Etim Classification Essay

Home - Newsletters - 066

Newsletter 66

November 2005

  1. Minutes of the meeting of the Executive Committee, Pardubice, Wednesday, August 31, 2005
  2. Minutes of the Permanent Council Meeting, Pardubice, September 1, 2005
  3. Minutes of the Executive Committee meeting, Pardubice, September 3, 2005
  4. IUAES Inter-Congress ‘Racism’s many Faces’, Pardubice, 29 August-3 September 2005
    by Line Algoed and Robert Gibb
  5. Report of the Commission on the Anthropology of Women
    by Faye V. Harrison
  6. Condolences to Michael J. Casimir
    by Soheila Shahshahani
  7. IUAES Membership

1. Minutes of the meeting of the IUAES Executive Committee Wednesday, August 31, 2005, Hotel Zlata Stika

Present: Prof. L. Vargas (President), Prof. P.J.M. Nas (Secretary-General), Prof. Tomoko Hamada (treasurer), Dr. P. Skalnik, Prof. F. Harrison, Prof. A. Spiegel, Dr. Soheila Shahshahani, Prof. K. Omoto.

  1. The chairman opened the meeting and welcomed all present.
  2. The delegation from China presented the state of affairs of the organization of the 2008 Kunming Congress. Topics discussed were extra congress places in China, registration fees and the emblem chosen by the Chinese organization. The presentation was distributed on paper and discussions were considered fruitful.
  3. Prof. A. Spiegel presented the organization of the Inter-Congress 2006 in Cape Town, South Africa. Topics discussed were the date, security, transport, fees, and the theme of the conference which will be: ‘Transcending Postcolonial Societies’.
  4. The Committee discussed the proposal of the Mattei Dogan Foundation to install a prize for excellence in Social Anthropology. The Secretary-General will collect information on the background of the Foundation and the source of the funds. If everything is in order the Secretary-General will, together with Dr. Soheila Shahshahani look for two more persons outside the Executive Committee to participate in a committee of three persons who will organize the prize.
  5. Three proposals for new commissions were presented. The proposal for a Commission on the Anthropology of Small Islands was accepted for Proposed Status. Its organization will be taken up until 2008 when it will be presented to the Permanent Council.
  6. The Committee did not approve the proposal to have an IUAES journal.
  7. New proposals for Inter-Congresses and the 2013 Congress were solicited. Romania, Costa Rica and Australia were mentioned.
  8. The financial situation of the IUAES was presented by the treasurer Prof. Tomoko Hamada. The situation is very pressing although the IUAES is not completely in the red. The following proposals to solve the situation are accepted:
    1. The personal rate of fee will be US$ 15 for persons from developing countries and US$ 25 for persons from developed countries.
    2. Associations will pay US$1 per person.
    3. Commissions will have to pay US$ 100 per year; these funds can be raised from their membership.
    4. Participants to the Congresses have to be individual member. The IUAES fee will be raised by the Congress organization for the non-members and paid to the IUAES Treasurer.
    5. The ISSC, ICSU and CISPH will be asked for a temporary waiver of 2 years because of financial problems to pay the contribution.

      These proposals will be presented in the next Permanent Council meeting.
  9. The meeting was closed because of the late hour. The remaining points will be discussed in the Executive’s Committee’s meeting at the last day of the Pardubice Inter-Congress.

---------- Page Top ↑

2. Minutes of the IUAES Permanent Council Meeting, September 1, 2005, Hotel Zlata Stika

Present: 30 delegates from 20 countries

  1. The President, Prof. Luis Vargas, opened the meeting and welcomed the participants. Registration of the participants and countries took place.
  2. Dr. Petr Skalnik reported on the current Inter-Congress in Pardubice. He expected no financial deficit and if there is a surplus it will be used for publication of the papers. There is a variety of interesting papers and discussions are vivid; they are recorded so that they can be used for the publication. All participants will receive a certificate of participation. Petr Skalnik and his staff were applauded for their superb work.
  3. The South African delegation presented the plans for the Cape Town Inter-Congress 2006, 3-7 December. Theme, security and transport were fully discussed. The South Africans will finalize the proposal shortly and then information will be made public.
  4. The Chinese delegation reported on the Kunming Congress, July 25-August 3, 2008 under the title ‘Humanity, Development and Diversity’. Expectation was 3000-5000 participants. It was stressed that we shall have to book planes in time and apply for visas in time because of the Olympic Games in Beijing.
  5. The Mattei Dogan Prize for excellence in Anthropology will be examined for its background by the Secretary-General and then he will take the decision to cooperate with the Foundation or not.
  6. Four new Commissions were proposed. Three have strong overlap with existing commission and were requested to make contact with these. The commission on the Anthropology of Small Islands was accorded the proposed status. After setting up the organization it may be accorded full status in 2008.
  7. In 2008 the Commissions will be evaluated on the basis of an interview with the chairperson and a report.
  8. Proposals for the next congresses after 2008 were solicited.
    1. Tomoko Hamada explained the difficult financial situation of IUAES. Four proposals were accepted by the Permanent Council:
    2. The IUAES personal fee will be US$ 15 for developing and US$ 25 for developed countries (beginning 1 January 2006).
    3. The fee for associations and institutions will be raised from 0.50 cents to US$1 per member (beginning 1 January 2006).
    4. All participants in the Congresses will have to become individual member. The organizers of the next Congresses will ask the fee from the non-members and disburse them to the IUAES.
    5. The Commissions will pay US$ 100 per year to IUAES (beginning 1 January 2006).
  9. A Committee under chairmanship of Dr. Petr Skalnik was formed to review the IUAES statement on race before the 2008 Kunming Congress.
  10. The Secretary-General will publish his statement on spying as published in ‘Anthropology Today’ on the IUAES website. Members were asked to send reactions to Peter Nas.

---------- Page Top ↑

3. Minutes of the IUAES Executive Committee meeting, September 3, 2005, Hotel Zlata Stika

Present: Prof. L. Vargas, Prof. P.J.M. Nas, Prof. Tomoko Hamada, Prof. K. Omoto, Dr. Soheila Shahshahani, Prof. A. Spiegel, Prof. F. Harrison, Dr. P. Skalnik

  1. Opening by the President, Prof. Luis Vargas
  2. Report by Dr. Petr Skalnik on the Inter-Congress ‘The many faces of racism’. All participants have had ample opportunity to speak and time for questions was sufficient. The topic was timely and important for the future. The atmosphere was friendly. Skalnik will have the papers read by an independent referee and take care of publication, if possible with an external publisher. The papers have to be sent in before 31 December 2005. All members of the Executive Committee congratulated Dr. Skalnik on the success of the Inter-Congress which was perfectly organized and a wonderful experience.
  3. As a committee for the election of IUAES officials Prof. K. Omoto and Dr. Soheila Shahshahani were chosen. Details of procedure were discussed elaborately.
  4. The IUAES has acquired Special Consultative Status with the Economy and Social Council of the UN in July 2005.
  5. The ISSC grant process was discussed and Prof. Spiegel will take steps to solicit a grant for the Cape Town Inter-Congress of 2006.
  6. The IUAES website was discussed fully.
  7. Prof. L. Vargas and Dr. Petr Skalnik will form a Committee to review the IUAES honorary membership. If there are vacant places the Committee will suggest new honorary members by the Kunming Congress.
  8. Dr. Soheila Shahshahani suggested a Statement on Religion. The Congress on Pilgrimage Cities of the Commission on Urban Anthropology was requested to draft a proposal to be discussed during the Kunming Congress 2008.
  9. The WCAA (World Council of Anthropological Associations) was discussed. It is a Latin American initiative overlapping with the IUAES. The IUAES Executive Committee expressed its concerns with this new development, which is completely superfluous except for the interactive website for anthropological information exchange. The WCAA should be part of the IUAES.
  10. The meeting was closed with thanks to the members for their kind efforts.

---------- Page Top ↑

4. Conference Report: IUAES Inter-Congress, ‘Racism’s Many Faces: Challenge for All Anthropologists and Ethnologists’, Pardubice, Czech Republic, 29 August-3 September 2005

by Line Algoed and Robert Gibb

This report constitutes two separate parts written by two delegates at the 2005 IUAES Inter-Congress that took place recently in Pardubice (Czech Republic). The first part is by Robert Gibb, lecturer at the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences of the University of Glasgow in Scotland. The second part is written by Line Algoed, Master student of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

Robert Gibb
The Inter-Congress was a remarkable event for a number of reasons. One of these was the explicit concern to analyse contemporary manifestations of racism around the world and to consider the intellectual and political challenges such phenomena pose for both physical and socio-cultural anthropologists. Although the history of the discipline (and its various branches) is bound up in complex ways with the elaboration of and opposition to racist ideologies, this issue is rarely the subject of anthropology or ethnology conferences. The 2005 Inter-Congress was unusual, therefore, in that it was entirely devoted to examining ‘Racism’s Many Faces’, and the organising committee, led by Petr Skalník, are to be applauded for this. A second striking feature of the event was its impressively international character: delegates from over 20 countries took part, although visa restrictions or delays were an initial ‘challenge’ for many of those wishing to attend. Another noteworthy aspect of the 2005 Inter-Congress was, finally, the intensive and collective nature of the discussions. These were spread over four days, each of which began with a keynote address and included up to ten further papers. All the sessions were plenary ones, facilitating the development of a collective reflection on the issues at stake. This extended into the coffee breaks and the lunches (held conveniently close to the conference venue), making the whole event a rich and stimulating if somewhat exhausting experience!

A comprehensive account of the conference proceedings is obviously impossible here (and the following presentation is necessarily selective, although hopefully not invidiously so), but it can perhaps be argued that the discussions revolved around five main themes (with individual papers addressing one or more of these). The first was the status of ‘the race concept’ (biological or social?), a subject that was approached in different ways in two keynote addresses by biological anthropologists (Charles Susanne and Keiichi Omoto). In his paper, Goran Strukalj made an important contribution to this debate, arguing that there was in fact still no consensus on the concept of ‘race’ among physical anthropologists and highlighting the existence of ‘strong national differences’ in the term’s use and interpretation. A second group of papers focused on the historical origins and development of racist ideologies and representations, including the role of anthropologists and other intellectuals in promoting and challenging ‘racial’ typologies and classifications. Ivo Budil’s paper, for example, attempted to demonstrate that Courtet and not Gobineau is more appropriately described as ‘the father of racist ideology’, while Fernando Monge drew out the implications for anthropology (past and present) of ‘live ethnological exhibitions’ and Chapurukha Kusimba discussed changing representations of Africa in U.S. museums.

Although this was of course a theme touched on by many of the papers, a third set engaged more or less explicitly with ongoing theoretical and conceptual debates about ‘Racism’s Many Faces’ (contemporary racism’s various forms), through an analysis of specific empirical examples from different parts of the world. In her keynote address, for example, Faye Harrison examined the development of and modes of resistance to ‘new faces of racism in the U.S. South’. Other papers explored, among other topics, the relationship between racism and ethnicity (Roelof Coertze); changing configurations of racism and the challenges these pose to anthropologists (Margarita del Olmo); racism ‘Serbian style’ (Aleksandar Bošković); ‘new forms of racism’ in contemporary South Africa (Hana Novotná); issues of identification and prejudice, illuminated by examples from popular culture in Slovenia (Rajko Muršić); and the place of racism in the construction of Irish American identity ‘beyond whiteness’ (Philip Kilbride).

A fourth theme addressed by many of the conference papers was the relationship between racism and different forms of ‘exclusionary practice’ (to borrow the British sociologist Robert Miles’ phrase). Papa Ignatius Maithufi’s keynote address examined the institutionalisation of discrimination through the legal system in apartheid South Africa and recent legislative attempts to reverse the effects of this. Two other papers focused on the issues raised by specific examples of land claims in contemporary South Africa (F.C. De Beer and Piet Erasmus). In their paper, Peter Nas and Line Algoed attempted a comparative analysis of the relationship between ‘race’, inequality and postcolonial nation building in Peru, Jamaica and Indonesia. Papers were also presented on the following subjects: the effects of racism on Roma within Czech society (Renata Weinerová); racism in the field of sports (Liu Xiaodan); clan discrimination in post-Soviet central Asia (Nikolay Kradin); the effects of ethnic discrimination on the health of Bosnian immigrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia (Lana Peternel and her colleagues); discrimination and AIDS in Romania (Claudia Laslo); and processes of ethnic reconstruction (Weng Naiqun) and rural-urban migration in China (Wu Jinguang and Shen Lin, and Hou Hongrui).

While often also addressing some of the themes previously mentioned, a final set of papers were centrally concerned with what might be referred to as the relationship between racism and the politics of anthropology (or different national, regional or linguistic anthropologies). In his paper, Andrew Spiegel drew attention to the political and intellectual challenges which the persistence of racialised categories and competing political rhetorics around racism pose for anthropologists in contemporary South Africa (and elsewhere). In a short paper followed by a ‘spoken word auto-ethnographic piece’ (performance), Gina Ulysse raised important questions about the extent to which anthropological language can convey the pain and suffering associated with racism, challenging the way that ‘science relegates the visceral to the arts’. Wu Ga, for her part, examined the relationship between Han and minority women scholars in research on contemporary China, while Livia Šavelková analysed the present situation of anthropology in the Czech Republic and the influence of Western anthropology and policy-making on the post-Communist European countries. Lastly, A.P. Singh sought to use the notion of cultural relativism to identify ways of improving ‘race relations’.

The 2005 Inter-Congress, therefore, attracted papers covering a wide range of both theoretical and empirical issues. (One ‘face’ of contemporary racism that the conference surprisingly did not examine in much detail, however, was the nature and influence of racist or nationalist political parties and groups.) This resulted in quite interesting and varied discussions, but perhaps what was lost in the process was a sustained or continuous focus on the specific question of racism and on the challenges this phenomenon poses for anthropologists. Reflecting what is arguably a wider tendency within the discipline, papers were often more concerned with tracing the history of the idea of ‘race’ or the development of ‘racial’ classifications, or with processes of ethnic group formation and identity construction, than with the systematic, detailed analysis of racism as such. In some cases, it was not at all clear what light (if any) such papers were intended to throw on the understanding of ‘Racism’s Many Faces’. This raises the possibility that many anthropologists, both at the conference and within the discipline more generally, still appear to be more comfortable discussing ‘the race concept’ and ethnic groups than racism and the exclusionary practices with which it is associated.

A second and related point to which the conference drew attention was the difficulty that anthropologists as a professional group have in responding to the intellectual and (especially) political challenges raised by racism. There were very real intellectual and political disagreements among the conference delegates about the analysis of racism and about the role of anthropologists in both sustaining and resisting it. However, these rarely surfaced in the actual sessions (as they might have done, say, in the 1970s), but tended to be confined to brief exchanges during the breaks or whispered exchanges between individuals sitting next to each other in the conference hall. This in turn raises the possibility that there is much less willingness on the part of anthropologists to reflect openly and critically on the political nature of their own interventions (whether recognised as such or not) in relation to racism than to treat the phenomenon simply as an ‘object of study’ involving ‘other’ groups.

Finally, and again this appears symptomatic of wider trends (in the academy generally, not just in anthropology), the conference unfortunately provided many examples of what one delegate was overheard to describe as ‘an abuse of power…point’! Although some delegates made extremely interesting use of the presentational possibilities offered by this programme to illustrate their arguments, others simply filled slide after slide with long extracts from their papers which they then proceeded to read word for word. In these cases, the technology became an obstacle to the effective communication of what were often very important arguments. (The record for the largest number of PowerPoint slides [including both photos and text] went to one delegate who managed to show 96 in the space of a twenty-minute presentation!)

Such criticisms notwithstanding, the 2005 Inter-Congress on ‘Racism’s Many Faces’ was an important event, not only for the reasons mentioned at the beginning of the report, but also for the quality of many of the papers and ensuing discussions. That it was so enjoyable both intellectually and socially is testament to the months of preparation beforehand and the long hours and days of work during the event itself on the part of Petr Skalník and his colleagues at the University of Pardubice, and to the large number of their students who took time off from revising for their exams to guide, inform and entertain the delegates. The organisation of the conference was outstanding, the ‘cultural programme’ full and varied, and the general atmosphere extremely friendly. For all this, they deserve heartfelt thanks!

Line Algoed
As we were discussing racism and its contemporary challenges, racism got yet another face in the South of the United States. The misery caused by the hurricane Katrina was indeed predominantly coloured. Many white Americans managed to escape keeping their heads dry, whereas large numbers of black Americans drowned, abandoned by a government who prefers to spend its money just about entirely on the war on terror, abandoned by a president who preferred to go on holidays instead of taking action against the forecast of a fatal storm. It was the mother of this president that spoke the words everybody knew the government was thinking: ‘These people are used to misery’. All of this happened almost forty years after Martin Luther King’s most important political victory and on precisely the same time of our gathering in Pardubice.

Racism is one of the most essential problems faced by contemporary societies nowadays and that is exactly what we meant to discuss during our five days spent together in the smelling-like-new conference room of the University of Pardubice, following the motto: ‘Races don’t exist, so study them’. Maybe through discussions, we could find strategies for joint action of all anthropologically conscious people throughout the world against the major challenge that racism represents. Maybe we can change something, if not in governmental actions, than at least in people’s heads. I can’t stop thinking about what a pity it is we didn’t have more discussions on how to do that. How to start changing people’s attitudes towards race? What a pity it is we keep worrying about how to call it, whereas almost each of us said, on different moments and in different words, that even though we try to avoid the word, it is impossible and even dangerous to avoid its implications.

Not one country officially admits racism today. Racism is above all a very hidden, very subtle social practice. It is as subtle as this: two pictures of the aftermath of Katrina, in two different newspapers, two very similar pictures, taken from the same angle, both pictures showing people trying to walk through the same water. On one picture we see a black boy, and beneath it this is written: ‘A young man walked through chest-deep flood water after looting a grocery store’. Then identically the same picture, with a white couple: ‘Two people walking through chest-deep water after finding food and soda in a local grocery store’. Let’s take our intellectual social background as a useful tool to uncover this practice’s truths.

Professor Faye Harrison describes herself in her presentation as a political activist with intellectual background. I think she is on the right way, trying to achieve what all beginning anthropology students answer when asked for their reasons to start a career like this: making the world a better place. We all want this, we want people to realize filling out school forms asking after the race of one’s children in a country that not even too long ago cried under the separation of races, is not right. We want people to realize that there is too much of the colour red in the countries we love. You can’t make it stop, or can you, you can’t make it stop, or can you? Inspired by Professor Gina Athena Ulysse’s poetry we recognize our task to emphasize the doubt in the ‘or can you?’.

We want to make it stop, we want racist songs to disappear out of our children’s textbooks, songs about the Roma taking them away if they don’t wash; we want people to stop making monkey sounds when a black football player misses the target; we want people to realize we are all mixed, visibly or invisibly; we want black policemen in the USA; we want Joseph Wolf to stop dividing European celebrities into racialized categories; we want to teach people culture is not in your genes (nor is music, basketball, inferiority or superiority). We want black Americans in New Orleans to be more than rhythm-and-blues musicians.

There are several ways to spread our message, be it through performance or through whispering in a microphone. If somehow we would be hindered to say our thoughts there were always wizards coming before even the first second of confusion was over, to fix the problem. I wish there would have been similarly capable wizards sending helicopters over to the far South to pick up waiting black people from their roofs; that would have fixed part of the problem.

We all want racism to disappear but somehow we keep on falling over and over again into the same mistakes, like reducing racism to mere black and white differences, leaving class out of the game. Helicopters were not sent immediately, not only because of colour, but also as much because of poverty. ‘These people are used to misery’. Another common and blameworthy mistake is when we talk about humans as if they could be divided into fixed categories. Proving this wrong is exactly why we came together, but still sometimes we fall short.

Allow me to show appreciation again for Petr Skalnik for his almost faultless organization. The crew he gathered to support his organization was heart warming, wanting to show the participants all aspects of Pardubice nightlife and succeeding to cheer them up again at nine o’clock the next morning. They were the ones who encouraged us all to dance the whole last night through. I am not sure if anthropologists bleed or breed when they meet, but I am persuaded that they have, above all, lots of fun!

We conclude together that it was a Congress we wouldn’t have wanted to miss. Let’s hope we will be able to continue our discussions in Cape Town next year. It promises to be as engaging and attractive as the Inter-Congress in Pardubice!

Robert GIBB, University of Glasgow, Scotland

Line ALGOED, University of Leiden, The Netherlands

---------- Page Top ↑

5. Report of the Commission on the Anthropology of Women

by Faye V. Harrison

The Commission on the Anthropology of Women has a special relationship to India; therefore, it welcomed the opportunity to participate in the Inter-Congress that our colleagues at the University of Calcutta hosted in December 2004 for the benefit of anthropology internationally. Twenty-eight years ago, the Commission on the Anthropology of Women was founded by a dedicated group of anthropologists led by Dr. Leela Dube, who chaired the Commission for fifteen years. During that time, the Commission was very much grounded in the interests, priorities, and praxis of Indian anthropologists in active dialogue with their colleagues in other parts of the world. The inaugural sessions of the Commission were held at the 1978 ICAES in Delhi. On the occasion of the 2004 Inter-Congress, the IUAES and its Commission on the Anthropology of Women returned to India, but this time meeting in the cultural city of Kolkata.

The Kolkata Inter-Congress gave the Commission on the Anthropology of Women yet another opportunity and venue to engage in exchanges that will enrich and influence the directions of our future scholarship. We sponsored five sessions with presenters coming from all over South Asia, East Asia, Europe, and North America (Mexico, and the U.S.A.). One of the presentations in Session 1 included the participation of two Indian tribal women with whom the anthropologist (Sita Venkateswar, Massey University, New Zealand) shared both her time and ethnographic authority. This represents a new trend in ethnographic inquiry, which involves the application of a collaborative methodology for knowledge production.

The five sessions (C4.1-5) organized under the Commission’s aegis were entitled as indicated below:

  1. Rethinking Women’s Rights in Spaces of Urban Life (4 papers out of 10 original abstracts)
  2. Women in Changing Society and Culture (11 abstracts)
  3. Rights of the Girl-Child in India: Right to Be Born and Right to Live (7 papers)
  4. AIDS, Women and Human Rights (22 presentations)
  5. Gender, Health, and Migration (3 papers)

It is important to note that Session 4 was the result of a productive collaboration the Commission developed with both the Indian Anthropological Association and UNESCO, whose support permitted us to bring together a critical mass of researchers who are examining the intersection that exists among gender, the AIDS pandemic, and human rights. The partnerships that made this particular session possible are of the kind the Commission seeks to continue building in order to buttress and promote its goals and objectives. Subhadra Channa is editing papers from the IAA-UNESCO symposium, which will be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal, Indian Anthropologist.

More recently, the Commission on the Anthropology of Women was represented at the August 28- September 3 2005 Inter-Congress in Pardubice, Czech Republic, which was organized around the theme: ‘Racism’s Many Faces’. Three members of the commission (Jan Delacourt, Faye Harrison, and Gina Ulysse) presented their work on immigrants and refugees in Europe and the U.S. and on globalization’s impact on racism and antiracism in the U.S.’s southeastern region. These papers will be included in the publication that Professor Petr Skalnik, the Inter-Congress organizer, will edit.

Beyond our participation in the two most recent Inter-Congresses, over the past decade the Commission has organized sessions and workshops with other organizations (e.g., International Women’s Anthropology Conference [IWAC]), for two IUAES Congresses (in Williamsburg and Florence), and for the NGO (non-governmental) Forums for two UN conferences, the 1995 International Women’s Conference convened Beijing, China and the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Racism, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance (WCAR) held in Durban, South Africa. The foci of those various sessions demonstrated research interests shared with other IUAES Commissions — particularly those devoted to human rights, ethnicity and racism, urbanization, medical anthropology, globalization, and children. At the Kolkata Inter-Congress, we organized sessions focused on women in urban contexts, a topic relevant to the concerns of the Commission on Urban Anthropology, and women and AIDS, a concern shared with the Commission on Medical Anthropology. As a Commission, we approach all our diverse interests with the analytical optic that gender in its interaction with other dimensions of difference, inequality, and power provides.

As a result of these activities, members of the Commission, both as individuals and as a collective entity, have published their work in significant outlets. For instance, Commission chair Faye V. Harrison published a later version of the paper on gender and structural adjustment she presented at the ICAES in Mexico (1993) in a leading feminist anthology published in the U.S. (Situated Lives: Gender and Culture in Everyday Life, ed., Louise Lamphere et al., 1997). Former co-chair Esther Njiro published work she presented at the Williamsburg ICAES in 1998 in publications on African development (e.g., The Feminization of Development Processes in Africa, eds., Valentine Udoh James and James S. Etim). Furthermore, the synergy developed within the Commission informed her approach as founding director of the Center for Gender Studies at the University of Venda, a predominantly black institution in South Africa. Current co-chair Subhadra Mitra Channa has published work that has been integral to IUAES activities in both Indian and U.S. journals. Some of the papers from one of our sessions on globalization at the Florence pre-congress were published in Urban Anthropology and Studies in Cultural Systems and World Economic Development (33[1], 2004) and others from that session will be featured in a book on globalization and gender that the School of American Research (SAR) Press has accepted for publication. Ann E. Kingsolver and Nandini Gunewardena are co-editing that volume under the sponsorship of the American Anthropological Association’s Association for Feminist Anthropology; however, the IUAES Commission played a part in creating some of the initial conditions for that publication. (Kingsolver and two others involved in her co-edited book project presented papers — that are now book chapters — in the Commission’s Florence session.) Probably of most significance is the fact that the majority of the papers presented in the two workshops we organized for the WCAR along with additional solicited papers have become chapters in Resisting Racism & Xenophobia: Global Perspectives on Race, Gender, & Human Rights, which AltaMira Press will publish and make available by the end of September 2005. In our view, this book brings together gender, race, human rights, and globalization in a way that no other publication has. We consider it to be a major contribution to international anthropology. It could not have been produced without the international exchanges and cross-pollination that an organization such as the IUAES facilitates.

Because of the vitality of our various activities, the Commission was invited to submit a set of articles on the current state of gender studies and feminist anthropology to a Chinese journal, the Journal of Guangxi University for Nationalities. The first article, which provides the organizational and intellectual history of the Commission on the Anthropology of Women, was translated into Chinese and then published in the May 2005 edition of the journal. The second article, a sample of the gendered research that Commission members do, is to be published in the September issue. The purpose of these publications is to expose Chinese ethnologists and social scientists to the directions of anthropological research on gender being pursued in other parts of the world. Wu Ga, a member of the women’s Commission, has spearheaded a similar project to help build momentum for the 2008 Congress in Kunming, Yunnan Province. She has collected ten essays that illuminate the kinds of gendered research being conducted in several countries and regions around the world. This unique international collection of papers may appear in a journal and/or it may be published as a book. Similar projects on other Commissions are being considered to introduce our Chinese colleagues to the wide ranging work that the IUAES represents and promotes.

The Commission on the Anthropology of Women is a clear example of the important collaborative work that the IUAES fosters. We look forward to building upon what we have accomplished over the past several years to prepare our contributions to the Inter-Congress in Cape Town and the Congress in Kunming, China.

Selected References

Channa, Subhadra Mitra. 2004. Globalization and Modernity in India: A Gendered Critique. Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development. 33(1): 37-71.

Harrison, Faye V. 1997. The Gendered Politics and Violence of Structural Adjustment: A View from Jamaica. In: Situated Lives: Gender and Culture in Everyday Life. Louise Lamphere, Helena Ragoné, and Patricia Zavella, eds. Pp. 451-468. New York: Routledge.

---- 2004. Global Apartheid, Environmental Degradation, and Women’s Activism for Sustainable Well-Being: A Conceptual and Theoretical Overview. Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development. 33(1): 1-35.

---- 2005. From New Delhi to Kunming: Toward a History of the IUAES Commission on the Anthropology of Women. Journal of Guangxi University for Nationalities. Volume 27, No. 3: 87-90.

---- (ed.) 2005. Resisting Racism and Xenophobia: Global Perspectives on Race, Gender, and Human Rights. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

Khodja, Hishamah Bel. In press. Escape from Sexual Violence: The “Politics of Trauma” in a changing Refugee Regime. Journal of Guangxi University for Nationalities.

Njiro, Esther Igandu. 1999. Women’s Empowerment and the Anthropology of Participatory Development. In: The Feminization of Development Processes in Africa. Valentine Udoh James and James S. Etim, eds. Pp. 31-50. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

---------- Page Top ↑

6. Our deepest condolences to Michael J. Casimir

By Soheila Shahshahani

Dr. Aparna Rao was born in New Delhi, India, in 1950. She obtained her M.A. from Strasbourg University, France, in 1974, and finished her PhD thesis under the supervision of Professor Xavier de Planhol (University of Paris, Sorbonne) in 1979. She did postgraduate work in social and cultural anthropology at Cologne University, Germany. Her initial field work was among Sinti Gypsies in the Alsace, and she then studied peripatetic populations in Afghanistan. Afterwards, she studied in Bakkarwal, pastoral nomads of Jammu and Kashmir. Her recent fieldwork concerned the man-environment interaction in the Thar Desert in western Rajasthan. She taught at the University of Cologne from 1980 till 1995. In 2005 she was nominated Directeur de Recherche at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris where she would have begun teaching in spring 2006. Among other administrative responsibilities, she was the co-chairperson (1994/1998) of the International Commission on Nomadic Peoples of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences and the co-editor of the Commission Journal, Nomadic Peoples. She was the author or co-author (with her husband, Michael J. Casimir) of 86 articles since 1974, and editor or co-editor of twelve books.

Her last two co-edited books, now in preparation, are The Practice of War: The Production Reproduction and Consumption of Armed Violence, Oxford/New York, Berghahn Books, and The Valley of Kashmir: The Making and Unmaking of Composite Culture? Oxford/New York, Berghahn Books and Delhi, Manohar. It was on 28 June 2005 that she left us, a colleague of great intelligence, insight and warmth.

---------- Page Top ↑

7. IUAES Membership

We invite you to become a member of the IUAES.

Click here for information on membership.

©IUAES/Peter J.M. Nas

The U.S. Department of Defense announced Tuesday the transfer of three Uyghur Chinese prisoners to Slovakia. According to Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby’s statement, the three men “are the last ethnic Uighur Chinese nationals to be transferred.” Kirby further noted that “the United States is grateful to the government of Slovakia for this humanitarian gesture and its willingness to support U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.” Previously released Uyghur prisoners have gone to countries around the world, including Palau, Bermuda, Albania, and Switzerland.

China, meanwhile, was not so pleased with Slovakia or the United States. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang said that the three former prisoners are members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement — “they are terrorists without any doubt.” Qin added that the men “will not only pose [a] severe threat to China’s national security, but also to that of the recipient country.” He called on the “relevant countries” to “not provide those who commit terrorist crimes with safe haven and send those suspects back to China.” The Slovakian Interior Ministry, however, has said that none of the men are terrorist suspects. Slovakia currently has no plans to repatriate the Uyghurs to China.

According to files posted by WikiLeaks, the three men released this week, Yusef Abbas, Saidullah Khalik and Hajiakbar Abdul Ghuper, were all captured in Pakistan with other Uyghurs in 2001. The U.S. government’s assessment in 2004 was that each man “has had some level of terrorist training … and is highly vulnerable to future recruitment by terrorist groups.” However, in 2008 a U.S. Federal District Court judge ruled that the men were not a security threat. The judge ordered the U.S. government to release the Uyghurs and allow them to settle in America.

Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.

Despite the judge’s order that the Uyghurs be released within a week, the final three detainees had to wait over five years for their freedom. An appeals court ruled that the federal government did not have to resettle the prisoners in the U.S. — and none of the men were given that option. The U.S. didn’t want the prisoners remaining on American soil, but also refused to send them back to China, due to concerns that the men would be mistreated by the Chinese government. This made it difficult to find the Uyghurs a home. A U.S. senior military official told the Washington Postthat Beijing was pressuring other countries not to accept the Uyghur prisoners. The official said that a possible deal to settle the final three men in Costa Rica fell through because of Chinese opposition.

I wrote earlier that the United States’ war on terror has also benefitted China, with U.S. drone strikes presumed to have killed several leaders of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. Suspected Uyghur terrorists were also among the detainees at Guantanamo Bay — according to files released on WikiLeaks, there were 22 Chinese nationals in Guantanamo, all considered to be “probable members” of the ETIM. The U.S. fight against Al Qaeda had netted this group of men, who were suspected to have attended terrorist training camps. In later years, however, the U.S. government began to back away from these accusations. With the release of the final Uyghur prisoners from Guantanamo, it seems that the golden age of U.S.-China cooperation on anti-terrorism may be at an end.

The current rhetoric surrounding violence in Xinjiang suggests that the U.S. government is turning away from the Bush-era classification of ETIM and other Uyghur groups as Al Qaeda affiliates. As a result, U.S. and Chinese perspectives on the threat of terrorism in Xinjiang are becoming more and more divergent. For example, Washington’s response to Beijing’s reports of a terrorist attack near Kashgar makes no mention of terrorism. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said in a press briefing that the U.S. government was “closely following reports of continuing violence” in Xinjiang. “We continue to call on the Chinese Government to permit its citizens to express their grievances freely, publicly, peacefully, and without fear of retribution. We also call on Uighurs to not resort to violence, [and] for the Chinese security forces to exercise restraint,” Harf said.

Obviously, this is a response more concerned with human rights violations than with terrorism. When asked about the difference between that response and immediate U.S. condemnations of the terrorist attack in Russia, Harf said the U.S. government was “still trying to gather all the facts” about the violence in Xinjiang: “We don’t just jump to conclusions or call things by a certain name if we haven’t gathered all the facts ourselves.”  In other words, the U.S. government is no longer on the same page as China when it comes to defining Uyghurs as terrorists.

China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang fired back in his own press conference: “The remarks made by the Deputy Spokesperson of the U.S. State Department are unfounded and feeble and cannot justify themselves at all.” Qin reiterated that the Xinjiang attack was “a violent terrorist case, as is proven by clear facts and solid evidence.” He called on the U.S. to “discard the ‘double-standard’ on the issue of counter-terrorism.”

For a while, during the Bush administration, anti- and counter-terrorism operations were one bright spot in the U.S.-China relationship. While China was not particularly active in U.S. efforts to root out Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, it was supportive of these actions. Now, however, China is sharpening its focus on counter-terrorism even as the U.S. winds downs its own wars in the Middle East. With U.S. officials showing a new reluctance to classify Xinjiang violence as terrorism, the issue is likely to become a source of disagreement rather than a true common interest.

In this context, the release of the last Uyghur prisoners from Guantanamo is particularly symbolic. The U.S. has now completely cut any ties between its own war on terror and China’s fight against the ETIM.

0 thoughts on “Etim Classification Essay”


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *