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  11:15:20, by admin   . Categories: technology, Africa, language

First Swahili PC office suite released in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


The office suite was translated from the English version of OpenOffice.org, an open source suite based on Sun Microsystems' StarOffice. This is the first ever release of a word processor in Swahili. The translation effort required translating 18,000 English strings, made up of one or more words, many of which have previously had no direct Swahili equivalent. As part of the translation, the team developed a glossary of 1500 technical words in Swahili. >> continue


  18:42:23, by admin   . Categories: Asia, gender, journal articles / papers

India is not USA : The Scientific Gender Gap Should Be Understood Comparatively

Carol Mukhopadhyayis, professor of anthropology at San Jose State, Anthropology News March 2005(AAA)

Drawing upon ethnographic and questionnaire data from four urban areas in India, I took a comparative look at the scientific gender gap. My Indian expert consultants reject American notions of gendered brains, of mathematics as inherently “masculine” and cannot understand why American girls fear academic success or experience gender identity conflicts from excelling in mathematics.

Comparative research raises questions about the applicability of American theories to the scientific gender gap in the US. It suggests that these applications are mired in taken-for-granted American cultural models of gender and causality that prevent us from seeing alternative theories.

American expert models are virtually devoid of social context. Individuals appear to select activities, academic subjects, and occupations in a social void, in a world of infinite choices. >> continue (link updated)

  18:08:11, by admin   . Categories: culture traditions, language

Knowledge Fades As Africa Languages Die

Sun-Sentinel / AP

A U.N. Conference on Trade and Development report on protecting traditional knowledge argues that beyond a devastating impact on culture, the death of a language wipes out centuries of know-how in preserving ecosystems -- leading to grave consequences for biodiversity. >> continue

Modern technology revives traditional languages


  09:40:28, by admin   . Categories: development empowerment, migration

Research: How migration fights poverty

A new special by ID 21 , hosted by Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, UK, deals with how migration fights poverty and asks: Migration and asylum policies in crisis: time for a rethink?

They provide short summaries and links to the original sources, mostly working papers that are avaiable online in full length.

Exploiting remittances: good for Mexico’s development?
More and more money is being sent back home by economic migrants and so the interest in how remittances can help fight poverty is growing. The total value of remittances world wide is estimated at over 100 billion US dollars per year. In 2001 Mexico became the nation with the largest share of remittances as its workers sent home 9,920 million US dollars.
Research from York University in Canada proposes a broader understanding of migrant remittances. Using data from Mexico the author argues the importance of non-economic dimensions of remittances particularly its social and political implications, the differences between family and community-based (or collective remittances) and the difficulties in channelling them towards savings and investment. >> continue

Migration and asylum policies in crisis: time for a rethink?
A policy briefing from the World Institute for Development Economic Research argues that more needs to be done to understand the relationship between globalisation, migration pressures and the potential role of development assistance in reducing migration. >> continue


Migration and development - a report from Tonga

antropologi.info links on migration (in English and Norwegian)


  10:45:07, by admin   . Categories: indigenous people / minorities, Asia, anthropology (general)

Malaysian indigenous people seek land, cultural rights

Yahoo Asia News / AP

Malaysia's indigenous tribes are hoping that a planned revision of a colonial-era law will grant them ownership of forests that their ancestors inhabited for more than 10,000 years, activists said.

They say the centuries-old culture and lifestyle of peninsular Malaysia's Orang Asli, or "Original People," have been threatened by developments such as airports, dams and highways that force tribes to move out of their homes _ located in forests owned by the state _ into semi-urban settings.

"Our main concern is land," said Juli Edo, an anthropology professor at Kuala Lumpur's University Malaya who belongs to an Orang Asli tribe. "We want a legal backup for the right to own land," he said Wednesday. >> continue

Documents, films, tapes and other recordings relevant to Orang Asli peoples and cultures(link via AAA)


Disney-Film depicts indigenous people as involved in cannibalism


The producers of "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" are eagerly gearing up to film the sequels. But the project, due to be released on Jul. 7, 2006, is already proving to be a problem, as the descendants of the Caribs, historians and others are objecting to scenes depicting these indigenous people as involved in cannibalism.

Brinsley Samaroo, head of the history department of the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), dismisses the claim of cannibalism as a "European myth". He told IPS that it was nothing but "manufactured history" by the Europeans who came across the Caniba, a tribe found in North and South America. "The Caniba tribe was very hostile and resisting the Europeans very stoutly and in order to warn other Europeans about this, the early explorers spread the myth that the Caniba tribe eat people," he said.

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Historical and Archaeological Society has called on movie-goers to boycott the sequel unless the "grossly offensive" scenes depicting the Caribs as cannibals are removed from the script. >> continue

In the IPS-article, there's also an link to a Brief history of cannibal controversies

We do not eat people (Trinidad News)

UPDATE: More news on this controversy at warauduati, among others Boycott Disney, Pirates of the Caribbean and Racist Stereotypes in Pirates of the Caribbean


  23:27:02, by admin   . Categories: religion cosmology, Us and Them, Asia

CORRECTED: Muslims in Calcutta: Towards a middle-class & moderation

The Statesman, Calcutta

Slowly, a little warily maybe, Muslims of the city are making efforts to break out of the stereotypes and move out of ghettos. For a community mired in financial quicksand and plagued by poverty and lack of education, among other things, this is a tough task. And, systematic propaganda painting Indian Muslims as the Other in the psyche of the majority community makes the task even more difficult, felt Dr Mohammed Khalil Abbas Siddiqui, noted scholar and anthropologist.

“A push is required. Muslims are exploited as vote banks and then left high and dry. Also, the majority community has not made a serious effort to find out about Muslims or what their religion is all about,” said Mr Shafi, management and training consultant. Anybody listening? If not, start now. For, every seventh man in the city is a Muslim. >> continue

Slowly But Surely, Calcutta’s Muslims Shine (IslamOnline, 2.3.05)


UPDATED - The future lies behind: How languages reflect our conception of time

Laura Spinney, The Guardian

For the Aymara people living in the Andes, the past lies ahead and the future lies behind. The Aymara word for past is transcribed as nayra , which literally means eye, sight or front. The word for future is q"ipa , which translates as behind or the back. Over the years, rumours have surfaced of similar strangeness in other languages.

The researcher is Rafael Núñez, a cognitive scientist at the University of California, San Diego. With his collaborator, linguist Eve Sweetser, he will publish his findings later this year.

"This Aymara finding is big news," says Vyvyan Evans, a theoretical cognitive linguist at the University of Sussex. "It is the first really well-documented example of the future and past being structured in a totally different way from lots of other languages, including English." >> continue

An introduction to the language, history, religion and culture of the Aymara people by Jorge Pedraza Arpasi

UPDATE (28.2.05):
Anthropologist Kerim Friedman writes "I can't understand the fuss being made over the Aymara people living in the Andes who supposedly have a unique spacial conception of time. My guess is that this is simply another example of reporters mangling academic research in order to make the story more exciting." >> continue

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