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Sheila Trahar

Transnational higher education (TNHE) is a term used for a range of international activities but most commonly it describes programmes where students are located in a different country from the degree-awarding institution. Partnership models include distance learning, dual degrees, franchising and ‘flying faculty’, where academics from the degree-awarding institution fly to another country to teach a programme there. TNHE partnerships are established between institutions for several reasons, not least because of the increase in marketisation of higher education together with the reduction in public funding in many contexts. Interrogating how ‘commercial imperatives nest with academic integrity’ (Sidhu and Christie 2014: 2) is important as many TNHE partnerships are established between ‘Northern’ universities, in particular from Anglo-Celtic countries such as Australia, the U.K. and the U.S.A., and those from the ‘South’ or the ‘East’. Care needs to be taken, therefore, in exercising academic integrity in learning, teaching and assessment in contexts with different academic traditions from those of the degree-awarding institution.

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Karolina S. Follis and Christian R. Rogler

In 2004, Susan Brin Hyatt reported from a roundtable session organised by the American Anthropological Association ‘a dispiriting picture of academic life in the early years of the 21st century’, due to, amongst other things, ‘the casualization of the academic workforce’ (Hyatt 2004: 25–26). Less than a decade later, Joëlle Fanghanel notes that the ‘increased casualization of academic staff [has] significantly affected the evolution of academic work and working patterns’ (2012: 5). Casualisation takes different forms in different academic contexts, from the ‘adjunctification’ of teaching in the U.S.A. to precarious grant-funded postdoc positions common in Europe and the U.K. and the efforts to introduce other forms of temporary academic employment in New Zealand (Shore and Davidson 2014) and Australia (Barcan 2014). Seeking to contribute to these and other current discussions on the future of research and higher education in the era of privatisation and funding cuts, Hana Cervinkova and Karolina Follis convened the panel Anthropology as a Vocation and Occupation, held on 3 August 2014 at the 13th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) in Tallinn, Estonia.

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Sarah Lyon, Mary Kelaita, Celia Lowe, L. Jen Shaffer, Christopher R. Cox, Constanza Ocampo-Raeder, James Finley, Barbara Rose Johnston, Amelia Fiske, Alex Blanchette, Julie A. Shepherd-Powell, Peter W. Stahl, Christopher Jarrett and Amber R. Huff

ALKON, Alison Hope, Black, White, and Green: Farmers Markets, Race, and the Green Economy

CORMIER, Loretta, The Ten-Thousand Year Fever: Rethinking Human and Wild-Primate Malarias

DOBSON, Andrew, Kezia BARKER, and Sarah TAYLOR, Biosecurity: The Sociopolitics of Invasive Species and Infectious Disease

FOWLER, Cynthia, Ignition Stories: Indigenous Fire Ecology in the Indo-Australian Monsoon Zone

HUBER, Matthew T., Lifeblood: Oil, Freedom, and the Forces of Capital

KANE, Stephanie, Where the Rivers Meet the Sea: The Political Ecology of Water

KILCUP, Karen, Fallen Forests: Emotion, Embodiment, and Ethics in American Women's Environmental Writing, 1781–1924

KRUPAR, Shiloh R., Hot Spotter's Report: Military Fables of Toxic Waste

MORTON, Timothy, Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World

NAGY, Kelsi, and Phillip David JOHNSON II, eds., Trash Animals: How We Live with Nature's Filthy, Feral, Invasive, and Unwanted Species

REECE, Erik, and James J. KRUPA, The Embattled Wilderness: The Natural and Human History of Robinson Forest and the Fight for Its Future

ROSTAIN, Stéphen, Islands in the Rainforest: Landscape Management in Pre-Columbian Amazonia

SIEBERT, Stephen F., The Nature and Culture of Rattan: Reflections on Vanishing Life in the Forests of Southeast Asia

SODIKOFF, Genese Marie, Forest and Labor in Madagascar: From Colonial Concession to Global Biosphere

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Introduction

Ends and Beginnings

Ruy Blanes and Simon Coleman

The fact that you are reading these lines indicates that (1) issue number 4 of Advances in Research: Religion and Society has been published; and that (2) the world did not end, as expected by some, in December 2012. The buzz surrounding the Mayan calendar seemed for us as editors to be an appropriate pretext to conjure a debate concerning the intersection of religion and environmental apocalypticism. The four contributions to this debate reflect, in a critical and engaged fashion, on such intersections and their mediatization. Anna Fedele takes the Mayan calendar controversy as a starting point to argue for a history of apocalyptic prophecies in Western New Age and spiritual movements, in which prophetic success or failure have not depended on empirical confirmations. Terry Leahy draws on his research in Newcastle, Australia, to explain that apocalypticism is not exclusive to religious movements, and in fact circulates in different scientific and political spheres. Stefan Skrimshire also pursues this argument, moving beyond the caricature-filled debates between so-called latter-day prophets who campaign on environmental issues and the political orientations of environmental skeptics, and using this approach to decouple apocalypticism and prophecy. Peter Rudiak-Gould, in turn, explores cataclysmic apocalypse narratives in the context of wider expectations of moral and political change, both within and beyond the religious discourse of sin and repentance. All contributions in this section portray logics and contexts of environmental apocalypticism in sketches that overlap but also exceed religious spheres.

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Sex, Sleaze, Slaughter, and Salvation

Phoren Tourists and Slum Tours in Calcutta (India)

Atreyee Sen

This article explores the violence and voyeurism in viewing poverty in urban slums. By uncovering the social, economic, gendered, and racialized politics within a small-scale travel industry, I show how the latter cater to certain personal, sexual, and religious curiosities among a breed of travelers visiting developing countries. I did my ethnography in the slums of Calcutta, where travel entrepreneurs organized a range of discreet tours of ghettoes for white foreigners (primarily from Australia or the United States). These popular expeditions offered “sightings,” such as half-naked women bathing at water tanks, ritualistic animal sacrifice, and neighborhoods for prostitutes. While reinforcing stereotypes of the primitive other (as opposed to the exotic other), these secret tours allowed travelers to indulge in a range of emotions, from real life voyeurism to “showing gratitude to God for being civilized.” By emphasizing the ambivalences and contradictions in viewing and representing the other, this article argues further that the immoral and critical gaze of a small group of foreign tourists can affect the nature of morality and commercialism among large sections of the urban poor in India.

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Laurent J.G. van der Maesen

This article reviews the development of social quality indicators and the challenges ahead. First, through a review of recent Asian and Australian work carried out on social quality indicators, and the World Bank related work on “social development indicators,” the article argues that social quality indicators research should move beyond the empirical level of particular policy areas. Therefore, it should be guided by a clear methodological perspective regarding the role of indicators as part of a social quality theory (SQT) and their relation to the social quality approach (SQA). Second, the article opens a debate about the rationale behind distinguishing between three different functions of social quality indicators. Indicators should address the change in the conditional factors in daily life, as manifested in its economic, socio-political, socio-cultural and environmental dimensions, in order to examine the consequences of general trends and contradictions in (1) societal circumstances, (2) the development (or lack of development) toward sustainability, and (3) the related issue of sustainable urban development. Before 2010 social quality scholars mainly concentrated on the first issue. Recently, however, they are approaching all three issues. It is essential to delve deeper into SQT and the SQA for understanding these three issues separately and integrally. This has implications for the nature of social quality indicators and their comparison to those of other mainstream approaches; the article introduces this agenda of work.

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Gijs Mom

In his reply to my diatribe about the crisis of transport and mobility history, my friend Peter Merriman casually drops the term “modernist” three times (one time in combination with “desires”), as if to suggest that mine is a backward struggle. He seems to ask: haven’t we now moved into the postmodern condition, beyond the illusions of grand narratives and all-permeating questions, into a meadow of a thousand blooming flowers? Apart from the fact that Mao was more modest than Merriman (Mao used ba¯i, a hundred, not qia¯n, a thousand, my Chinese teacher here in Shanghai explains to me, and he used “blossoming” rather than “blooming,” though the difference between the two escapes me with my limited mastery of English), Peter might be right: I confess I am an antimodernist modernist. Like Deng Xiaoping, for whom this term was coined by the Chinese historian Wang Hui and with whom (for several reasons) I don’t like to be compared, I like to stir things up to keep us awake. I need to ask questions—often with a vengeance. Perhaps the main difference between Peter and I is that I dare to use the word “us.” I feel a member of an association, while Peter might be considered a monad in a network. While I bask in the illusions of a community of scholars, Peter advocate a mild postmodernism, perhaps feeling more at home in a fragmented environment, of which even the mobile practices of the Australian Pitjantjatara form a part. Do we have a case of Gesellschaft versus Gemeinschaft here?

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Katie Macentee

In the call for articles for this special issue on girls’ health, we highlighted that “[g]irls’ health is an ongoing and evolving issue with ties that go beyond medical analyses to include a wide array of social, educational, political, and environmental discourses (among others!).” Th at a number of different perspectives might contribute to or strengthen the interdisciplinary focus of an issue as crucial as girls’ health was important to me as guest editor. Th is issue demonstrates that the relationship of girlhood to health—sexual health, in particular—is of critical concern to us all. It is an area full of challenges and barriers, most of them, as is evident in this issue, understood and often expressed by girls themselves. The articles presented here point to the many perspectives from which to approach this topic. Girls’ sexual health is linked to an array of intersecting issues including the pedagogical influences of popular romance literature; the ways in which girls use blogs to construct counter narratives about their sexual identity; how girls’ increased inclusion in citizenship discourses can increase their capacity to address sexual objectification; what girls do to negotiate power within their heterosexual relationships; how barriers to water access in Africa can lead to the awareness of the risks—which range from being perceived to be promiscuous to being raped—that young women face; as well as how the (mis)management of menstruation can affect girls’ education. This issue points to the global and local specifics of sexual health, and to health more generally. Th e concerns discussed here are geographically wide-ranging: Cameroon, Lesotho, Australia, the United States, and Canada provide the settings—some urban and others rural. Th e authors present a wide range of methodologies from which they explore girls’ health: literary analysis; autoethnography; and participatory methods such as digital storytelling, mediamaking, listening to what young people have to say in various research paradigms, blogging, and photovoice.

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Kathryn Robinson

In imagining Indonesia’s future, its character as a country with the world’s largest Islamic population emerges as a critical issue. In the post-Suharto period, some commentators have seen the emergence of Islamist politics as a threat to newly attained freedoms. No sooner had women been freed from the constraints of ‘state ibuism’, i.e., the official policy promoting the role of wife and mother (ibu) of the New Order (see Suryakusuma 1996), which endorsed patriarchal familism as a cornerstone of authoritarian politics, than they faced a new kind of patriarchal authority in the demands for the enactment of shari’a as state law. For example, during her 2005 visit to Australia, Indonesian feminist commentator Julia Suryakusuma raised the specter of Islam as the greatest current threat to gender equity and to women as social actors in civic life, whose rights in the domestic sphere are now protected by the state. The growing influence of Middle Eastern Islam in Indonesia, evidenced by funding for organizations, translations of publications, and the increase in Islamist rhetoric, has caused alarm among many observers. This apprehension draws on the stereotype of the Middle East as the source of all that is ‘bad’ about Islam, taken as an undifferentiated whole. But this view of Islam fails to acknowledge debates within Islam and diversity in Islamic practice, not the least of which are the varieties of Islam that can be found throughout the Indonesian archipelago. These diverse practices have emerged as local communities and indigenous polities responded in distinctive and often unique ways during the long period of Islamic conversion, beginning from the thirteenth century.

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Pascale Molinier

*Full article is in French

English abstract:

Through the metaphor of a bridge of interdependence, this article brings together two traditions—Western ecofeminism and Amerindian feminist thought—focusing on two intellectuals and activists: the Australian philosopher Val Plumwood and yanacona leader, Maria Ovidia Palechor. Drawing on their convergence around territory and attachments between humans and non-humans, the article’s purpose is to show the plurality of feminist voices that characterizes new citizenship and not to stifl e it under the chape of a single Western trend of feminism. Contrary to rationalist conceptions of citizenship based on identical preference (democracy of the brothers), it is a matt er of valuing att achments and relational responsibility as conditions for a dysharmonic democracy based on the plurality of voices.

Spanish abstract:

A través de la metáfora de un puente de interdependencia, este artículo reúne dos tradiciones—el ecofeminismo occidental y el pensamiento feminista amerindio—centrándose en dos intelectuales y activistas: el filósofo australiano Val Plumwood y la líder yanacona María Ovidia Palechor. Basándose en su convergencia en torno al territorio y los vínculos entre los seres humanos y los no humanos, el propósito del artículo es mostrar la pluralidad de voces feministas que caracteriza a la nueva ciudadanía y no sofocarla bajo la cápsula de una sola tendencia occidental del feminismo. Contrariamente a las concepciones racionalistas de la ciudadanía basada en la preferencia de lo idéntico (democracia de los hermanos), se trata de valorar los apegos y la responsabilidad relacional como condiciones para una democracia disarmónica basada en la pluralidad de voces.

French abstract:

À travers la métaphore d’un pont de l’interdépendance, cet article met en dialogue deux traditions – l’écoféminisme occidental et la pensée féministe amérindienne –, en se centrant sur deux intellectuelles et activistes : la philosophe australienne Val Plumwood et la leader yanacona Maria Ovidia Palechor. S’appuyant sur leurs convergences autour du territoire et des att achements entre les humains et envers les non humains, le propos de l’article est d’exposer la pluralité des voix féministes qui caractérise les nouvelles citoyennetés, et de ne pas l’étouff er sous la chappe d’une seule tendance occidentale du féminisme. À rebours des conceptions rationalistes de la citoyenneté fondées sur la préférence à l’identique (démocratie des frères), il s’agit de valoriser les attachements et la responsabilité relationnelle comme conditions d’une démocratie dysharmonique fondée sur la pluralité des voix.