early workshops registration ends soon, so register now for workshops!

Today’s guest blog post is by Dr. Sabrina Nichelle Scott. Dr. Scott is a consumer anthropologist, and she is the Chair of the NAPA Workshops Committee.

113th AAA Annual MeetingWorkshops registration is now available. Unlike last year, workshops begin on the first day of the AAA Annual Meeting on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 and end on Saturday, December 7, 2014. It is exciting to have the opportunity to choose from over 40 workshops from various sections within AAA with 12 of those workshops offered by the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA). Complete workshop descriptions and convenient online registration are available at http://www.aaanet.org/meetings/Workshops.cfm. Early workshops registration ends soon, so register now to guarantee your seat. I look forward to seeing you in DC!

Call for Papers – Special Issue: Campus Sustainability & Social Sciences

Today’s guest blog post is by Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability 

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education – Universities and colleges have been among the leading places where sustainability is promoted on campus and beyond. The social sciences can offer a variety of valuable insights into how to enhance a broad range of these efforts at higher education institutions: from supporting recycling, waste reduction, water and energy conservation, renewable energy and alternative transportation use, sustainable food procurement, and green building construction to fostering a sustainability culture. This special issue aims to present contemporary, state-of-the-art applications of how social science theories, models, and findings can help overcome campus sustainability challenges – and – to illustrate the diversity of social science campus sustainability research conducted across the world.
Papers are sought from a range of social sciences including but not limited to anthropology, communication, economics, education, geography, psychology, political science, and sociology. Interdisciplinary social science contributions are welcome as well. Manuscripts may consist of:

  • Research syntheses of a particular campus sustainability challenge from the perspective of single or multiple social science disciplines.
  • Conceptual and theoretical frameworks illustrating how individual or multiple social science disciplines can contribute to enhancing campus sustainability.
  • Empirical campus sustainability research based on quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods, addressing and illustrating the benefits of drawing on the social sciences.
  • Evaluations of campus sustainability programs based on social science research.
  • Case studies of campus sustainability programs examined through the lens of a single or multiple social science disciplines.

Information and Instructions for submissions: Prospective authors should submit an abstract of around 500 words, outlining the proposed manuscript, directly to the guest editor (zintmich@umich.edu) by 15th November 2014.

 

Webinar Wednesday: Sibel Kusimba, Mobile Economies

October 15, 2014: Mobile Economies

Kusimba

In September 2014 Apple unveiled its new iPhone 6, which also features Apple Pay, a mobile payment system. Although mobile payments have been slow to take off in the United States and other countries, they are extremely popular in Kenya, where billions of dollars are transacted by almost 20 million account holders.  Development economists hope that mobile money will be a part of a new “cash-light” future, bringing the benefits of financial inclusion to millions in developing settings.

The webinar takes an anthropological view of mobile money in Western Kenya as a form of communication, shaped by local cultures of friendship and kinship, and by the direct and often private connections that mobile phones allow. I use social network analysis to examine features such as reciprocity, centrality, and brokerage in the social networks of mobile money. This webinar will engage us in a conversation about the use of mobile phones cross culturally, and about how we can use new methods to understand the cultural and social impact of mobile phones.

Sibel Kusimba is an anthropologist in residence at American University.  She has been conducting anthropological fieldwork in Kenya since 1993.  Her initial research interests were in Paleolithic, protohistoric and recent hunter-gatherers; her 2003 book, African Foragers, was named an outstanding academic book by the American Library Association.  Since living through the mobile phone revolution in Africa, her interests have turned to the social and cultural impact of mobile phone communication, in particular the use of mobile money.  For two field seasons she has traced the social networks of mobile money in families and communities, sponsored by the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion at the University of California at Irvine.

The event is complimentary, and you can register here. When it’s time to join in, the attendee password will be “anthro” and be sure to add the event to your calendar to stay up to date:

New Resource: Course Conversations Assignment for all Faculty

This guest blog post is by Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability 

Utilize this teaching activity that engages students and is easily integrated as an assignment into a wide variety of courses. It emphasizes civil discourse skills across political and cultural perspectives and focuses on the topic of sustainable energy (i.e. energy efficiency and renewable energies). The Course Conversations activity is applicable to all academic disciplines, is geared for both undergraduate and graduate students, and can be assigned in both large and small classes. Students act as co-hosts to the conversation. Conversations begin by understanding ground rules for civil discourse before the actual topic is discussed. Conversations can result in civic engagement opportunities where students communicate to decision makers their findings/conclusions regarding the benefits/potentials of energy efficiency and renewable energies. Course Conversations includes all materials needed to utilize this assignment in your course and provides an easy and automated set-up for grading and assessment. It has been featured at Harvard as a quality learning experience.

For Course Conversations teaching tools and resources see the following link: http://www.livingroomconversations.org/campus-conversations/

For more information, contact Debra Rowe at dgrowe@oaklandcc.edu or campusenergyconversations@gmail.com

 

Civil Discourse and Civic Engagement with Planet Education – Course Activities for all Disciplines

Free Webinar and Networking Event by Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability 

Plan to participate October 16th in a networking and learning opportunity focused on empowering faculty, students, staff, and communities through applied learning. The online gathering will feature learning activities that can be used in any course to help students engage more in their learning via civil discourse and taking actions for a better world. Speakers will describe national initiatives to engage students and the community in clean energy options, climate destabilization solutions, and making connections across the political spectrum. Sponsored by the Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium (HEASC).

Time: 3pm to 4:30 pm EST on October 16, 2014. Register today at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/847362234

The AAA Process and Discussions of the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions

Today’s guest blog post is written by AAA members, Fida Adely and Lara Deeb

At the upcoming (December 2014) annual meeting of the American Anthropological Society (AAA), several panels will take up the issue of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, providing a context for learning about how anthropologists have been and could be further engaged in a just resolution. Several of these forums specifically focus on discussion of the call for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions. We support this boycott, but whether or not you agree with our position, we would like to clear up some circulating misinformation about how the discussion is taking shape in the AAA.

As of late, a number of people outside anthropology who are either opposed to an academic boycott, and/or opposed to any discussion or debate of such a boycott, have criticized the AAA for failing to provide “balance” in this annual meeting programming, implying that somehow this was deliberate on the part of the AAA, or at best, a glaring oversight. It is important to note that all of the panels mentioned above were vetted through the standard review process for proposed events at the annual meeting, the deadline for which was February 15 of this year (see the call for proposals). Indeed, the panel on the AAA program that, based on its title, will present an argument against the academic boycott was also submitted and vetted through this process. If there are fewer panels that seem to argue against the academic boycott rather than support it, this is because fewer were submitted by AAA members for inclusion on the program.

To those who suggest that opponents of the academic boycott were “surprised” by the multiple panels discussing the issue on this year’s AAA program: It is worth noting that this is the second year that discussion of the boycott of Israeli academic institutions has taken place in this venue. The 2013 AAA Annual Meeting included a well-attended panel of papers addressing various aspects of the boycott, and at that panel, a draft resolution was circulated and attendees were informed that further discussion of the boycott would take place at the 2014 Annual Meeting. The passing of academic boycott resolutions at the American Studies Association, the African Literature Association, the Asian-American Studies Association, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, and other academic associations should also have been an indication that similar discussions would arise at the AAA and elsewhere. This is not a matter that is somehow limited to anthropologists but a broader response from scholars to a call for solidarity from Palestinian civil society, in particular the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees. Clearly a few people understood that this would be discussed at the AAAs, as there is an anti-boycott panel on the program. If people do not find that particular panel “credible,” it is not the AAA’s fault.

There are a number of possible explanations for the dearth of anthropologists from major Israeli universities on panels addressing these issues. Those scholars may not have wanted to open up discussion of the academic boycott, as indicated by a letter from the Israeli Anthropological Association that condemns the AAA for its panel selections and for focusing on Israel as a key topic of discussion at the upcoming meetings. Yet it may also, instead, be an indication that it is not an easy task for Israeli scholars to publicly advocate the boycott of Israeli academic institutions – for fear of reprisals or punishment under Israeli government anti-boycott laws. While boycott advocates are not calling for scholars working in Israeli institutions to boycott their own institutions, some scholars in Israel have spoken out in support of the boycott. More than forty Israeli anthropologists responded to that letter from the Israeli Anthropological Association in a counter-letter defending the right of their anthropology colleagues to have this discussion. Notably, quite a few of the signatories on the second letter chose to sign anonymously, highlighting the very real possibility of sanctions, especially for early career scholars. As demonstrated in the IAA letter, those opposed to the academic boycott of Israeli institutions have sought to shut down even the mere discussion of the boycott. The default “anti-boycott” position is to not address it at all. This may provide a possible explanation for why only one such panel was organized and submitted for inclusion on the 2014 Annual Meeting program.

Finally, it is worth pointing out that the demand for “balance” in the context of an academic conference such as the AAA Annual Meeting is a puzzling one. What does balance mean in this context? That every argument should have a counter-argument? That AAA should henceforth review proposals with “balance” of theoretical and ideological leanings in mind? The AAA leadership’s job is to make sure panel proposals meet minimum criteria and are vetted through an established peer review process. They are not tasked with – nor should they be tasked with – micromanaging the conference program. Those who demand “balance” are asking the AAA leadership to interfere with existing process by which the conference comes together each year, something we are certain neither Association members or those in its leadership positions think is a good idea.

New Issue of Open Anthropology

Open Anthropology

Open Anthropology, a digital-only publication of the American Anthropological Association, is proud to announce the release of its latest issue. In World on the Move: Migration Stories, editor Alisse Waterston (CUNY – John Jay College of Criminal Justice) offers thirteen articles and two book reviews of anthropological works on the movement and circulation of people, ideas, languages and objects, and the human stories that reveal these processes. This issue also sheds light on current humanitarian crises and legislative debates related to migration.

Waterston curates a set of articles that explore the social and cultural aspects of migration across the globe and over time. “In the midst of contentious debates about immigrants and immigration law, anthropology provides an important framework for understanding. It resists the narrow view, asks the tough questions, contextualizes phenomena, gathers the evidence, studies and analyzes it, develops reasoned argument, and only then comes to judgment,” writes Dr. Waterston in her accompanying editorial.

At a time when immigration catalyzes human rights debates and the movement of people around the world has changed the global landscape, Open Anthropology provides a cross-cultural and historical perspective on migration. It also anticipates the upcoming AAA Public Education Initiative on migration, currently in development.

Content in Open Anthropology is culled from the full archive of AAA publications, curated into issues, and made freely available on the internet for a minimum of six months for users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full text of these articles. Each issue is dedicated to topics that are of interest to the general public, educators, advocates and public policy makers.

Open Anthropology is available at www.aaaopenanthro.org

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