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Anthropology

Decolonizing Knowledge Means Supporting The Academic Boycott

It is a week since the vote in the American Anthropological Association membership to boycott Israeli institutions went live. What happened during that week? Sedil Naghniyeh, a fifteen-year-old from Jenin, died on Wednesday of a gunshot wound to her head. Israeli soldiers shot her on Monday, June 19, while she was standing in her front yard. Six others died and tens were wounded during that same attack on Jenin. On that day, hundreds of Israeli Jewish settlers descended on the Palestinian village of Turmus Ayya, just north of Ramallah. As per a Ha’aretz editorial, the scene is familiar: “cars are torched, windows are smashed, flames rise from among the houses…police and army let the attacks happen, as they have for decades.”

1200 Archeologists & Museum Directors Sent Letters To President Obama

By Staff of Indigenous Rising - In a new letter sent to the Obama administration, over 1,200 museum directors, archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians expressed solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its fight against the Dakota Access pipeline. In response to a groundswell of opposition to the pipeline project both on the ground and across the country, the administration released a statement on September 9th announcing that the Army will not authorize construction of the pipeline on Corps land until it can assess whether a more thorough analysis should be conducted.

Want To Change The World? Read This First

History is often made by strong personalities wielding bold new political, economic, or religious doctrines. Yet any serious effort to understand how and why societies change requires examination not just of leaders and ideas, but also of environmental circumstances. The ecological context (climate, weather, and the presence or absence of water, good soil, and other resources) may either present or foreclose opportunities for those wanting to shake up the social world. This suggests that if you want to change society—or are interested in aiding or evaluating the efforts of others to do so—some understanding of exactly how environmental circumstances affect such efforts could be extremely helpful. Perhaps the most important key to grasping the relationship between the environment and processes of societal change was articulated by American anthropologist Marvin Harris (1927-2001). From the very beginning of efforts to systematically study human societies in the 18th and 19th centuries, it had been clear that there were strong correlations between how societies obtain their food (whether by hunting and gathering, horticulture, agriculture, animal herding, or fishing), and their social structures and beliefs about the world.
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