IUAES logo

Home - Newsletters - 062

Newsletter 62

September 2003

  1. Minutes of the first IUAES Executive Committee meeting in Florence, 6 July 2003
  2. Minutes of the first IUAES Permanent Council meetings in Florence, 7 July 2003
  3. Minutes of the IUAES General Assembly meeting in Florence, 8 July 2003
  4. Minutes of the second IUAES Permanent Council meetings in Florence, 10 July 2003
  5. Minutes of the second IUAES Executive Committee meeting 11 July 2003, Florence
  6. Commentary on the Fifteenth International Congress (IUAES) in Firenze, Italy, 2003
    By Alvin W. Wolfe
  7. The First English Journal on China’s Anthropology: China’s Ethnic Groups Journal
    By Ruan Xihu
  8. Commission on Nomadic Peoples: General report, announcement of elections and new website, and invitation to register online to receive news update
    By Dawn Chatt
  9. Report on the Symposium organized by the Commission on Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainable Development at the Tokyo IUAES Inter-Congress, 25 September 2002
    By Viatcheslav Roudnev
  10. IUAES Membership

1. Minutes of the first IUAES Executive Committee meeting in Florence, 6 July 2003

Present: Behera, Chiarelli, Hamada (Treasurer), Little, Nas (Secretary General), Nkwi, Omoto, Sunderland (President), Sujoldzic, Trawick, Varga

  1. The President opened the meeting and all present were warmly welcomed.
  2. The minutes of the Executive Committee in Tokyo were correct and accepted.
  3. Professor Chiarelli presented a report on the Florence World Congress. The congress was not postponed for reasons of the Iraqi war or SARS. However, the number of participants has been reduced by these unfortunate conditions. About 600 to 700 participants were registered.
  4. The proposals of the Nomination Committee were discussed and accepted.
  5. Four new commissions were accepted: Primatology, Human Rights, Migration and Linguistic Anthropology.
  6. The future inter-congresses were discussed and accepted: 2004 Calcutta, 2005 Pardubice, 2006 Cape Town, 2007 China or Australia.
  7. The following persons are proposed and accepted as IUAES honorary members: Lourdes Arizpe (Mexico), Russ Bernard (USA), Paul Nkwi (Cameroon), Hisashi Suzuki (Japan).
  8. The treasurer Tomoko Hamada presented an overview of the IUAES finances. The financial means are very limited. The National Science Foundation in the USA only wants to finance specific projects. The AAA wishes to change this situation. The Science Council of Japan is considering membership. The statutes have to be slightly changed for that. A proposal will be made for the next Permanent Council meeting.
  9. The membership for the IUAES is two or five years. The possibilities of life membership are to be considered.
  10. Several other points were discussed such as the email directory, the evaluation of the Commissions, and the LIT publication series.
  11. The President closed the meeting.

---------- Page Top ↑


2. Minutes of the first IUAES Permanent Council meetings in Florence, 7 July 2003

  1. The President, Prof. Sunderland, opened the meeting. There was no roll call as in this first meeting no voting was intended.
  2. Prof. Chiarelli, the organizer of the Florence World Congress, reported about the situation. He listed several problems such as the Iraqi war, SARS and a general lack of financial support because of deteriorating economic conditions. The pre-congress sessions take place in different places and their chairpersons will report during three days in Florence. The papers will be considered for publication depending on quality. The papers of the keynote speakers are already published and all participants have received a copy.
  3. The President reported on the Inter-Congresses in Göttingen, Beijing and Tokyo.
  4. Four new commissions were accepted on Primatology, Human Rights, Migration and Linguistic Anthropology.
  5. The future Inter-Congresses were discussed and accepted: 2004 Calcutta, 2005, Pardubice, 2006 Cape Town, 2007 China or Australia.
  6. The voting procedure for the World Congress in 2008 was discussed. The voting will take place in the next Permanent Council meeting.
  7. The Treasurer, Prof. Tomoko Hamada, presented a report on the IUAES finances. She stressed that the IUAES is a member of several international scientific organizations, such as ISSC, ICSU and CIPSH.
  8. The meeting was closed.

---------- Page Top ↑


3. Minutes of the IUAES General Assembly meeting in Florence, 8 July 2003

The General Assembly meeting was opened by Prof. Sunderland who pointed to a number of general IUAES activities such as the statement on race that was adopted in Williamsburg, 1998 and is published on the IUAES website, and the membership to the IUAES of several international scientific organizations. After acceptance of the minutes he recalled the past Inter-Congresses that were very successful. Our colleagues who organized these Inter-Congresses deserve our sincere thanks. Prof. Chiarelli reported about the Florence World Congress. He described several organizational difficulties resulting from the Iraqi war, SARS and the economic recession. The combination of the great number of proposed sessions was also difficult. The President continued, mentioning the importance of the Commissions within the IUAES structure. A lot of activities are taking place in the context of these groups, at but also in between Congresses. The Executive Committee evaluated some of the Commissions in Florence. The Treasurer Tomoko Hamada stressed the importance of becoming a IUAES member. The suggestion that Franz Boas and Emile Durkheim the work of both should play an important role in the 2008 Congress was generally welcomed. After 150 years the history of anthropology should pay attention to these founding fathers.

---------- Page Top ↑


4. Minutes of the second IUAES Permanent Council meetings in Florence, 10 July 2003

  1. This Permanent Council meeting was important because of the voting taking place for the next IUAES World Congress to be held in 2008 in Brisbane, Australia or Kunming, China, as well as for the new IUAES officials proposed by the Nomination Committee.
  2. After the roll was taken and 38 countries were listed both candidates for the next World Congress presented their bid in a convincing way and a competitive but friendly atmosphere.
  3. Two persons were asked to count the votes and the President presented the results. The next IUAES World Congress will be held in Kunming, China. The President thanked both parties, Australia and China, who presented their proposal for the efforts made and the work done.
  4. As the new President Prof. Luis Vargas was accepted.
  5. Several new Vice-Presidents and members-at-large were nominated. Jing Jun, Petr Skalnik, Soheila Shahshahani, Andrew Spiegel, Faye Harrison and Maxwell Owusu were elected as new members of the Executive Committee.

---------- Page Top ↑


5. Minutes of the second IUAES Executive Committee meeting 11 July 2003, Florence

Present: Behera, Chiarelli, Harrison, Little, Nas (Secretary General), Omoto, Skalnik, Sunderland (Past President), Trawick, Vargas (President).

  1. Prof. Sunderland opened the meeting congratulating the newly elected members and the new President Prof. Luis Alberto Vargas.
  2. The organizational structure of the Union with the role of the Executive Committee, the Permanent Council and the General Assembly was fully discussed.
  3. The future Congresses were discussed.
  4. The Presidents thanked Prof. Brunetto Chiarelli, the organizer of the Florence World Congress, for the all his efforts and the hard work he had done under difficult global conditions for the realization of this important scholarly event.
  5. The Presidents recalled his long involvement with the IUAES and before closing the meeting he wished the new President and members a successful and joyful term.

---------- Page Top ↑


6. Commentary on the Fifteenth International Congress (IUAES) in Firenze, Italy, 2003

By Alvin W. Wolfe

Seeing Professor Brunetto Chiarelli scurrying about trying to introduce some order in the scores of simultaneous events of this fifteenth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, my mind raced back more than forty-five years, seeing the image of Sol Tax hurriedly managing everything in Philadelphia in 1956. I hope someone has maintained an archive of these conferences over the years, because the way they have changed through our history would make an interesting study.

In 1956, there was a small delegation from the Soviet Union, and it may have been the first time Russian anthropologists had been able to participate in an international congress, because the Cold War was very frigid. Travel in and out of the Soviet Union was severely restricted.

This was still the colonial era in most of the world. The so-called Winds of Change had not yet started to bring freedom to African colonies. One of the first to gain freedom was Ghana, and that would come a year after this Congress convened. There were precious few, if any, African anthropologists at that Congress. I do not remember much talk of freedom or human rights there either, but it would be interesting to review the contents of the sessions.

In the America of 1956, African Americans could not eat in restaurants and lunch counters in most of the southern states. This was before the sit-ins and freedom marches. Even in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, life was not easy for African Americans.

Speaking of the experience of freedom, an anecdote from that early Congress is worth telling here. Igor Kopytoff, who is now retired from the University of Pennsylvania, was then a new Ph.D. from Northwestern University and had the assignment, from Sol Tax, perhaps, to help the Russians manoeuvre through the congress and do some local sightseeing. Igor and I were fellow graduate students, and I remember going with him and the Russians on one jaunt about the city of Philadelphia. If my memory serves me correctly, they had cameras and we were very proud, as Americans, that they could, apparently, take pictures freely all over the city, even at the airport. They were excited to see a major American supermarket, its openness amazing in contrast to GUM in Moscow. When one of them prepared to take a picture inside the store, an assistant manager rushed up to prevent it. While American public freedoms seemed very broad, they did not extend into commercial free enterprise zones.

Forty-seven years later, the Congress in Florence was more genuinely international in that there were anthropologists from scores of independent countries, and there was much talk of human rights and the need to apply anthropology to help humankind face many problems that we can foresee. In 1956 there were less than three billion people on earth, and we now have surpassed six billion. New kinds of oppressions have evolved.

This Fifteenth Congress was entitled “Humankind/Nature Interaction: Past, Present and Future,” thereby calling attention to the need for an anthropology that would be useful to humankind, not just the anthropology for science sake that might have been the focus of the Congress in Philadelphia in 1956.

Professor Brunetto Chiarelli, President of the Congress, left no doubt about his aims for the Congress in his introductory remarks. “Anthropology must play an essential role even as a new science of responsibility for the Third Millennium.”

Humankind is facing a genuinely new era, after 6 million years of primate independent genomic existence, after 2.5 million years of increased capacity in learning and transmitting technical and social information among members of the group and from one generation to the next, after several hundred thousand years since we emerged as our own species (homo sapiens) in Africa and during which we dispersed to all the different environmental niches to which we adapted, and after 6 to 10 thousand years of experience with domesticated plants and animals and a concomitant drastic reduction of natural biodiversity, and, finally, after our own dramatic and accelerated population growth.

Chiarelli focuses on some of these new problems in a neat paragraph:

Together with increased poverty and diminished access to resources, the quest for nationality caused dramatic crises in multiethnic states, the breakdown of social relationships, and the rise of wars and conflicts which are having a devastating effect on the lives and future of the population involved (Chiarelli, 2003:1).

The problems obviously call for a four-field approach, and there was much evidence throughout the Conference that many twenty-first century anthropologists maintain that perspective. Our discipline has not yielded to the specialism that has so threatened it during the past half-century.

Major presentations by Phillip V. Tobias, William A. Stini, Cesare Marchetti, and Walter Goldschmidt all strengthened the argument for an activist approach from the broadest perspective, as did many of the presentations in the “working” sessions and in the plenary sessions in which the results of the working sessions were reported. The titles alone suggest the importance of applying the four-field perspective. A few examples: Human Impact on Nature. Human Ecology: Population Adaptation in the Changing Environment. Linguistics and Mathematics – Neuro-phsiological Basis of Cognition and its Symbolic Representation in Different Ethnic Groups. Food and Health. Medical Anthropology and Epidemiology. Tourism and its Anthropo-Ethnological Consequences. Global BioEthics and Quality of Life and Environment. Forest Management, Climate Change, and the Future of Mankind.

One final, important, comment: The Chinese delegation to this 2003 Congress was a large and active one, and they earned the right to host the 2008 Congress in Kunming, in Yunnan Province. Continuing my theme of comparing the 2003 Congress with that of 47 years ago, I really must comment that I do not recall that any mainland Chinese anthropologists participated in 1956. China was in its seventh year of Communist governance. It would be some years before we would hear of letting a thousand flowers bloom and the subsequent cultural revolution.

Reference Cited: Chiarelli, Brunetto, The 2K3 IUAES Congress and the Future of Humankind. Human Evolution: International Journal of Anthropology: Global Bioethics. Firenze, Angelo Pontecorboli Editore, 2003.

Alvin W. Wolfe, Distinguished University Professor (Retired), University of South Florida. Professor Wolfe is a former president of the Society for Applied Anthropology and of the Society for Urban Anthropology.

---------- Page Top ↑


7. The First English Journal on China’s Anthropology: China’s Ethnic Groups Journal

By Ruan Xihu

In March 20, 2003, the English journal China’s Ethnic Groups was published in Beijing. This journal mainly focuses on humanities and geography. Its first volume centres around ethno-linguistic study, changes of population, Tibetan epics, the life of ethnic groups, China’s policy towards ethnic groups, and research papers conducted by Chinese scholars. I believe that this journal will help international scholars get more knowledge about China’s ethnic groups, and in the meantime promote cooperation among anthropologists both in China and abroad.

This quarterly journal is published in March, June, September and December, and published by Ethnic Groups Unity Publishing House (14 Hepingli North Street, Beijing, 100013, P. R. China).

---------- Page Top ↑


8. Commission on Nomadic Peoples: General report, announcement of elections and new website, and invitation to register online to receive news update

By Dawn Chatt

The Chair’s report on the Commission on Nomadic Peoples 1998-2003 is now available at the Commission website, along with conference reports, information about officer elections, membership registration and latest announcements.

The past few years have been productive for the Commission on Nomadic Peoples. In September 1999, an ‘open’ conference was organized by the Commission at St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford. Displacement, Forced Settlement and Conservation was a three-day conference with 40 paper presentations. One outcome of this meeting was the publication Conservation and Mobile Indigenous Peoples: Displacement, Forced Settlement, and Sustainable Development (Dawn Chatty and Marcus Colchester, Editors, Oxford and New York, Berghahn Press, 2002. This book appears in hard copy and online. The hard copy has 21 chapters and the on-line version of 33 chapters includes all but two of the original papers presented at the conference.

At the close of this ‘open’ conference a recommendation emerged from the participants to hold a follow-on conference to bridge the divide between natural and social scientists over the issue of conservation. To that end, a successful fund-raising campaign was set into motion to hold a conference of invited participants in Wadi Dana, Jordan in April 2002. Eight researchers, eight practitioners and eight policy makers were invited to the conference to give papers and to take part in discussion groups. One important output of the conference was the agreeing of the Dana Declaration on Conservation and Mobile Peoples (www.danadeclaration.org). This declaration is being taken to the World Parks Congress in Durban in September 2003, where it is hoped to get endorsement from that body and other conservation institutions. The proceedings of this meeting will appear as a special issue of the Journal of Nomadic Peoples (2003, No.1).

I would like to inform interested colleagues within the IUAES that the website of the Commission on Nomadic Peoples has been substantially revised and has a new address. This is available at: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~cnpc/

The website can be used by all Commission members and other interested parties to keep abreast of developments, activities, conferences, panels and workshops related to nomadic peoples, as well as links to other relevant institutions and networks.

The Commission now has 95 registered members who are part of an email distribution list. As a loosely structured organization of individuals interested in nomadic peoples, the website and email distribution list make communication and information exchange much easier and more transparent than it has been in the past. If you are interested in the work of the Commission and wish to participate please register online as a member so as to be kept updated of Commission news.

There is a link from our website to that of the Commission journal Nomadic Peoples, published by Berghahn. This is still found at: http://www.berghahnbooks.com/Journals-html/Nomadic.html

The latest issue of Nomadic Peoples (Volume 6, Issue 1) focused on conservation.

The Commission organised a very successful two-day programme of papers as part of the IUAES XVth Congress, in Florence, July 2003. Details of the programme, and abstracts of the 17 papers presented are provided at our website. Please see the IUAES meetings section: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~cnpc/main_iuaes.html

A Commission Business Meeting was held at the close of the Commission’s Congress session. During the meeting the latest Lifetime Achievement Awards were announced - a tie for first place meant that two individuals were next given this award - I.M. Lewis and Walter Goldschmidt. This award was first instituted in 1998 and presented by Philip Salzman, the Chair of the Lifetime Achievement Awards Committee, to Fredrik Barth, and then in 2001 a second Lifetime Achievement Award was made to Daniel Bates. It was also announced at the General Business Meeting that elections are to be held for various Commission offices. Please see our website for details of positions for election and nomination and voting procedures, or contact me directly. Nominations are sought now.
E-mail: dawn.chatty@qeh.ox.ac.uk

---------- Page Top ↑


9. Report on the Symposium organized by the Commission on Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainable Development at the Tokyo IUAES Inter-Congress, 25 September 2002

By Viatcheslav Roudnev

Modern scholars see the transformation of the way we use Nature and culture among the main factors determining the mode of life at the end of the 20th century. The ‘Human-Nature-Society’ system is complicated and marked by distinct points of strain, which threaten Humankind's future.

The solution of ecological problems, and transformations in the cultural stereotypes usual for modern industrial society can, in the opinion of some experts, promote the realization of sustainable development and harmony in an evolving system.

‘Agenda 21’, in which the concept of sustainable development was expounded, was accepted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development that was held in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). This Agenda emphasized the meaning of trans-disciplinary approaches to analysing the achievements of modern science in relation to indigenous ecological knowledge and folk traditions deeply embedded in local cultures. The creation of the IUAES Commission on Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainable Development at the 14th Congress of ICAES (Williamsburg, 1998) has promoted study of the significance of the ethno-cultural component in reaching decisions about ways to ensure sustainable development. The Commission organized a session at the Inter-Congress in Göttingen, Germany, in 2001, and a Symposium on Indigenous Knowledge and Problems of Sustainability at the Inter-Congress of IUAES 2002 in Tokyo, both important milestones in the Commission’s short history.

Processes of transforming the ‘Human-Nature-Society’ system at the end of the 20th century have promoted:

1) Radical domination of the artificial/man-made surroundings, in tandem with degradation of the natural environment and the natural processes of self-regulation in the biosphere; and, according to ecologists, promoted processes, which are the precursor of a global ecological crisis

2) Intensive increase of intercultural relations that make cross-cultural dialogue and mutual understanding urgent. These contacts have drawn attention to the diverse lifestyles of different nations, in particular to those of the pre-industrial era where culture regulates lifestyle and the renewal of resources. These facts have brought society's attention to problems of cultural polymorphism and ethno-history and to the themes presented in the lectures of the Symposium.

Analysing the distinction between the interests of the mining companies and of local societies in Papua New Guinea and in West Papua, D. Billings discussed chains of interdependence that were flexible. While the mine in Papua New Guinea worked carefully with the people and the culture in Papua New Guinea, giving careful thought to the future agricultural potential of the land, the mining company in West Papua dominated the environment and the local population, to the detriment of both, with the aid of the Indonesian military.

Fighting with the degradation of the soil is one of actual problems of today, where folk/indigenous experience in using nature that include procedures which ensure a regime of environmental restoration have been ignored. The natural balance of substance turnover, and the mechanism of natural regulation of the environment of biota were broken. The soil is no longer a renewable resource in some areas. This is a dangerous tendency. V. Roudnev discussed conditions in parts of Russia, where procedures of transforming arable land into fallow land was useful for soil renewal in areas of poor soil. Russian peasants draw wild nature into the process of soil renewal.

T. Budaeva discussed the significance of folk experience in using nature in relation to practical medicine. Modern medicine has been interested in medicinal preparations created on the basis of growing wild plants, which was widely practiced in the folk medicine of different nations, partly because of the absence of negative collateral effects.

While folk experience in using nature has strict local affiliations (D. Behera), its applied value is not limited to particular localities. According to present data, using technologies created on the basis of folk experience is expedient for decision regarding problems in water clearing (P. Mishra and D. Behera) because they are cheap and work in poor ecological conditions. The significance of indigenous/folk experience for modern society is not limited only by applied uses. Local ‘know-how’, transmitted from one generation to the next, also promotes cultural unity for the local society, as evidenced by the results of research in Okinawa (H. Aoyagi) and Siberia (E. Fursova).

Folk culture influences the dynamics of modernization processes in the socialization of the younger generation and in processes of inter-cultural dialogue. Educational programmes, which include contact with other cultures, facilitate understanding the cultural heritage of other nations by youth, thereby relieving their process of finding a place in the society of young people (Y. Nagai). In an epoch of increasing activity in inter-cultural contacts the problem of mutual understanding and success in cultural dialogue has new content and significance because it has become part of business activity. Results of investigation in the village of Ubud (Bali island) indicate that competence in local cultural traditions (e.g. respecting native taboos) facilitate the process of mutual understanding and promote the success of dialogue and business with foreigners (T. Iverson, R. Stephenson and H. Kurashina).

Indigenous/ Folk knowledge, which supplied inhabitants of the pre-industrial society good opportunities for success in life-support activities, has received scant attention by researchers in the near past. Only the problem of pollution, created by society pressing on nature, has pushed into the foreground attention to folk culture and folk knowledge at the end of the 20th century. The complexity of the data has led to an interdisciplinary approach to research. Many original technologies and ‘know-how’, urgent for modern society, are expounded and integrated organically into the pre-industrial mode of life. Sometimes the solutions to problems, which are actual today, are distinctively fixed in folk culture in implicit form.

Local ethnological data, brought into the research on problems of sustainability, demonstrate variety in both forms of experience in nature using and in ways of solving society's problems. The Symposium organized by the Commission on Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainable Development at the Inter-Congress of the IUAES in Tokyo confirm this proposition. Presented papers which displayed actual problems in local areas demonstrated that investigation of the problems of society and nature and of inter-cultural dialogue in the field, require a trans-disciplinary approach, and show that historical data has the same importance as the investigation of modern high technologies. Lectures presented in the Symposium emphasized that solutions to problems of sustainability depend on many factors, but the harmonizing of relationships in the system ‘Human-Nature-Society’ is the basic and indispensable condition. Appealing to ethnological data (fixed experience of pre-industrial people in life-support activity) objectively may assist in optimising modern investigations in sustainability carried out by all the sciences researching humans, earth and society.
E-mail: roudnev@iea.ras.ru

---------- Page Top ↑


10. IUAES Membership

We invite you to become a member of the IUAES.

Click here for information on membership.


©IUAES/Peter J.M. Nas