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Have you seen GlacierHub?

Glacier HubGlacierHub seeks to expand and deepen the understanding of glaciers. It provides information about current scientific research, it tells stories of people who live near glaciers or who visit them, and it offers accounts of the efforts of communities and organizations to address the challenges brought by glacier retreat. It serves as well as a nexus to link people who are concerned about glaciers, so that they can communicate with each other and develop responses to the changes in glaciers. GlacierHub invites contributions—whether text, images, or sound files—from people who live near glaciers and from people who visit them, whether for research or for adventure or for the chance to see the beauty and majesty of glaciers from close up.

We humans have much to learn from glaciers, and the world we live in can benefit from our learning about them. They are found on every continent, in some of the world’s richest countries and some of the poorest. For residents of many high-elevation regions, glaciers give mountain homelands their distinctive character. For people who live further downslope, glaciers supply valuable water and can be sources of floods and landslides, reminding us of our dependence on the natural world. For both groups, and for those who live further away as well, glaciers are precious as well for their transcendent beauty.
And glaciers are endangered. In all areas of our warming world, they are shrinking, as winter snows are no longer sufficient to replenish their melting. So glaciers can become a theme for people who are trying to make sense of our changing world. As people search for ways to comprehend and address climate change, glaciers often come forward as potent elements in thought and action.

GlacierHub is managed by Ben Orlove, an anthropologist at the Earth Institute and CRED at Columbia University, with support of Nick Smith, Gina Stovall and Brad Swain.

SciCast – Crowdsourcing future development in science and technology

Today’s guest blog post is written by Alan I. Leshner, CEO, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

If crowdsourcing can raise money for research worldwide, why can’t it raise questions and predict probabilities of future developments in science and technology?

We think that’s an interesting proposition. That’s why AAAS has asked us to share information about SciCast, a research project run by George Mason University and funded by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), to develop the largest crowdsourced prediction platform for science and technology, ever. The purpose of this project is to determine whether crowdsourcing can be used to accurately predict the future of science and technology. Questions vary by discipline and focus area, and range from the more applied science and engineering advancements to the highly technical, basic science achievements.

We invite you to explore SciCast, register, answer questions, and join the SciCast community. Approximately 7000 people have already signed up and are answering questions.

If you are interested in learning more about the project or would like to join the select pool of experts who submit questions and review unpublished questions, please contact scicast@aaas.org.

 

Anthropologists Uncover Harrowing Statistics On Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

A majority of researchers have knowledge of, been victimized by, or have observed sexual harassment while conducting fieldwork, based on an online survey sample of 666 respondents just published in PLOS One by Kathryn B.H. Clancy (U Illinois-Urbana-Champaign), Robin G. Nelson (Skidmore College), Julienne N. Rutherford (U Illinois-Chicago), Katie Hinde (Harvard U) (Survey of Academic Field Experiences (SAFE): Trainees Report Harassment and Assault).

The study revealed that the majority of those targeted for harassment and assault were undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers. In fact, “women trainees were disproportionately targeted for abuse, with women more often targeted by someone superior to them in the field site hierarchy. We worry this is at least one mechanism driving women from science,” said Dr. Clancy. Dr. Rutherford points out that “previous work by other researchers has shown that being targeted by one’s superior in the workplace has a more severe impact on psychological well-being and job performance than when the perpetrator is a peer, suggesting that women may be even more burdened than men by the phenomenon of workplace sexual aggression.”

In response to the team’s preliminary report at the April 2013 meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) issued a statement declaring zero tolerance for sexual harassment in academic, professional, fieldwork or any other settings where our members work. While the AAA does not have adjudicatory authority over these matters, our Statement of Ethics: Code of Professional Responsibility sets out our clear expectation that anthropologists “…have a responsibility to maintain respectful relationships with others. In mentoring students, interacting with colleagues, working with clients, acting as a reviewer or evaluator, or supervising staff, anthropologists should comport themselves in ways that promote an equitable, supportive and sustainable workplace environment.” Dr. Nelson added, “In many instances, our participants reported a lack of knowledge regarding institutional policies or appropriate reporting channels when misconduct occurs. These results suggested that, in effect, many researchers were ill-equipped to advocate for themselves or others in cases of harassment or assault.”

The AAA has a long-term commitment to improving the status of women in anthropology, and maintains a standing Committee on Gender Equity in Anthropology. The Committee is currently developing an educational initiative to better serve members, “Addressing Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment in Anthropology.” Committee Chair, Dr. Jennifer Wies, Associate Professor at Eastern Kentucky University, is leading this initiative. “Anthropologists have been researching and responding to sexual violence and sexual harassment in the field and at home for decades. The continued emphasis on this issue reminds us of the importance of proactive and effective prevention efforts and intervention strategies,” said Wies in an interview earlier today. Dr. Hinde concludes, “The discussion that emerges from the results published in PLOS One today provides an opportunity for our professional communities to come together and effect solutions to improve the experiences of our trainees and colleagues.”

 

 

 

 

AAA Members Receive ACLS Fellowships

Congratulations to the 2014 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship Recipients!

Since 1957, more than 9,500 scholars have held ACLS fellowships and grants. ACLS fellowships and grants are awarded to individual scholars for excellence in research in the humanities and related social sciences. The peer-review process used to select ACLS Fellows enables distinguished scholars to reach broad consensus on standards of excellence in humanities research.

In the 2013-14 competition year, ACLS made awards totaling over $15 million to nearly 300 scholars selected from over 3,000 submitted applications.

Bowles, Jennifer S. / Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship
Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Hands on the Green Leaf: Everyday Dwelling in Argentina´s Yerba Mate Country

Fowles, Severin / ACLS Fellowship
Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Barnard College
Comanche New Mexico: An Archaeology

Graeter, Stefanie / Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship
Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, University of California, Davis
Lead to the Laboratory: The Ethics and Science of Lead Exposure Politics in Central Peru.

Makley, Charlene / ACLS Fellowship
Professor, Anthropology, Reed College
The Politics of Presence: State-Led Development, Personhood and Power among Tibetans in China

Mariner, Kathryn A. / Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship
Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, University of Chicago
Intimate Speculation: The Flows and Futures of Private Agency Adoption in the United States

Osburg, John / ACLS Programs in China Studies
Assistant Professor, Anthropology, University of Rochester
Tibetan Buddhism and Moral Personhood in Contemporary China

Oushakine, Serguei A. / Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship
Associate Professor, Anthropology; Slavic Languages and Literatures, Princeton University
Disowned History: Soviet Pasts in the Afterlives of Empire

Spackman, Christy / Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship
Doctoral Candidate, Food Studies, New York University
Transforming Taste: Aesthetics in Medicine and Food

Wilcox, Emily E. / ACLS Fellowship
Assistant Professor, Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
National Movements: Socialist Postcoloniality and the Making of Chinese Dance

Zee, Jerry Chuanghwa / Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship
Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
The Windy State: Dust Storms and a Political Meteorology of Contemporary China

Social Scientists and the Minerva Project

Anthropologist David Price (St. Martin’s U) speaks to RT TV about the work of social scientist in the Minerva Project:

RT TV - David Price

 

Prominent Anthropologist Welcomes Football Team Name Trademark Cancellation

In a move that was hailed by the anthropological community, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced on Wednesday morning that it had canceled six federal trademark registrations for the name “Washington Redskins” citing testimony and evidence that the Washington, DC- based football team’s name is “disparaging to Native Americans” and thus in violation of federal trademark laws banning offensive terms and language.

While the decision today means that the team can continue to use the term, the phrase is no longer owned by the organization, meaning it will be difficult to stop others from using the term, and thus limiting its financial benefit to the club.

Dr. Bernard C. Perley, a Native American and anthropologist, released the following statement in the wake of the government’s decision:

Today, I am celebrating the US Patent and Trademark Office’s decision to cancel the six trademark registrations of the NFL Washington professional football team. The Patent and Trademark Office made their decision based on evidence and concluded that the trademark (the “r word”) is “disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered”.

This decision represents the best values of the American people as established in the founding documents of the United States. It also echoes the work of generations of anthropologists who have worked and continue to work with Native American communities to promote social justice for the first peoples of the Americas.

Unfortunately, there are many Americans who will make any excuse to support the NFL and the Washington team in their defense of the disrespectful name. The ruling does not prevent the team from continuing to use the derogatory term and it is likely the team will appeal the decision.

The US Patent and Trademark decision is good news but there is still much work to be done. The public debate over the “r word” has contributed to the growing awareness of the American public regarding the derogatory aspect of the term to many Native Americans. Anthropology can support and enhance that awareness by making public the ongoing work of anthropologists and Native American community leaders in promoting respect and understanding. We can accomplish this by disseminating the inspiring stories of Native American resilience and their contributions to the American experience.”

Dr. Perley is also a member of the Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association

 

New Podcast Features Barbara Clark

B.ClarkListen to Barbara Clark in our newest podcast speak about her research in aviation discourse and safety. Dr. Clark is a visiting research fellow at the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film, Queen Mary, University of London. During a career in aviation as a flight attendant, Dr. Clark was inspired to join her passions for the aviation community and that of language and linguistics. She return to graduate school to earn a Masters and PhD in Linguistics from Queen Mary, University of London.

Learn about Dr. Clark’s research as she explores the communications of the aviation community and its impact on operations and safety as well as creation of sociocultural sub-communities.

 

 

Important Update on FIRST Act – Your Action Needed

Today’s guest blog post is by COSSA Executive Director, Wendy A. Naus.

On Wednesday, May 21, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will mark up the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology Act, or FIRST Act. As previously reported, this legislation proposes massive cuts to NSF’s Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) directorate, among other problematic provisions impacting the scientific community. COSSA has issued an Action Alert encouraging members to write to their House Representative urging them to vote “NO” on the bill.

Please take a moment to weigh in with your Member of Congress. Thank you!

Is Cultural Anthropology Really Disembodied?

Today’s guest blog post is by the President of the American Anthropological Association, Monica Heller.

Nicholas Wade’s recent book, A Troublesome Inheritance, is not one I would typically spend my weekends reading, as I don’t have much interest examining theories of everything in this world and little patience for theories as misguided as those examined in his book. But as science editor at The New York Times Wade wields influence, and his book reserves a special role for the American Anthropological Association (AAA), an organization of which I happen to be the current President. Unfortunately, that role is of the bad guy in a narrative opposing two figures: benighted cultural anthropology and « politically incorrect » but scientifically accurate theories of cultural evolution.

Those scientific theories, he says, show that race is a central feature of human biology, and that it has a genetic basis, which then influences social behaviour, some of which is more « successful » than others – not surprisingly, the behaviour he characterizes as « well adapted » is characteristic of Caucasians, and especially of Western Europeans. But it’s okay, he reassures us, the rest of us (well, you – I’m Jewish, and according to Wade astonishingly well-adapted, though the Sephardic bits might slow me down) can learn, and our genes can look Caucasian too! There are many problems with this argument, of course, notably the frequent confusion of correlation and causation, and the frequent omission of consideration of alternative hypotheses (for example, the equating of IQ measurements with an individual intelligence trait, as opposed to, say, the ability to write standardized tests). I will let my colleagues in biological anthropology address those that they are best-placed to discuss.

My own major surprise showed up on page 3. Using a single study of age of first reproduction on Isle-aux-Coudres (Quebec) between 1799-1940, Wade argues that a drop of four years over that time period is evidence of genetic adaptation with permanent consequences, and hence of contemporary evolution. Wade also uses such examples to argue that genetics are the basis of such social behaviours, while simultaneously arguing that genetic changes result from social conditions. I am from Quebec, as it happens, and have devoted years of study to francophone Canada. I’ve driven by Isle-aux-Coudres on many occasions (it is very pretty, you should go). I know a little about the political economy of reproduction in francophone Canada, enough anyway to know that (and why) it went from having one of the highest birth rates in the First World (and relatively low age of first reproduction) through to about 1960, to having one of the lowest in one generation – a rate which has subsequently persisted, with concomitant relatively high age of first reproduction. (And I know enough about l’Isle-aux-Coudres to know there is no reason to believe things would be different there.) And I’m not even a biological anthropologist.

Indeed, as President of the AAA, I could not help but notice that Wade portrays contemporary cultural anthropology as entirely represented by the American Anthropological Association (though admittedly, Wade doesn’t always get the association’s name right; let’s hope his copy editors catch those errors). Next, he portrays it as entirely founded on the work of Franz Boas, as though no one has had an original thought or a critique of Boas in the last 100 years or so. Third, he portrays the association as entirely devoted to a particular form of cultural anthropology which Wade decries as refusing to acknowledge biology altogether because it is a victim of its ideology; this will likely surprise both cultural anthropologists and AAA sections like the Evolutionary Anthropology Society as much as it surprised me. I am sure such oversimplification and reduction is useful for a book hoping to make a single point to a general public, but it concerns me that it should come from the person responsible for the science section of the New York Times. The cultural anthropology character in Wade’s book (that would be the one wearing a blindfold and erring in mists of its own creation) is not one I remember ever having encountered.

But what really concerns me, in the end, is the force of theories of race and cultural evolution. The fictive naturalization of what are fundamentally relations of power is, actually, terrifying. It would be lovely to think that they are too silly to waste our time on, but Wade’s book shows that they are not going away any time soon, and that we need to redouble our efforts to show them up for what they are: attempts to justify inequality. It would be nice to have The New York Times on our side. We have a few black hats to share.

 

The 2014 AAA Photo Contest

Announcing the 2014 AAA Photo Contest

Submit Your Photos through July 6th*

 

If you could define your work in a single picture, what would it look like?

 

AAA members work all around the world, in the most diverse cultures imaginable, and we want to showcase them.  If you attended the annual meeting last year in Chicago, you may have noticed a calendar waiting in your complimentary bag with some truly gorgeous pictures—drawing not just from cultural anthropology, but also archaeology, linguistic, biological and political fields.

 

We’d like to do it again this year, drawing from a new batch of photographs provided by you, our membership.  Photographs can be anything you believe relates to your work; the photographs may not portray any nudity or illicit activity.

 

Contestants may submit their work in one of three categories: people, places, practice.  Along with your photograph, include a caption for your work, and a brief autobiographical statement of no more than 150 words.  Your biography will not affect your likelihood of being featured in the calendar—we just like to learn a little bit more about our active members. Photographs must be your own, and you must be a current member of the AAA.  Winning photos in the calendar will be printed at 11×8, so be sure the resolution is good enough to print at those dimensions.  Submit your photos to http://projects.aaanet.org/photo_contest/

 

You may begin submitting your photographs today. You are more than welcome to submit up to 3 photographs, but only one will potentially be featured in the calendar. The deadline for entries will be June 30.  After we’ve processed the photos, we’ll put all qualified entries to the membership for a vote in the late summer. The votes will be tallied, and the top 12 photos, from 12 different members, will be featured in the 2015 AAA calendar, which will be distributed at this year’s annual meeting in Washington DC.  Of course, all winners will also be showcased on our website.

 

Questions? Contact Andrew Russell at photos@aaanet.org .*

*Information updated from the AN article: June 30th became July 6th to account for a longer submission phase, and photos@aaanet.org which will now field all questions, while http://projects.aaanet.org/photo_contest/ will field submissions.

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