"AAA proposes changes to code of ethics

AAA proposes changes to code of ethics

By Rex on Ethics

The AAA Public Affairs blog has a long post by AAA president Setha Low on proposed changes to the AAA code of ethics that deals with the hue and cry raised at the AAA meetings last year. Why not give the AAA blogs some love, head over, and comment over there?

Anthropology Program Voted Independent
Georgetown University The Hoya – Washington,DC,USA
The university’s board of directors approved the proposal for the anthropology program to permanently split from the sociology department as its own

The story behind an HTS picture

Major Robert Holbert was part of the first Human Terrain Team deployed to Khost province, Afghanistan, in early 2007. I first saw his picture when I was reading an article about the Human Terrain System by Roberto González (“‘Human Terrain’: Past, Present, and Future Applications,” Anthropology Today 24(1):21).

 U.S. Army Maj. Robert Holbert takes notes as he talks and drinks tea with local school and Andar Special Needs School administrators during a cordon and search of Nani, Afghanistan, on June 2, 2007. Holbert is attached to the Human Terrain Team, 4th Brigade Combat Team.    DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Michael L. Casteel, U.S. Army. (Released)

U.S. Army Maj. Robert Holbert takes notes as he talks and drinks tea with local school and Andar Special Needs School administrators during a cordon and search of Nani, Afghanistan, on June 2, 2007. Holbert is attached to the Human Terrain Team, 4th Brigade Combat Team. DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Michael L. Casteel, U.S. Army. (Released)

Vered Amit on rethinking networks

The social anthropologist Vered Amit (Concordia, Montreal) has in recent years conducted research among geographically highly mobile consultants who are nominally based in Montreal and frequently travel to developing countries. Drawing from Granovetter’s (1973) classic notion of ‘the strength of weak ties’ (i.e. the idea that friends of friends and other such contacts rather than close kin or friends are more useful for certain purposes such as finding a job or a partner), Amit argues that  these itinerant professionals’ occupational networks are shaped through the dispersal of reputations and ‘episodic mobilisation of instrumental and frequently transient relationships’ (Amit 2007: 57), i.e. through the mobilisation of weak ties.

The anthropology of YouTube.
By agolis

How the Human Terrain System people think

“They’re natural born killers. They’re good, they’re lethal, they’re fantastic. I love working with them", says Major Robert Holbert. He was part of the first Human Terrain Team in Afghanistan in 2007 and tells his story in an fascinating interview with Lisa Wynn at Culture Matters.

The interview gives insight in the way HTS-people ("cultural advisors” for the US-army) think. And it uncovers that their way of thinking only works within their own cosmology – only as long as you accept that it is okay to colonize / occupy Afghanistan or Iraq:

Anthropologists author book on new method for studying religion
Columbia Missourian – Columbia,MO,USA
BY Stephanie Rapp COLUMBIA — An MU anthropology professor is part of a research team looking at new ways of studying religion. The team’s approach deals

Anthropology and strategic studies
There is one central lesson that cultural anthropology has to offer. It is the lesson of Franz Boas, who founded American anthropology, of his students Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict, and of their intellectual descendants

How gaming wealth is reviving American Indian traditions

By Lorenz


Gaming is big business for many Native American tribes. For the Seminole tribe in Florida, gaming wealth enabled them to revive traditions and celebrate their culture in previously unimaginable ways, anthropologist Jessica R. Cattelino writes in her new book High Stakes: Florida Seminole Gaming and Sovereignty.

Jeans in Socialist Hungary

By Haidy L Geismar

Ferenc Hammer, Institute for Art Theory and Media Studies Eötvös Loránd University. Hungary

The project is an exploration of meanings of jeans in Hungary’s Communist past, articulated through ways of its use, its regulation regimes in the family or in public settings, and an array of representations, let them be personal stories, family photographs, novel scenes, record covers or newspaper articles. The reseach focuses on the period of 1960-1985. The main source of the inquiry is about 130 personal stories that people sent to me to my „call for cooperation“ published online and in the press, in which I asked people to tell me the story of their first pair of jeans in great detail.

A Crisis of Vast Quantities in Academia?

By Maximilian Forte on work ethic

Mark Bauerline’s essay, “Reading, Writing, and the Profession,” in The Chronicle Review: Brainstorm for this date deals with the increasingly apparent problem of expecting students to read a lot, and fast, while expecting faculty to publish a lot, and fast, a double crisis of overproduction and increased consumption that is part of the commercialization and industrialization of intellect. Instruction that emphasizes high speed reading of mass quantities (I am certainly guilty of this in my own courses), “hinders slow reading — close reading, textual exegesis, explication, conceptual analysis, deconstruction.” Of course, as part of the inflation process we also have publishing thrown into “high gear”:

AAA Ethics Code Changes & the Militarization of Anthropology: “Imperialism makes you a dick”

By Maximilian Forte on Human Terrain System

I think this post, “AAA Ethics Code Changes,” which deals with anthropological ethics especially in connection with the Human Terrain System and in other applied settings, is excellent for being very direct, concise, and gets straight to all of the most important points in the critical analysis of the Human Terrain System and its threats to local hosts, anthropologists themselves, and to these things we call the anthropology profession and discipline. The author is a recent graduate from a B.A. program in anthropology, somebody who obviously understood the essence of much of what we do.

Bonus points: yes, imperialism really does make you a dick.

More on Anthropological Research Ethics and Association Politics

By Maximilian Forte on Wired

Review of Johannes Fabian’s Ethnography as Commentary

By Maximilian Forte on writing

The Three Bloggers…and Tweeting versus Telepathy

I am writing about an event that I advertised earlier here, Johannes Fabian’s address to the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal, co-organized with the Department of Anthropology at McGill University. The event lasted from 5:00 to 7:00pm and was heavily attended, with at least 60 people present, from at least three separate anthropology departments in Montreal (including those from the Université de Montréal). In addition, three of us are anthropology bloggers, all tied to the Department at Concordia: Owen Wiltshire (Another Anthro Blog), Alexandre Enkerli (Disparate), and myself. We all took notes, and Owen also recorded the event on a digital audio recorder. Afterwards, thinking I had a great idea, I encouraged Owen (not that he needed to be encouraged) to post his own essay on the event, and then navigated over to Alexandre to do the same…except that, as the event closed, Alexandre declared that his post was already done. I found out why his head was down for the whole event: he was Tweeting his notes straight to his blog from his iPhone, a device that I saw for the first time as he held it, a tiny thing that looks like it would make typing impossible. And yet, he was all done (see his Twitter blog here).


How (Not) to Signal “Stop”

As Scott found, this version of the story was repeated in an article about human terrain teams from the Boston Globe, complete with this picture (from a US Marine publication):


The US forces’ superficial understanding of local tribal customs and ancient ethnic and sectarian rivalries has hampered their efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. An outstretched arm, palm facing forward, for example, means “stop” in most Western cultures, but in Iraq it’s considered a sign of welcome. Confusion over the signal has had deadly consequences, leading US troops to open fire at Iraqi civilians who didn’t stop at checkpoints.

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