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Have You Met Donna A. Auston?

Donna A. Auston

Meet Donna. She is the third anthropologist to be interviewed in AAA’s newest podcast series – Anthropologists in the Field.

Donna A. Auston is a graduate student in the cultural anthropology program at Rutgers University. She is conducting preliminary research on Muslim communities in the San Francisco Bay area. While there, she is studying local Muslim institutions, including the first Muslim liberal arts college in the United States. She is also studying the activities artists, activists, and intellectuals from the local Muslim community. Her current field work is concerned with the intersection of race, religious practice, and the production of American Muslim identity, which will serve as a prelude to and preparation for a longer field study in the future.

Click here to hear about Donna’s work.

Mark Your Calendar! Seminario Virtual: an international collaborative pilot project

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) teams up with anthropological associations around the world to host an international pilot project – Seminario Virtual.

AAA, in collaboration with the European Association of Social Anthropologists/Association européenne des anthropologues sociaux (EASA), Associação Brasileira de Antropologia (ABA) and Canadian Anthropology Society/Société canadienne d’anthropologie (CASCA), creates a virtual seminar aimed to explore the centrality of language in production of anthropological knowledge and its political aspects. For theme and format details, visit the Seminario Virtual tab in the header of the AAA blog. Stay tuned for participation information.


Ordinary Anthropologists Doing Extraordinary Things – Tara Waters Lumpkin

This latest podcast installment of Ordinary Anthropologists Doing Extraordinary Things and guest blog post features AAA member, Tara Waters Lumpkin. Tara is the Executive Director of the non-profit Izilwane. She founded Izilwane to explore, with the help of others, how human beings can shift their perceptions so as to learn to co-exist with other species and nature. In addition, she is an environmental and medical anthropologist who has worked as an international development consultant for UNICEF, the United States Agency for International Development, and a variety of nongovernmental organizations. Prior to international aid work, she was an environmental journalist and professor of writing and media, and has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as having won more than half a dozen writing prizes,fellowships, and grants. At this time, she is writing a creative nonfiction book and is at work on an eco-memoir.

NEW PODCAST! Ordinary Anthropologists Doing Extraordinary Things – Tara Waters Lumpkin – Listen Now

IZILWANE, which means “animals” in Zulu, is a cutting-edge multi-media platform, or e-zine, that takes an anthropological approach to biodiversity loss. As you may know, our planet is losing approximately 30,000 species each year or three species every hour. IZILWANE’s goal is to raise awareness about this biodiversity crisis and create a new ecological paradigm based on enhancing the relationship of human beings with other species and the natural world.

To this end, IZILWANE publishes articles that take our readers on journeys around the globe and into the human psyche to explore why humans are causing biodiversity loss and harming the environment, and, most importantly, what we can do to stop this pattern. The IZILWANE project believes that we will change our destructive human behaviors when we are able to feel closer to other species and nature, that feeling is as important as facts in creating awareness and behavior change. This is why we have chosen storytelling to enact a positive change in our human perception of our relation with nature and other species.  Our tag line is: IZILWANE—connecting the human animal to the global ecosystem.

To this end, our entirely volunteer team of editors trains individuals, including youth, from around the globe to be citizen eco-reporters who tell their own stories about our theme through writing, photography, and video. In addition, our all-volunteer core management team trains our younger support team in non-profit management skills in areas such as outreach, development, social media, and more. By working together, the entire team of editors, global citizen eco-reporters, and non-profit managers become biodiversity advocates who co-create eco-centric models of thinking, living and being, and share their knowledge and experiences with each other and the general public.

Our e-zine is at: www.Izilwane.org. We publish articles, photo and video essays, our own blog, and are blogging for National Geographic’s News Watch. In addition, we share content with Ecology.com. We operate virtually and our team members are in the U.S.A, Britain, Belgium, and Rwanda, to name a few locations. Valuing our volunteers time at $35/hr, we have logged over half a million dollars in volunteer time since the birth of our project in 2009.

We work primarily with students at the undergraduate and graduate level. These are the people who become our global citizen eco-reporters, our editors, and our non-profit management support team. Many students work in multiple departments of our team, writing, editing, and doing some management. Have a look at our our team, our contributors and our past volunteers.

Listen to the Podcast

New Podcast! Ordinary Anthropologists Doing Extraordinary Things – Matt Piscitelli

Listen to the new podcast in the series Ordinary Anthropologists Doing Extraordinary Things featuring AAA member, Matthew Piscitelli. Matthew has gotten creative with funding his next project.

Through my years of work as an archaeologist, I’ve always been amazed whenever I can hold something in my hand that no one has touched in the last 5,000 years.  Well, now I am asking your help to provide more such opportunities, and in the process, help preserve part of our global heritage.

I am currently applying for funding to support my archaeological dig in Peru this summer.  The results of the project will form the basis of my Ph.D. dissertation and eventually help me accomplish my goal of becoming a university professor.  I have had some success already applying to the National Geographic, my university (University of Illinois-Chicago), as well as my place of employment (The Field Museum).  I also have applications pending through the National Science Foundation and Wenner-Gren Foundation.

During this process of application, however, I had an idea that definitely falls outside of the box.  In general, scientific projects in any field are funded through the government, private organizations or through a network of wealthy donors that are somehow already connected to those scientists.  The general public hardly ever hears of these projects, let alone gets the opportunity to support these important scientific endeavors.  With the popularity of social networking, a recently developed fundraising tactic known as “crowdfunding” is beginning to be used to back small-scale inventions, innovators, entrepreneurs, etc.  So I thought, “why can’t that work for scientific projects like my own?”

I have signed up through Peerbackers, a well-known and trusted website (Google it) in order to test run this strategy.  I ask you all to check out my project, offer words of encouragement, contribute (always well-appreciated), and most importantly, spread the word.  Please Tweet, post a link to my project on Facebook, forward this post to friends and family, etc.  Don’t hesitate to respond with questions and comments.  As with any Ph.D. student, I would be more than happy to talk to you about my research!

Are you interested in sharing your extraordinary in an upcoming podcast? Click here to learn how.

New Podcast Series – Ordinary Anthropologists Doing Extraordinary Things

An interview with Dr. Laurian Bowles kicks off AAA’ s latest podcast series Ordinary Anthropologists Doing Extraordinary Things.

Dr. Bowles is Assistant Professor at Western Illinois University, where she specializes in gender and power, migration and Africa, and black youth culture. Known by her students as Dr. Laurian, she engages them in current anthropological dialogue via their class Twitter account @anthro110.

Listen to the interview with Dr. Bowles.

Do you want to be the next Ordinary Anthropologist Doing Extraordinary Things? Visit AAA’s podcast page for details.

2011 AAA Annual Meeting CWA Sessions Now Available on Vimeo

The Committee on World Anthropologies (CWA) has set up a series of videos via Vimeo, that were taped at the 2011 Annual Meeting. The five sessions are of interest to members, especially those concerned with world anthropologies and hegemony, and highlight work being done outside the United States with a global, non hierarchical perspective:

On the Vimeo page of each video, conversation threads allow visitors and presenters opportunity for discussion of the panel content. The CWA would like to share these videos with the global community and hope that they will generate a lively conversation.

Friday Flick Pick

Check out the latest videos produced by the Smithsonian:

Six Interesting stories about 19th century collections and collectors, told by Smithsonian anthropology staff members, in newly produced videos can be viewed on the Smithsonian’s Anthropology Department website.

The subjects include the U.S. Exploring Expedition (as told by Adrienne Kaeppler); the North American Mound Explorations (Bruce Smith); Edward Nelson’s Arctic Expedition (William Fitzhugh); ethnologist James Mooney (JoAllyn Archambault); anthropologist Frank Cushing (Gwyneira Isaac), and Diplomatic Gifts (Deborah Hull-Walski). This project was made possible with a grant from The Smithsonian’s Women’s Committee.


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