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Newsletter 61

March 2003

  1. Australia is bidding for the 2008 IUAES World Conference
    by Helen Johnson
  2. China is bidding for the 2008 IUAES World Conference
    by The China Urban Anthropology Association (CUAA)
  3. Concluding Speech at the IUAES Inter-Congress, September 2002, Tokyo, Japan
    by Peter J.M. Nas
  4. Call for nominations for The Viking Fund Medal
    by The Wenner-Gren Foundation
  5. Proposed Commission on Primatology
    by Tasuku Kimura and Morihiko Okada
  6. Proposed IUAES Commission on Human Rights
    by Buddhadeb Chaudhuri
  7. New website IUAES Commission on the Anthropology of Mathematics
    by Paul W. Dixon
  8. IUAES Membership

1. Australia is bidding for the 2008 IUAES World Conference

by Helen Johnson

In September 2002 I travelled to Tokyo to attend the IUAES Inter-Congress. It was a great pleasure to meet so many interesting delegates from such a broad range of countries. I was representing my School of Social Science at the University of Queensland, which is located in Brisbane, Australia. We are bidding for the opportunity to host the next IUAES major Congress in 2008, following the Congress being held in Florence this year.

Brisbane is a lovely city of just over one million residents. It is situated in the state of Queensland, in the northeast of Australia. It enjoys a sub-tropical climate that ensures we benefit from mild winters. Should we be successful in winning the bid to host the IUAES 2008 Congress we plan to host the event in July. At that time of year our daytime temperatures are a mellow 24C, perfect for travelling and exploring the loveliness of the coast and country. Brisbane also boasts a world-class Art Gallery (with a stunning new Gallery of Modern Art to open in 2005) and Museum in the South Bank Precinct, which is just opposite the city centre and an easy walk over numerous bridges spanning the river. City walks will be organised to ensure that delegates are at ease when exploring the safe, friendly and accessible city environment.

My School of Social Science is located on the main campus of the University of Queensland at St Lucia. The campus is a pleasant five km from the centre of the city and is easily accessible by a system of motorised catamarans that serve as our public transport along the length of the Brisbane River. The campus is also easily accessible by major roads. The campus is a blend of beautiful grounds, sandstone cloisters surrounding the central Great Court lawns, lakes, river frontage, sports fields, bijou cafés, and a range of sophisticated libraries and information technology centres.

The University of Queensland is one of the foremost educational establishments in the southern hemisphere, founded in 1910, with some 30,000 undergraduate students and 7,000 postgraduates. It is a member of Universitas 21, and was awarded Australian University of the Year in 2001.

The School has four teaching and research specialities: Anthropology, Archaeology, Criminology, and Sociology. The teaching and research staff of Anthropology and Archaeology are joining together to ensure that the Congress will be an exciting and dynamic intellectual event as well as a pleasurable stay in the southern hemisphere. Anthropology at the University of Queensland has a history of more than 30 years. It has always stressed the importance of the region in terms of Australian and Melanesian studies. It specialises in socio-cultural anthropology, archaeology, and museum and cultural heritage care. The program presently employs 12 fulltime anthropologists.

Anthropology is also intensely involved in community activities, consulting to industry, government and community stakeholders through units such as UQASU and the Social Research Centre. It has both political and scientific involvement with indigenous communities, develops courses for training professionals across a range of workplace needs, and curates and presents museum displays. These activities are important because Australia is a microcosm of the processes of engagement with indigenous peoples due to its history and contemporary issues of land rights, migration, cultural change, and negotiating the past via reconciliation processes and the challenges of development.

We have organised a number of meetings since my initial trip to Tokyo in order to prepare for the bidding process in Florence. We have decided on a working title for our congress - Past Dilemmas and Future Challenges: Anthropology in the Asia-Pacific Region. Some of the themes we hope to host are:

Environment and sustainable development;

Ethnic conflict;

Indigenous knowledge and land rights;

Bioethics;

The relationship between science and indigenous knowledge; and

Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

Our bid is both timely and significant, we believe, because of the historical importance of place, and the issues now confronting indigenous peoples of the Pacific Rim region. We have established an organising committee who are presently combing the shelves, walls and storerooms of our outstanding Museum of Anthropology to choose a logo that best reflects our theme. We have chosen the power point slides of our themes and the intellectual benefits of visiting your scholarly colleagues in the southern hemisphere, and photographs of the University to accompany our bid presentation. We have established a web page so that it can be swiftly developed to ease information dissemination and registration procedures should we be chosen. We have scouted a range of congress venues, from the imposing Brisbane Convention Centre at South Bank, to the University of Queensland’s new Campus Centre at St Lucia. We have received letters of support for our School to host the Congress from the major universities in Australia who continue their Anthropology programs. They will be invited to participate in our organising committees, the selection of themes, to work in chairperson roles, and the structuring and enactment of workshop sessions. Moreover we are organising a team to attend Florence to speak personally with delegates about the potential benefits of a Congress in Brisbane, Australia.

We are enjoying the challenge of preparing the bid and will enjoy even more the organising and hosting of the Congress. We look forward to meeting and speaking with as many delegates as possible at the forthcoming Congress in Florence and, hopefully, to welcoming you to our lovely city and university in 2008.

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2. China is bidding for the 2008 IUAES World Conference

by The China Urban Anthropology Association (CUAA)

At the IUAES Tokyo Inter-Congress held in September 2002, Mr. Tie Muer, President of the China Urban Anthropology Association (CUAA) formally declared that China would bid for the 2008 International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (ICAES).

CUAA successfully held an Inter-Congress in Beijing in 2000. This time’s bidding takes place after a long period of thought. In the past years, CUAA has been consulting issues on bidding for the 2008 ICAES with related domestic social units and organizations. It has received wide support from all walks of life in China. As a result, in September 2002 the State Council declared its support for CUAA’s bidding for and holding of the 2008 ICAES.

China is a nation with a history of over 5000 years and various ethnic groups. It has rich cultural resources. The Chinese government attaches great importance to the maintaining of sustainable development of the economy and society as well as the traditional cultures of various ethnic groups. Ever since the late 1970s, China’s anthropology and ethnology cause has gained rapid development. The government is attaching greater importance to the role of anthropology and ethnology in China’s development, especially in its western region. Meanwhile, some basic points and methods in anthropology are gaining wider acceptance of the social public.

Holding the ICAES would be beneficial not only to China’s development of anthropology and ethnology, but would also strengthen exchanges between Chinese culture and the cultures of other nations. It will at the same time push forward the Chinese government and society’s efforts in proposing a sustainable development strategy and the maintenance of cultural diversity.

At present, CUAA is working together with all related domestic social organizations, institutions of higher learning and research institutes to prepare for China’s bidding for the 2008 ICAES. Chinese anthropologists and ethnologists hope that, in a nation that shelters one fifth of the world population, anthropologists and ethnologists from all over the world would gather together and have full communication with each other for the development of world anthropology and ethnology in the 21st century.

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3. Concluding Speech at the IUAES Inter-Congress, September 2002, Tokyo, Japan

by Peter J.M. Nas

Dear participants of the 2002 Tokyo Inter-Congress, Ladies and Gentlemen.

When I received the invitation for this Inter-congress on ‘The human body in anthropological perspectives’ I said to myself that although as Secretary-General of the IUAES I would have to fulfil a lot of administrative duties, I also wanted to present a paper. So I decided to present a paper, but on what, because as an urban anthropologist I had never considered the human body as being strongly related to the city. Though I did not consider the human body to be in my sphere of interest, I felt obliged to look into this topic and found out that there is a dancing couple in Prague, two high-rise buildings constructed as a man and a woman dancing with each other. They are called Ginger and Fred. I also discovered that in some cultures the house is perceived as a woman. With respect to Japan I learned that the architect Kurokawa has developed a tearoom based on ancient aesthetic principles so as to influence the human spirit and emotions. I also became aware that in history the city has been perceived as a human body, with different functions: the head being the castle and the organs in the body seen as the different functional groups, and the blood vessels as the transport system. Elaborating on this anthropomorphic architecture, I came across various definition problems, such as what exactly is the human body: does it refer to external form only, or does it also include functions of the organs, the senses, the spirit and emotions? How should I deal with all these aspects of the human body? The same problems were encountered with respect to the city, which is also a complex entity. Anyway, I finished my paper and I present my case here, as an example to show how this Tokyo Inter-Congress stimulated me to delve into a subject that was new for me, and that otherwise would never have attracted my attention. And that is precisely one of the functions of the IUAES, to stimulate anthropological research and to facilitate communication between scholars.

The IUAES with this aim of stimulating the advancement of anthropology was de facto established in 1948 when it was brought into one organization with the International Congress of Anthropological Sciences founded in 1934 being the successor of various anthropological congresses starting in 1865. From 1934 onwards congresses took place at regular intervals of 4 or 5 years in London, Copenhagen, Brussels, Vienna, Philadelphia, Paris, Moscow, Tokyo, Chicago, Delhi, Quebec and Vancouver, Zagreb, Mexico, and the last one in Williamsburg in 1998. Inter-Congresses were also organized on a regular basis for example in Amsterdam, Lisbon, Perth, Beijing, Göttingen and now here in Tokyo.

In addition to these congresses the Union has established 23 Commissions, which are active in the period between the Congresses but also during the congresses. They have their own activities such as workshops, newsletters and publications and they are all listed on the Union’s website. Examples are the Commission on the Anthropology of AIDS, the Commission on Food an Food Problems, the Commissions on Urban Anthropology, Theoretical Anthropology, Visual Anthropology, Ethnic Relations and the Anthropology of Women, just to mention a few.

Through these Congresses, Inter-Congresses, Commissions, Newsletter and the website, and by facilitation relationships with several international bodies related to the UN, the Union provides a world forum for the discussion and dissemination of research results in anthropology and its sub-disciplines as well as related disciplines. Important topics such as race, AIDS, environmental problems and masterpieces of oral and intangible culture have not just been studied and discussed, but have also resulted in recommendations to international bodies such as UNESCO. With regard to the concept of race the Union has formulated an elaborate and clear statement published on the website and communicated to the UN. On the Internet an encyclopaedia about AIDS has recently been published. Extensive advice has been given to UNESCO for its program Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Culture, which also has been described and discussed in Current Anthropology. This means that on top of the Union’s direct dealings with Congresses and Commissions, it functions as a broad international forum.

Here in Tokyo the Executive Committee has planned future activities, particularly new proposals for Congresses and Inter-Congresses. Next year from 5 to12 July 2003 the world congress will take place in Florence under the direction of Prof. Brunetto Chiarelli. This 15th international Congress has the title ‘Humankind/Nature Interaction: Past, Present and Future’ and will cover a wide range of topics. We invite you to participate in this major international event where several thousands of anthropologists from all over the world are expected to present their papers. The organization is well underway and we hope that many Japanese scholars will be able to present their research results there.

With regard to the world Congress in the year 2008 to date two proposals have reached us, one formulated by the Chinese anthropologists and another by the Australian anthropologists. The proposals are still being discussed. As for coming Inter-Congresses the Executive Committee informally approved one elaborate proposal entitled ‘Racism’s Many Faces: Challenge for All Anthropologists and Ethnologists’ to be held in the city of Pardubice in the Czech Republic, in the year 2005. This proposal was published in the Union’s Newsletter. Another proposal from South Africa was discussed in the IUAES Executive Committee, but the unfortunate decease of Prof. Vorster, one of the scholars proposing this Inter-Congress, has delayed this plan. Next year in Florence the IUAES Permanent Council advised by the General Assembly will have to take a final decision on all these activities.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what I wanted to tell you about the general aims and future activities of the IUAES. But we are living here and now, and not in the future, and so we have reached the closing session of this fruitful Tokyo Inter-Congress. This was a very good Inter-congress, a major international event and an excellent opportunity to become acquainted with current research results and particularly with Japanese anthropology. That is why I would like sincerely to thank all our Japanese colleagues for making it possible for the international community of anthropologists present here, to deliver their papers, meet each other, discuss research results and become acquainted with Tokyo, Japanese culture and Japanese organizational qualities. The Congress was very well planned, prepared and delivered by Prof. Keiichi Omoto, President of the organizing committee and by the other members: Professors Tasuku Kimura, Kazuo Otsuka, Eisaku Kanazawa, Takeru Akazawa, Hisao Baba, Yuji Mizoguchi, Herifumi Aboshi, Ikuo Kageyama, Nobuo Shigehara and Hidemi Ishida. We want to thank them for the enormous work they have done to realize this very successful Congress also on behalf of the President and Executive Committee of the IUAES and therefore I would like to ask you to show your appreciation. Many other persons have also been involved in the arrangements of the Congress, the exhibition, publicity, the site and travel arrangements, financial affairs and so on and so forth. They are all listed in the program and are too many to be named here. In the name of the IUAES I would like to express our sincere thanks for all the efforts put into this very successful event by so many Japanese scholars, students and professional people. In addition I also want to express my gratitude to all the delegates who have participated by delivering their papers and contributions to the discussions. Finally, I hope that this Congress will prove to be fertile ground for a number of publications in anthropology that have been intensively discussed here in this outstanding Tokyo Toshi Center. In the name of the IUAES I convey our gratitude to our hosts and our thanks to all of you.

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4. Call for nominations for The Viking Fund Medal

by The Wenner-Gren Foundation

The Wenner-Gren Foundation is pleased to announce that beginning in 2003 it will again annually award the Viking Fund Medal and prize. The medal, which carries a cash prize of US $ 25,000, is to be awarded at a ceremony held in conjunction with the annual fall meeting of the Wenner-Gren Board of Trustees. The prize is to be used to fund the recipient’s scholarly activity, including conducting research, preparing manuscripts for publication, giving support to graduate students, and equivalent expenditures.

First awarded in 1946, the Viking Fund Medal continued to be given to distinguished anthropologists until 1972. Its most recent recipients were J.G.D. Clark (1972) and Claude Levi-Strauss (1966), preceded by Alfred L. Kroeber (1946), Alfonso Caso (1952), W. E. Le Gros Clark (1955), Fred Eggan (1956), Henri Vallois (1958), and E.E. Evans-Pritchard (1961), among many others. A complete list of Viking Fund medallists appears on the foundation’s website, http://www.wennergren.org/medalists.html.

The Viking Fund Medal honours an anthropologist for outstanding achievement and exceptional service to the discipline in fulfilment of the foundation’s dual mission to support basic research in all branches of anthropology and to build a world community of anthropologists. The goal is to reward scholars providing current intellectual direction and professional leadership of the highest order to anthropology. The recipient should be active in research, teaching, and supervision of students and should be engaged in ongoing service to the field.

Selection of the Viking Fund medallist will be made by the foundation’s board of trustees upon the recommendation of the Wenner-Gren Advisory Council. The advisory council, which will make its recommendation based on the nominations received by the foundation, consists of six anthropologists chosen to represent a broad and international understanding of the field.

Nominations should be sent by letter or by email to the President of the Wenner-Gren Foundation and should consist of a brief statement of how the nominated anthropologist fulfils the foundation’s criteria. It should also provide the names of two other scholars who could write knowledgeably about the nominee. A vita for the nominee would also be most welcome, although not mandatory. Nominations, which will be treated as confidential, should be addressed to: Dr. Richard G. Fox, President, Wenner-Gren Foundation For Anthropological Research, 220 Fifth Avenue Fl 16, New York, NY 10001, rfox@wennergren.org.

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5. Proposed Commission on Primatology

by Tasuku Kimura and Morihiko Okada

Primatology is an emerging discipline, which has rapidly developed in recent years. It is a science of multi-disciplinary nature covering systematics, evolution, morpho-physiological adaptation, behaviour, socio-ecology, and conservation of primates. The close genetic affinity in terms of DNA has been well established between modern humans and great apes, chimpanzees in particular. The primatological approach is indispensable for the clarification of human origins and human nature, which are central to the goal of anthropology. In addition, primate conservation is expected to provide valuable suggestions in pursuing relationships between humans and naturalistic environments thereby ensuring the sustainable development of Homo sapiens.

Tasuku Kimura: kimura@boil.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Morihiko Okada: mokada@h9.dion.ne.jp

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6. Proposed IUAES Commission on Human Rights

by Buddhadeb Chaudhuri

There has been increasing concern and interest with reference to human rights. Till now, human rights have been examined mostly by political scientists or persons with a law background. Social activists and human rights activists have contributed much to stop human rights violation. But in the changing global environment, with increasing identity problem and ethnic conflict all over the world, economic exploitation and intolerance, the process of militarisation has witnessed increasing suffering of human being and instances of human rights violation. Anthropology with its unique research tools and holistic approach is very competent to understand the problem of human rights. In fact, anthropologists have shown an increasing interest and concern about the problem of migrant/stateless populations and refugees, women, indigenous people, children and other disadvantaged people who are more prone to human rights violation. A number of sessions were organised in the past in the Main Congresses or Inter-Congresses on many of these issues. I organised a session on Human Rights and Multi-ethnic Societies in the Beijing Inter Congress. There were participants from twelve different countries and all strongly suggested that efforts should be made to have an Anthropological Commission on Human Rights. A core group has already been formed with the following members and if it is approved by the IUAES, a formal committee can be constituted and interested persons from other countries may be included. :

- Prof. S. Sanders, University of British Columbia, Canada (also one of the four members of the UN Committee of Indigenous Affairs);

- Mr. Sushil Pyakurel, Nepal, Member National Human Rights Commission, Nepal;

- Mr. M.A.Sabur, Thailand, Executive Director, Asian Resource Foundation;

- Prof. Anwarullah Chowdhury, Vice Chancellor University of Dhaka, Bangladesh and Former Professor Department of Anthropology, Dhaka University, Bangladesh;

- Prof. T.J. Huttege, Colombo University, Sri Lanka;

- Prof. Buddhadeb Chaudhuri, Dr. Ambedkar Chair Professor in Anthropology, Calcutta University, Calcutta, India;

- Ms. Mucha Shim, Anthropologist, Philippines;

- Dr. Basil Fernando, Chairman Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong;

- Professor Keiichi Omoto, Japan.

I do hope, it will be favourably considered in the IUAES Executive Committee and an Anthropological Commission on Human Rights will be formed at the next World Anthropological Congress to be held in Italy.

Prof. Buddhadeb Chaudhuri, M.Sc, Ph.D. P.R.S
Dr. Ambedkar Chair Professor in Anthropology, Calcutta University
B-3, Rochdale Housing, 15C Jubilee Park, Calcutta-700033, India
Ph: 91-33-4717233/4810981 Office: 91-33-4741528 Fax: 91-33-4764419
Email: chau@cal2.vsnl.net.in ; buddhadebchaudhuri@hotmail.com; buddhac@rediffmail.com

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7. New website IUAES Commission on the Anthropology of Mathematics

by Paul W. Dixon

May we request that this information be forwarded to your colleagues who are interested in the relationship between mathematical ability and cognition with such influences of interest as gender, developmental influences over the lifespan, ethno-linguistic differences, indigenous wisdom, computer applications, nutrition, epidemiology of bacterial, viral and helminthic types, rural in comparison with urban and ghetto demography, nomadic versus sedentary cultural differences, environmental pollutants such as arsenicals, drug use including, alcohol, paleo-anthropological considerations, breast-feeding, globalisation etc. This website provides the most recent information in this regard: http://hometown.aol.com/llkarr/myhomepage/business.html

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8. IUAES Membership

We invite you to become a member of the IUAES.

Click here for information on membership.


©IUAES/Peter J.M. Nas