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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cultural preservation and empowerment programs/projects:

I was going through my old notes and found this. It's not something I'm working on anymore, but is a really great collection of examples of groups working on cultural conservation/preservation, and resources to help with those sorts of projects.

I just copied and pasted, so it's a little messy, but enjoy:

Cultural Survival:

Work done in American Samoa to preserve Samoan culture:

National Park Service Cultural Resource Training Initiative.

Article about influence of outside world on culture:

NGO for cultural preservation of indigenous peoples:

Tips on how to strengthen culture:

Founding regional tourism:

Native American-owned business plan for CP&E:

Virtual museum?:

Igbo mask culture, changes and preservations:

Projects at Evergreen College, Washington:

Interesting Books/Authors:

Indigenous Education and Empowerment: International Perspectives
Series: Contemporary Native American Communities #17

Sustainable Community Development: Studies in Economic, Environmental, and Cultural Revitalization (Hardcover), by Marie Hoff

Cultural Revitalization, Participatory Nonformal Education, and Village Development in Sri Lanka: The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement.


Colletta, N.J.; And Others; Comparative Education Review, v26 n2 p271-86 Jun 1982

intergenerational relations, and human development (Joel Savishinsky,)

Paul Guggenheim is on the staff of the Chicago Field Museum focusing on conservation education with the population living in the buffer zone of a new national park in Peru.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Applied anthropology and technology

I have been working on an article about activism in developing nations, namely bringing alternative energies to rural impoverished communities.

Barefoot College (see youtube video), works with women to teach them on a grassroots level how to be solar engineers and run and operate a household solar power system. The college also has a lot of other programs helping women with economic independence and with human rights

The group Portable Light just won an award for their work with the Huichol. Sheila Kennedy at MIT created portable, flexible solar panels, which the Huichol women sewed onto their bags so they had a portable power source.

A third group, Light up the World Foundation, develops and installs LED lights and solar power systems in individual households and businesses.

These are example of opportunities for any anthropologist interested in the politics and accessibility of technology, using alternative energy and skipping the whole "industrial revolution" phase while growing/developing/whatevering a nation, or mostly importantly working with different groups to help provide safe, affordable, less polluting alternatives to kerosene and wood fuel.

And of course, everyone's heard about the One Laptop per Child initiative.

However, an interesting point to bring in: many of these types of groups come in with the idea that by providing light they are helping children receive an education (being able to study at night > children can finish homework > children receive good education). However, in many nations the rudimentary education provided to students is more detrimental than helpful. Children learn how to perform certain skills in an industrialized economy, and yet they don't learn enough to pass their final exams, or there are no jobs for them when they graduate. During all of these years of education, they have also become isolated from their traditional ways of subsistence - farming, hunting, fishing, or whatever. They are stuck between two different economic and cultural systems and cannot function in either one.

So not only is it important to provide children with Internet access and computers and non-toxic light sources, it's also important to make sure they are receiving an education that will serve them as adults.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Profile: Gilda Sheppard

I saw a great speaker today, Gilda Sheppard. She's a sociologist who has worked with refugees in Ghana and street youth in Tacoma, WA (she teaches at the Evergreen College, Tacoma branch, which I didn't know there was until today). She discussed and showed a film about her work in Ghana, and the organization that was formed there "Women Together as One." Her main role in the organization was organizer and instigator for the idea, but otherwise in was the Liberian refugee women Sheppard worked with in Ghana that really made the organization exist and work.

The way Sheppard spoke of her work made me feel like I was at a story-telling or poetry recital, or even a gospel church, the way her cadence and voice moved around the words and her body seemed to follow. It was very inspiring for me to see someone using film to inspire repressed people, both in Ghana and here, to take action for themselves, and to use that footage to inspire us as well.