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A Champion of the Poor to Lead the World Bank

The following is a guest post submitted by Mark Schuller, Assistant Professor, African American Studies and Anthropology Department of Social Sciences York College, City University of New York. The piece is written by Philippe Bourgois, Richard Perry University Professor of Anthropology and Family & Community Medicine, University of Pennsylvania and Luke Messac, MD/PhD student, University of Pennsylvania

For many European and American citizens the World Bank is a peripheral institution, rarely felt and barely understood. But in impoverished developing countries, the Bank has exerted a tremendous influence over national budgets profoundly altering the survival strategies and basic life chances of the poor majorities of those nations.  As a hegemonic voice in development economics, the World Bank is a felt–and often feared– presence in the lives of the world’s most destitute.  Too often, this well-heeled international lender’s imposition of “structural adjustment reforms” has backfired, harming more than helping the poor.  This month’s election of a new World Bank President is an unparalleled opportunity to refashion the Bank into the effective instrument to eradicate global poverty it was meant to be. No one is better equipped to lead this mammoth undertaking than Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President Obama’s nominee to lead the World Bank. Continue reading

Culture, Kin & Cognition in Oceania: Essays in Honor of Ward Goodenough

This week’s publication feature from the AAA online store is a collection of essays entitled: Culture, Kin & Cognition in Oceania: Essays in Honor of Ward Goodenough is edited by Mac Marshall and John L. Caughey.
This collection of essays exploring current issues in the study of Pacific cultures is intended both as a contribution to Oceanic cultural anthropology and as an honor to Ward H. Goodenough, whose work has had a tremendous impact on modern cultural anthropology in general and on the field of Oceanic anthropology in particular. Goodenough has contributed significantly to defining the issues presented in the pages to follow and to developing methods and theories with which to explore them. He has also influenced directly the thinking of the authors represented here, either while they were his students at the University of Pennsylvania or his younger colleagues in the field of Oceanic anthropology.
 
Contents include:
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction, John L. Caughey and Mac Marshall
  • Sex, Shit, and Shame: Changing Gender Relations among the Lakalai, Ann Chowning
  • The Cultural Construction of Reproduction and Its Relationship to Kinship and Gender (New Guinea Highlands), Anna Meigs
  • The Ethnographer as Detective: Solving the Puzzle of Niutao Land Tenure Rules, Jay Noricks
  • Tribal Words, Tribal Worlds: The Translatability of tapu and mana, Anne Salmond
  • Land, Sea, Gender, and Ghosts on Woleai-Lamotrek, William H. Alkire
  • Rashomon in Reverse: Ethnographic Agreement in Truk, Mac Marshall
  • Social Structure as Process: Longitudinal Perspectives on Kwaio Society, Roger M. Keesing

This collection is available at the AAA online store for a special AAA member price of $7.00. Click here to make your purchase today!

IMPORTANT – Please note that this book is not available in an electronic version. A print version can be purchased via the AAA Online Store. Shipping costs will apply.

The Oxford Bibliographies

Today’s guest blog post is written by AAA member, John L. Jackson, Jr. John is a Richard Perry University Professor of Communication and Anthropology and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies for the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

Oxford University Press has created a new and ambitious online project, Oxford Bibliographies, which attempts to provide scholars, students, and other interested readers with introductions to important topics and themes from many academic fields/disciplines. Anthropology’s module was launched last month, and I have agreed to help edit that particular module. Oxford was able to put together a strong editorial board for the project, which included scholars from all four of American anthropology’s major sub-fields: archaeology, linguistic anthropology, physical/biological anthropology, and cultural anthropology. These nine scholars helped to select and vet the entries on various topics (including applied anthropology, cultural evolution, public archaeology, language ideology, globalization and many more). All in all, OB’s Anthropology site contains 50 entries penned by scholars from across the country and the world, including Tobias Kelly on Legal Anthropology, Vernon J. Williams on Franz Boas, Jeremy Sabloff on public archaeology, Neni Panourgia on interpretive anthropology, Kudzo Gavua on ethnoarchaeology, John Trumper on ethnoscience, Judith Irvine on Language Ideology, and Christina Campbell on primatology (just to name a few).

Although I don’t consider anthropology’s four fields a “sacred bundle” never to be disassembled under any circumstances, I am intrigued by the idea of forcing myself to learn more about the four farthest corners of this sprawling and hubris-filled discipline that imagines itself to cut across the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. Oxford’s new initiative will allow anthropologists to think about how much we might really gain from conversations across the intradisciplinary domains that often divide us. Oxford’s intervention will help us to see how physical anthropologists and cultural anthropologists might differently approach topics. For example, we can determine what kind of reviewer an urban anthropologist working in contemporary Latin America would make for a piece on “the histories of cities” crafted by an archaeologist. Or we can ask a physical anthropologist and a cultural anthropologist to pen two different entries for, say, “race” or “gender.” I’m intrigued to see what (hopefully productive!) sparks might fly from such four-fielded contact, and I’ve already learned so much about those other anthropological spheres during the build-up to this year’s launch. Check out the new site. 50 new entries will launch every January, and current entries will be revised and updated throughout the year.

Also, please feel free to let me know if there is a topic/entry you’d like to suggest and/or author.

Bookmark Oxford Bibliographies, today: oxfordbibliographiesonline.com

AAA Members Showcase NSF Study to U.S. Senate

AAA members Kenneth Broad and Ben Orlove participated in a showcase of NSF-funded Hazard Research on Capitol Hill last week in recognition of National Preparedness Month (September).

Ben Orlove, Robert Meyer and Kenneth Broad

The showcase took place at the Hart Senate Office Building where members of Congress and their staffers could drop-in to learn about the important use of NSF funding.

 Broad and Orlove are part of a dynamic research team that studies how natural hazard warnings can be improved. Joined by Robert Meyer, Shuyi Chen, Jay Baker and Katherine Thompson, this team seeks to understand how the public interprets and responds to information about natural hazards.

Our study integrated innovative social science research methods to identify patterns in behavioral strategies in the face of disaster forecasts, risk factors and means of improving communicating forecasts.

 In order to best serve the people of the United States in the face of natural hazards, further research is needed to understand the influence of mass media, social interactions, and past experience with false alarms, on public response to forecasting.

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