Anthropology roundup: “AAA Membership Votes Down Academic Boycott Resolution

AAA Membership Votes Down Academic Boycott Resolution
June 6, 2016: In a close vote, the AAA membership voted against the resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Fifty-one percent of AAA’s eligible members voted, the largest turnout in AAA history, with 2,423 members opposing the resolution, and 2,384 voting to support it.

The membership has spoken and we hear them. We appreciate this was a difficult vote on an important and contentious issue and are especially proud that our members participated in knowledgeable, thoughtful, respectful debate throughout the process, and that AAA offers a model for informed engagement on difficult subjects. Now is the time for us to come together as an association steadfastly committed to advancing scholarly knowledge, to finding solutions to human and social problems, to giving voice to the underserved and to serving as a guardian of human rights.
AAA members are generally in agreement that serious threats to academic freedom and human rights have been noted in Israel-Palestine as a result of Israeli government policies and practices, and that AAA should respond to these threats. The AAA Executive Board has approved a set of actions that are aligned with the Association’s core values and mission as a professional society and in accordance with the findings, guiding principles, and list of possible actions detailed in theTask Force on Israel Palestine (TFIP) report. The Board-approved actions include:
  • Issuing a statement of censure of the Israeli government.
  • Issuing a letter to relevant authorities in the US government identifying the ways in which US resources and policies contribute to policies in Israel/Palestine that violate academic freedom and disenfranchise Palestinians.
  • Approving ways to provide active resource support for Palestinian and Israeli academics as well as visiting scholars in the region.
To view the full set of actions click here.
By means of these actions, AAA will contribute to raising critical awareness of the dynamics of peace and conflict in the region, draw attention to the disproportionate suffering of the Palestinian people as a result of the Occupation and what can be done about it, and expand the space for dialogue on these sensitive and important human rights and academic freedom issues. AAA believes that these actions can contribute to the enrichment of the health and welfare of all citizens in the region, increased circulation of anthropological scholarship, eased restrictions on scholars’ travel, increased freedom of expression for Palestinian and Israeli anthropologists, and increased dialogue about how archaeology is used in political arguments.
Please contact Jeff Martin ( with questions.
Members of the American Anthropological Association narrowly vote down a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions.
Ramadan Diaries: Introduction

Ramadan Diaries takes you into the Ramadan experience of two students of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, Oguz Alyanak and Dick Powis. They will be fasting amongst Muslims in two Francophone contexts, Strasbourg, France and Dakar, Senegal, respectively. By sharing brief notes on the fasting experience, the aim is to provide a reflexive account of participant observation as it is undertaken by two scholars with distinct backgrounds and field sites.

Roundtable Report: “Globalization of Asian Cuisines”

To celebrate the publication of “Globalization of Asian Cuisines: Transnational Networks and Culinary Contact Zones,” three of the edited volume’s authors—Stephanie Assmann, James Farrer, and David Wank—gathered for a roundtable discussion on June 2 at Sophia University, Tokyo. While the book contains chapters that examine different Asian cuisines in different contexts—Sidney Cheung writes about crayfish in China, Krishnendu Ray about “Indian ocean cuisine,” and Keiichi Kawaguchi about Japanese food in Italy, for example—for this roundtable Wank, Farrer, and Assmann chose to talk about globalization and Japanese cuisine, offering insights based on their research in China, the US, and Japan. They observed that the globalization of Japanese cuisine is being led primarily by non-Japanese actors, with the Japanese state trying to shape the process of diffusion.

Teaching Food and Culture. Edited by Candice Lowe Swift and Richard Wilk. Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press, Inc., 2015. 209 pp. US$39.95, paper. ISBN 978-1-62958-127-9.

Review by Chelsea Wentworth, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Anthropology, High Point University

In Teaching Food and Culture Swift and Wilk present a compilation of papers that use food “to transform research into pedagogy,” arguing that food is a productive medium to

In the course of 2015, Skala Sykamnias, a fishing village and tourist idyll on the northern coast of Lesbos, by accident of its geographical location, became the informal gate into Europe for more than 200.000 refugees. In this article the author analyzes the massive flows of people and things that transverse his fieldwork site from different directions: the great diversity of actors enacting what are often dissonant ideals and strategies; the various theatres of operation and reception ‘structures’; both frontline and back stage; and the debates that revolve around humanitarian action in the region. The local community is falling apart whilst to those incoming it represents a gateway to freedom. It is becoming a mini theatre of conflicts that echo wider debates on the political future of Europe.

A Letter to the AA Regarding its World Anthropology Section on Israel

[Savage Minds welcomes the following invited post by Matan Kaminer. Matan is a doctoral candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is working on his dissertation, an ethnographic exploration of the conjunction between settler colonialism and global migration on the farms of Israel’s Arabah region, where the majority of the workforce is made up of migrants from Northeast Thailand (Isaan). He has been active in the Israeli conscientious objectors’ movement, in national and municipal politics and in migrant solidarity work in Israel for the past fifteen years.],204,203,200_.jpgWacquant, L. J. D. (2004). Body & Soul: Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer.Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

Can anthropology save the world?
UC Berkeley (blog)
Professor Nancy Scheper-Hughes gave the commencement address at the Department of Anthropology graduation ceremony, May 19. Here are excerpts from her speech: … We are living in difficult times facing an out of control, escalating wars in the Middle .

Bonnie Kaiser’s Work Blends Anthropology, Epidemiology and Humanities
Duke Today
Post-doctoral fellow Bonnie Kaiser joined the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) last August after completing a doctorate inanthropology and a master’s in public health in epidemiology at Emory University. Kaiser conducts global mental health

Rebecca Miller on Making Ficto-Critical Anthropology Funny in Maggie’s Plan

Moore’s Georgette is an anthropologist; Hawke’s John specializes in the ficto-critical variety of her field. As if it weren’t hard enough writing for passive-aggressive scholars, writer-director Rebecca Miller managed to make them comedic. Using an

Can anthropology overcome its imperial past?
The Electronic Intifada
In 1989, the queer theory professor Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, a founder of the field, presented a paper, “Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl,” at the annual gathering of the Modern Language Association (MLA). Although few read or heard the paper – the .

Domestic Policy: The Resolutions Will Not Be Televised

This is the fifth post in a sequence called Strange Rumblings in the Meritocracy.

Given that we as a discipline seem to feel empowered to develop a foreign policy, I figured I’d offer a few domestic policy ideas, a few resolutions that might take care of some our own local inequities.

UA Anthropology Students Size Up South Tucson
UANews (press release)
The mapping began after Kerri Lopez, the community life director for House of Neighborly Service, approached Maribel Alvarez, an associate professor in the UA School of Anthropology and the Southwest Center, about involving students in the process.

Middle school students learn about forensic anthropology
UW Oshkosh Today
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Assistant Professor ofAnthropology Jordan Karsten and 10 of his students set up a forensic dig for Lombardi Middle School students on Wednesday, May 18. Barb Nelson, an eighth-grade earth and space science teacher at


David Whyte, UCL Anthropology


Unpacking at Duggie. Photo: David Whyte


The Birth of the “Neanderthals”

Neanderthal - Paul Hudson Flickr
When first found, “Neanderthal man” remains were thought by some scientists to be from a diseased modern human. However, upon examining the Gibraltar skull, George Busk argued that the Neanderthal skull represented a separate species. Paul Hudson/Flickr

Lao Camp Food (Part 1)

I recently spent several days camping with a bomb clearance team in southern Laos. Quick history: Laos, per capita, is the most heavily bombed country on Earth. Between 1964 and 1973, U.S. forces flew more than 580,000 bombing missions over the country in an effort to root out Communists and stop the supply chain along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Hundreds of millions of bombs were dropped; up to 30 percent did not explode. And they’re still in the ground. Old American bombs have killed and injured more than 20,000 Laotians since the end of the war. It’s dangerous to plow a field, build a road, install a toilet, or dig a ditch. So, every day in Laos, clearance teams scour the soil, looking for bombs.

Report: 20 Israeli Academics Encourage AnthropologyAssociation’s Boycott of Israel
Algemeiner – A new report compiled by Dr. Shahar Golan of the right-wing Zionist organization Im Tirtzu has revealed that 20 Israeli academics are encouraging the American AnthropologicalAssociation (AAA) to boycott Israel. The AAA — the world’s largest .

VIDEO: Did Neanderthals create stone rings?

Stone rings thought to be created by Neanderthals have been found in France

The Domesticated Hominin

“I do not think any spectacle can be more interesting, than the first sight of Man in his primitive wildness.”

—Charles Darwin, letter to J.S. Henslow, April 11, 1833

March 3 was World Wildlife Day, and that got me thinking: Are humans still “wild”? If not, when were human ancestors no longer “wildlife”? In other words, what event or transition in human evolutionary history marks the “domestication” of hominins?

Nature vs. nuture? Both are important, anthropologist argues
ND Newswire
Evolutionary science stresses the contributions biology makes to our behavior. Some anthropologists try to understand how societies and histories construct our identities, and others ask about how genes and the environment do the same thing. Which is

This is the start of a new series in the history of anthropology where I will document the way that grad school in anthropology has always sucked, there have never been jobs, and it is crazy to expect to make a living off of it. The reason is not neoliberalism, Obama, or anything else — or at least, these are not the only reasons grad school in anthropology has sucked. It is important to understand that wide variety of reasons that grad school has sucked, and the diverse methods by which people have grappled with this fact.

On Decolonising Anthropology

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the Decolonizing Anthropology series.

By Zodwa Radebe

Decolonisation can be understood as the process that decolonises what was colonised; not what was used to colonise. Therefore, it is absurd to think that anthropology can be used as a tool to decolonise because it was used to colonise. We need to unthink anthropology and imagine something like decolonised ethnic studies, which Maldonado-Torres explains as: “studies of and from the lived experience of the damned, that are able not only to offer positivistic analysis and corrected facts about certain communities but can also offer a radical critique of the sciences.” (2009:127)

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