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Newsletter 68

May 2007

  1. Call for Sessions and Panels for the IUAES 2008 Kunming World Congress
    By Zhang Jijiao
  2. The Cape Town Inter-Congress, December 2006
    By Barbara ten Hengel
  3. A report on the IUAES Inter-Congress Cape Town 2006
    By Petr Skalnik
  4. Collection of Essays by the Commissions of the International Union of Anthropo-logical and Ethnological Sciences
    By Peter J.M. Nas
  5. China Program, Commission on the Anthropology of AIDS
    By David Pitt
  6. Commission on Food and Food Problems
    By Igor de Garine
  7. Commission on Urban Anthropology
    By Giuliana Prato
  8. IUAES Membership

1. Call for Sessions and Panels for the IUAES 2008 Kunming World Congress

By Zhang Jijiao

I. General information
In July 2008, the 16th International Congress of Anthropological and Ethological Sciences (ICAES) will be held in Kunming, China. The Organizing Committee for ICAES 2008 plans to invite 3000-5000 experts from around the world, in a diversity of fields, to join the Congress. China, with a mission to create a harmonious society and country of creativity, aims to make ICAES 2008 the most successful in IUAES history.

The theme of ICAES 2008 is 践umanity, Development and Cultural Diversity・ which focuses on all current development issues and practical problems facing human kind. We hope that anthropologists and ethnologists will use this Congress as a platform to deliver their new ideas and views, benefiting governments of all countries and the international community, as well as contribute to academic development, promoting the establishment of policies, harmonious relationships between human kind and nature, and cultural diversity awareness.

II. Conference format

  1. Academic Sessions: International Joint IUAES Commissions・ Academic Sessions, Regional International Anthropology and Ethnology Organizations・Academic Sessions, National Anthropology and Ethnology Organizations・Academic Sessions, Academic Sessions Representative Speaker, Key Note Speakers, Roundtable Discussion
  2. Organizational Sessions: Annual Symposiums of the IUAES Commissions, Regional International Anthropology and Ethnology Organization Sessions, National Anthropology and Ethnology Organization Sessions
  3. Plenary Sessions: Opening Ceremony, Symposium Summary Reports from Academic Sessions and Organizational Sessions, Closing Ceremony.

III. Criteria for academic session organization

  1. Under the main theme of 践umanity, Development and Cultural Diversity・ 150 organizational sessions and academic sessions will be held. All the academic sessions will address the ICAES 2008 theme, reflect the latest academic developments, and give special consideration to specific regions and the world community, present and past issues, academic theories and practical approaches. Theoretical studies must be challenging and creative and the latest in the field. Applied studies must present unique points of view, or perspectives, as well as constructive solutions from anthropology and ethnology.
  2. Each Academic Session will be assigned a chairperson. Sessions with high numbers of participants are encouraged by the Congress to assign two chairpersons.
  3. Chairpersons of Academic Sessions must be scholars with great academic credibility and achievement or who have been recognized as influential researchers in the field. Qualified young scholars are also encouraged.
  4. At least 15 delegates from three countries must attend each session.
  5. To arrange a session, a 500 words subject elaboration must be submitted.
  6. Expert speakers presenting as Key Note Speakers and Roundtable Discussions leaders must submit a presentation title and a 500 words summary.

IV. Application and confirmation process for academic sessions

  1. Each academic session applicant must fill out an application form and send it to the organizing committee for ICAES 2008, by regular mail, e-mail or fax.
  2. After receipt of all entries and further discussion, the Chinese organizing committee for ICAES 2008 will compile the ICAES 2008 Academic Sessions (recommended) Index. This index will be submitted to the IUAES Executive Committee and will then be released to ICAES 2008 participants.
  3. After final approval by the IUAES, confirmations will be sent to chairpersons of each Session by the Chinese Organizing Committee for ICAES 2008.
  4. In January 2008, six months before the Congress, the organizing committee for ICAES 2008 will give suggestions to those applications not up to standard to join other sessions, and will send notices to chairpersons of sessions announcing the session merger.
  5. If there are no candidates recommended for a Session chairperson, scholars can nominate themselves for the position.

V. Contact information Organizing Committee for ICAES 2008

Address: Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences No. 27, Zhongguancun South Street, Haidian District, Beijing, China
Post code: 100081
Telephone: +86-10-68931408; +86-10-68932100
Fax: +86-10-66068146; +86-10-68421864
E-mail: iuaes2008@126.com; iuaes2008@hotmail.com
Contact: Prof. Dr. Zhang Haiyang, Prof. Dr. Zhang Jijiao

VI. Recommended directions for Academic Sessions

  1. Topics preferred: Physical, Biological, Medical, Ecological Anthropology, and Chinese Studies.
  2. Sessions preferably hosted by both International and Chinese scholars.

VII. Rights and obligations for Presidents of Academic Session

  1. Rights
    1. Chairpersons of academic sessions receive $100 reduction of registration fee.
    2. Chairpersons of each session have the right to accept or reject submitted papers.
    3. Chairpersons or the person in charge of IUAES commissions that have Annual Sessions or host more than three Academic Sessions, Regional International Anthropological and Ethnological Organizations and/or National Anthropological and Ethnological Organizations will be allowed $100 reduction of registration fee for 3-5 conferees, depending on the numbers in the sessions.
  2. Obligations
    1. Organizers must finish all work according to Criteria for Academic Session Organization.
    2. Organizers must actively contact and communicate with participants of the academic session.
    3. Organizers must actively contact and coordinate with the organizing committee for ICAES 2008.

VIII. Conference language

English is the working language of the Congress. However, if (in exceptional cases) academic sessions require the use of a language other than English this will be acceptable, if provided and allowed by all participants.

IX. Application form and recommendation form

For the application and recommendation forms see the website.

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2. The Cape Town Inter-Congress, December 2006

By Barbara ten Hengel*

*Barbara ten Hengel is a BA Student, Leiden University, The Netherlands, who participated in the Inter-Congress and presented a paper there in cooperation with Peter J.M. Nas.

The South African city of Cape Town served as the illustrative décor for the annual Inter-Congress of the IUAES. Since this Congress’ theme was ‘transcending postcolonial conditions: towards alternative modernities’, what better setting than the city of Cape Town could have been chosen? A city that, visibly as well as invisibly, still shows the legacy of a colonial past, and where dealing with this legacy has always been a great challenge, and will most likely still be so in the future.

What then, are the postcolonial conditions in Cape Town, which clearly distinguish the city and are most striking to the (Western?) visitor? Discussions with several Congress participants, led to the conclusion that one of the most striking features of Cape Town is the notion of ‘safety’. This seemed to dominate and penetrate every aspect of life. Being a first time visitor to South Africa, I was struck by the many warnings I received not to be outside, and to avoid public space. Local people, like my hostess at the guesthouse, seemed obsessed with leaving the safety of their own home, or other controlled areas, and subsequently entering public space. I’ve heard stories of girls my age who confessed to me that they had not been outside (meaning in a place which is different from their own home, school, shopping mall or a car) more than twice in their entire lives. They had almost never walked out on the street, or had been to the city centre for a stroll down the streets. Fear of what might happen on the streets seemed to be constantly on their minds. The special situation of female drivers at night is illustrative here. Women, who are on their own in their car, driving around after dark, are legally allowed to ignore red traffic lights. The risk of being robbed and raped, waiting in a car on your own in a dark, deserted area, is perceived to be too great. The people I spoke to made me promise not to go out by myself. Not even in broad daylight, for a simple walk from the guest house up to the university campus (a walk through a residential area, taking 10 minutes). This was completely new, and in fact unimaginable to me. Being a Dutch citizen, I’m used to walking to the centre of the city, spending hours out on the streets, taking buses and trains as I please. In fact, cars are not necessary in Dutch cities, especially not for students. Strange was therefore the feeling of complete and utter dependency: not having your own car in South Africa, seriously sets you back. Taking all of this together, it appeared to me that people in South Africa largely live their lives inside, or in controlled areas for that matter: at home, at work, at the mall. And in between those settings, getting from private setting A to controlled setting B, hours are spent in the car. The use of buses and trains, even taxis, is strongly discouraged by local (white) people. I have no choice but to put forward the notion of white/black here, since it became obviously clear that these warnings mostly come from white people, and only apply to white people. Coloured or black people, on the other hand, often don’t have a choice. It is these people who do use buses, trains and taxis. The differentiation is obvious and cannot be ignored. White people protect their houses by means of guard dogs, high tech fences, cameras and all other sorts of electronic devises; the majority of black people often don’t even own a proper house.

Spending a few days in South Africa, and learning about these circumstances, I was eager to find out how the Congress participants had contributed to research on postcolonial conditions, and what sort of ‘solutions’ they would propose on transcending these and achieving alternative modernities. The original outline of sessions and speakers sounded promising in its diversity and intellectual and scientific value. Migration & Identity, Environment, Indigenous Knowledge, HIV/AIDS, Religion, Urban Anthropology, Gender and Heritage were only some of the themes which guided the papers that had been written. And it turned out that even within these themes, the papers presented were so varied that it was amazing to discover yet another aspect of postcolonial conditions. In addition to this topical variety, the geographical diversity covered by the papers was great as well, which of course did not come as a surprise, as it is what we as anthropologists/ethnologists are used to. This diversity showed that postcolonial conditions in fact touch upon every aspect of society and of human life. The Congress could be seen as one large journey, taking us from the representation in ethnographic films of Mangbetu people in Congo (McKee), to present-day conditions in Parisian suburbs (Benveniste), and to the way modernity is managed in Papua New Guinea under the slogan: ‘fast money, fast religion’ (Cox). Moreover, we got to experience the intriguing presentation of the ethnographic film ‘Maria revisited’ in which the story of a black woman during the Soweto uprisings in1976 was told (Hermer & Simani). This film is a proof of how much the country has changed, since the first cooperation among subjects and filmmaker was very colonially biased, but the relationships have recently altered dramatically. Also, we were taken to India, where we were lectured on the way in which modernization has dissolved the patriarchal family, and how television has contributed to the formation of new ideals (Nair). Other aspects that were taken up were for example shown by Upadhyay, who asserted that language is a sign of the persistence of colonialism. In addition, we found out that colonial heritage worldwide is very controversial and disputed. This is so, because on the one hand, its historic value and the need for maintenance is recognized, but on the other hand the still visible aspect of colonialism, is often too painful to deal with.

Taking all of these topics together, it is clear that the many participants at the Congress have in general done outstanding work in researching the persisting postcolonial conditions. That is certainly an achievement worthy of mentioning, and provides a firm basis as well as new opportunities for future research. However, some questions remained largely unanswered. The first question actually deals with the foundation of the conference: how would we define the notion of ‘postcolonial’? Is this simply the situation after the colonial era has ended? And if so, for how long is it then justified to keep using this notion? Is a postcolonial situation, or are the effects of it, necessarily unfavourable or harmful? The overall assumption during the Congress and shown by the participants was that it is indeed a condition preferably to be transcended. This however, constitutes the second question: exactly how can we transcend these conditions and actively steer towards alternative modernities? Though some strategies were put forward, in general little was said about approaches that could be adopted successfully in fulfilling this goal. Perhaps the diversity and complexity of the current ‘postcolonial’ conditions, reflected in the many papers and themes, is proof that a simple answer to this question does not exist. Still, most of the speakers at the Congress seemed passionate and fiery about their work, and seemed eager indeed to find such an answer. Combining these genuine intentions of the congress participants with the fact that the Congress contributed to making the subject discussable, there is no doubt that the Congress was indeed a step forward. Just the sheer fact that this congress was a joint cooperation between the IUAES, the Pan-African Association of Anthropologists, and Anthropology Southern Africa, which would not have been possible in the past, shows that we are on the right track. It might be a long way, but it is important to recognize that the joint efforts of these organizations, as well as of anthropologists and ethnologists worldwide will contribute to achieving a better world.

As has become clear from the above mentioned, the Congress stimulated discussion and debate, and was very valuable in doing so. This could of course not have been achieved without the outstanding efforts of the conference organizing committee, under the guidance of Andrew Spiegel, whom we all have come to know as ‘Mugsy’. The committee ensured a problem free and excellent course for the conference, and provided all possible necessities. Moreover, it was a pleasure to spend the conference days on the beautiful and impressive campus of the University of Cape Town. Situated at the foot of the famous ‘Devil’s Peak’, it provided endless views over Cape Town’s periphery. The typical English layout, in which the main building is flanked by the other important buildings and in which the primary axis provided views over the large sporting fields, enhanced the atmosphere even more. Dining in the prestigious Smuts Hall was a remarkable event, and served well as a memorable conclusion to the conference. All in all, it was a great experience. The conference was a great success, and South Africa is a fascinating and indeed beautiful country.

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3. A report on the IUAES Inter-Congress Cape Town 2006

By Petr Skalnik

Inter-Congresses of the IUAES are organized around particular topics in the years between two congresses. The Cape Town Inter-Congress was the last before the next congress to be held in Kunming, China, in 2008. Other recent Inter-Congresses were held in Beijing 2000, Göttingen 2001, Kyoto 2002, Kolkata 2004, and Pardubice 2005. The Cape Town meeting was the fourth Inter-Congress I attended. I also attended World Congresses in 1964, 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998 and 2003 and thus have a fairly rich experience from these major activities of the IUAES.

The Cape Town Inter-Congress took place from 3rd to 7th December 2006. Its principal organizer was IUAES Vice-President Andrew ‘Mugsy’ Spiegel of the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town (UCT). The theme was ‘Transcending Postcolonial Conditions: Towards Alternative Modernities’. The venue was the Leslie Social Science Building on the UCT Upper Campus.

Before we look at the academic activities of the Inter-Congress let me say that at Cape Town the IUAES Executive Committee (President, Secretary General and Vice-Presidents) met repeatedly the Chinese delegation which included a representative of the city of Kunming and deputy director-general of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission in order to review jointly preparations for the 2008 IUAES Congress in Kunming. The delegation informed the IUAES executives that both technical and academic preparations are going well. It was agreed that the organizers will extend the period for suggesting sessions till June 2007. Chinese officials coming from Kunming guaranteed that foreign participants at the Congress will receive help in cases when their security or health would be jeopardized. The Chinese delegation also stated that in 2007 an excursion to Kunming will be organized for some members of the IUAES Executive Committee to enable them to see for themselves on the spot how far the preparations have progressed and remove possible obstacles together with the organizers.

Another important organizational point was the relation between the IUAES and the recently formed World Council of Anthropological Associations (WCAA). At a joint meeting, presided by Professor Martin West, UCT Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the mission and role of the two world organizations was clarified. It appeared that a certain overlap exists because both organizations comprise national and other associations of anthropologists. Nevertheless if the WCAA would urge its member organizations to become members of the IUAES, there should be no reason for conflict. In fact WCAA could help with dissemination of information about the importance and activities of the IUAES.

The academic programme of the Cape Town Inter-Congress was rich because this IUAES activity was combined with the annual conferences of the Pan African Association of Anthropologists (PAAA) and Anthropology Southern Africa (ASnA). Thus about 300 scholars attended the joint meeting. There were 43 sessions, some of them extending for several time periods, others for only one time period. Sessions took place in parallel in five adjacent lecture halls. There were several plenary session.

The Inter-Congress was opened by a keynote address by professors-spouses Jean and John Comaroff of the University of Chicago. They spoke on ‘Law and Disorder in the Postcolony: Is the World Evolving toward Africa?’ The paper pointed out some tendencies in Africa and the world which are not only disturbing but which for example in the area of corruption and criminality allude in the direction that Africa sets the tone which is then followed by other parts of the world. The paper thus showed that the road to the transcendence of postcolonial (and I would add also post-communist) conditions is still long.

IUAES Vice-President Faye Harrison from the University of Florida tried in her keynote plenary paper to address the theoretical and practical problems connected with transcending limits of the anthropology of postcolonial conditions. What is at stake according to Harrison is a decolonization of knowledge production via analysis of the categories of race, class, genders and transnational identity as important expressions of inequality, power and struggle for social and economic justice and human rights.

Out of almost four dozen sessions unusual attention right from the beginning of the Inter-Congress caught the session on South African Anthropology. The participants concentrated on a critical approach to anthropology in the country with a long anthropological tradition (the oldest chair of social anthropology which still exists is that at UCT, founded in 1921). John Sharp of the University of Pretoria presented his discoveries in the archives of his university well-known for its pro-apartheid stance in the pre-1994 period. African ethnologists-volkekundiges tried for years to create a special segregated institution of higher learning for non-white students and thus contribute to the emergence of two parallel worlds, white and black. When this unrealistic quasi-egalitarian vision lost in the competition with the concept of baaskap (bossism), ethnologists as constructors of apartheid became marginalized.

Robin Palmer of Rhodes University sought an answer to the question why racial division persists in South African anthropological research even after the official end of apartheid. Palmer contended that South African anthropology also changed into a discipline no more dominated by long-term intensive field research of the ‘Other’ elsewhere and its interest turned to the anthropology ‘At home’. African students of anthropology traditionally studied their own ethnic communities and even now after the fall of apartheid did not show interest in the study of the whites or other African ethnic groups. In this way there is hardly any research on minorities.

The main organizer of the congress Andrew ‘Mugsy’ Spiegel in his contribution wanted to find out why the critical spirit diminishes in contemporary South African anthropology when the object of criticism – apartheid – is off stage. He believes that the cause is in neo-liberal conformism and embourgeoisement of university students who stem ever less from poorer layers of the population. Therefore students strive to avoid studying real social problems from the viewpoint of marginalized groups.

In the section ‘Migration, Diaspora and Identity’ the majority of paper presenters were interested in how identities get constructed in conditions of migration and subsequent diaspora. It appeared that this topic is very timely and attractive for anthropologists from various countries. For example the Chinese colleague Jingyu Liang from the Central University of Nationalities in Beijing devoted her paper to the sensitive problematic of identity among ethnic minorities outside their ethnic territories. These internal diasporas are very numerous and presently involve up to 300 million members. Due to the fact that they live in constant ethnocultural contact with other ethnic groups, they display a higher degree of sensitivity and need to protect their ethnic rights and interests. In cities, where these diasporas mostly settle, their status is low and therefore it is not easy for them to be on an equal footing with the status of Han compatriots.

In the section ‘Culture Beyond Commonsense’ a contribution by Robert Thornton of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg pointed out that the South African political community is wrongly described and therefore has to define itself ever again, mainly because internal boundaries are part and parcel of the political process and not its limits. What matters is not who is inside and who outside, who is citizen and who barbarian, who is autochthon and who settler, but how the political formation is defined as such. In it these quasi categories coexist and constantly redefine themselves as parts of political process. ‘This evanescence and variability of boundaries lies at the root of South Africa’s failed descriptions’, namely in most characteristic South African discourses: land, chiefship and traditional healing.

Two sections dealt with HIV/AIDS complex: one on globalization and AIDS, the other on applying anthropology in AIDS prevention. Steven Robins of the University of Stellenbosch asserts in his description of the first of these sessions that spreading of HIV became a powerful vector of a new form of bio-political globalization. A number of influential international organizations tries to prevent AIDS and the aim of the session was to find out how these interventions were received, rejected, modified and undermined in different parts of Africa. Interventions in poorer countries led to changes of priorities of public health; in richer countries they touched upon the questions of citizenship, sovereignty and responsibility of global actors towards local governing bodies. Susan Leclerc-Madlala of the University of Natal mentioned that in South Africa there are 300,000 traditional healers who strive for ‘regulating the practice of healing and restoring lost honour to the indigenous healing system in accordance with the vision of African Renaissance’. Her paper examined the attempt of the South African government to construct an alternative ‘African modernity’ in approaching HIV/AIDS. In order to promote an Afro-centred project of overcoming the epidemic, knowledge production is manipulated by exploiting tensions between the traditional and the modern, the indigenous and the foreign.

The section ‘Magic of Leadership: Challenge of Comparative Analysis’ posed the questions: who are leaders, why do we follow them and why do they lead us on the wrong path. The crisis of leadership in the contemporary world is apparent; many leaders are corrupt; gifted and honest people do not want to be leaders. Comparative study of leadership makes it possible to find leadership abilities in all human beings. Petr Skalník of the University of Pardubice and the University of Wroclaw formulated an inchoate theory of leadership comprising recruitment to leader roles, execution of leadership, production of support and absence of leaders. Shalva Weil of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem compared ethnographic data about leadership among the Ethiopian Jews while in Ethiopia and later after their settlement in Israel. Religious and political leaders existed in both environments but when in Israel a new type of leaders-rabbis emerged. Some talented migrants abused their leadership, misappropriated public property and transgressed commonly accepted moral principles. However those in breach of the codex because of their charisma are nevertheless celebrated as victors, glorified after death or pardoned. Do such leaders emerge namely in postcolonial circumstances or are certain types of leadership a prerequisite for longevity of transitional social situations?

Another session which attracted the interest of participants was ‘Identity and the State’ convened by John Gledhill of the University of Manchester. Quite a few papers were very exciting but I would like to point out the contribution of Igor Marković from Croatia who dealt with new regionalism in the European Union. He showed Istria Peninsula transborder regionalism as an aspect of post-nationalism and post-colonialism. It is an alternative to traditional European practices of organising politics and culture from above. The author relies on a number of authorities in the research on cultural construction of borders. He contends that the new EU regionalism signalises the incompleteness of western modernity. On the other hand though, celebration of ‘hybridity’, ‘liminality’, ‘third spaces‘ and the values of the periphery is not appropriate, because global modernity structures the world in a ‘profoundly colonial’ pattern.

Another speaker in the same session was Larissa Förster of the University of Cologne. She examined three layers of contexts of commemorative activities among the Namibian Herero on the occasion of 100 years since the beginning of the colonial war of 1904-1908. Herero labelled the war as a genocide committed by the German colonial power on the Ovaherero people. They used the anniversary for re-enforcing Herero historical identity and ethnic unity among the contemporary Herero. The organisers of the activities also tried to put Herero resistance into the overall frame or even foundation of Namibian national history as a ‘National War of Resistance’. Finally they interpreted Herero history as part of the international human rights discourse and demanded an apology and reparations from Germany for the ‘genocide’.

I would like to conclude this brief survey of selected papers presented at Cape Town with reference to an important presentation by Vendula Řezáčová of Charles University, Prague who summarised her findings from long-term field research in the former homeland of Venda in the north of South Africa. This paper was presented in the session on Resistance and Social Movements. According to the author Venda society did not accept modernity of commodity relations without reservations. They labelled it tshikuani, i.e. ways/things/places of the whites, in its substance alien and dangerous. Myth and ritual, expressed through the idiom of illness, spirit possession and other symbolic categories, became counter-hegemonic practices in this post-colonial context. Healing cults then help reconstitute social networks, solidarity and mutual help disturbed by tshikuani. A situation emerges in which ancestors are invoked and politics is played out on the level of the extended household. New hierarchies emerge and these are supported by cultural policies recently adopted by the South African government.

To conclude I would like to express the view that the amalgamation into one meeting of the IUAES Inter-Congress with the annual conferences of the PAAA and ASnA was an interesting experiment enabling the encounter of members of the world organisation of anthropologists and ethnologists with members of regional organisations on a continent which for the first time hosted a major IUAES activity. The meeting was well organised. It was not easy to bring together scholars from all corners of the world who sometimes travelled more than 24 hours in order to reach Cape Town. Our gratitude is due to Mugsy Spiegel and his staff.

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4. Collection of Essays by the Commissions of the International Union of Anthropo-logical and Ethnological Sciences

By Peter J.M. Nas

A book ‘Issues in Anthropology: Essays by the Commissions of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences’ was initiated by the organizers of the 2008 Kunming IUAES World Congress some time ago. The Congress organizers proposed to present the work of the IUAES Research Commissions in English and Chinese to the participants of the 2008 Congress. They felt that such a book would be very valuable in presenting a broad overview of the topics dealt with in current anthropological research. As Secretary General of IUAES I was honoured to organize this volume by asking the officials of the Commissions to write such a contribution. After the editing of the book the essays will be translated into Chinese. It is with great pleasure that in cooperation with the Commissions and our Chinese colleagues the IUAES will be able to offer this overview of important anthropological topics covered by the IUAES Research Commissions. The work is still in progress and the IUAES leadership thanks all the Commission officials who have kindly agreed to write a contribution for their efforts. Seventeen essays are finished and as the IUAES has 27 commissions several more contributions are expected.

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5. China Program, Commission on the Anthropology of AIDS

By David Pitt

Anthropology and future international responses to the HIV AIDS pandemic: Ideas for the Meeting of the Commission on AIDS of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) at the 16th IUAES Congress Kunming China (2008).

After reviewing progress since the Florence, Italy 15th IUAES Congress (2003), the meeting will focus on specific ways in which an interdisciplinary, intersectoral, applied anthropology, combining physical and social sciences, working in a cross cultural context, may contribute to future international programmes especially in the United Nations system, stressing goals of sustainable health development ‘from below’, in conjunction particularly with UNAIDS. The meeting will draw on key ideas current in international civil society, particularly in the IUAES and the ICSU family, and in relation to innovative key actors. A number of essential topics have been suggested for discussion which include (not listed in any particular order of priority): the general relationships between poverty/disempowerment and the pandemic in the context of globalization especially in concerning the status of women, the ‘new wave’ of infection amongst poor rural girls in Africa, the outbreaks in Eastern Europe and the relationships to the rise of drug resistant TB, roles for traditional medicine (e.g. Chinese, African), the dynamics of ‘success stories’ in prevention and control at grass roots level, the reinterpretation of key concepts such as ‘risk’ and ‘vulnerability’, the role of the environment in explaining the cartography of the pandemic, the effects of war and refugee situations and the promotion of prevention in peace processes, the relationship between male circumcision and the pandemic, new approaches to education through open learning and especially the Internet and mobiles, and the revival of some of the key ideas of the Health for All movement instigated by WHO/UNICEF in Alma Ata, former USSR (1978). Further suggestions have been prepared for example from the Cape Town South Africa IUAES Inter-Congress (2006). The meeting in Kunming will work on inputs into major international programmes such as the United Nations Review on AIDS set in motion at the High Level Meeting on AIDS at the General Assembly in New York (2006 - with 2010 targets), as well as the United Nations Strategy for Disaster Reduction in the Hyogo Framework (2005-2015) and the follow up to the scenario work in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment coordinated by UNEP. The contributions after the meeting will both be posted on the IUAES website at Leiden University, the Netherlands and prepared for print as part of a book series being published by Lit Verlag Berlin, Germany.

More information from Dr David Pitt, Chair, Commission on AIDS, IUAES, 1265 La Cure, Switzerland, tel.: 41 22 3601452, email: pittdelacure@bluewin.ch. A background paper Anthropology and AIDS - Scenarios and International Campaigns is also available. New ideas, comments etc. are welcome.

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6. Commission on Food and Food Problems

By Igor de Garine

In July 2006 we reluctantly accepted Helen Macbeth’s resignation from her position as Commissioner for Europe. She is replaced by Xavier Medina and Frederic Duhart (Deputy Commissioner).


Latin America
The Mexican ICAF group called Grupo Mexicano de Antropología de la Alimentación continues to be active. Meetings are held on the last Thursdays of nine months of the year, with a variable audience, but with a lot of enthusiasm. The last three have been on: Korean food by Dr. Alfredo Romero; The foodways of Mexican teen age students by Miguel Angel Cecilio; Grinding stones from ancient and contemporary sites in Chiapas by María Elena Ruiz.

Sessions are planned within the forthcoming congresses of the Centro American Anthropological Association and the Latin American Anthropological Association.

ICAF Publications

Hubert, A. and R. Ávila, (eds.) (2005) Man and meat. Guadalajara: Estudios del Hombre.

Prinz, A. (ed.) (2006) Hunting food and drinking wine. Proceedings of the conference in Poysdorf, Austria 2003. Wiener ethnomedizinische Reihe Bd. 3. Wien/Münster: Lit Verlag.


Ávila, R. and A. Hubert (eds.) (in press) La comida de los Puertos. Guadalajara: Estudios del Hombre.

Boetsch, G. and A. Hubert, (eds.) (in preparation) Alimentation et montagne. Gap: Editions des Hautes Alpes.

MacClancy, J., J. Henry and H. Macbeth (eds.) (in press) Consuming the inedible: Neglected dimensions of food choice. Oxford: Berghahn.

Schiefenhövel, W. (ed.) (in preparation) Liquid bread: Images and usages of beer in cross-cultural perspective. Oxford: Berghahn

Tresseras, J. (ed.) (in preparation) Beer in prehistory and in antiquity. London: British Archaeological Reports.

Tresserras, J. and F.X. Medina (in preparation) Patrimonio gastronómico y turismo cultural en el Mediterráneo. Barcelona: University of Barcelona.

Garine, I. de, H. Macbeth, R. Avila, R., F. Duhart, V. de Garine, I. Gonzalez Turmo, C.M. Hladik, A. Hubert, F.X. Medina, E. Messer, P. Pasquet, W. Schiefenhovel, C. Strungaru (in preparation) Nutrition and the Anthropology of Food. China Book, ICAES 2008.

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7. Commission on Urban Anthropology

By Giuliana Prato

At the end of August 2006, Professor Ghaus Ansari, founding Chairperson of the Commission on Urban Anthropology, retired from his position and Professor Fernando Monge was appointed as the new Chairperson. Professor Monge’s nomination had been legitimately put forward a few months earlier by Professor Ansari and was approved by the IUAES in September 2006.

The CUA wishes to express the most heartfelt thanks to Prof. Ansari for his untiring and enthusiastic leadership. Professor Ansari’s enthusiasm for urban anthropology led to the establishment of the Commission in 1982. The Commission has since expanded its scope and membership and has gained an international reputation. The conferences, meetings and symposia organised under Prof. Ansari’s leadership have stimulated topical debates in urban studies, contributing to the development of new directions in this field. The nomination of Professor Monge is a further indication of Professor Ansari’s foresight in opening up new directions in urban research. Professor Monge’s expertise in maritime culture will certainly stimulate new interest in this important aspect of many urban realities.

In 2003, with the world-wide expansion of the Commission’s work, it was felt appropriate to have a Co-Chairperson to coordinate its scientific activity and organization. Dr Giuliana Prato was nominated for this position. The collaboration between the Chair and the Co-Chair has been marked by strong co-operation and shared views not only on the Commission’s many activities but also on such key issues as the future of the Commission and the need to maintain a high academic standard. Following Professor Ansari’s resignation, the Commission’s goals remain unchanged. The Commission’s new leadership has successfully brought to completion two important organisational steps that were initiated during the last year of Professor Ansari’s leadership.

First, the Commission has brought to lead an outstanding project, establishing its own Web-Page. The Web-Page is greatly helping to strengthen communication among our international membership and with other anthropological associations while disseminating the Commission’s activities among a wider audience. The Commission warmly encourages all members to visit the page and send their comments, news and suggestions. The Website address of the CUA is: http://www.uned.es/dpto_asyc/IUAES/. The Commission’s Web-Page is linked to the IUAES Website and is hosted by the Chairperson’s Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Universidad de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Spain. The Newsletter has been replaced by an Official Bulletin, which will be regularly posted on the Web-Page.

Second, in view of the Commission’s increasing activity and expanded membership, a number of motivated and active members have been asked to operate as Regional Correspondents in the areas of the world where they reside and work. The Regional Correspondents will inform the Commission on major activities of urban anthropological interest in their respective regions and will co-ordinate local initiatives. Their reports will be published in the Official Bulletin and will be discussed at the Business Meetings held during the Commission’s Annual Conferences. The Correspondents will play a key role in the expansion of the Commission’s network. Thus, members will be kept fully and regularly informed on the latest developments. Prof. Sumita Chauduri, from India, Prof. Eveline Duerr, from New Zealand, Prof. Marietta Ortega Perrier, from Chile, Prof. Alex Weingrod, from Israel and Prof. Zhang Jijiao from China have graciously accepted this onerous engagement. We are thankful to them and wish them well in such work for as many years as they feel they can carry it out. Further motivated members have been contacted to cover other areas of the world. We would be grateful to members for their suggestions on this key process. On completion, a full list of Correspondents will be circulated to all members and published on the Web-Page.

The Commission’s scientific activity continues to be most successful. In 2006, the volume entitled Political Ideology, Identity, Citizenship: Anthropological Approaches was published as a special issue of the journal Global Bioethics. Another volume, entitled Beyond Multiculturalism (edited by G.B. Prato) is in publication with Ashgate. Both volumes include selections of revised and expanded papers from the 2003 XV ICAES. Professor Sumita Chauduri informed us that the proceedings of the Inter-Congress on ‘Mega Urbanization, Multi-ethnic Society, Human Rights and Development’, held in Kolkata in 2004, are now in publication. In 2006, the Commission organized its Conference in Cadiz with the cooperation of the University of Cadiz and the Institute of Islamic and Near East Studies (IEIOP) Zaragossa, Spain. ‘Cities on the Mediterranean: Old Word Modernities in the New Millennium’ was the theme of the Cadiz Conference. The Conference brought together a strong field of junior and senior anthropologists from across the Mediterranean Region and Europe. By common agreement, the Conference was a scientific and organizational success. A volume including a selection of revised and expanded papers discussed at the Conference is now in publication (I. Pardo and G.B. Prato eds., Citizenship and the Legitimacy of the Governance in the Mediterranean Region). A General Meeting was held in Cadiz. This proved to be a very fruitful experience, as the many members present were able to exchange their views, suggest new ways of improving interaction and raise topical issues on which future symposia could be held. In August, Tirana will be the venue of the 2007 Commission’s Conference on ‘Urban Identities, Power and Space: The Significance of Trans-European Corridors’. Prestigious Albanian academic institutions, such as the University Zoja e Këshillit të Mirë and the Albanian Academy of Sciences, are cooperating in the organization of what promises to be a particularly successful event.

The Commission on Urban Anthropology will celebrate its Silver Jubilee year in 2007. The Silver Jubilee is a milestone in the history of the Commission. A special Business Meeting will therefore be held in Tirana during the Commission’s Annual Conference. The Meeting’s Agenda will include discussion of the Commission’s work, future activities and organization. The Agenda will be finalised prior to the Conference. The Chair and the Co-Chair are open to, and strongly encourage, suggestions from members. Other events are scheduled to celebrate the Commission’s Silver Jubilee. A provisional Silver Jubilee Programme and the announcement of the Business Meeting are published in the Commission’s Official Bulletin. Further details will be posted on the Commission’s web page.

The Commission is actively contributing to the XVI ICAES that will be held in Kunming in 2008. The ten Sessions proposed by the Commission have now been officially approved by the Organizing Committee. Most of these Sessions are convened by members of the Commission. Others are organized in cooperation with other Anthropological Associations. A Call for Papers and for Session Proposals is published on the Commission’s Website.

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