This article examines the dynamics and implications of Canadians' pursuit of and ambiguous engagement with athletic scholarships offered to elite athletes by American colleges and universities. After sketching in the broader social and cultural context within which the movement of Canadian athletes to the U.S. occurs, it considers ways in which reckonings of high achievement in sport and other fields of performance tend to be constructed in Canada in terms of transnational and global comparisons. By examining how and why innumerable Canadian children and youths, with the assistance of parents and other adults, come to focus upon the pursuit of American athletic scholarships, this article seeks to penetrate an ambivalent form of competition that rewards its winners by taking them away from their families and country for a period of years just as they enter adulthood.
Canadians' Engagement with American Athletic Scholarships
Widening Participation and the Challenge for Anthropology
Paul Hawkins and David Mills
Drawing on recent ethnographic research with 'non-traditional' humanities and social science students at a 'new' university in the North West of England, this paper explores their contradictory experiences of alienation and engagement, and their attitudes to institutional 'Widening Participation' initiatives. It argues that these students' institutional survival depends on negotiating the conflicting expectations of their academic relationships and their day-to-day social responsibilities beyond the university.
What might these findings mean for anthropology's own pedagogic strategies? The paper ends by suggesting that a subject that asks its students fundamentally to question their established senses of self and 'home' may pose a further challenge for students for whom strained personal and domestic relationships, ambivalence and self-doubt are dominant motifs of their whole university experience.
Local Knowledge and Universal Claims
In Vanuatu, where the revival of kastom (custom) has been pivotal in defining postcolonial identity, articulations of feminism(s) are offen met with ambivalence. The tension between discourses of individual rights and collective obligations and the tension between universal ideas of women's rights and local cultural practices such as kastom must be confronted. An engaged feminist anthropology, I argue, resists singular accounts of modernity by locating local knowledge and kastomary practices within a larger context that unsettles the boundaries of local and universal. Disentangling the ways in which contemporary critiques of kastom resonate with missionary and colonial representations of Melanesian violence and drawing attention to the structural violence of everyday life are also important tasks. Invoking the concepts of 'modest witness' and 'situated knowledge', I discuss what Strathern (1987) has called the 'awkward relationship' between anthropology and feminism and consider the possibilities of an engaged feminist anthropology.
Difficult Histories and Threatening Memories
Victor Jeleniewski Seidler
On the seventieth anniversary of the destruction of the Vilna ghetto I explore ambivalences in Holocaust memory in the Baltic states and troubling notions of a 'double genocide' while tracing train journeys of death that connected Vienna, Vilna and Tallinn and so western and eastern Europe. Exploring how memories are connected to place and investigating how family legacies of Litvak identity also travel, I show how Musar ethical traditions also journeyed as far as South Africa to influence the ethical politics of the African National Congress. Framing questions about the relationship between ethics and memory across generations I return to the painful warnings in the words of Elchanan Elkes at the destruction of the Kovno ghetto. I trace the possibilities that they help to frame a post-Shoah ethics and a vision of 'the human' that questions the rational self that informed Enlightenment thinking and that proved incapable of resisting the brutalities of Nazism.
In this issue of Critical Survey we present a selection of essays which demonstrate a range of critical approaches to a variety of material within Anglo-Irish writing. The recalcitrant traditionalism that previously marked this arena has long gone, replaced now by a broadly analytical approach. Likewise, the traditionally established and highly selective, mostly male canon of Anglo-Irish writing has been replaced by a more inclusive arena and these articles represent the diversity of scholarship and research across this expanded area. One of the most significant changes within Anglo-Irish criticism in the last decade has been in the volume of attention given to women writers. Several essays here focus on women’s writing, recognising Irish women writers’ legitimate inclusion across a range of genres. Kathy Cremin examines the disparity between Irish women’s increased opportunities in terms of determining their own lives and the elisions and ambivalences regarding these at the heart of Patricia Scanlan’s best-selling fiction. Helen Kidd explores the particular poetic strategies of three of Ireland’s leading women poets, Naula Ní Dhomhnaill, Eileán Ní Chuilleanain and Eavan Boland. Mary King couples the plays of J. M. Synge and one of Ireland’s leading contemporary playwrights, Marina Carr, in a timely exploration of the treatment of ‘the other’ in Irish drama.
Bodil Formark and Annelie Bränström Öhman
While we have been working on this themed issue the political talk about The Girl has entered a new phase in a global shift manifested both by the establishment of the International Day of the Girl and through the launching of various campaigns on themes such as: Give Girls an Education and Eradicate World Poverty. The necessity for such initiatives was cruelly illustrated by the violent attack on Pakistani girls’ rights activist Malala Yousafzai on her way home from school on 9 October 2012. Such blatant discrimination makes it difficult for us not to feel that we live in a privileged part of the world. The five Nordic nation states—Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden—are indeed often perceived by outsiders, too, as progressive countries that have come very far in achieving gender equality. However, although Nordic girlhood may appear in stark contrast to that of the millions of disadvantaged girls in the world, there are complexities and ambivalences beneath the surface of Nordic progressiveness that a reductive, comparative, and linear, framework fails to take into account.