Anthropologists worry that the tsunami could be the final blow to some cultures that were already thought to be endangered.
“My suspicion is that we may be seeing … perhaps as many as three or four different nations (specific indigenous populations) that would be completely wiped out,” says Dr. Rudolph Ryser, chairman of the U.S.-based Center for World Indigenous Studies.
He notes that tiny islands that dot the west coast of Sumatra and the east coast of India are so close to the epicenter of the earthquake that they would have been hit within minutes. Many have no high ground to provide refuge. >> continue
Indian authorities search for aboriginal tribe on remote islands (ABC News Online)
antropologi.info takes a break and will be back in the beginning of January 2005. God jul og godt nytt år! (as one says in Norwegian...)
Richard B. Lee, Natural History, December 1969
“Eating Christmas in the Kalahari” by Richard Borshay Lee was published in the December 1969 issue of Natural History. It is one of the’s most frequently reprinted stories. In the final paragraph, Lee wondered what the future would hold for the !Kung Bushmen with whom he had shared a memorable Christmas feast. >> continue (pdf, link updated)
Every year, the people of the Trobriand Islands in the Solomon Sea off Papua New Guinea exchange ornamental seashell armbands and necklaces. It is a social ritual that according to Malinowski cements social bonds between fishing communities. Strange as it may seem, this tradition has inspired a recent new service from communications company Vodafone.
Anthropologist Richard Harper has been working for Vodafone in the UK since 2003, where he has adapted kula-style gift-giving rules to encourage social bonding among groups of people in phone-texting networks. Under his guidance, Vodafone has launched its Postcard service. You send an MMS picture-and-text message to Vodafone, who will print it as a postcard and mail it to whomever you want. Like the islanders' gifts, Vodafone's postcards are permanent - unlike text messages.
The idea is that the recipient will then want to send a postcard of their own, perhaps to a third party, and so draw more subscribers into the network. Exchanging more valuable artefacts, such as music or video files, may be next. >> continue
(link via Purse Lip Square)
>> Critical comment by anthropologist Alex Golub: "Contemporary america’s obsession with the idea of selfless giving has once more led it to misappropriate anthropological theories of reciprocity and distort some well-known ethnographic facts."
St Petersburg's Museum of Ethnography has decided to illustrate the history of ethnic groups living in Russia with an exhibition of trousers worn as part of their traditional costumes.
On display there are 70 pairs of trousers representing Turkic, Finno-Ugric and Baltic groups who inhabit the area from the Baltic Sea to the southern Urals.
The style of trousers reflects the environment people lived in and their daily routine, so they tell you more about the given culture than, say, a jacket or hat that often serve decorative rather than practical purposes, says the curator, Yelena Kolchina >> continue
SEEKING REFUGE, SEEKING RIGHTS, SEEKING A FUTURE 3rd Annual International Forced Migration Student Conference will take place 13-14 May 2005, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford (UK) >> continue
Four of this year's conference papers are available online
Liana Lewis (Nottingham Trent University):
“What is to be a Refugee (and) Child in the Island? How do Refugee Children experience their lives in the 21st Century England.”
Anastasia Dimitriadou (The Institute of Education, London):
“An exploration of refugees’ experiences as English language students in Further education colleges.”
Nida Bikmen (University of New York):
“Memories of homeland, residues of ethnic violence. How different discourses about the history of ethnic relations in Bosnia affect interethnic attitudes and contacts in exile.”
Alexander Betts (Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford University):
“The International Relations of the 'New' Extra-Territorial Approaches to Refugee Protection: Explaining the Policy Initiatives of the UK Government and UNHCR.”
In the third and final part of his series, NPR's Joe Palca talks to two anthropologists about how men are coping with changes in modern society and whether they're sliding down the social ladder as women make their way up. >> continue
One more film to be viewed on the website of Visual Anthropology in Tromsø/Norway - Independent by Espen Marius Foss:
"This story is about two young Norwegian men with physical handicaps who seek the good life in a technological world. Dagfinn runs his own computer-enterprise, but dreams about a job in a bigger company. Geir Ove has a sound assistance-system, but lacks necessary aids to write another novel.
The film addresses the new possibilities and limits for participation and creative existence within the "Information Society". It also questions our craving for individual independency." >> continue and watch the video (Broadband only)
More anthropological Films online