Some faculty at Howard University write:
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
This is a Call for Action regarding the possible closing of the Anthropology Program at Howard University. On September 23, 2010, Howard University President Sidney A. Ribeau announced his intention to cut certain programs as part of an effort to restructure and streamline the curriculum. Among the targeted programs is Anthropology. The President recommends that we become a specialization under Sociology or a part of an as-yet undefined interdisciplinary major.
Philippa Foot died at her home in Oxford, England, on Oct. 3, her 90th birthday (see the NYT here and the Guardian here, and note the difference). In her career, she defended the view that moral judgments have a rational basis and that they can be said to be true or false. Her writing also helped establish virtue ethics as a leading approach to the study of moral problems. She insisted that virtues like courage, wisdom and temperance are indispensable to human life and the foundation stones of morality.
I recently finished reading The Trashing of Margaret Mead: Anatomy of an anthropological controversy by Paul Shankman. I?m reviewing the book for Anthropological Forum and a full write-up will appear there, but I wanted to take a second to write up my impressions for Savage Minds since I think the book is definitely worth a nod.
By Heather Horst and Daniel Miller
On August 25th, we held the very first ?Digital Anthropology? workshop in Maynooth, Ireland. When we sent out the Call for Proposals last spring, we were uncertain as to the extent of interest and the potential response to the call. We were pleased to receive a large pool (more than expected!) of submissions; a sign that we believe represents a strong indication of the increasing interest in this domain. Indeed, we saw this point was reinforced by the vast number of media and technology-focused papers interspersed throughout the EASA conference ? never before have we attended an anthropology conference with so many media papers to choose from, or have to miss to attend our own workshop(s)! For our own panel, we decided to select papers loosely focused around the intentionally amorphous term ?Digital Anthropology? in order to include as wide a range as possible in order to illustrate the eclectic nature of incipient work in this field. We, in turn, organized the day so that the morning session would focus on topics that would foreground the issues that arose from a more self-conscious sense of becoming a digital world, while the afternoon was directed more towards the wider field of anthropology and more classic ethnographic terrain (see original abstracts below).
This is the first in a two part series on recent examples of the Human Terrain System in the military?s own media, and in military-embedded media. The second one is ?Burlesque Afghanistan: Pulp Fiction from an Embedded ?Reporter?.?
?Human Terrain Teams: Mapping a course for a peaceful, prosperous Iraq? by Pfc. Jennifer Spradlin (U.S. Army Official Homepage, 01 October 2010) is obviously an example of the U.S. military?s own public-oriented media efforts, and one cannot expect an ?unbiased? nor accurate picture of anything that is projected, other than a preferred and official view of what they would like you to see and understand. In other words, in the absence of at least a minimum of skepticism, and preferably critique, one becomes a mere extension and tool of military media. We therefore need to act as the ?balance? that is clearly lacking in such one-sided pieces of official propaganda.
?The need now is to get a decent contracting company in there that is actually focused on the job and they just might prove some worth as a force multiplier.?
On 22 September 2010 The U.S. Army Contracting Command Center at Fort Eustis posted a Sources Sought request (fbo.gov) to support the U.S. Army Human Terrain System. The contract ceiling for the effort is in the $7 million range. The deadline to submit information to the US Army is 11 October 2010.
from OPEN ANTHROPOLOGY by Maximilian Forte
Huffington Post (blog)
Joe Nalven, an artist/educator who teaches anthropology at the University of California at San Diego, is a man of many talents
Almost as if they were determined to totally ruin all of my theses about the resources poured into military propaganda, the Human Terrain System has just launched another Web 1.0 site?except this one is better, because it has an image slider. Having reviewed all of the images, all I can say is that HTS apparently is fun and games for the whole family. The only elements missing from the assortment are: bubble blowing, bobbing for apples, wet t-shirt contests, and party hats.
This nonsense needs to end. Over 40 articles on HTS have been written over a two-plus year time frame and there is no end in sight?though there should be. These articles are based on 90 sources with more communicating. U.S. Army civilian and military leaders involved with the U.S. Army Human Terrain System need to take control and stop the madness that leads to KIA?s and WIA?s and personnel warfare within the HTS program. First, they need to make peace with their own people (the harshest critics of HTS) and treat them like professionals. Second, they need to make amends with the academic community. Third, they need to drastically improve recruiting, training and retention of personnel. Fourth, they need to be frank about the purpose of the program which is to understand and pacify/terminate indigenous threats to U.S. national security interests whether one or many.
Is this task beyond U.S. Army capabilities?
A message from SAFN President Janet Chrzan:
I hope you are all getting very excited about the upcoming meeting in New Orleans? I know I am. We?ve had a few messages go out about the SAFN events and sessions, and invite everyone to come to the 2010 Distinguished Speaker talk and SAFN business meeting, which will occur on Friday evening November 19 from 6 pm until 7:30 pm, to be followed immediately by a joint reception with Culture and Agriculture and Anthropology and the Environment.