As participants in the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, we explore our experiences as allies and activist anthropologists in a collaborative venture that involved participants from Native nations, academia and local communities. The campaign included local, regional and international events aimed at re-enlivening a 400-year-old treaty espousing mutual respect and balance between Europeans and the Haudenosaunee. The highlight of the symbolic renewing of the treaty culminated in a journey down the Hudson River with Native and non-Native paddlers embodying an ally relationship as they paddled side by side and were followed by ground crews, the media and thousands of onlookers. The campaign, challenged by some anthropologists as being based on a ‘fake’ treaty, demonstrated the successful and dynamic components of a multicultural movement. It inspired us to refl ect on the current state of activist anthropology and see the intersections with decolonisation theories, indigenous anthropology and pedagogies of engagement.
Theoretical and Practical Insights from the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign
Brooke Hansen and Jack Rossen
Abigail Baim-Lance and Cecilia Vindrola-Padros
Academic funding bodies are increasingly measuring research impact using accountability and reward assessments. Scholars have argued that frameworks attempting to measure the use-value of knowledge production could end up influencing the selection of research topics, limiting research agendas, and privileging linear over complex research designs. Our article responds to these concerns by calling upon insights from anthropology to reconceptualise impact. We argue that, to conduct socially beneficial studies, impact needs to be turned from a product to an inclusive process of engagement. Anthropology's epistemologically and methodologically rich tradition of ethnography offers a particularly apposite set of tools to achieve this goal. We present three concrete examples of how we have used ethnography to impact on the work we carry out, particularly in shaping multidisciplinary team-based research approaches.
Developing a Museum-based Anthropology Education Resource forPre-university Students
Paul Basu and Simon Coleman
In its 2002-3 Strategic Review, the Royal Anthropological Institute reasserted the importance of the public communication of anthropology for the future of the discipline. Two significant venues for public engagement activity were identified: museums and pre-university education contexts. We present an account of the development and piloting of an anthropology teaching and learning resource that bridges these two arenas. Complementing efforts to introduce an anthropology A-Level, the Culture, Identity, Difference resource uses museum collections as a way of introducing anthropological perspectives on topics such as belief, ethnicity, gender and power to enhance students' studies across a range of different A-Level subjects. We reflect on some of the lessons learnt during the process, including the value of developing resources that can be used flexibly and creatively by teachers and students, and the need to approach the museum as a space of encounter, exploration and experimentation rather than as a didactic educational venue.
Motherhood and HIV/AIDS as Sites of Action
Pamela J. Downe
Ongoing discussions about feminist anthropology as an active and relevant sub-discipline largely rely on historical comparisons that pit the political fervour of the past against what is deemed to be the less defined and increasingly disengaged feminist anthropology of today. In this paper, I argue that the prevailing tone of pessimism surrounding feminist anthropology should be met with a critical response that: (1) situates the current characterization of the sub-discipline within broader debates between second- and third-wave feminism; and (2) considers the ways in which the supposed incongruity between theories of deconstruction and political engagement undermines the sub-discipline's strengths. Throughout this discussion, I consider what an ethnographic study of motherhood in the context of HIV/AIDS can offer as we take stock of feminist anthropology's current potential and future possibility.
Pathways towards Another Aesthetic in Anthropology
The emergence of modern scientific thought has been characterised by a separation from the realm of art. Among others, German anthropologist Ina-Maria Greverus since the 1970s, in the context of the worldwide critique of the discipline’s formats, pioneered new approaches to articulate anthropological work and findings with and through artistic practices.
Some Pitfalls in a Development Consultancy
What does it mean to do engaged anthropology? How is it different from that which is disengaged? Does it mean being some kind of activist or advocate? Is it a form of 'action research'? More pertinently for the purposes of this article, are anthropologists who do consultancies also 'engaged'? This article discusses what happened when in 2003 I accepted an invitation from a Scandinavian women's organisation to go to Tanzania the following year and take part in an evaluation of the women's group they had been funding. Here I consider not only some of the perhaps inevitable pitfalls, contradictions and difficulties of carrying out such a consultancy but also the extent to which anthropologists themselves are part of the encounter and thus inevitably part of the material of fieldwork. It is shown that being an engaged anthropologist is a risky business before, during and after such projects. This does not mean that engagement should be avoided, and indeed such a stance may provide exceptional insights which one of greater detachment might miss.
History, Practice and Future Challenges
The article contextualizes the educational, political and social context in which the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma programme was established and describes the place of social anthropology within the general aims of the diploma programme as a whole. The article then discusses the current diploma curriculum for social and cultural anthropology and the issues arising from this for the teaching and learning of anthropology in a global context, including teacher support and comparisons with other national pre-university educational qualifications. Some of the perceptions of the IB diploma among teachers, students and parents are also briefly discussed.
Anthropological Knowledge and Practice in Global Health
Rodney Reynolds and Isabelle L. Lange
Since the turn of the millennium, conceptual and practice-oriented shifts in global health have increasingly given emphasis to health indicator production over research and interventions that emerge out of local social practices, environments and concerns. In this special issue of Anthropology in Action, we ask whether such globalised contexts allow for, recognise and sufficiently value the research contributions of our discipline. We question how global health research, ostensibly inter- or multi-disciplinary, generates knowledge. We query ‘not-knowing’ practices that inform and shape global health evidence as influenced by funders’ and collaborators’ expectations. The articles published here provide analyses of historical and ethnographic field experiences that show how sidelining anthropological contributions results in poorer research outcomes for the public. Citing experiences in Latin America, Angola, Senegal, Nigeria and the domain of global health evaluation, the authors consider anthropology’s roles in global health.
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.
The Pre-university Anthropology Education Movement in the United States
Colleen Popson and Guven Witteveen
To anyone who has taught anthropology to middle and high-school students in the United States, the discipline's value to intellectual and social development is undeniable. These educators are the engine of a small, long-lived movement to make anthropology a core part of the curriculum that students are exposed to during middle and high school, before they enter college or university. Despite valiant efforts and because of some very difficult challenges - (public misperception of the field, lack of institutional support, and the nature of the U.S. public education system) - the movement has not caught the momentum it needs to induce major changes. Nonetheless, new opportunities and some limited pockets of success offer good reasons to be cautiously optimistic. Rather than trying to compel entire school districts or education departments to adopt anthropology courses and standards, advocates are now focused on leveraging such opportunities to introduce as many educators and students as possible to anthropology.