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
This paper examines the emergence in Sri Lanka of transcultural thinking about environmental issues as well as the activism it engenders by examining the role of the Anglophone Sri Lankan elite as the chief protagonists historically of environmentalism in the country. It also examines one of Sri Lanka's leading NGOs, Environmental Foundation Ltd. (EFL) as an example of the activism of this class. EFL's perspective on environmental issues has its origins in the transformations wrought by colonialism in the country's class structure and in the introduction of European ideas of nature to the country's newly emergent middle-class. Modelled on the Natural Resources Defense Council of the United States, EFL was a new kind of environmental organization in Sri Lanka and a response to globalization and Sri Lanka's increasing integration into the global economy. Unlike the handful of environmental NGOS that existed in the late seventies, which were essentially pressure groups, EFL was conceived, on the model of NRDC, as a public interest law firm, and drew on international models to frame its arguments about the application of the law in the cause of environmental protection. This paper examines how these various factors—the social class of the activists and the processes of institution building—shaped a cosmopolitan environmental discourse in Sri Lanka whose roots lie in urban Sri Lankan middle class culture as it emerged and was transformed during colonial rule and in the various discourses of globalization that have been drawn on by Sri Lankan activists to craft their own arguments.
Heather Came, Joey MacDonald and Maria Humphries
Aotearoa (also known as New Zealand) is a jurisdiction that must respond to the inequitable elements of the multifaceted oppressions of its colonizing past and present if it is to live up to its claim to being an honorable nation. Early intensification of colonizing practices embedded European values over those of the indigenous people with lasting devastating effects. In search of a national integrity, activist traditions of exposure, resistance, dissent and non-violent direct action to injustices are longstanding in this land. Activist scholarship however, is a more recent phenomenon. We explore the potential of activist scholarship to contribute more directly to transformations that will embed justice in the diverse sociopolitical economic context of New Zealand. We outline what we understand by activist scholarship and how we believe it can strengthen both sociopolitical activism and academic scholarship in synergistic ways. We propose seven principles of activist scholarship, generated through on-going dialogue with our activist scholar peers. We offer them as a starting point for discussion and critique until a collective statement emerges. We showcase Ngāpuhi Speaks as an example of such potential synergies.
This article seeks to explore the work of activist researchers located in social movements, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and people’s organisations with close relations to contemporary progressive grassroots struggles in a number of countries, mainly in the global South. Drawing from extensive interviews with these researchers on their processes and practice of research and knowledge production, located outside of academic institutions and partnerships, it documents their understandings about the theoretical frameworks and methodologies they employ. This article thus foregrounds articulations of actual research practices from the perspectives of activist researchers themselves. In doing so, it suggests that social movement scholars can learn more about the intellectual work within movements, including the relations between theoretical and methodological approaches and action, from a deeper engagement with the work of activist researchers outside of academia.
Claudia Mitchell and Jacqui Reid-Walsh
In September, 2008, a month after Jackie Kirk’s untimely death in Afghanistan, Claudia organized a special gathering of her class on Women, Education and Development at McGill University. The gathering was made up of Claudia’s graduate students, a group of scholars, friends of Jackie’s, her parents and other relatives. The seminar was dedicated to Jackie—looking back, but also looking ahead to what could be done to keep alive the spirit and energy of her work across so many different aspects of education in post-conflict settings, women teachers as peacebuilders and girls’ education. Similarly, this issue offers a remembrance, a celebration, and a moving forward in relation her life and work.
Jessica K. Taft. 2011. Rebel Girls: Youth Activism & Social Change Across the Americas. New York: NYU Press.
Iwona Dadej and Angelique Leszczawski-Schwerk
This article investigates International Women's Day (IWD) in Poland as a historical and current event. In 1911, the first IWD was observed by Polish feminists who belonged to a “nation without a state.“ This first celebration marked the beginning of the first stage of the history of IWD in the Polish lands. One hundred years later, women's marches took place again on 8 March. This article examines how Polish feminists celebrated and organized IWD in Galicia and Congress Poland in 1911 and beyond. The article sheds light on the relationship between the liberal and socialist women's movements in Poland during the years 1911-1914. This study contributes to Polish women's history and to the feminist memory culture of IWD. Using our analysis of the history of the origins of IWD in Poland, we also consider whether or not the demands of 1911 are still relevant to the present day.
Cody, Francis. 2013. Th e light of knowledge: Literacy activism and the politics of writing in South India. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Middleton, Townsend. 2015. Th e demands of recognition: State anthropology and ethnopolitics in Darjeeling. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
During the past 10 years, protests timed to coincide with international summits have become a recurrent phenomenon in Europe. The present article describes the protests of left radical activists during NATO's sixtieth anniversary summit in Strasbourg in 2009, paying attention to the particular relationship between form, body, and time. The article establishes a dialogue between the performative theory of Victor Turner, Viveiros de Castro's theorization of Amerindian perspectivism, and newer theories of time and the body. It is argued that during confrontations between activists and the police, a moment of bodily synchronicity emerges among activists. A skillful performance makes a temporal bodily perspective appear that overcomes the antinomies between immanence and transcendence, between the present and the future, that characterize much thought on social change.