Lenore Manderson's Posts (45)

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Covid Webinar- 17 days to go - Indonesia

Both Cristina and Oguz draw attention to the ways in which COVID amplified inequalities - in their cases, ethnic minorities (Romania) and people who are/identify as LGBTQI (Turkey). Linda Bennett from the University of Melbourne picks this theme up,  focusing on marginal populations including those who are homeless, or are sex workers, and sexual minorities. She and Setiyani Marta Dewi illustrate the impact of COVID-19 on pre-existing challenges to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Dont forget to register, and bring in your students. Register at no cost at https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ALvSZBvVSmGPCGsHUjvO0g

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18 days to go to the Webinar. Oguz Alyanak writes of exclusion and reaction in Turkey. Lockdown drew attention to tensions between Turkey’s ruling party Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party, AKP) and the Diyanet, the Turkish religious authority. In the webinar, Oguz Alyanak discusses how a moral discourse on COVID-19, which validated stigma against LGBTQIA enabled new configurations of state power. For background reading see https://www.sbs.com.au/news/turkey-s-president-says-there-s-no-such-thing-as-lgbt-and-calls-student-protesters-terrorists/82414faf-0057-41bc-a531-efc1b7e44c7e

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COVID WEBINAR: racism in the UK

COVID-19 has consistently exposed inequality, structural violence, xenophobia and racism. Sahra Gibbon, Jennie Gamlin and Melania Calestani have written on the UK experience of racism and its effects on infection and the provision and receipt of health care.

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Covid Webinar Post 7. Neoliberalism in Mexico

First day of spring (in the southern hemisphere) and 22 days to the webinar. Abril Saldaña-Tejeda (Guanajuato U) will speak on the Mexican state’s continual attention to individual bodies, diets, and genetic make-up - and approach which shifts responsibility for ‘risk’, ‘vulnerability’ and poor outcomes from COVID onto individuals. Fat blaming diverts public attention from structural inequalities to individual bodies. Make sure you register for the webinar on 23 September
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Covid Webinar Post: 24 days to go! COUNTDOWN to webinar day is more useful than count-up. So, from now on – days to go! ELZBIETA DRAZKIEWICZ is Senior Research Fellow at the Slovak Academy of Sciences, and works on foreign aid and development management, public health governance, and education systems; ELISA SOBO is Professor and Chair of Anthropology, San Diego State University, and is involved in a US community-based capacity building program for equitable COVID-19 vaccination rollout. Together, they examine different state efforts to contain coronavirus in the USA, Ireland and Poland, and different community responses to these.

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Covid Webinar Post 5. Susan Levine will be speaking on militarization, as discussed in our chapter in Viral Loads. Across the world, armed soldiers were deployed to enforce public health laws and rules to contain the #COVID #pandemic. In South Africa the military and private security personnel supported the police, and militarization built on the legacy of repressive structures and technologies used under apartheid. At times the threat of force ensured population acquiescence, but at times the consequences were violent and horrific. Was this necessary? Susan Levine is head of anthropology at UCT: http://www.anthropology.uct.ac.za/san/people/academic/levine


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Covid Webinar Post 4. Who are speaking?

For the next many posts, I will be introducing you to the various speakers. The first is Nancy Burke, who will also be facilitating part of the webinar. As I noted yesterday, Nancy is Professor of Public Health and Anthropology and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Endowed Chair, University of California, Merced. Her chapter in Viral Loads describes the systems of surveillance and governance of the Cuban state as care practices, tensions between public health measures and cultural practices, and how individuals and groups supported each other during the pandemic. Dont forget to register: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ALvSZBvVSmGPCGsHUjvO0g?fbclid=IwAR0umgNYRgeEh2ff1zIpdzsRNRyMYF0K3ZRRWlZmiFRtF0XG2HX0_LHZFVo

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Covid Webinar Post 3. Who are involved?

I will be moderating the program. I am Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Medical Anthropology in the School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, and I hold appointments also with Brown University, US, and Monash University, Australia. My current work on inequality includes a major study of the complexity of informal caregiving for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias in rural South Africa; I am also working on anti-microbial resistance, assisted reproduction, and of course COVID. www.lenoremanderson.com 

I will be joined by my co-editors of Viral Loads, Nancy J Burke and Ayo Wahlburg.  Nancy is Professor of Public Health and Anthropology and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Endowed Chair, University of California, Merced. She also serves as Co-Director of the UC-Cuba Academic Initiative. Her current research includes projects focused on aging in Cuba, syndemic care for high-cost, high-utilising safety-net patients in the United States, and cancer patient navigation programmes in US public hospitals. Ayo is Professor MSO at the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen. His research has focused on reproductive and genetic technologies (in China and Denmark), traditional herbal medicine (in Vietnam and the United Kingdom), and health. He currently leads a 5-year European Research Council (2015-2020) project ‘The Vitality of Disease.’

My collaborators in this webinar are my fellow SfAA Global colleagues, Judith Freidenberg, Robyn Eversole and Carlos Velez-Ibanez.

Dont forget to encourage your colleagues to join us: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ALvSZBvVSmGPCGsHUjvO0g

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Covid Webinar Post 2. What's it about?

Counting down to the Webinar. Let me explain how this program will proceed. I will be moderating, and I have five general questions. I will pose one question, and will invite a few of the authors from Viral Loads to comment; they’ll speak for about 3 minutes or so.  I will then invite comments from all of you.  If you want to ask (or post your questions in Q&A) in Spanish, or French or Portuguese, then Judith Freidenberg, Robyn Eversole or Carlos Velez-Ibanez will translate/interpret. Then we’ll move to the next question, and so on .... There'll be aboout 20 people adding their 3-4 minutes worth, bringing insight from countries worldwide.

The questions will focus on:

  • the lead role of the state in containing transmission, managing infection, and gearing up health services, how this was executed, and its impact on local populations
  • how COVID-19 exposed inequality, structural violence, xenophobia and racism especially
  • the particular hardships faced by people already living under conditions of social exclusion and structural vulnerability
  • the specific challenges on health services and health workers, including in relation to who is defined as 'front line' and who are excluded
  • how the pandemic provides a window to future health crises
  • and the role of applied anthropologists in this.

Don't forget to register, and involve your colleagues and students: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ALvSZBvVSmGPCGsHUjvO0g

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COVID Disparities and Their Discontents - the first of a series of webinars under the banner of  Interfaces of Global Applied Anthropology -- is being held in 4 weeks time. It's free, and there is no cap on attendance but you do need to register to get the webinar link. To register, go to https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ALvSZBvVSmGPCGsHUjvO0g

Each day until we begin, I will introduce you to a speaker or an aspect of the webinar. Let me begin today by explaining the webinar background and structure.

Viral Loads: Anthropologies of Urgency in the time of COVID-19 is to be published on 20 September --https://www.uclpress.co.uk/products/176694 -- and is free to download then.  We are timing this to celebrate the publication and reflect on the content. Because many authors from Viral Loads have put their hands up, we are going to have a larger number of speakers, with each individual addressing a specific question from the moderator; each person will speak for about 3-4 minutes. We will intersperse speakers with open discussion and contributions from other participants and from those of you who join the zoom.  I will explain the key themes tomorrow, and the next day, I will introduce you to the editors of the book, and to the others involved in SfAA Global who will interpret if you want to make a comment in Spanish, French or Portuguese.




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The panel - Present and Imminent - a south/south sure/sur dialogue hosted by CEMSudAfrica - https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=cemsudafrica - is on in 14 hours. Join us and be part of this.

Each of the panelists will discuss their work, and then address the links between urban and rural, and how climate change – including global warming drought and extreme weather events – interrupts flows of foods, cash and bodies between rural and urban areas.  Each of the participants works on some aspect of this:

Cristina Oehmichen Bazán Institute of Anthropological Research, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico

Cristina Oehmichen holds a PhD in Anthropology from UNAM. Cristina is a Senior Researcher at the Institute of Anthropological Research, and a professor of the Postgraduate Program in Anthropology and the Degree in Anthropology at the same institution. She is a member of the Mexican National System of Researchers, level II, and of the Mexican Academy of Sciences. She has received three national awards (1986, 1998 and 2001) by the National Institute of Anthropology and History. In 2005, the Canadian Government, through the International Council for Canadian Studies, awarded her the Award for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Cristina has published chapters in books, books, and articles in specialized journals.  Since 2016, she is editor of the journal Antropología Americana of the Pan American Institute of Geography and History. She is currently working on "Mobilities, inequalities and inter-ethnic relations" and on themes of "Anthropology of Tourism." 

Paola Velasco Santos Institute of Anthropological Research, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico

Paola Velasco Santos is a social anthropologist with PhD in anthropology from UNAM, and a member of the Mexican National System of Researchers, Level I. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in environmental anthropology, political ecology, anthropological theory, and methodology. Paola is the author of the book “Ríos de contradicción. Contaminación, ecología política y sujetos rurales en Nativitas, Tlaxcala (2017-IIA).” In 2018, she was awarded the Fray Bernardino de Sahagún Prize for Best Anthropology Research Book by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). Since 2009, she works on projects related to river pollution, water overexploitation, local denim manufacturing, historical conditions of precarity and health problems in Central Mexico. She is also working on a project concerned with a hydro-political cycle and the impact on the socio-natural relations and reconfigurations, heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Jo Vearey African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Jo Vearey has a background in public health and her interdisciplinary research focuses on the intersections between migration and health. She is an Associate Professor and Director of the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) at Wits University in Johannesburg where she coordinates the Migration and Health Project Southern Africa (maHp). Jo also directs the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence in Migration and Mobility – hosted by the ACMS – and is vice-chair of the Global Migration, Health, and Development Research Initiative (MHADRI). With a commitment to social justice, Jo’s research explores ways to generate and communicate knowledge to improve responses to migration, health and wellbeing in the southern African region.  Fundamental to her research practice is participation in policy processes at international and local levels. This includes exploring approaches to address epistemic injustice in the development of appropriate policy responses.

Khangelani Moyo Global Change Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Khangelani Moyo is an Associate Researcher at the Global Change Institute (GCI), University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). He has academic training in migration studies, urban studies, sociology and social anthropology. He completed his PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2017, focusing on migrant mobilities in urban spaces and how their spatial identities are negotiated in the City of Johannesburg. His research interests include migration management, refugee governance, migrant transnationalism, spatial identity in the city, and social vulnerabilities in the urban periphery. He is also an associate at the Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institute in Freiburg, where he collaborates on a research project on the political stakes of refugee governance in Africa.


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On implosion

We - Judy, Carlos, Robyn and I - had the idea to do lots of blogs, to generate interest and encourage conversations with you. I was waiting for an article of mine to appear in the SfAA Newsletter. It will appear any day, but I thought I would post it now, before our anxiety last week dissipates.  As you know, I work in South Africa and divide my time across continents, but I am writing from Australia where I have been through lockdown; hence the particular reflection in the following. It seems that now thngs have quietened, but quiet cannot be paired with complaceny; we cannot afford business as usual, anywhere. Moreover - I write this on "Australia Day" - the national day coinciding with white invasion of this continent, which provides further nuance to my comments that follow.

On implosion

I was too young to register the McCarthy trials, held to expose alleged communist infiltration of the US government in the early years of the Cold War. And so I was a retrospective witness of the ways that political ideology made war against those with different standpoints and convictions. At the time, though, Australia was accommodating. We were deeply scarred by the Second World War, and were waist deep in battles in Korea.  Local and global examples of spies with Russian connections fuelled this zeal. The Petrov affair in Australia in 1954, and accounts in the UK from the early1950s also of conspiracy, treason and the Cambridge Spy Ring, proved to a broad public that ‘reds under beds’ was real. Sympathy for the Communist Party shrank, with growing alarm even within the mainstream Labor Party of the dangers of energetic socialism.

At the same time, we were eager to accommodate European refugees fleeing from Soviet expansionism. Australia needed migrants to meet the labour needs of infrastructural development, and we exploited the alignment of ideological stance and brutish mid-century capitalism. Moreover, Australia sat on the edge of Asia; it was even, according to some commentators, part of Asia. Domino theory bolstered our military presence in South Korea, then in Peninsula Malaya, and then most significantly in Vietnam. We were made mindful of a risk to Australian security from communist Asia, and we celebrated SEATO’s role (from 1955) and its putative powers in leading this resistance.

SEATO included what now seems an unusual coalition of states – France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, United Kingdom, Australia and the US. Britain’s role was muted in our minds, although the Union Jack in the corner of the national flag, then as now, was a persistent reminder of colonial history and our continued ties with the UK.  But in the Australian imaginary of SEATO, the US was dominant.

In 1954 too, the Australian-American memorial – known locally still as Bugs Bunny (a misperception of the eagle’s wings) –  was erected in prime location in Australia’s national capital, Canberra. Funded by Australian donations to honor the role of the US in the Pacific War, it symbolised an unequal friendship. The period foreshadowed “All the way with LBJ.” Those of us who protested faced police stand-offs and occasional violence.

So US culture, economics and politics seeped into Australian life. Television began to be broadcast in 1956, and those of us who consumed it grew up on a diet of The Mickey Mouse Club and Broadway.  As I grew up, the US strengthened its role in building a profile as a democratic state, with muscular rhetoric throughout the Cold War, the war in Vietnam especially, and supreme confidence in the right to lead. But during a time of aggressive patriarchy and racism, when the connections of like-minded states were only slowly mediatized, we had little reason to doubt US claims of global leadership.

Some things surprised us in Australia (and still do), and this included America’s unique reverence for the symbols and institutions of democracy. Respect for authority, the flag, and the structures in which government took place, were part of this. And so we were appalled when these institutions and persons were attacked. We were shocked here as there in the 1960s by the assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy; as proud of the moon landings; as eager to consume burgers, fries and KFC; as prepared to follow the US into  the Persian Gulf, Somalia, East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq. Our ties were as sticky as chewing gum. We remained tenaciously loyal.

This might seem somewhat harsh. To temper this: during this same period, the US without question gained ascendency intellectually for the right reasons. It consolidated its establishments of learning; shaped English-language education, research, and knowledge systems; supported major programs in the physical, life and social sciences, and the humanities within and beyond the country. All of us in the English-speaking world are indebted to US cultural and scholarly institutions, resources and colleagues.

For nearly thirty years, until this lifeline was severed by the risks and restrictions of coronavirus, I travelled to and fro across the Pacific, often several times a year, for conferences, board meetings, university visits, sabbatical, five years working at Brown. I have had the privilege of working with truly exceptional scholars; I value deeply my friends and colleagues. I talk to many weekly, I write to them all the time. Hence my horror by the present turn.

Over the past four years, we have watched as America’s self-proclaimed role as leader of the free world was slowly dismantled. The storming of the Capitol on 6 January was unprecedented, but there was portent of this early. I was at Brown University in Providence, RI on November 8, 2016, when Donald Trump was elected. The next morning, Waterman Street was almost deserted. I walked out of my office at the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society. There and along the street, past the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, past the Visitors’ Center and the portal to Main Green, past the Population Studies and Training Center, and down the hill to Main Street, the silence was eery and pervasive. Within a day, Brown President Christina Paxson had organized counselling for students of color, and others who, rightly, were overwhelmed by a sense of fear and foreboding. Protests followed (https://www.browndailyherald.com/2016/11/17/students-faculty-protest-light-election/). But those of us on campus – and perhaps all of us, including applied anthropologists and our professional allies – have since lived with dismay and increasing paralysis in face of the decimation of the most promising interventions of the Obama presidency, the recourse to government-by-twitter, continuing gun violence, sustained personal and structural racism, and the crumbling of the core principles of democracy. As I write, the mood of hope is subdued by the continued spread and impact of Covid-19, the scope of inequality that it has laid bare, and the implications of this savage rent in cities, families, communities. And it is soured by anxiety for the moment.

Compared with Americans, Australians are irreverent, but I cannot even imagine people breaking into Parliament House with murderous intent. And I, like others in Australia and South Africa – my feet in both camps— fear that the invasion of the Capitol is not the last. Mindful of parallels with the burning of the Reichstag in 1933, we struggle to be optimistic. We worry for the safety of our friends and colleagues, and grieve for the collapse of some of the most sacred things in the US. We struggle to explain the country’s unravelling, and what this means in terms of the erosion of respect and the loss of moral leadership. Worse, we see the growing incursion of right wing extremism in Australia, and with this, the retracting rule of law.

Applied anthropologists now face a daunting challenge. With new leadership at a federal level, we need to find ways to turn around this anarchy, and to unpick the terrible hat enabled over the past four years. Despite the urgency, this will be a slow process. We need to find strength through our professional and personal ties, and to do so by reinstating and acting on the core values that underpin these.

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World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2020

I am speaking on this - join me!

Panel 19 November. What is understood about AMR | 10:00-13:00 (CET)

Organizer(s): African Union (AU); WHO Regional Office for Africa AFRO); Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC); Food and Agricultural Organization; Organisation for Animal Health (OIE); United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)


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