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Why the practice of celibacy?

Why in the world might some people practice celibacy?

We had some technical difficulty adding the file on to the blog post. Check out Elisa’s webpage to listen to this short BBC interview, where Elisa (EJ) Sobo offers some anthropologically informed answers on the issue.

Judge’s ruling halts construction of the Belo Monte Hydroelectric Dam

Photo by BBC News

The Belo Monte Hydroelectric dam has been causing controversy in Brazil since the initial plan inception in the 1990’s. The Brazilian government believes the dam to be critical for economic development. The dam would be built on the Xingu River in the Eastern Amazon. In 2010, federal judges halted bidding on the construction of the dam for the third time. The injunction was overturned, plans progressed and construction began.

Last week, a federal judge again ordered work to be halted on the dam, as the project standards of the approving environmental agency were not upheld. The judge also stopped the release of project funding from the national development bank.

“All work on the site must be halted,” the judge said, according this report by Globo News. Among other environmental objections, the judge said the project failed to provide a sufficient contingency plan to ensure transportation along sections of river where water levels are expected to drop drastically.

The project has attracted worldwide attention. AAA’s Committee on Human Rights released letters to Brazilian officials in August of 2010 requesting the dam project to cease, as it would displace more than twenty-four indigenous tribes that have “original” status in the Brazilian national constitution. Such status was created to ensure protection of encroachment and harm. More recently the music artist, Sting and the director of the movie “Avatar”, James Cameron, have joined environmentalists in protest of the project.

“I Saw God in Tahrir”

We welcome a third post by guest blogger Yasmin Moll. Yasmin shares additional insight from Cairo, Egypt. Thank you Yasmin!

Many commentators both inside and outside Egypt have focused on the anticipated role of the Muslim Brotherhood in a post-Mubarak Egypt. In many of these analyses, the Brotherhood is used as a metonym for the projected role of Islam in the public sphere. However, while the Brotherhood will certainly play a formative role in post-revolutionary politics and governance in Egypt, it does not have a monopoly on Islamic discourse in the country. 

Other important Islamic actors are Islamic televangelists, the most famous being Amr Khaled. Banned from preaching in Egypt in 2002, Amr Khaled has over the past decade utilized private Islamic satellite channels and cyberspace as platforms to connect with millions of Muslim youth in Egypt and beyond. According to the BBC  “his television shows get more viewers than Oprah Winfrey, his videos have racked up 26m hits on YouTube, and he boasts two million fans on Facebook.”

Indeed, self-described moderate Islamic televangelists (al-duaa al-mutawasitoon) like Amr Khaled, Mustafa Hosni and Moez Masoud enjoy a popularity and credibility with ordinary Muslim youth in Egypt that is hard to match.  While the official religious establishment of Al-Azhar shied away from supporting protesters in Tahrir and elsewhere on the eve of the January 25th Revolution, many of Egypt’s most prominent televangelists were vocal in their support of thawrat al-shabab (the youth revolution). And throughout the uprising and after, their catchwords have been tolerance (tasamuh) and co-existence (ta’ayush).

Continue reading

AAA’s Video Round Up

A flurry of interesting videos have made their way across the AAA desks this week. Embracing people and race, here are our favorites:

The Anthropology department of the Univeristy of North Carolina – Charlotte is actively engaged in the RACE: Are We Do Different? exhibit that has opened this past week in Charlotte, NC at Discovery Place. Check out these two clips from the local television broadcast News 14 Carolina. The first clip features AAA’s very own Janet Levy. Dr. Levy is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology.

 The second clip features AAA’s very own Jonathan Marks. Dr. Marks is an Anthropology Professor at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte.


The next video was highlighted on The Clog, a blog by Charlotte’s Creative Loafing. This blog featured the RACE: Are We So Different? exhibit in a post titled “We’re All Pink Underneath“. To prepare readers for the exhibit, the blog highlights The New York Times video U.S.: Young and Mixed in America.

In this video, The Huffington Post features video footage of one of the last uncontacted tribes in the Amazon. Click here for the complete Huffington Post article.

Do you have a favorite video? Add the video link to your comment. We might highlight it in our next video round-up!


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