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Over 250 Anthropologists Join the Call for a Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

Today’s guest blog post is by AAA member, Lisa Rofel. Please direct your questions and/or inquiries to her via email: lrofel@ucsc.edu.

More than 250 anthropologists have signed a statement endorsing the burgeoning movement to boycott Israeli academic institutions in protest of Israel’s systematic human rights violations against the Palestinian people. These violations, in which many Israeli educational institutions are complicit, include denying Palestinians their right to education and academic freedom.

The full statement and signatory list are at http://anthroboycott.wordpress.com As scholars who specialize in how power, oppression, and structural violence affect social life, and as witnesses to the State of Israel’s multiple and egregious violations of international law that constitute an assault on Palestinian culture and society, they pledge to abide by their discipline’s stated commitment to “the promotion and protection of the right of people and people’s everywhere to the full realization of their
humanity.”

These anthropologists have determined that the policies, actions, and programs of Israeli academic institutions are complicit in the occupation and oppression of Palestinians in Israel and in the Occupied Territories in multiple ways. In calling for this institutional boycott, they pledge not to collaborate on projects and events hosted or funded by Israeli academic institutions, not to teach at or attend conferences or other events at such institutions, and not to publish in academic journals based in Israel. They remain open to collaboration with individual scholars based in the Israeli academy.

The signatories of the statement call on their anthropologist colleagues to join them, along with thousands of members of a growing number of US academic associations (including the American Studies Association, the Association for Asian American Studies, and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association), in answering the call from Palestinian civil society as well as from a number of Israeli anthropologists, to cease legitimizing Israeli academic institutions and thereby condoning their role in the continued suppression of the basic rights of the Palestinian people.

Anthropologists interested in signing this statement should visit: http://anthroboycott.wordpress.com, or email their name and affiliation to: anthroboycott@gmail.com

Annual Meeting Dialogue on Israel-Palestine

Today’s blog post is by AAA Executive Director Dr. Edward Liebow.

Because violence begets violence, I have recently been looking for a better way (without bullets) to say ‘there’s no silver bullet’ to acknowledge the palpable absence of any simple remedy to the intractable latest episode in a decades-long Israeli/ Palestinian conflict. Indeed, in recent days, hopeful glimmers of an extended cease-fire are clouded by escalating negotiation demands with toweringly high stakes. This concerns me as an individual, and also as AAA Executive Director at a moment when we are opening up dialogue on Israel/Palestine inside the association.

Indeed, here at the AAA office, summer is almost over, and our planning machine is already at full speed in advance of December’s Annual Meeting in Washington. The program is available online. Judging by recent blog posts and social media exchanges, this year’s Meeting is among the more eagerly anticipated in recent memory, in no small part due to the opportunities that have been created for a scholarly consideration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – although of course there are possibilities for discussion both before and after. Anthropologists will be tackling many of the world’s challenges at this year’s Meeting, so let me take this opportunity to provide you with more information about the events surrounding the Israel/Palestine conflict.113th AAA Annual Meeting

Paper presentations, roundtable discussions, and an open forum discussion will allow participants to unpack this conflict’s historical, cultural, and political-economic contexts, and also examine the advocacy role of scholarly societies like the AAA.

Thanks to the hard work of AAA members, the program chairs, the Executive Program Committee, and the AAA meetings and conference staff, we have aimed to make sure a wide range of perspectives will be represented in these events, which include:

For more information and session abstracts, log in to the meetings site. We invite healthy, respectful debate, and look forward to a deliberate, considered, and educational dialogue.

Haven’t registered for the 113th Annual Meeting yet? Register today! Will you be traveling from out of town? Save money by booking your hotel now at a discounted rate.

Opportunities at the Smithsonian

Katie Patschke - 2014 AAA Summer InternWorking for the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art has allowed me to expand my knowledge of African studies by exploring the occupations and roles that Africans take on in their day to day lives. I am currently finishing up my research on the project by conducting in depth searches on topics that need more extensive research. This week I am going to be creating a list of objects that will be displayed in the “Creativity of Work” exhibit. This is a big project and I am hoping to continue researching on the “Creativity of Work” project in the near future.

Katie Patschke - 2014 AAA Summer Intern Last week we had a very special event held at the National Museum of African Art. During the African Summit the African Art museum held a First Ladies brunch for the First Ladies of Africa. As an intern I was in charge of setting up the event by creating place cards and gift bags, organizing the seating arrangements and working with the First Ladies to get anything that they needed. The event was a great success. It was such an honor to meet such powerful, important women who are true inspirations in African countries.Katie Patsche - 2014 AAA Summer Intern

This weekend I had the opportunity to visit some great parts of DC such as the International Spy Museum, Meridian Park, and Georgetown. I have enjoyed my experience in DC and plan to move here after my schooling finishes up in December. I am so grateful for this opportunity and would recommend the experience to aspiring anthropology students.Katie Patschke - 2014 AAA Summer Intern

Intern Preserving Naval Heritage

It has been a very busy couple of weeks since my last post. It is hard to believe that this internship is coming to an end. At the Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) of the History & Heritage Command (NHHC), I have continued to clean and preserve the two brass flash pans as well as work with more of the survey equipment. The photos below are what the artifact looked like before I started to clean it and then during the cleaning process.

Brass Flash Pan during cleaning

Brass Flash Pan during cleaning

Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Naval History & Heritage Command

Brass Flash Pan Prior to cleaning

This past week I was able to go to Williamsburg, VA to test survey equipment out on the water for two days. It was great to actually see everything working after we got all the bugs worked out. This week the UAB is planning on conducting an archaeological survey to relocate a flagship near the D.C. area. I am hoping to be able to spend a day or two working with them on the survey to get as much experience as possible.  In the picture below, the long white object is a magnetometer. Once in  the water, it is towed behind the boat. There is a sensor on the magnetometer that detects changes in the Earth’s magnetic field. It is used to locate ferrous material such as iron that is buried under the seabed.  The sensor then sends a signal to a computer that makes a chart. When the sensor passes over iron on the seabed it makes a bump on the chart. The chart can later be analyzed to find the appropriate location of the wreck. We will be using this magnetometer when we are trying to relocate the flagship.Joshua Anderson, 2014 AAA Summer InternJoshua Anderson, 2014 AAA Summer Intern

I have been keeping busy during my free time as well. I drove up to Philadelphia the weekend before last to pickup my wife, May, from the airport and took her to New Jersey.  She is instructing a class at Fort Dix for two weeks. I enjoyed the small amount of time we had together.  This past weekend I learned to double check with the bus drivers around here on where they are actually going. I was planning on taking a bus out to Kent Island, MD to visit my cousin. The bus that was going to Kent Island, MD was actually going to California, MD which is two hours southwest of where I was supposed to be. I ended up getting a ride to a car rental place and drove out to Kent Island. On Saturday, we went out to a beach on my cousins boat and stayed the night. I was able to get up and watch the sun come up Sunday morning through a thick fog. It was a great start to the day.  We went crabbing shortly after I took this picture and caught a few crabs that we later steamed and ate.Joshua Anderson, 2104 AAA Summer Intern

Sunday afternoon my dad and family from Minnesota arrived out in Kent Island. They brought their camper out and are going to be spending the week in the D.C. area checking out all the sites and hanging out with family. When they got here we took a ride on the boat and then went out to eat. We ate at the Crab Deck on Kent Island and took the picture below.  I am looking forward to hanging out with them later this week.Joshua Anderson, 2014 AAA Summer Intern

After this week is over I am on my way to Fort Dix, NJ for two weeks to instruct a carpentry/masonry class for the army. When I get finished up there I finally get to go home. I will be jumping right into classes at Minnesota State University Mankato (MNSU) where I will continue working with the anthropology department conducting archaeological research.

This internship has allowed me to expand my knowledge, gain experience, and extend my abilities as an anthropologist. While at the American Anthropological Association I was able to aid in the planning process of the very first annual National Anthropology Day.  During my time at the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Naval History & Heritage Command, I was able to work in the lab as well as get experience with some of the equipment in the field. I would like to thank all of the donors, professors at MNSU, and my family for encouraging this educational opportunity and supporting my future career as an anthropologist.Joshua Anderson, 2014 AAA Summer Intern

Taking Action to Preserve Heritage Sites in Mosul

The American Anthropological Association’s  Cultural Heritage Task Force writes to U.S. Secretary of State encouraging the United States to take action in preserving the cultural heritage sites in Mosul, Iraq. Below is a preview, read the entire letter (PDF).Secretary Kerry RE.Mosul

AAA Intern Conducts Underwater Archaeological Survey

Josh Anderson

It sure doesn’t feel like it but, three weeks have gone by since starting my internship. I have been enjoying my time at both the American Anthropological Association (AAA) as well as the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Naval History & Heritage Command (NHHC). Katie and I have been working on a couple projects at the AAA office. One of which is introducing the first annual celebration of National Anthropology Day. We have been brainstorming ideas and coming up with drafts of materials to send to colleges, universities, museums, and other partners to hand out during National Anthropology Day . This will aid in disseminating information about the field of anthropology to others. We are also developing a virtual student poster presentation that will accompany National Anthropology Day activities. The virtual poster presentation will allow students/clubs in all fields of Anthropology to present posters online about their current research or anthropological issues. By presenting online it allows for students/clubs to reach a wide range of anthropologists and other interested parties. Another benefit is that there is not cost for travel or printing.

Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Naval History & Heritage CommandWhile working at the NHHC I have been working on cleaning and preserving two artifacts. These artifacts came from the USS Tulip. USS Tulip was a steam-crew gun boat that, unfortunately, had a steam engine that exploded causing it to sink on November 11, 1864. The artifacts that I have been working with are what seem to be brass flash pans that possibly came from an M 1835/40 Pomeroy or Springfield percussion rifle. I have also continued working with equipment that is used during an underwater archaeological survey. I am enjoying being able to work on a variety of projects at the NHHC. It is allowing me to further understand the process of conducting an archaeological survey underwater and the processes that occur after the survey.

Joshua Anderson

During my free time I have continued to enjoy the sights around the D.C. area, and this past weekend I was able to meet my uncle and cousin for the first time. While I was there my cousin took me out on his boat to go crabbing. It was a great experience and we actually caught a few crabs. When we came back to shore he cooked them up and had a great dinner. I am looking forward to meeting up with them again while I am here.

I would like to thank the donors once again for this opportunity and great experience.

The AAA Summer Internship Program is funded entirely by AAA member donations. Make your contribution today!

Interning At the Smithsonian

Katie Patschke - 2014 AAA Summer Intern

I couldn’t thank the American Anthropological Association’s member donations enough for this experience. At the Smithsonian Institution-National Museum of African Art I am just finishing up the research for the project creativity of work assigned to me by my coordinator, Dr. Kreamer. Dr. Kreamer is the Deputy Director and Chief Curator for the National Museum of African Art.  I intend to edit my findings and continue researching throughout the next few weeks. Dr. Kreamer and I had a conversation about the next step to the project which will include constructing a list of images that go along with the concept of work and that can be displayed in the exhibit. We intend to go into storage and find images, sculptures , and other pieces of art that will work with the project to tell the story of work and how it contributes to people’s everyday lives in Africa.

Dr. Kreamer and I were also able to discuss post-graduate opportunities with a possibility of me continuing to work with the Smithsonian Institute on other research projects after this experience.

National Museum of African Art

Last Wednesday I attended a meet and greet information meeting for Smithsonian interns where I met fellow Smithsonian employees. At the meeting they were able to give me insight and encouraged me to continue to pursue my passion of curatorial work with the intention of continuing my work with the Smithsonian.

Air Force Memorial

This Tuesday I attended an event offered to the African Art interns where we were given a personal tour of the museum and all of the hidden places that the museum had that weren’t open for public view. On the tour we were able to see the archives, the private collections, and the storage facilities where they keep all of the extra art. We met with workers to discuss the processes of woodwork and construction that goes into building packaging to ship artwork and how they build the sets that the artwork is displayed in in the museum. We also had the opportunity to talk to a curator who gave us a personal tour of Camille and Bill Cosby’s collection of artwork. The African Art museum is preparing for an opening in November that the Cosby’s are contributing many pieces of work too. We were given an inside look of the artwork that is about to be put on display. The artwork is fascinating. Their collection is truly inspiring and I encourage everyone to check out their art when the exhibit opens in November.

At my internship at the American Anthropological Association we are currently working on outlining essay and poster projects for students to become involved in. These projects will provide students the opportunity to present their research and build their resumes. These events will be surrounding the very first National Anthropology day which will be celebrated in February 2015.

Katie Patschke - 2014 AAA Summer Internship

Last weekend I went to the Newseum, the National Archives to see the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and the Library of Congress where I used my library card access the bottom level and explore the vast collection of novels and articles. The following day I went on a hike at Riverbend Park and where I saw the great falls along the Potomac which separates Virginia and Maryland. After the hike I went to see the Pentagon and tried Vietnamese food. I really enjoyed adventuring around the area and I am looking forward to exploring more museums and parts of DC this weekend.

Riverbend Park

The AAA Summer Internship Program is funded entirely by AAA member donations. Make your contribution today!

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