Barack Obama was the first son of a PhD anthropologist to serve as President of the United States, and some popular press linked his political views and actions, which were allegedly in violation of international law, to failures in American anthropology to uphold international law as well as to personal failures by anthropologists to transmit the professional ethics of the discipline to their offspring. This essay examines those critiques and identifies deficiencies in anthropological presentations of ‘multiculturalism’ and in anthropology’s adherence to international law. It also reviews the cultural self-identification of President Obama, drawing attention to the sub-cultures of ‘expat’ communities like those in which President Obama was raised and in which many practising anthropologists and their children live.
Anthropological Issues and US President Obama
Are centuries of accumulated human wisdom really less important than beetles or weeds? Are we going to stand by and let human heritage and diversity disappear?
Using Your Funds to Save Cultures, Not to Destroy Them
Dear Members of the Spanish Government and Spanish Citizens,
Over the past several months, you began to give me, and many of the world’s peoples, great hope. It appeared that you were helping to open a new era of cultural protections and reversal of colonial legacies across the globe, as a beacon of light from the developed world. Unlike other countries who have continued to view development spending as a way to promote their own national economic greed, Spain seemed genuinely committed to protecting the cultures and heritage of the planet in a way that would protect our common future and reflect the best of humankind’s joint hopes. It is urgent that you step in now to fulfil your promise and to save the cultural diversity and heritage that you are now inadvertently destroying.
How Your Anthropology Training Is the Key to the Success of the (Currently Failing) World Bank
Editor’s Note: In March of 2012, President Obama announced his choice of Dr Jim Yong Kim for Presidency of the World Bank. Dr Kim is the first PhD anthropologist (and medical doctor) to be named to head the World Bank and one of the few anthropologists to work for the Bank, whose leaders and ranks are largely economists. Dr Kim, a medical anthropologist, earned his PhD at Harvard in 1993.
Building the Discipline or Politicising It?
Although initial contributions of Women's Studies to the field of Development Studies were to question existing concepts and assumptions and to offer new models and inclusive approaches, it appears that contemporary scholarship has shifted entirely (and even unapologetically) into political advocacy with little further in the way of social science or fresh critique and modelling. In Development Studies, Applied Anthropology and possibly in other subfields where gender concerns are presented in 'single-variable' or 'interest-group' perspectives, it may now be time to return to earlier goals through a depoliticisation of 'Feminist' and 'Women's' Studies, appropriately integrating 'Gender Studies' and concerns into subfields in ways that promote holistic advance of those fields. The essay uses two recent books with alternative examinations of feminism in developing societies – one on the area of 'development' and one on relations of two 'developed' countries, the U.S. and Russia – as springboards for a discussion of what has gone wrong and what can be changed in the sub-field of gender and Development Studies.
David Orr and David Lempert
Intimate Enemies: Violence and Reconciliation in Peru. Kimberley Theidon, 2013, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN: 9780812244502, 488 pp., Hb. £49.00.
Facing the Torturer. Francois Bizot, translated by Charlotte Mandell and Antoine Audouard, New York: Alfred A. Knopf: 2012, Hb. U.S.$25.00, ix, 212 pp., ISBN: 978-0-207-2350-5.
Hayder Al-Mohammad and David Lempert
There Is No Such Thing as a Social Science: In Defence of Peter Winch. Directions in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis. Phil Hutchinson, Rupert Read and Wes Sharrock, Surrey: Ashgate, 2008, ISBN 978-0-7546-4776-8, 148pp., Hb. £50.
Biocultural Diversity Conservation: A Global Sourcebook. Luisa Maffi and Ellen Woodley, Washington, DC: Earthscan Publishers, 2010, ISBN 9781844079216, 282pp., Hb. £34.99.
The Heritage-scape: UNESCO, World Heritage, and Tourism. Michael A. Di Giovine, New York: Lexington Books, 2009, ISBN: 9780739114346, 519 pp., Hb. $95, Pb. $45.
Julia Hanebrink, David Lempert, Angela Kelly, Roaxana Morosanu and Peter Snowdon
Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda. Adam Branch, New York: Oxford University Press, 2011, ISBN: 978-019978-208-6, 336 pp., Hb. £45.00, $74.00.
Performing Heritage: Art of Exhibit Walks. Navina Jafa, New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2012, ISBN: 978-81-321-0699-9, xxviii + 216 pp., Pb. $32.95.
Ancient Khmer Sites in Eastern Thailand. Asger Mollerup, Bangkok: White Lotus, 2012, ISBN: 978-974-480-181-4, xii + 185 pp. and C.D., Pb. $32.00.
The Anthropology of Empathy: Experiencing the Lives of Others in Pacific Societies. Douglas W. Hollan and C. Jason Throop (eds.), Oxford, New York: Berghahn Books (ASAO studies in Pacific Anthropology Volume 1), 2011, ISBN: 978-0-85745-102-6, 233 pp., Hb. £45.00.
Ethical Consumption: Social Value and Economic Practice. James G. Carrier and Peter G. Luetchford (eds.), New York, Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2012, ISBN: 978-0-85745-342-6, 246pp. Hb. £48.00.
Tales from Facebook Daniel Miller, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012, ISBN: 978-0-7456-5209-2, 220 pp., Hb. £50.00, Pb. £14.99.
Jonathan David Bobaljik, Christopher L. Hill, David Lempert, Brian Donahoe, Irena Vladimirsky, Jaroslaw Derlicki, Melissa Chakars, John P. Ziker and Liesl L. Gambold
Megumi Kurebito, ed., Comparative Basic Vocabulary of the Chukchee-Kamchatkan Language Family: 1.
Alevtina N. Zhukova & Tokusu Kurebito, A Basic Topical Dictionary of the Koryak-Chukchi Language.
Michael Fortescue, Comparative Chukotko-Kamchatkan Dictionary
Constantine Grewingk, Grewingk’s Geology of Alaska and the Northwest Coast of America: Contributions toward Knowledge of the Orographic and Geognostic Condition of the Northwest Coast of America, with the Adjacent Islands
Bryn Thomas, Trans-Siberian Handbook: Sixth Edition of the Guide to the World’s Longest Railway Journey
Kira Van Deusen, Singing Story, Healing Drum: Shamans and Storytellers of Turkic Siberia
Jamie Bisher, White Terror: Cossack Warlords of the Trans-Siberian
Joachim Otto Habeck, What it Means to be a Herdsman: The Practice and Image of Reindeer Husbandry among Komi of Northern Russia
Robert W. Montgomery, Late Tsarist and Early Soviet Nationality and Cultural Policy: The Buryats and Their Language
Igor Krupnik, Rachel Mason, and Tonia W. Horton, eds., Northern Ethnographic Landscapes: Perspectives From Circumpolar Nations
Margaret Paxson, Solovyovo: The Story of Memory in a Russian Village