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AnthroCurrents – May 17, 2016

NAPA is happy to announce the re-launch of AnthroCurrents, a bi-weekly look at anthropology in the news.

Anthropology of Climate Change

  • In the online magazine, popmatters, a review of the 2015 documentary film “The Anthropologist” (screened at the Independent Film Festival Festival, Boston 2016), the reviewer describes this “spry and crisp” film as a multi-layered depiction of (a) the personal side of climate change through visits to indigenous peoples most affected by sea level rise, (b) a not-so-data-heavy explanation of the hows and whys of climate change, and (c) a mother and daughter travelogue. See also IMDB.com and Facebook.
  • An apparent research opportunity in the same niche in Louisiana appears in a National Public Radio (NPR) story about “The First [sic] [American] Climate Change Refugees.” Isle de Jean Charles, on the Louisiana coast, has shrunk from 9 to 2 miles long and residents have received grant money to move inland. I say “apparent research opportunity” because the reporter does not mention the involvement of an anthropologist per se.  Perhaps a colleague at Tulane, or in the arc from Houston to Nashville to Tampa, would be interested in this community transition?

Better than The Foreign Legion

  • Speaking of job opportunities, in late April 2016 the United Kingdom office of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) posted an open position for a “Health Promoter/Anthropologist.” Requirements include formal training in anthropology or sociology, one of four languages besides English, and availability for a 9- to 12-month assignment in a difficult or unpredictable environment.

IT Corner

  • Technology (of the ‘information technology’ type) is the “trojan horse” for culture change in the American health care system.  This is according to anthropologist Susannah Fox, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Yes, anthropologist as CTO. Ms. Fox’s appointment in 2015 caused a bit of a stir in IT circles since her training is more cultural than code.  Perhaps we are biased, but we think she has their number.
  • While “design ethnography” is not, perhaps, used as widely as one might wish, Inverse.com interviews anthropologist Jeanette Blomberg to provide a brief tutorial. She also touches on her current work in using ethnography to understand how big data and analytics are used in large organizations.

Anthropology contributes to Mental Health

  • Earlier this spring, bilingual education got a boost at the professional level when Jorge Carrera Robles gave a presentation in Spanish on his work using community interventions, instead of government programs, to empower teens in violence-prone communities in Mexico. Senor Robles, who works for the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia in Chihuahua, made the presentation at his alma mater, New Mexico State University.

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