2014 Anthropology Undergrad Research Journal

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spring 2014

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contexts

sta n fo rd undergraduate research journal i n anthropology spring 2014

All papers published in contexts are published under an attribution, non-commercial, and share-alike Creative Commons License. All copyright is retained by the original author(s).


DEAR READER,

TRENT W O O D WA R D ‘ 1 6 CSRE

JULIA R ABAN ‘15 ANTHROPOLOGY & ENGLISH

K Y R A VA R G A S ‘ 1 5 ANTHROPOLOGY

JENNIFER S C H A F F E R ‘ 14 ENGLISH & ANTHROPOLOGY

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The editorial team is proud to present the first issue of Contexts, Stanford’s new undergraduate anthropology journal. It’s preceded by Problematics, last issued in Spring 2013. Our new title draws attention to one of the foundational commitments of anthropology; namely, to understand people and societies through an examination of the contexts in which they live and act in the world. To that end, Contexts brings together a diverse range of subject matter and methods. Jenna Shapiro and Nikhita Obeegadoo both address the issues of marginalized groups; while Shapiro combines statistical argument with cultural criticism, Obeegadoo uses ethnographic studies as a point of departure into historical and political commentary. In a nod to anthropology’s self-reflexive movement, Laurel Fish and Brianna Kirby deploy ethnographic methods at a convention of anthropologists. Joe Getsy and Kinjal Vasavada both argue for changes in governance, Getsy informing Amazon conservation policy with a review of ecological literature, Vasavada illuminating the ways in which the Syrian Civil War is a battle over heritage. Peri Unver flips Vasavada’s approach: she explores how archaeological conservation is tied up in political and cultural conflicts in Turkey. This journal is only a microcosm of anthropology’s wide world. Even so, its diversity leaves the discipline open to a persistent question: “What is anthropology, anyway?” We, the editorial team, endorse the open-endedness of this question, a perspective that expands the possibilities of what anthropology is and can be. We hope Contexts helps reveal the unique insights that anthropology produces from its conglomeration of material. Above all, we hope you enjoy it and read its future issues. Sincerely, The Contexts Editorial Team


C ontent s 6 . . . . . India’s Hijras: The Choice of Minority

N I K H I TA O B E E GA D O O

1 0 . . . . Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith: A Review

L AU R E L F I S H

1 3 . . . . Identity Theft: The Effects of Civil War on

special thanks to anahid sarkissian, aisha ghani, sharika thiranagama, & the department of anthropology

Syria’s World Heritage Sites K I N JA L VA S AVA DA

2 2 . . . . AAA Conference

B R I A N N A K I R BY & L AU R E L F I S H

2 5 . . . . Spread of Infectious Diseases

JOE GETSY

2 9 . . . . Out of Fashion: Racial Diversity

JENNA SHAPIRO

3 4 . . . . Revisiting Public Education: Closing the

Achievement Gap in U.S. School

M E GA N G L A S M A N N

s

3 8 . . . . The Problems Facing

Pamukkale’s Conservation PERI UNVER

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india’s hijras: the choice of minorit y

N I K H I TA O B E E G A D O O

By the end of my three weeks in India, one of the most striking observations that emerged was that, in a country so culturally and ethnically diverse, everyone is in one way or another part of a minority. Even more striking is the cloud of insecurity that shrouds the concept of minority. In India, be it reservations, harassment or discrimination, the consequences that belonging to a minority can inflict on your life are countless; it is therefore not surprising how insistently minority groups attempt to assimilate into the perceived “majority”.

It seems profoundly paradoxical that castration should bring about a transformation from impotency to fertility

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The Hijras, however, are one group that seems to reject the attempt at integration. Hijras are, by definition, “phenotypic men who wear female clothing and, ideally, renounce sexual desire and practice by undergoing a sacrificial emasculation – that is, an excision of the penis and testicles – dedicated to the goddess Bedhraj (or Bahachura) Mata” (Reddy 2). This operation does not include a reconstruction of the vagina, and as such leaves the person operated neither male nor female, but rather part of an “institutionalized third gender” (Nanda 226). Considered the central ceremony

of Hijra life, the operation represents a rebirth, and the new Hijra created by it is called a nirvan. Emasculation completes the transformation from impotent male to potent Hijra, and forges the connection between the Hijras to both Shiva (one of Hinduism’s most popular deities, still worshipped as an Ardhnarishwara, i.e. a half-male and half-female form) and the Mother Goddess. It seems profoundly paradoxical that castration should bring about a transformation from impotency to fertility, but while Indian reality considers an impotent male useless due to his inability to procreate, Indian mythology is rife with examples of impotency transformed into generativity through tapasya, the practice of asceticism (Nanda 228). Even today, it is believed that Hijras, unable to procreate, are nonetheless vehicles for the goddess’s powers of regenerativity, fertility and rebirth, and for this reason they still participate in many cultural ritual practices such as dancing and singing on the occasion of childbirths and marriages (Countries and their Cultures). By choosing a third gender identity, Hijras embrace a contradictory blend of eroticism and asceticism that is profoundly stigmatized by Indian society, despite having been in dialogue within Hindu mythology, ritual and art for centuries (Countries and their Cultures). While many Hijras are theoretically opposed to sexual activity, in reality it is an important part of their overall identity. Hijras have long considered sexual activity offensive to their mother goddess, and have imposed a complete ban upon it.


India’s Hijras: The Choice of Minority

They extract oaths of abstinence from sexual relations and marriage from entering novices and make it a point to distinguish themselves from zenanas, or practicing effeminate homosexuals, who do not have the religious powers ascribed to Hijras (Nanda 234). However, in practice, numerous Hijras engage in sexual relations out of either desire or prostitution, and therefore homosexuality is a common – but not indispensable – part of Hijra identity. In recent times, especially with the rise in popularity of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) movements throughout the world, the sexual choice of Hijras has

census of India does not enumerate Hijras separately (according to The Hamsafar Trust, one of India’s largest Gay & Transgender sexual health NGOs, they number between five and six million today, with a greater concentration in the North of the country). Hijra marriages are not legally recognized, and even today accessing healthcare, employment or education is “almost impossible” (Harvey). Their undocumented status makes them especially vulnerable to abuse and discrimination (Barry), issues compounded by low political representation, social stigma and victimization by the police (Daily News 2013).

extinction of royally sanctioned performances in the palaces of rajas and nawabs, coupled with declining family size and the spread of secular Western values, contribute to a decline in the traditional Hijra way of earning money: ritual performances and conferral of blessings (bhadai) during religious occasions (Nanda 235). In the face of such odds, Hijras have no choice but to resort to earning money in any other way they can, including begging (mangti) and homosexual prostitution (pun).

this sexual activity or “necessary evil” undermines their culturally valued sacred role that is contigent upon their sexual abstinence become a prime marker of their identity. Even for those who abstain from sexual relations, their castration and the fact that they can only have sex with men is an essential part of how they are viewed— and this viewing through a sexual lens before any other is another characteristic which sets Hijras apart from any other minority in India today. With more than 4,000 years of written history intertwined with Hindu religion and folklore, it may seem reasonable to imagine that Hijras would have a place of belonging in culture and society (Harvey). This view, however, is a far cry from reality. In the mod ern context, crippled by stigmatization and profound misunderstanding, Hijras struggle to keep their traditions and way of life alive in the face of countless social, legal and economic impediments. At the most basic level, there is no way for them to know their exact numbers, as even the

In 2000, the first Hijra was elected to Indian parliament, opening up the political arena to the community. Since 2006, the state of Bihar has been employing Hijras as tax collectors, and in 2008, numerous government health policies specifically named Hijras as their target group (Harvey). In 2009, Hijras were given the option to identify as eunuchs on passports and on certain government documents (Barry), and in 2012, Tamil Nadu was the first Indian state to address issues of transgender welfare such as access to free housing, certain citizenship documents, scholarships to government colleges, the formation of self-help groups and income-generation programs (13th Philadelphia Trans Health Conference). Despite these recent advancements, the Hijra community remains economically very weak since Independence. The

As seen above, this sexual activity or “necessary evil” undermines their culturally valued sacred role that is contingent upon their sexual abstinence (Nanda 235). Closely interwoven with this marginal— and illegal­—means of economic survival is a profoundly alternative mode of social organization that has been in existence for centuries and was extensively documented during colonial times. Hijras are featured in Kitts’s A compendium of castes and tribes found in India (1885), which is intended to be a “list of all castes and tribes as returned by the people themselves and entered by the census enumerators.” While there is no clear indication that the British understood the Hijras as a third gender, this recording of the Hijras as a separate group confirms that the Hijras already perceived

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India’s Hijras: The Choice of Minority

the intention of Hijras is not to be recognized as women and thus blend into mainstream society, but rather to abide by their identity as a thir d distinct gender within both the private and public spheres, despite its incompatibility with the majority societal expectations and norms Indian society is a strictly patriarchal one in which the ability to have sons confers one the greatest honor, and the difficult decision of giving up that status of Hijras typically live together in comnatural superiority for one of misundermunes of between five and 15 members, stood ambiguity is somehow facilitated with self-decided ties of female kinship (mother, daughter, aunt) binding them to by being among others of the same kind. each other. The most significant relation- Often, a difficult family life and social ship within the Hijra community, howe- circumstances make running away to become a Hijra close to a necessity. Yet ver, remains the one between guru this necessity is not met without exposing (master, teacher) and chela (student), a “lifelong bond of reciprocity” (Nanda 227). Hijras to further danger. The exploitative side of communal life arises especially for While this kind of communal life provides Hijras engaged in the “demanding and even dangerous profession” of prostitunumerous advantages such as acceptance, understanding and immediate tion. For these young prostitutes, paying protection from physical violence and 50% of prostitution dues to the household harassment, it does not lack a darker, head is unavoidable, and they are subject exploitative underside. The main attracto ‘her’ (Hijras refer to themselves using tion that the Hijra role holds for some the female gender pronoun) complete conindividuals is “the opportunity to engtrol and authority. Due to poverty, few of age in sexual relations with men, while the younger Hijra prostitutes can afford enjoying sociability and relative security their own accommodations. Moreover, of an organized community—in contrast living with others provides a certain amoto the insecurity and harassment experi- unt of protection from rough customers enced by the effeminate homosexual and the police, which explains their living on his own” (Nanda 234). Indeed, reluctance to live on their own in spite many Hijra novices are young effeminate of the resentment and constant complaints that characterize everyday life in men who have run away from a stifling family background and widespread socie- a Hijra community (Nanda 234). tal shame and humiliation v to gain the While coercive circumstances seem to companionship of people like them. themselves as a distinct community with a distinct identity in the 19th Century.

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permeate Hijra life, it nevertheless remains a fact that becoming a Hijra is a choice—almost an act of subversiveness—in a way that being part of other minorities (lower-castes, secluded tribes, religious minorities) are not. Another potentially subversive aspect of Hijra community life is the way in which all other “minority” aspects that are ascribed such great importance in Indian society—religion, caste, linguistic and regional belonging—seem to pale in comparison to the greatest and most significant minority status of all: that of being a Hijra. In Bombay, Delhi, Chandigarh and Bangalore, for example, Hijras of Muslim, Christian and Hindu origin live in the same houses, although this could be different in more rural parts of the country (Nanda 227). Life in contained communities becomes especially important in the context of “Hijra self-representation in public life” (Nanda 235). This involves an exaggerated portrayal of femininity—a “burlesques of female behavior” (Countries and their Cultures)—in clear antithesis to a bodily status which is not biologically female, and makes clear that the intention of Hijras is not to be recognized as women and thus blend into mainstream society,


India’s Hijras: The Choice of Minority

but rather to abide by their identity as a third distinct gender within both the private and public spheres, despite its incompatibility with the majority societal expectations and norms. Indeed, rare are the cases in which Hijra subculture intersects with the wider culture, and even when that does happen (as during Koovagam, India’s largest transgender festival that has been held annually for decades in the village of Villupauram in Tamil Nadu, the only occasion on which Hijras seem to outnumber non-Hijras by two to one on some streets), physical altercations between Hijras and male villagers are frequent occurrences. Maintaining law and order in the festival becomes “problematic” (Hayden). Prevalent mistrust-breeding rumors about Hijras (for example, that they steal babies from hospitals in order to make them one of theirs, and can be prompted by jealousy to offer young women curses instead of blessings) no doubt have their part to play in such conflictual relationships (Harvey).

now constrained to inhabit a world of paradox: ostensibly entrenched in Indian culture for centuries, but in reality still struggling to eke out a living on its margins; deeply attached to their alternative lifestyle and subculture, but also fighting against marginalization and oppression, and for recognition of both their differences and equality of status. And perhaps it is in this very struggle for acknowledgement and acceptance of their differences that the Hijra minority becomes part of the majority of Indian groups demanding and obtaining rights. Like other oppressed and marginalized groups, Hijras have always had to “exist at the periphery of their imaginaries, making themselves visible only on certain circumscribed occasions” (Reddy 3), and it is in their struggle to step out of the shroud of invisibility and neglect, that they move from the periphery into society’s core.

2013. <http://jezebel.com/5915274/indias-third-gender-community-demands-social-equality-and-its-own-passport-designation.>. Countries and their Cultures. “Hijra - Religion and Expressive Culture.” N.p.. Web. 1 Oct 2013. <http:// www.everyculture.com/South-Asia/Hijra-Religion-and-Expressive-Culture.html>. Daily News 2013. “Eunuchs demand equality, special privileges.” N.p., 02 06 2012. Web. 1 Oct 2013. <http://india.nydailynews.com/ business/3ac225a7beb857214add6a4195d684a3/ eunuchs-demand-equality-special-privileges),>. Harvey, Nick. “India’s transgendered - the Hijras.” New Statesman. N.p., 13 03 2008. Web. 1 Oct 2013. <http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/2008/05/Hijras-indian-changing-rights>. Hayden, Michael Edison. “Koovagam’s Non-Stop Party Comes With Chaos.” India Ink - Notes on the World’s Largest Democracy. N.p., 03 05 2012. Web. 1 Oct 2013. <http://india.blogs.nytimes. com/2012/05/03/koovagams-non-stop-partycomes-with-chaos/>.

In light of the above, I believe that it is hard to find a group as fascinating as the Hijras from an ethnographic point of view, especially during the present period of revival of interest in “ambiguously gendered individuals” and the “‘multiplicity of genders” (Agrawal). It is also difficult to find a better time for their study: at the moment, the condition of the Hijras is still deeply entrenched in their history, but also rendered incredibly dynamic by the activity and dialogue of LGBT groups around the world. Like the other minorities in India who seek to live a life that allows them to be validated, the Hijras pay a heavy price for it. They are

Nanda, Serena. “Cultural and Individual Dimensions of an Institutionalized Third Gender Role”. Aggleton, Peter, and Richard Parke, eds. “Culture, Society And Sexuality: A Reader.” Google books. Works Cited:

N.p.. Web. 1 Oct 2013. <http://books.google.com/

Agrawal, A. (1997). “Gendered Bodies: The Case of

books?hl=en&lr=&id=Dp1_Hd1wYjYC&oi=fnd&p-

the `Third Gender’ in India”. Contributions to

g=PA226&dq=Hijra community&ots=uyKOJLoV-

Indian Sociology 31 (2): 273–297. Web. 1 Oct 2013.

j8&sig=1rP1__qewh5Upm5UcwqQOJA-yiE>

<http://cis.sagepub.com/con tent/31/2/273.full.pdf>

Reddy, Gayatri. With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hijra Identity in South India. 1st ed. University Of

Barry, Doug. “India’s ‘Third Gender’ Community

Chicago Press, 2005. Print.

Demands Social Equality and Its Own Passport Designation.” Jezebel. N.p., 6 03 2012. Web. 1 Oct

13th Philadelphia Trans Health Conference. “Development of Transgender (Hijra/ Aravani) Rights in Tamil Nadu, India.” N.p.. Web. 1 Oct 2013. <nsgender-Hijra-aravani-rights-tamil-nadu-india>.

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mar ket s of sor row, l abors of faith: NE W OR L E A N S IN T HE WA K E OF K AT R IN A

A REVIEW BY LAUREL FISH

A while back, I attended a recruiting event for Stanford undergraduates hosted by a Silicon Valley tech company. The presenter cited the statistic that 52% of Americans will be diabetic or pre-diabetic by 2020, telling the audience that this means that a kindergartener born today will have at least one grandparent who has diabetes or is at risk of developing the disease. The next slide in his stylish powerpoint project only the number $197B. While the state of the nation’s health may seem disheartening, he told students, “if you look at it from the mind of an entrepreneur, it’s an opportunity to do something.” In my silent bafflement at his capitalist brazenness, I could not help but think of Vincanne Adams’s Markets of Sorrow, a tremendous ethnography that makes ambitious theoretical contributions while maintaining the integrity of ethnographic experience. With clear and precise prose, Adams develops the meaning of “market-driven governance” through the contextual effects of this logic in New Orleans. Whereas the under-theorized and oft-misapplied ideology of neoliberalism seeks to model government power on the market economy (run government like a business), market-driven governance outsources public services to the private sector. This model reinforces the logic of neoliberalism that sees dependence on the state as a sign of personal failure, but also reverses neoliberal values in that companies themselves come to depend on government handouts. One of the defining characteristics of market-driven governance is the transformation of need into a source of potential profit. In the case of New Orleans, the outsourcing of relief efforts to private companies such as Halliburton,

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The Shaw Group, and Blackwater “allowed for a blurring of investment potential with humanitarian need” (p. 9). As one of the most egregious examples, a company named ICF International reportedly used $6.4 billion to distribute $1.5 billion to homeowners; they saw their stock prices rise at the same time as their were indicted by New Orleanians for blatant mismanagement and inefficiency.

This model reinforces the logic of neoliberalism that sees depen dence on the state as a sign of personal failure, but also reverses neo liberal values in that companies themselves come to depend on government handouts


Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith

company appraised his home at far below market rate, offering him only $30,000 to rebuild. Because this estimate was insultingly low, Gerald applied to the Federal Road Home program that was designed to make up the difference between insurance company offers and the true cost of rebuilding. After three months without hearing back, Gerald called in on a radio talk show to speak with a Road Home representative and then called back the next week. In addition to interview excerpts of Gerald documenting these efforts, Adams also includes the letter Gerald wrote to the state agency overseeing Road Home. Methodologically, the book is remarkably Rather than summarize this letter, Adams includes it verbatim. By reading the letter comfortable in allowing informants to directly, we get an acute sense of Gerald’s speak for themselves as the bearers of dual sentiments of desperation and pragtheir own theoretical insights. Adams insists, and her work demonstrates, that matism. Adams also bases her exposé of “most of the insights here will be familiar ICF International on Gerald’s own research and participation in a citizen to anyone who has read or experienced action group. The impression we are left the processes of long-term recovery in with is that Gerald is a researcher in his post-Katrina New Orleans” (p. 16). own right, a creator of knowledge involFollowing-through with this claim, In the final chapters, Adams turns to the Adams includes multi-page excerpts from ved in writing his own book on being “Katrina savvy,” (p. 76), and an agentive informants and incorporates multiple charitable, volunteer, and philanthropic subject prepared to fight for justice. moments from each interview. These efforts mobilized through the “affective strategies for representation insist that surplus” of prolonged suffering (p. 10). In moving back and forth between these readers listen to the voices of Katrina Adams describes affect as “both the ethnographic details and the structure residue and the product of failed market survivors, rather than skip over them as of market-driven governance, Adams arrangements” (p. 124)—pain, anger, and merely evidence for theoretical analysis. provides a response to disciplinary betrayal compelled the moral, social, and Consider Adams’s treatment of Gerald Davis, a retired, disabled Marine dealing preoccupations with urban anthropology. spiritual rebuilding provided by volunThe fear expressed by some is that anthrowith the federal Road Home program. teers and charitable organizations. pology without a bounded community Despite being one of the few residents will either devolve into theoretical framiHowever, the role of volunteer labor in her who had flood insurance in addition to ng at the expense of thick description or storm coverage, Gerald’s insurance Marxist reading could be developed Through investigative research and strong analysis, Adams makes clear the inefficiencies, lack of accountability, and moral distortion of market-driven governance. In addition to providing an analysis of structural dynamics, Markets of Sorrow details the embodied effects of recovery on New Orleans residents. As told through the stories of a wealthy white woman rebuilding her posh family farm and a middle-income African American woman trying to salvage a rented apartment, Adams shows how Katrina “cross-cut race and class but also reinforced disparities between them” (p. 72). The protracted recovery also led to psychological and physical ailments. In her discussion of the embodied effects of disaster, we most clearly see the contributions of Adams’s training in medical anthropology and the progression from her earlier works (Adams 1988). While these sections are less innovative than Adam’s analysis of capitalism, they nonetheless contribute to the ethnographic depth of the text.

further. Adams spends very little time discussing the perspectives of volunteers, but it seems as though this labor of care is driven by the internal benefits of virtue and goodwill rather than market demands. In seeking a “spiritual sense of purpose” (p. 133), volunteers seem to short-circuit capitalist alienation. At the same time, the fact that their labor becomes a source of surplus value indicates that non-alienated labor can still be exploitative. A further exploration of these dynamics could have been a valuable contribution to theorizations of unpaid domestic work and other labor of care.

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Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith

retreat to interviews alone (Sanjek 282, Leeds). Avoiding both of these options, Adams “look[s] in two directions at once” (p. 53), providing analysis that is both “in the city” and “of the city,” that is to say ethnographic but also historical and comparative (Sanjek 282). Markets of Sorrow also suggests new contributions to recent theory on formal and informal citizenship as it convincingly demonstrates the tenuousness of taken-for-granted rights. Adams’ description is rife with examples of how a lack of valid documentation makes rights claims meaningless. The right to recovery funds, insurance coverage, and FEMA trailers depended on access to physical documents and efforts to make those documents legitimate. As a consequence, African American families were more vulnerable to property damage because of their lack of proper home documentation. African Americans were less likely to have paperwork demonstrating they owned the title to their home and some “bond for deed” transactions did not produce the requisite documentation because they did not use banks as intermediaries. Even when people had formal documents, the bureaucratic system made documents meaningless as a way to disregard claims to assistance. The importance of documentation also helps make sense of Gerald Davis’s strategy of filling his home with paper documentation of his battle to get compensation for flood damages. Through the photographs included in the text, we also see that residents converted their homes into built documents, spray painting messages such as “Do not demo” (p. 98) or “Keep out, broken dreams inside, bring the bulldozer, future greenspace” (p. 112). These efforts show citizens taking up the power of documentation as a weapon to claim full social rights.

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The vulnerability of legally documented citizens should also cause us to consider the state of undocumented immigrants during Katrina and subsequent natural disasters.After the storm, Latino migrant workers became an important demographic in the recovery economy, providing cheap labor for the construction industry. Because almost half of these immigrants lack formal paperwork, they face compounded vulnerability when another storm hits, as suggested by the effects of Hurricane Isaac and recent flooding in Colorado (Rivas, Siegler). By largely ignoring the multiracial nature of New Orleans, Adams also overlooks the differential effects on other groups such as the minority Vietnamese population (Vu and Vanlandingham, Ravitz). The experience of these groups suggests the importance of exploring both legal and cultural forms of documentation and vulnerability.

Works Cited Adams, Vincanne. “Doctors for Democracy: Health Professionals in the Nepal Revolution.” Cambridge Studies in Medical Anthropology. Cambridge University Press, 1988. Print. Leeds, Anthony. “The Anthropology of Cities: Some Methodological Issues.” Cities, and the Social Order (1994) : 233-246. Print. Ravitz, Jessica. “Vietnamese fishermen in Gulf fight to not get lost in translation.” CNN, 25 June 2010. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <http://www.cnn.com/2010/ US/06/24/vietnamese.fishermen.gulf.coast/> Sanjek, Roger. “Keeping Ethnography Alive in an Urbanizing World.” Human Organization 59.3 (2000) : 280-288. Print. Siegler, Kirk. “In Flooded Colorado, Immigrants’ Livelihoods Washed Away.” National Public Radio, 18 Oct. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <http://www.npr. org/2013/10/18/236236286/inflooded-colorado-im-

These critiques are not to suggest that Markets of Sorrow is lacking, but rather that Adams’s arguments were generative for my own thinking. The fact that the book is applicable to a broad swath of anthropological topics, from Marxism to race to cultural citizenship, would make it an ideal text to teach in gradate or advanced undergraduate courses. Indeed, Katrina is not an exceptional case, but rather exemplary of the logic of marketdriven governance in manifestations such as health technology companies, pharmaceutical development, and volunteer corps. Early on in the text, Adams acknowledges that by bearing witness to Katrina, she too participates in the affect economy; if this is true, the affective accomplishment of the book is to spark deeper critical analysis of a broad array of social dynamics.

migrants-livelihoods-washed-away> Vu, Lung and Mark VanLandingham. “Physical and mental health consequences of Katrina on Vietnamese immigrants in New Orleans: A pre and post-disaster assessment.” Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 14.3 (2012) : 386-394. Print.


identit y thef t : the ef fec t s of civil war on syr ia’s wor ld her it age sites

or Mesopotamia, served as a crossroad for trade, learning, and tradition for centuries. Syria has been ruled by the Israelites, the Romans, the Arabs (Umayyads, Ottomans, Egyptians), and the French (post-WWI). Consequently, most Syrian sites have a vibrant blend of Islamic, Jewish, and Hellenistic architecture (Colombari 208-215; Smith; Von Wiegand). Soudade Kaadan, native Syrian and director of the documentary Damascus Roof and Tales of Paradise states, “Culture is expressed through built form. Indeed, the two are inseparable as the things that we make (e.g. architecture) go on to make us… Expressions of architecture and urban design are some of the most visible terrains of cultural production.” Syria’s archeological sites are bastions of cultural heritage anddeserve to be protected.

raid on Crac des Chevaliers in July 2013, UNESCO Press released a report in which the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova expressed concern for the protection of Syria’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The article states “UNESCO stands prepared to cooperate with all parties concerned in deploying all possible efforts to protect Syria’s cultural monuments to the extent allowed by the volatile security situation” (qtd. in “UNESCO Director-General”).

Unfortunately, as described by Professor Cheikhmous Ali from the University of K I N J A L VA S AVA D A Strasbourg, international organizations, including UNESCO itself, have not reacted Thanks to the Arab Spring, several lesserto the destruction of Syrian World Heriknown Middle Eastern countries made it tage Sites. Officials cannot enter war to the headlines. Syria is one of them. zones to confirm damage done to Syrian Inspired by Egypt and Tunisia’s political heritage sites, and organizations do not activism for democratic reform, Syrian have “neutral military forces” that can citizens began protests in March 2011 The start of the civil war in Syria between ensure the protection of these heritage against Bashar Al-Assad’s totalitarian Bashar Al-Assad’s army and the rebel sites (Ali 357, “Historic Damascus regime. The protests were not well recefronts has jeopardized the existence of Synagogue”). Organizations explained ived by the government, and the army many of these sites. Recently, UNESCO their decision not to act by stating that open-fired on protestors and civilians, listed 6 of Syria’s world heritage sights as they do not have “ independent experts or many of them women and children. Since “in danger.” Satellite evidence has shown personnel on the ground providing them then, tensions have escalated and driven the destruction of countless others (Sinha; with detailed and precise information on the country into a civil war. Military “Syria’s Six”). UNESCO’s mission is “to the disasters that Syrian heritage was techniques on both sides have become contribute to the building of peace, the subjected to during fighting. In the last two more vicious, and war turned into genoeradication of poverty, sustainable and a half years, citizen journalists have cide when Assad’s army used chemical development and intercultural dialogue posted images and video footage on the weapons against civilians (Wiersema). through education, the sciences, culture, Internet (particularly on Facebook and While popular news highlights the humacommunication and information” (qtd. in YouTube). nitarian and political aspects of this conflict, little is said of what has become “Introducing UNESCO”). In this mission statement, the term “culture” is directly of Syria’s national treasures, its 10,000 archeological sites, as a result of the war. related to the preservation of World Syria is home to some of the oldest occu- Heritage Sites. Immediately after the air pied sites and cities in the world. The most renowned sites are city centers like Damascus, Aleppo, Palmyra, and Apamea, medieval fortifications like Crac Des Chevaliers and the Fortress of Saladin, and monuments within cities like “souqs” marketplaces, museums, and mosques. Ten of these sites have been named as UNESCO World Heritage Sites for their cultural and historical significance (Smith; Von Wiegand). Much of Syria, especially the northern region Al-Ja zeera,

UNESCO listed 6 of Syria’s world

heritage sights as “in danger” and satellite evidence has shown the destruction of countless others

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Identity Theft

The relation bet ween a people’s identity and heritage sites is symbiotic; monuments repres-

This is a form of cultural terrorism that alienates humans from their individuality, and people become baseless wanderers seeking a sense of belonging—to a group or a place or an ideology.

ent a shared past that solidifies

People who have personal connections to certain sites can better understand others’ connections to their World Heritage Sites. Thus, peace is a byproduct of culturally connected people. The relation between a people’s identity and heritage sites is symbiotic; monuments represent a shared past that solidifies their current identity, and in the absence of either the P R I M A RY C O N T E N T I O N people or the site, this symbiosis dissolves. Furthermore, this idea is applicable Syria’s archeological sites are more than not only to Syria but to every other just buildings; they are a manifestation of country whose archaeological heritage Syria’s rich culture and history, and they sites are in danger. These sites are World represent the people who made them— Heritage Sites, and they are assets to their minds, their stories, and their mankind. By evaluating the Syrian crisis, traditions. New generations are inspired the goal of this paper is to increase awareby these monuments and build their own ness of the destruction of cultural memories and traditions upon them, property and motivate people to act for establishing a cultural connection spannpositive change. Additionally, this paper ing centuries. No different than the Statue attempts to demonstrate some tangible of Liberty and the Vietnam Veterans action items to move the situation in the Memorial Wall, these monuments are right direction and achieve cooperation shrines for someone in some way. The among all involved parties. Although the older a place is, the more people are history may sound very bleak, Syria has connected to it and draw energy and not passed the point of no return; if action inspiration from it. Destroying these is taken now, it is still possible to bring sites detaches people from their history peace. and wipes out their original identity.

their current identity, and in the absence of either the people or

the site, this symbiosis dissolves. These have shown the world the disasters and damage endured by Syrian heritage. However, the international community does not often consider these sources of information originating from Syria reliable.” (Ali 357). Yet, Soudade Kaadan states the importance of archeological heritage sites, especially in a politically volatile region like Syria: “Walls, buildings, streets are the soul of a city. That’s why totalitarian regimes try to change the landscape of the cities they conquer. They want it to look like them: monotone, grey and cold, as different as possible from its diverse, creative, dynamic inhabitants.” The existence of cultural property as a whole is a threat to Assad’s regime. Like other totalitarian regimes, Assad’s regime engages in cultural terrorism in Syria, destroying monuments and sites that citizens are emotionally rooted in. Once citizens lose their homes and cultural connections, they are physically and emotionally displaced and are constantly looking for something they can attach themselves to—a cause, an idea, etc. This fulfills the goal of a totalitarian regime; uprooted citizens who have lost everything will be more easily influenced into accepting and supporting a dictator’s principles.

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F I G U R E 1 : E N T R A N C E T O T H E M U S E U M O F A PAME A, AS CITED IN ALI. 4 JANUARY 2013.


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The final goal of this paper to inspire hope in the readers and assure them that becoming aware of the Syrian crisis is not futile. H I S T O R I CA L P R E C E D E N C E: P R O T E C T I O N O F WO R L D H E R I TAG E S I T E S B E F O R E T H E C I V I L WA R

Prior to 2011, 138 national and foreign excavation projects were being conducted in Syria. The Syrian government signed several agreements to protect cultural property, but as Professor Ali elaborates, “even before the conflict, the lack of necessary funding to hire guards to monitor remote archaeological sites in urban centers was an acute problem… the Syrian government often hired a single guard for 50 sites, due to the lack of financial resources.” Volunteers did contribute to preservation efforts, but not enough to cover for the lack of security and restoration professionals. Restoration projects for monuments needing regular maintenance are often prolonged over years due to lack of funding.

F I G U R E 3 : D A M A G E T O A PA M E A D U E T O M I L I TA R Y O C C U PAT I O N , A S C I T E D I N A L I . 4 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3 .

The Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums of Syria (DGAM) maintains a list of archeological sites in Syria. However, many sites are not on this list and are illegally excavated by looters with the support of security officials and agencies that were hired to protect these sites. These illegally acquired artifacts are then sold in neighboring countries and make

their way to Western markets. Syria has 38 protected museums, but these are “no better off than the archaeological sites because of deficiencies in surveillance, protection, archiving, and storage in adequate conditions of artifacts made of fragile (brittle) materials such as paper, leather, cloth, etc” (Ali 352). An example is the Museum of Apamea; as Professor Ali describes, “The main entrance of the museum is locked by means of a small key lock, as if it was a grocery shop! Anyone could break it with a sledgehammer” (Figure 1, Ali 352). The lack of funds and labor left cultural artifacts at the mercy of robbers even before civil unrest began. Outside Syria, many other countries like India face similar insufficiencies in the preservation of their archeological sites. The country may not be ravaged by war, but the lack of awareness, funding, resources, and bureaucratic efficiency hinder adequate archeological conservation. WA R T I M E R E A L I T Y O F WO R L D H E R I TAG E S I T E S L O O T I N G

F I G U R E 4: T H E B O M B I N G O F C R A C D E C H E VALIERS, AS CITED IN ALI. 4 JANUARY 2013.

Since the start of the war, the condition of archeological sites in Syria has worsened. Military occupation and looting have been the primary sources of damage to archeological sites;

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looting may in fact be more problematic than bombing in certain areas. When the war broke out in 2011, various networks of antique dealers began paying desperate Syrian locals to loot sites of their artifacts. Rebels began looting as well, using the income from their loots to purchase weapons (Ali 352, Ghose). The Syrian government was aware that well-prepared foreign criminal groups would take the opportunity to loot valuable Syrian artifacts. Ministers enacted stricter security regulations for archeological institutions like museums, requiring them to install new secure doors, alarm systems, surveillance cameras, etc. Due to bureaucratic inefficiency, however, most of these measures remained unimplemented. As a result, there was a large increase in looting of valuable artifacts and icons of cultural heritage like the gold plated statue of the Aramaic deity from 8th century BC. This statue was stolen from the Archeological Museum of Hama, and the robbery, according to news reports, “was apparently committed with the assistance of or by an officer of the Hama Archaeological Department, since it was done without a break-in” (Ali 353).

Furthermore, restoration projects were abruptly abandoned, as archeological sites became a battleground for Assad’s army and the rebels. By 2012, all excavation projects were cancelled. The Syrian Secret Police (Mukhabarat) periodically investigated archeological sites that contained rebel strongholds, but did so with the intention of tracking rebel leaders, not protecting the sites (Ali 353). A satellite image of the historic Roman city of Apamea marks the sites damaged by robbers since the beginning of the war (Figure 2, Ali). Emma Cunliffe, an archaeology researcher at Durham University in England, describes the situation: “It looks like the surface of the moon. In eight months, the looted area exceeded the total excavated area” (qtd. in Ghose). These facts are evidence of the major damage that has been done to Syrian cultural property by forces inside and outside the country. Yet most people, including many citizens, are not completely aware of the looting problem, and the degree to which it has occurred.

FIGURE 5: DESTRUCTION OF THE MINARE T IN ALEPPO’S U M M AYA D M O S Q U E , A S C I T E D I N FA N G I . 3 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 3 .

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Unfortunately due to the present state of the country, incentive to protect Syrian archeological heritage sites is minimal; if needed, countries may have to provide incentives to public officials and citizens to participate in archeological conservation efforts. M I L I TA RY O C C U PAT I O N O F S T R AT E G I C A R C H E O L O G I CA L S I T E S

Military operations have endangered the existence of archeological sites and monuments, many of which were originally built in strategic locations for defense purposes. Both armies have occupied museums, archaeological tells (mounds), city centers, and medieval fortifications such as the citadel of Homs Hama, Aleppo, Palmyra, Fortress of Saladin, and Crac des Chevaliers. “These monuments have taken the same strategic role they had during the wars of The Middle Ages,” says Professor Ali. “Sniper brigades have moved into them, so that some have become military barracks from which the army bombs residential areas” (354).


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from the synagogue had been stolen last year, but that officials hadn’t been able to visit the building in about four months because rebels [controlled] the area” (qtd. in “Historic Damascus Synagogue”). The true condition of archeological sites in Syria is ambiguous; both organizations and people outside of Syria must become more aware of reality and understand how critically action is needed. C I V I L I A N I N T E R AC T I O N W I T H WO R L D H E R I TAG E S I T E S

F I G U R E 6 : F I R E D A M A G E I N A L E P P O ’ S A L- M A D I N A S O U Q , AS CITED IN ALI. 4 JANUARY 2013.

Jesse Casana, archaeologist at the University of Arkansas and the chairman of the American Schools of Oriental Research’s Damascus Committee reports to Live Science: “A lot of archaeological sites are being pretty severely damaged by the military. They build huge bunkers for tanks, or anti-aircraft equipment. They dig huge trenches into them and bulldoze sides of them off” (qtd. in Ghose). Figure 3 testifies to the damage done to Apamea as a result of military occupation.

Aleppo old town, Al-Madina Souq, the world’s largest covered marketplace, underwent significant fire damaged resulting from crossfire between Assad’s troops and a prominent rebel subgroup called the Free Syrian Army (FSA) (Figure 6, Ali).

Although destruction is prevalent everywhere in Syria, a deeper exploration of the situation increases awareness of the complexity of the issue. In January of 2014, CBS News published a headline, “Historic Archeological monuments have been Damascus Synagogue Damaged, Looted.” subject to bombing and shelling from The Jobar Synagogue, nearly a thousand both sides as well. Bombings severely years old and an important site of leardamaged the famous Crusader Castle ning and worship for the sizable Jewish (11th-13th centuries) Crac de Chevaliers population in Syria, was looted and (Figure 4, Ali). In an article published in damaged in a series of street clashes November 2013, BBC reported that the between rebels and Assad’s army. Syrian ancient city of Aleppo had seen devastat- rebels established control in the suburbs ing damage due to military operations. of Damascus and Jobar as part of a plan to Fire damage destroyed much of the fam- penetrate Damascus city. Most of the ous Ummayad Mosque, and completely damage happened when the Army star destroyed the minaret, as shown in a -ted shelling Jobar to weaken rebel hold. photograpic survey conducted by GabrMaamoun Abdul-Karim, head of the iele Fagi, Professor of Geomatics at the Antiquities and Museums Department Polytechnic University of the Marche(Fig- of the Syrian Culture Ministry, told The ure 5, Fangi). Located in the heart of Associated Press that “some of the objects

For the majority of common citizens within Syria, the destruction of Syrian infrastructure and archeology has had an astronomical impact. As BBC News reported in February 2014, more than 100,000 Syrians have died since the start of the civil war and approximately 9.5 million people have been displaced from their homes (“Syria Conflict: ‘Surge’ in Fighting Death Toll”). Many of these civilians lived and worked in the city centers of World Heritage Sites like Damascus, Aleppo, and other highly populated areas. City centers have become battlegrounds for Assad’s army and the FSA, and the destruction of homes and souqs have taken an economic toll on civilians (Ali 354, 361; Inskeep). Civilians who face the challenges of war and live in the aforementioned volatile conditions are unlikely to prioritize the protection of Syria’s World Heritage Sites over the protection of their own lives. Financially and socially, they are not in a position to support any cause but that of their own wellbeing. Steve Inskeep, host of NPR’s Morning Edition, reports the situation of civilians of Damascus after his visit to Syria: “The fabric seller is clearly frustrated by the war. ‘I would like to shout to everybody,’ he says, ‘ don’t go the way of sectarian divisions.’ Fighting has already driven him out of his suburban home, in a no man’s land between the army and rebels.”

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have the resources to change the current situation on their own. If given outside assistance, Syrian locals who are not a part of the military and political upheavals may be the strongest driving forces of “The family said they felt safe enough — stray artillery shells have landed in the field Syrian archeological conservation. across the street, but not on this side…Many refugees live here with their families. We CURRENT AND FUTURE STEPS asked if the many children in the complex W E S T E R N I N VO LV E M E N T are accustomed to the gunfire. The sister answered: ‘I am old enough and I still get Western nations have largely avoided the scared, so what do you think about the little conflict as supporting either side would ones?’ ‘It’s normal here,’ the [father] said. not be considered diplomatic. There is Maybe that’s the strangest thing of all — evidence supporting the fact that the that his life is normal for Damascus.” Syrian government employed chemical The citizens have been forced to leave weapons against the opposition. The their homes, and the strife of war has Syrian opposition is composed of a plethodesensitized them to destruction and loss ra of foreign and local Islamic extremist of life. Children who grow up as refugees groups, and interference in their dynamic hearing gunfire all the time begin to lose may turn the civil war into a sectional conflict (Sly, Wiersema). Nada Bakos, who their cultural ties with their very own tracked al-Qaeda for the US government country. They are no longer able to in Iraq and Afghanistan stated that “the experience a deep connection with specific sites and feel a sense of place. As implications for the United States and its they grow, these kids will have nothing to Western allies are evident…Jihadists have secured more territory in Syria than they return to and will be forced to find something they can become rooted in— were able to do in Iraq or Afghanistan… an ideology or an organization like the anywhere they set up anything remotely FSA. Cities that were inhabited by people resembling a safe haven, it’s a problem for prior to the war have also been left in the West” (Sly). shambles. Inskeep recounts his team’s experience of having a meal in Damascus: Additionally, Syrian allies like Russia, China, Iran, and other Arab countries “Our first night in Damascus, we went out opposed the possibility of US intervenfor dinner on a rooftop restaurant. It was in tion in the matter. Since Syrian allies are the old walled city. The waiters served a on the UN Security Council, the US did spectacular stream of dishes including not receive approval from the UN to prockibbeh and kabob. Yet we were down the eed into Syria; the stakes are too high to street from a Christian church whose enter without UN support. The US also bishops have been kidnapped. And the runs the risk of the Syrian government restaurant offered us an excellent view of retaliating against US military action what seemed to be tracer shells streaking with strikes against Israel, a US ally; this across the sky.” could draw more of the Middle East into the conflict, including Iran (Wiersema). The volatile condition of Syria has left The political complexity of the matter civilians fending for their own lives, trying makes it highly unlikely that any Westto maintain stability within their own ern nations or the UN will take action. families. The research indicates that they prioritize food, water, and shelter over political involvement and preservation of archeological heritage sites. The residents of Syria are culturally invested, but do not Inskeep writes the story of a family that fled their home in Douma to an area outside the war zone of Damascus:

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SYRIAN G OV E R N M E N TA L AC T I O N

F I G U R E 7: L O O T I N G AT T H E S I T E O F A PA M E A , A S C I T E D I N A L I . 4 JANUARY 2013.

The Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums of Syria (DGAM) has been a major source of information, appealing to international organizations to take action ensuring the preservation of Syrian archeological sites. The DGAM, however, has not acknowledged the responsibilities of the Syrian government and army. Looting was highlighted as the cause of destruction, but the bombing done by Syrian troops was not mentioned. In sensitive areas like Palmyra and Apamea, the DGAM has not “[requested] the Syrian army to keep its heavy weaponry at bay (tanks, multiple rocket-launchers, etc.), which are positioned in archaeological areas” (Ali 359). Looters spent days digging at Apamea under the supervision of soldiers; the satellite image shows more than 5,000 pits dug by looters and soldiers. Museums that are supposedly protected by the DGAM have undergone much damage; a video broadcast by the BBC shows that several walls of the Homs Archeological Museum being ripped apart to create safe passages for soldiers. The museum doors were open and objects were under the threat of theft or destruction…no new information on the building and the objects kept inside has been provided by DGAM or the media” (Ali 359). To receive a positive response to their appeal to the international community,


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FIGURE 8: ABOVE: SPHERICAL PANORAMAS OF THE MINARET IN ALEPPO’S UMMAYAD MOSQUE; BELOW: 3D RECONSTRUCTION OF THE MINARET, AS CITED IN FANGI. 3 FEBRUARY 2013.

to fuel Assad’s power as a dictator and the DGAM should request the Syrian army quit certain archeological sites that his desire to destroy cultural property they have occupied for military purposes. to gain more power. However, the DGAM has taken several protective measures since the start of the civil war. The agency conducted an awareness campaign for the preservation of cultural heritage directed at citizens. The DGAM also shifted precious artifacts from museums in Aleppo and Damascus to more secure locations. Increased collaboration between civil servants of archeological departments and customs and police officials has resulted in the rescue of 4000 items in 2012, as reported by the DGAM. As stated by Salam al Quntar, visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, efforts should be made to “reconstruct the documentary record of Syria’s cultural sector. This will result in a comprehensive database of cultural heritage sites and repositories in Syria and a dataset of known damage” (Quntar 350). Keeping a proper record of Syrian artifacts and sites will increase awareness among government officials and citizens of the colossal amount of cultural property Syria contains, motivating them to actively conserve Syrian World Heritage Sites. Assad’s army perpetrates cultural terrorism as a way to demoralize citizens and force them to accept the dictatorial regime. This vicious cycle of cultural destruction followed by more support for the regime will continue

is created of foreign extremist groups that do not consider Syria their homeland and are not attached to Syrian archeological sites, it is unlikely that they will make an effort to conserve Syrian heritage sites. On the contrary, the opposition has committed acts of cultural terrorism through active destruction of Syrian archeological heritage sites, displacing citizens and drawing hopeless individuals to join its ranks, giving them a new life and a new idea to fight for. Archeological preservation must be promoted in rebels in spite of this disconnect, because it is possible to inspire a change in their negligence towards Syria’s World Heritage Sites if they realize the similarities between their own treasured sites and Syria’s sites.

E N GAG I N G T H E O P P O S I T I O N

Currently, the opposition’s justifications include lack of funds and bureaucratic The Syrian government, however, is not inefficiency. Once a territory slips into the only group partaking in cultural rebel control, it is difficult to predict how terrorism; rebels have also engaged in archeological heritage sites will be this tactic to gain the vehement support treated. An internationally mediated of displaced citizens. The Syrian opposipolitical partnership with the FSA may be tion contains a diverse smattering of forenecessary to preserve FSA controlled ign and local groups that have united areas. The creation of a proxy DGAM in under the umbrella of the Syrian NatioFSA-controlled areas and creation of nal Coalition. The opposition includes an programs to train FSA soldiers to police amalgamation of Syrian, Turkish, Kurdarcheological heritage sites in local ish, Islamic, and Jihadist groups. Although communities are ways to ensure their each group differs in political ideology— preservation (Quntar 350-351). democratic, communist, theocratic, etc, they all have united under the common A R C H E O L O G I CA L goal of ousting Assad from the presideR E C O N S T RU C T I O N ncy. The FSA and the Islamic front are the major military coalitions spearheading rebel military attacks. The Syrian National Council, which seeks to establish democracy in Syria, has gained significant international recognition as a partner in dialogue for negotiations (Sinjab, Wiersema). However, the international community has found it difficult to communicate with the rebels as a whole because of their loosely united status. While the Syrian government is open to discussion regarding the protection of Syria’s world heritage sights, the opposition has not expressed interest in cooperating with preservation efforts. Since the opposition

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Once political cooperation is secured and overall destruction lessens, UNESCO and other international organizations can aid with the technical aspects of preservation. UNESCO can work to create revamped security system for endangered World Heritage Sites. With the guarantee of political and social stability, reconstruction methods can be employed. Spectral Panoramic Photogrammetry, a method developed by Professor Fangi when she was touring Syria in 2010, can be used as a means to restore monuments that have been completely destroyed. “‘Spherical panoramas’, made with images taken by common digital cameras joined together by stitching software” (Figure 8 “above,” Fangi) along with proper documentation and survey provides information necessary to reconstruct obliterated or damaged monuments like the minaret in the Umayyad Mosque of Allepo. The 3D reconstruction (Figure 8 “below,” Fangi) is one such example. The emergence of new reconstruction methods like this give hope that after fighting subsides, it is possible to rebuild the monuments and sites that have been destroyed to restore Syrian identity and give residents something tangible to return to.

become aware of the damage to Syrian sites, they will feel motivated to push for the preservation of Syrian archeological sites and other World Heritage Sites, because they identify with the loss themselves and because these sites have unparalleled universal value.

Works Cited “Birds Eye View Film Festival: Damascus Roof and Tales of Paradise.” Institute of Contemporary Arts. 2 Apr. 2013. Web. 06 Feb. 2014. <http://www.ica.org. uk/blog/birds-eye-view-film-festival-damascusroof-and-tales-paradise>. “Historic Damascus Synagogue Damaged, Looted.” CBS News. CBS Interactive, 1 Apr. 2013. Web. 29 Jan. 2014. <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/historic-damascus-synagogue-damaged-looted/>.

CONCLUSION “Introducing UNESCO | United Nations Education-

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The discussion above attests to the fact that at the end of the day, Syrian archeological heritage sites are fundamental expressions of culture and identity that inspire and connect generations of Syrians. These monuments and buildings share a symbiotic relationship with the people who inhabit them, giving them a sense of place and attachment. The destruction of these sites is harmful to humanity, estranging those who were rooted in them, and forcing them to find an ideology or organization to latch onto. Keeping the complexity of the Syrian crisis in mind, possible solutions to the issue must engage all involved groups— the Syrian government, the Syrian opposition, civilians, Western nations, and UNESCO. When people outside Syria

al, Scientific and Cultural Organization.” UNESCO. UNESCOPRESS, Web. 26 Feb. 2014. <http://www. unesco.org/new/en/unesco/about-us/who-we-are/ introducing-unesco/>. “Syria Conflict: Mortar near Umayyad Mosque Kills Three.” BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation, 29 Nov. 2013. Web. 29 Jan. 2014. <http://www. bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-25150432>. “Syria Conflict: ‘Surge’ in Fighting Death Toll.” BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation, 13 Feb. 2014. Web. 15 Feb. 2014. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/ news/world-middle-east-26166834>. “Syria’s Six World Heritage Sites Placed on List of World Heritage in Danger.” UNESCO World Heritage Centre. UNESCO.org, 20 June 2013. Web. 5 Feb. 2014. <http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1038/>.


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“UNESCO Director-General Deplores the Escalation Sinjab, Lina. “Syria Crisis: Guide to Armed and Political of Violence and the Damage to World Heritage in

Opposition.” BBC News. British Broadcasting

Syria.” UNESCO. UNESCOPRESS, 16 July 2013. Web. Corporation, 13 Dec. 2013. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. <http:// 1 Feb. 2014. <http://www.unesco.org/new/en/

www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-24403003>.

media-services/single-view/news/unesco_director_general_deplores_the_escalation_of_violence_ Sly, Liz. “Foreign Extremists Dominate Syria Fight.” and_the_damage_to_world_heritage_in_syria/#.

Washington Post. The Washington Post, 02 Oct. 2013.

UvyBT_37puY>.

Web. 27 Feb. 2014. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/ world/middle_east/foreign-extremists-dominate-syr-

Ali, Cheikhmous. “Syrian Heritage under Threat.”

ia-fight/2013/10/01/5871685e-2ae7-11e3-b141-

Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and

298f46539716_story.html>.s

Heritage Studies 1.4 (2013): 351-366. Project MUSE. Web. 4 Feb. 2014. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.

Smith, Amelia. “Destroying Artifacts in the Middle East and Wiping out Thousands of Years of History.” Middle

Al Quntar, Salam. “Syrian Cultural Property in the

East Monitor. 31 Jan. 2014. Web. 06 Feb. 2014. <https://

Crossfire: Reality and Effectiveness of Protection

www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-

Efforts.” Journal of Eastern Mediterranean

east/9534-destroying-artefacts-in-the-middle-east-

Archaeology and Heritage Studies 1.4 (2013):

and-wiping-out-thousands-of-years-of-history>.

348-351. Project MUSE. Web. 4 Feb. 2014. <http:// muse.jhu.edu/>.

Von Wiegand, Ellen. “Crimes Against History: Ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Syria Damaged by

Colombari, Silvia. “Damascus, Syria.” World

Civil War.” TheCultureTrip.com. The Culture Trip, Web.

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syria/articles/crimes-against-history-ten-unescoworld-heritage-sites-in-syria-damaged-by-civil-war/>.

Fangi, Gabriele, Livia Piermattei, and Wissam Wahbeh. “Spherical Photogrammetry as Rescue

Wiersema, Alisa. “Everything You Need to Know About

Documentation for The Reconstruction of Some

the Syrian Civil War.” ABC News. ABC News Network,

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Ghose, Tia. “Syria’s Rich Archaeological Treasures Imperiled by Civil War.” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 03 Sept. 2013. Web. 06 Feb. 2014. <http:// www.livescience.com/39381-syria-archaeology-at-risk.html>. Inskeep, Steve. “In Damascus, A View Of Syria’s War Turned Inside Out.” NPR. NPR, 28 May 2013. Web. 06 Feb. 2014. <http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2013/05/28/186812716/in-damascus-a-view-ofsyrias-war-turned-inside-out>. Sinha, Sanskrity. “Syria: UNESCO’s Six World Heritage Sites Damaged in War [PHOTOS].” International Business Times RSS. International Business Times, 4 Sept. 2013. Web. 06 Feb. 2014. <http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/syria-conflict-world-heritage-archaeological-sites-damaged-503620>.

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americ an anthropologic al association c onferenc e

BRIANNA KIRBY & LAUREL FISH

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While we crossed paths at a couple of presentations, Laurel and I were inspired to attend panels that reflected our individual interests. With my own background in professional photography, and in connection with my honors thesis research, I was initially drawn to sessions that explored multimodal research methods and questions of visual representation. Additionally, I attended conversations that touched on the intersection of childBRIANNA ren, education, and community-engaged scholarship. Here are some of the memoThe 12th Annual Meeting of the American rable highlights: Anthropological Association took place in ANTHROPOLOGISTS late November at the Chicago Hilton. AS FILMMAKERS & Laurel and I were fortunate enough to attend the conference on behalf of Stanf- P H O T O G R A P H E R S : E X P E R I M E N TA L T R E N D S I N ord’s Department of Anthropology in V I S UA L A N T H R O P O L O GY A N D order to report back to the undergrV I S UA L E T H N O G R A P H Y aduate community on this infamous gathering of anthropologists far and The series of papers in this panel spoke wide. After a studious evening of highto the tension between aesthetic value lighting, annotating and deliberating and ethnographic “truth” when conductover the unwieldy schedule of activities, ing anthropological research through we each established a plan of attack for visual methods. Panelists grappled with the days to follow. Filled with anticipathe ethics of visual representation, genetion, and feeling a bit like small fish in a rally unsettled by the question of whose gigantic sea, we set out with feigned vision is actually portrayed through confidence alongside thousands of seasoned anthropologists. We were deter- visual media. mined to maximize our experience by David W Plath and Jacquetta Hill (Universlipping in and out of various panels in sity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) order to hear from particular speaker presented their research as a multion a wide range of topics. This year, two students from Stanford were selected to fly to Chicago to attend the AAA conference, where prominent anthropologists of the day present their work and exchange ideas. These are their field notes and impressions, which show us the intersection of Brianna and Laurel’s own interests and the material presented at the conference.


AAA Conference

Watershed Solutions for Plastic Ocean Pollution, and then once again braved the crowd of the main lobby to attend Whither the Human and Whither the Ethical Responsibility of Anthropology? All the talks were fascinating, but with this schedule, the expansiveness of options began to feel illusionary. Attempting to take in everything at once made it Mike Terry (Freie Universitat Berlin) impossible to see anything; trying to engaged with the visual in a distinct A similar sentiment followed me through- capture the diversity of the discipline way. During his presentation Occupleft me little time to make connections out the days at the conference—an ation: Structures of the Berlin Brigade, entanglement of intrigue, inspiration and between topics. he passed around several of his field critical apprehension all woven together notebooks, which he maintains as a After wearing myself out in the quest to as I tried to make sense of this atypical quasi-collage record of his visual data fieldsite full of reputable anthropologists. be in the right place at the right time, I collection. The notebooks bulged at the The conference experience overall proved finally realized that meaningful immerseams with photographs, postcards, sion demanded many of the same skills maps, postage stamps and locally printed not only to be an effective exercise in that make one a good anthropologist: advertisements interspersed throughout time-management and active listening, concentrating and taking thorough notes, with handwritten fieldnotes and informa- but also in making meaning and listening to what presenters were leaving tion for contacts within the field. Guided synthesizing information from copious out as much as what they were emphasizreservoirs of knowledge. by Michael Taussig’s concept of montage ing, and valuing different approaches to and Walter Benjamin’s concept of the discipline. With this methodology in mimesis, Terry explored the materiality LAUREL mind, I found the conference a of the photograph as an appropriate medithought-provoking fieldsite. um for the representation of structure in Brianna and I were two of the 6000 his research on space and place. anthropologists to attend the 2013 AAA media presentation. They displayed a photography slideshow and also provided live narration for video clips in order to illustrate the limits and potential of visual data in their talk entitled From Discovery to Presentation, Or, When “Nice Shot!” Isn’t Enough.

order to convey the intended information? How would this differ from the textual vignette? These questions made me think of how a person might write in panoramic form and what would be gained or lost in the process. Ultimately, I was troubled by how visual representation was simultaneously encouraged to show everything and say nothing at the same time.

conference in Chicago. When we arrived, we were given copies of the official program—a daunting 700 pages—and commenced scheduling our next few days in a frenzy that was more intense than shopping week. From 8am to 6pm, we had the chance to absorb information on pretty much any topic that has ever interested me. Each panel lasted two to three hours and was broken up into over a dozen individual papers. It was As I hurriedly scribbled down some final the entirety of current anthropological reflections at the end of my first AAA thought, delivered in succinct fifteenpanel experience, I was left fascinated by minute segments. At first, we set off to the individual topics, overwhelmed by the attend as many individual papers as accelerated rhythm of the panel format, possible, jutting between different panels. and a bit unsettled by some emerging I headed off to a paper on Redefining questions. I wondered why photography Objects in the Visual Anthropology of was seemingly enhanced Tourism: Tourist Practices in Interstitial by the ability to depict the entirety of a Spaces, then tiptoed out to find Downhill scene through panoramic vision. How From Everywhere: does an uncropped and non-delineated image communicate anything? What is different or wrong about framing an image, or generating a series of images, in Wrapping up the hour, Guven P Witteveen (Independent Researcher) spoke more directly about the camera as a tool for visual ethnography. Witteveen enthusiastically advocated the use of the panoramic image in order to provide “context and 180 degree vision” in his presentation Taking a Wide View to Get the Big Picture.

PA I N , I N F R A S T RU C T U R E , & I M M I G R AT I O N

Four scholars, including Professor Angela Garcia, took part in a panel on anthropology called At the Limit of Experience. Professor Garcia spoke about her current fieldwork in underground rehab centers in Mexico City, arguing that the pain inflicted on clients as part of rehabilitation makes healing and vitality possible. Robert Desjarlais (Sarah Lawrence College) described creating a photographic memoir about his return to the French town where he studied abroad four decades ago. The juxtaposition of these papers and the others on the panel made me wonder about the ethics of grouping papers thematically. Can we understand the ‘limits’ of these experiences, one so deeply unsettling and the other much more mundane, in the same way?

23


AAA Conference

After reading the work of Akhil Gupta for class, it was particularly exciting to attend his presentation on infrastructure. He contended that infrastructure construction is not episodic, in that it is either built or in ruins, but that the rubble of construction is part of modernity itself. Roads are constantly being dug up to fix leaks; a lack of funds halts construction indefinitely; and repairs go on continuously even after a structure is ‘completed.’Infrastructure is ‘material culture’ on an oversized scale. The talk made me think about construction on Stanford’s campus. Construction sites may be surrounded by dust and rubble, but they are adorned with polite apology messages and hidden from view by tasteful fences. What does this say about our sensibilities? Our understanding of modernity?

Perhaps because of the combination of experts, the discussion sought productive ways of thinking about the immigration system while remaining firmly grounded in strategies for actionable reform. The presenters sought more productive ways of thinking about immigration (as ‘crimmigration’, as a ‘consequences delivery system’) as well as discussing actionable measures such as increasing the number of humanitarian visas and conducting outreach along the U.S.Canada border where immigrants might be more isolated. It was refreshing to see how anthropological ways of thinking could inform policy discussions and vice versa.

Overall, attending the conference allowed me to see a unique manifestation of anthropology as a discipline. It was not I also attended a panel on U.S. Immigra- the classroom setting that I am used to, tion Detention and Deportation, featuring but it was a stimulating fieldsite for several anthropologists as well as observation. Thank you to the departrepresentatives from local and national ment for making the trip possible! immigrant organizations.

N O TA B L E PA N E L S & L E C T U R E S

Multimodality As Lens and As Site in Ethnographic Research Mira-Lisa S Katz, Kimberly A Powell, Deavours Hall, April L Luehmann, Rachel Caffee, Joseph Henderson Storytelling Engagements Michael Herzfeld, Nigel Rapport, Jonathan Marion, Doborah Reed-Donahay, Kirin Narayan, Cristina Grasseni Knowledge Production in Indigenous Scholarship: Fostering Relationships, Reciprocity, Responsibility & Respect Through Cross-Institutional Collaborative Engagements Sheilah E Nicholas, Perry Gilmore, Candace Kaleimamoowahinekapu Galla, Beth R Leonard Language and the Immigrant Experience of Children and Youth Leslie C Moore, Katie Clonan-Roy, Catherine R Rhodes, Stanton E F Wortham, Martha Sif Karrebaek, Amy Kyratzis

F R O M O U R D E PA R T M E N T

Almost Near Tropical Paulla Ebron Making Mood: Nigerian Pentecostal Performance and the Co-Constitution of Selfhood and Place. Jesse Davie-Kessler

24


How the Fores t Ec osys tem Mitigates the Spread of Infec tious Diseases

JOE GETSY

tropical diseases to higher latitudes by sequestering carbon dioxide, an integral greenhouse gas. Using the Amazon as a case study, this paper reviews the growing belief and its cited evidence, that preserving the Amazon Rainforest has immediate health benefits for locals and long-term benefits for people throughout the world.

The Amazon basin describes the large area of South America (about 40% of the continent) that is drained by the Amazon Tropical rainforests cover less than 7% of River and its tributaries, most of tropical Earth’s landmass, but they contain a vari- lowland South America. The tropical ety of niches that hold as much as 50% of rainforest is characterized by thick Earth’s biodiversity. As it is for the survi- vegetation, high levels of annual rainfall, consistently warm climate and biodivval of these innumerable species, the ersity. As the populations and economies rainforest is indispensable for human of Peru and Brazil grow, forest is cleared wellbeing because of the numerous in favor of agriculture and mining (with ecosystem servicesi it provides. Its thick much of the latter being illegal). Farmers networks of tree roots and huge plant biomass maintain water and soil, reduc- can acquire diseases as people and crops move along newly constructed roads ing erosion and helping to maintain through cleared forests (Patz). This rainwater quality (Boyd). Water retention forest climate provides ideal conditions and medicinal plants are two of numerfor a myriad of insect species; one might ous benefits humans obtain from a healthy tropical ecosystem. These forests think that an intact rainforest is actually store massive amounts of carbon dioxide a health hazard for locals because it to regulate the earth’s climate. Recently, provides shelter for disease-carrying insects. However studies show the scientists have been examining another ecosystem service of the tropical rainfor- opposite, (Yanoviak) suggesting that deforestation actually increases the amount of est: the mitigation of infectious disease. habitat for mosquitoes to breed because By preserving the rainforest, a society of the fallen plant matter (fig 1) (Yanocreates a more favorable setting for its viak). In one study, South American own public health. First, it makes it diffmalaria-carrying mosquito Anopheles icult for insect vectors of disease to darlingi bit people more often in deforeestablish themselves because mature forests provide fewer habitats. The forest sted areas and represented a higher also provides a home for predators of the percentage of mosquitoes sampled in recently disturbed areas (Vittor et al). vectors, and for similar species that are less competent vectors, which means increasing competition. Minimizing deforestation also keeps humans and wildlife separated, reducing the possibility of the emergence of new infectious diseases. The rainforest might also provide antibiotics to fight infections and provide wealth, which generally improves health when distributed relatively equitably. Finally, the mature tropical rainforest stops the spread of

25


How the Forest Ecosystem Mitigates the Spread of Infectious Diseases

that produce novel compounds, and by not serving as land for cattle that are given antibiotics. The microbes of the Amazon Rainforest are even less well understood than its macroscopic life. The bacteria in the deep tropical rainforest could hold a vast repertoire of antibiotic compounds that could be used to combat microbes that are resistant to existing drugs. Thus, preserving tropical rainforests could prove essential to the continued effectiveness of antibiotics. F I G U R E 1 : R E L AT I V E A B U N D A N C E O F D I F F E R E N T T Y P E S O F P H Y T O L E M , F R O M ( YA N O V I A K E T A L 2 0 0 6)

In other words, deforestation reduced the number of different mosquito species, but malaria vector A. darlingi became more prevalent (“Biodiversity and Infectious Diseases”). The conversion of forest to farmland creates a source of nutrition and economic opportunity, but it can also create a breeding ground for mosquitoes, putting local communities at risk. Deforestation causes mosquito bites to become more frequent, especially the bites of Anopheles and Aedes mosquitoes, vectors of human diseases. Buffer zones and effective urban planning can balance conservation, public health and community development goals (Vittor, et al). Another way in which an intact Amazon Rainforest decreases the ability of disease vectors to establish is by flood control. Mosquitoes, the most prolific disease vector of the tropics, require stagnant water to breed. The roots of the rainforest’s thick vegetation hold soil in place and soak up excess water. Deforestation for cattle ranching can exacerbate the problem as the natural flood control of the forest is lost, and the water becomes nutrient-enriched through feces (Vickers). Additionally, these roots and the soil they hold act as a natural filter, thereby enhancing water quality (Jeong).

26

A mature tropical rainforest also provides a higher number of niches for animals that prey on mosquitoes, especially bats, frogs, dragonflies and certain fish. In a healthy tropical rainforest, different species of bats fill different ecological niches. In an urban environment, more habitats for mosquitoes form, and the predators of mosquitoes do not return despite the presence of mosquitoes (Carlson). Ticks follow a similar pattern as mosquitoes. The most competent human disease vectors thrive in deforested areas, as other large mammals are the first animals to die out or flee when an area is deforested because of their greater requirements of space and food. Species of ticks and mosquitoes now do not have their preferred food source, and cannot compete with the disease vectors for breeding habitat. These vectors now have to deal with fewer available habitats and fewer nonhuman animals to bite (“Ecoystem Services”). As a result, these two limiting factors are lifted and the most competent disease vectors are free to propagate. Numerous species of medicinal plants also comprise the beneficial species that thrive in an intact rainforest. Some of these plants produce clinically verifiable antibacterial compounds. Thus, conserving the rainforest preserves the healing power of antibiotics by harboring plants

Neotropical deforestation increases human-wildlife contact, and when food becomes scarce, there is a risk that the rural poor may turn to bush meat, the flesh of wild animals. Bush meat can expose humans to animal diseases, with HIV in West Africa as a particularly notorious example. It is thought that HIV first entered humans who butchered chimpanzees infected with Simian Immunodeficiency Virus. A similar pandemic could also enter humans from an infected South American monkey. The Animal Welfare Institute estimates that ten million monkeys are killed each year for bush meat (“Bushmeat”). The construction of new roads through the Amazon provides access to once-remote areas, allowing for more human contact with wildlife. Establishing buffer zones that separate human settlements from national reserves reduces contact with wild primates and can prevent the emergence of new infectious diseases. The tropical rainforest plays an important role in carbon sequestration and, by extension, climate regulation, as carbon dioxide is a potent greenhouse gas (“The Tropical Rain Forest”). This ecosystem service allows the rainforest to prevent the spread of tropical diseases to higher latitudes, thus creating an environment more favorable to human health. The effects of increased carbon dioxide on climate are now well understood, as is the rainforest’s productivity (the rate at which it stores CO2).


How the Forest Ecosystem Mitigates the Spread of Infectious Diseases

This moderation of climate is important in stopping the spread of infectious diseases, which are less plentiful due to the variable temperatures at higher latitudes. For example, Aedes mosquitoes, which transmit dengue fever, bite more frequently at higher temperatures; furthermore, the dengue virus infects the mosquito’s salivary glands faster at high temperatures (Armstrong). Combined with decreased competition from other mosquito species and reduction in predator activity, climate change accelerated by deforestation of rainforests can cause diseases to propagate and spread to higher latitudes once protected by their cooler climates (Patz, Ando).

sabra (a type of legume) to infection by the fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides demonstrated that the plants grown in higher CO2 environments developed enlarged canopies that provide microhabitats for fungal spores, thus causing more acute infections (fig. 2) (Chakrborty). Higher CO2 environments would occur if the Amazon Rainforest were further reduced and the carbon contained in its biomass released into the atmosphere.

could make as much as US$184 million annually (Kirkby). The money that Amazonian countries can raise by carbon trading can create widespread benefits to health if invested in medical innovation or their respective healthcare systems; fewer deaths in wealthier nations can be attributed to infectious diseases than those in developing countries (Desilva). Just as intact rainforests can raise money through carbon trading on a national scale, ecotourism can create wealth at a community level. A 2010 study calculated each hectare of undeveloped rainforest in Tambopata, Peru earns an average of US$1,158 per year, and that this represents more value than less-sustainable activities locals could undertake on the same land, such as ranching and logging (Kirkby). The money generated from carbon trading and ecotourism can be used to subsidize advances in public health. As early as 1975, when Samuel H. Preston published the paper describing the now-ubiquitous Preston curve, people have noticed the health benefits of increased gross domestic product (GDP). Although revenue from these green markets does not guarantee better or more equitable health outcomes, it has great potential to do so when the local community owns the protected land (Preston, Scheyvens).

Crop diseases can translate into human diseases, as malnourished populations are more susceptible to disease outbreaks (Beldomenico). Climate change, accelerated by tropical deforestation, has also put pressure on crop pollinators, which improve or stabilize yields of approxiClimate change accelerated by tropical mately 75% of crop-plant species globally deforestation also makes agriculture (Klein). Losing populations of insect more difficult and facilitates the northpollinators could have effects on both and southward spread of crop diseases crop yields worldwide and the rainforest from the tropics. With the human population predicted to exceed 10 billion itself, causing a vicious cycle of deforestation, malnutrition and disease outbreak. people by the end of the 21st century With emerging carbon markets, tropical (“United Nations, Development”) food rainforests could become direct economic security will become a major challenge. assets, and with revenue comes improved Coakley et al characterize climate’s healthcare. Carbon trading, the process impact on crops in terms of the range of trading emissions quotas like market of suitable growing habitats, geographic commodities, can benefit countries with distribution of plant pathogens and the tropical rainforests if they can receive ability of the plants to resist infection benefits for either replanting “carbon (Coakley). Experiments by Chakraborty sinks” (i.e. forests) or preserving existing et al (2000) that determined the resistance of genetically similar Stylosanthes forests. Peru, Colombia and the Guyanas In summary, the preservation of the Amazon Rainforest provides benefits to human health on an international scale: it serves as a relatively difficult environment for the establishment of disease vectors, a more favorable one for their predators and competitors, and a climate mitigator that prevents tropical diseases and vectors from spreading to higher latitudes. Slowing deforestation also reduces human-wildlife contact; if wild animals are hunted for bush meat, they can also spread disease. In addition, the rainforest may hold a vast wealth of plant, fungus and microbe-based antibiF I G U R E 2 : S E V E R I T Y O F I N F EC T I O N V S . H U M I D I T Y A N D T E M P E R AT U R E . T H E otics that can be manufactured into R I G H T P L A N E ( 7 2 0 P P N M C O 2) I N C R E A S E S I N VA L U E FA S T E R T H A N T H E L E F T O N E ( 3 2 0 P P M ) W H E N T E M P E R AT U R E A N D H U M I D I T Y I N C R E A S E ; R = R E L AT I V E compounds used to fight existing and C A N O P Y AV E R A G E H U M I D I T Y, T= R E L AT I V E T E M P E R AT U R E future infections that have developed or

27


How the Forest Ecosystem Mitigates the Spread of Infectious Diseases

may develop resistance against available antimicrobials. This climate regulation also reduces the spread of crop pests and preserves more favorable conditions for crops and their pollinators, thereby reducing the incidence of malnutrition, which leaves human populations more susceptible to disease. Additionally, the Amazon Rainforest can generate wealth through ecotourism and global carbon markets, and since GDP positively correlates with health outcomes for a country’s populace, the money earned can improve the health of many people throughout the Amazon Basin. Finally, a healthy Amazon Rainforest is self-preserving, which allows it to continue to provide its global public health benefits; it prevents sea level rise by sequestering carbon dioxide and provides a favorable setting for pollinators of native rainforest plants. A healthy rainforest creates a favorable environment for a healthy human species.

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Out of Fashion: Racial Diversit y the need for more racial sensitivity in the fashion industr y

JENNA SHAPIRO

The same year that Barack Obama was elected as the first African-American President of the United States, New York Fashion Week's 103 runway shows with 2,278 models featured African-American models a mere 5% of the time (Stewart). Models of color, including black, Asian, and nonwhite Hispanic women, made up about 12% of the total number of models at that Fashion Week in 2008 (Stewart). While America surpassed a historic racial barrier in politics, one of the largest industries in the world refused to represent racial equality. Fast-forward to today, and the fashion industry is still overwhelmingly "white." The homogeneity is by no means limited to the models onstage but rather permeates throughout the fashion industry. A relatively small number of nonwhite photographers, editors, and designers have reached prominence. Despite this lack of diversity behind the scenes, fashion designers often incorporate vestiges of other cultures into their work. However, a gray area exists between cultural inspiration and cultural appropriation, in which the reinterpretation of global cultures and ideas can prompt criticism from offended viewers. Recently, misrepresentations of Asian and Native Ameri-

can cultures by Chanel, Urban Outfitters, Victoria's Secret, and H&M have triggered such negative feedback. Thus, a predominately homogenous group of people that appears to run the industry is making judgment calls on diversity that can come across as both unfair and offensive to minorities involved. A clear disconnect exists between the controversial images of racial representation that fashion institutions—both companies and magazines—­put forward and the lack of diversity among those employed. The disparity raises the question: is fashion racist? This question has been echoed among contemporary journalists and served as the title of Vicki Woods' story in Vogue's July issue in 2008, again the same year as Obama's election. Despite the years of legal progress recognizing civil rights in the Western world, are we failing to recognize and act upon the perpetuation of racism in this massive industry? Today’s fashion industry has maintained a Eurocentric aesthetic since its Parisian origins, and the result, whether conscious or not, is racism.

29


Out of Fashion: Racial Diversity

ann Hardison and supermodel Naomi Campbell, co-founded The Diversity Coalition in order to hold designers accountable for their colorless runways. In September 2013, The Coalition released a letter to the governing fashion councils in New York, London, Paris, and Milan that ended with a list of "fashion houses guilty of [the] racist act" of using "one or no models of color" (Wilson). The extenAlong with evident racial inequality, the sive list of these "guilty" fashion houses current homogenous nature of the fashion included dozens of leading designers such industry signifies a very real, concerning as Versace, CĂŠline, Louis Vuitton, Prada, lack of employment for nonwhite contrib- Chanel, BCBG, and many more. utors. Often, the limited number of spots potentially open to nonwhite models only Designers have been known to claim demonstrates fashion houses' perfunctory that casting directors do not send them impulse to include minimal racial divnonwhite models, and casting directors ersity, a practice known as tokenism. respond that designers do not want them, Chanel Iman, a top African-American and an old argument that has aged into A WHITE BACKDROP Korean supermodel, said in an interview obsolescence as fashion's reach has with United Kingdom-based The Times extended to viewers across the globe A deep irony characterizes the fact Magazine that designers have told her, watching online. that an industry that prides itself on its innovative and forward-thinking nature "We already found one black girl. We don't appears to be taking historical steps back- need you anymore" (Teeman). This blatant exclusion of racial diversity marks a comward. In spite of fashion's globalization mon experience, even for one of the most and consequently rising pedestal before renowned models of color. Iman, along the world's watching eyes, the majority of prominent members in the community with black model-turned-activist Bethare white. Jezebel, a website focused on women's matters, calculated the percentage of racial diversity represented among models at New York Fashion Week from 2008 to 2013. As shown in Figure 1, the number of white models has remained the vast majority over the years. The percentage of white models has varied only slightly from 87 percent in 2008 to 82.7 percent in 2013 (Dries). While models may be "the primary ambassadors of color in the fashion industry," lack of diversity can be seen on all sides of the runway if one is truly  looking (Spindler). In her New York Times F I G U R E 1 . S I N C E N E W YO R K FA S H I O N W E E K I N FA L L 2 0 0 8 , W H I T E M O D E L S H AV E article, "Taking Stereotyping to a New R E M A I N E D T H E VA S T M A J O R I T Y O F M O D E L S O N S TA G E . T H E P E R C E N TA G E O F Level in Fashion," Amy Spindler states, W H I T E M O D E L S H A S O N LY D EC L I N E D S L I G H T LY O V E R T H E Y E A R S F R O M 8 7 % I N "The fashion eye is overwhelmingly white, 2 0 0 8 T O 8 2 .7 % I N 2 0 1 3 . from designers drawing on African and Asian culture (Ralph Lauren, John GallS O U R C E : D R I E S , K AT E . " N E W YO R K FA S H I O N W E E K WA S C H O C K- F U L L O F W H I T E iano, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Alexander M O D E L S . A G A I N ." J E Z E B E L . N . P. , 17 S E P T. 2 0 1 3 . W E B . 2 6 F E B . 2 0 14 . < H T T P : // McQueen, to name a few) to those putting J E Z E B E L . C O M / N E W -YO R K- FA S H I O N - W E E K- WA S - C H O C K- F U L L- O F - W H I T EParticularly with the advent of the Internet and mass use of technology, fashion design has found a global stage that can be viewed by a multiethnic audience. More than ever, the industry has a responsibility to consider its global audience and make mindful decisions about the representation of diversity on and off the runway. Given the close relationship between the industry’s homogeneity and its potentially offensive cultural depictions, members of the fashion industry must widely diversify their work environments in order to practice racial equality, to more accurately represent the various cultures of their audience, and to develop more likeable brand reputations.

30

the images in magazines." Another article by Chase Quinn in The Grio, a division of the MSNBC cable channel directed toward African Americans, expresses a "startling dearth" of black casting agents, publicists, and stylists. Beyond the underrepresentation of ethnic models, a primarily white backdrop lies behind the fashion world.


Out of Fashion: Racial Diversity

F I G U R E 2 . D O L C E & G A B B A N A' S 2 0 1 3 S H O W D I S P L AY E D C O N T R O VERSIAL "BL ACK AMOOR" IMAGERY THROUGH FIGURES OF BL ACK WOMEN ON EARRINGS AND PRINTED ON D R E S S E S . I R O N I C A L LY, T H E S H O W OF 85 LOOKS DID NOT INCLUDE ONE MODEL OF COLOR.

In spite of Betsy Johnson's frequent, bold incorporation of every neon color into one garment and Alexander McQueen's daring 10-inch Armadillo stilettos, fashion houses seem to remain safely inside their comfort zones when it comes to the core of the outfit—the models themselves. INSPIRATION OR APPROPRIATION? Designers have drawn inspiration from different cultures since Paul Poiret gained fame through his nuanced design of turbans and harem pants in the early 20th Century. By wearing a culturally inspired garment, customers may vicariously enjoy or appreciate that culture (Mete). Yet unlike that of Poiret's time, a much more interconnected, globalized industry now allows all cultures to watch fashion's evolution. "Fashion" statements become potentially offensive statements.

tion and humanization of a culture and opt instead for racialized fetishizing against Asian women.” In their 2013 spring show, Dolce & Gabbana's collection displayed "Blackamoor" images and figures that harken back to the subservient status of African Americans but ironically did not incorporate one black model in a show that presented over 85 looks (Jacinto). All of these instances occurred within the last two years.

Staggering examples of racial insensitivity abound. From white girls in blackface to minorities represented in subservient roles in editorials, the shocking extent of cultural appropriation exceeds creative license due to its simply high risk of offensiveness. Appropriation appears in both high fashion and commercial sales. Chanel's recent Pre-Fall "cowboys and Indians" theme sparked controversy, while negative responses to H&M's rainbow headdress caused the company to pull it off the shelves. After Karlie Kloss F I G U R E 3 . D A S H A Z H U K O VA , E D I T O R OF GAR AGE MAGA ZINE, IS PHOTOwore a leopard print bikini and floorlength Native American headdress in the G R A P H E D O N T O P O F A C O N T O R T E D , B O U N D B L A C K W O M A N , Z H U K O VA' S 2012 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, " C H A I R ." writer and tribal attorney Ruth Hopkins criticized the outfit as a "mean-spirited, S O U R C E : WA L K E R , S H A U N . " R U S S I A N disrespectful trivialization of my blood S O C I A L I T E S PA R K S O U T R A G E W I T H ancestry and the proud Native identity I ' R A C I S T C H A I R ' P H O T O G R A P H ." T H E work hard to instill in my children" G U A R D I A N . G U A R D I A N N E W S A N D M E(Hopkins). Victoria's Secret also crossed D I A , 2 1 J A N . 2 0 14 . W E B . 1 0 M A R . 2 0 14 . geographical and ethical borders through < H T T P : // W W W.T H EG U A R D I A N . C O M / W O R L D / 2 0 14 /J A N / 2 1 / R U S S I A N -S O their "Go East" collection that featured C I A L I T E-Z H U K O VA- R A C I S T- C H A I R - N Athe scanty "Sexy Little Geisha" outfit. In K E D - B L A C K- M A N N EQ U I N >. response to this campaign, Nina Jacinto of Racialicious said, “It's a troubling attempt to sidestep authentic representa-

S O U R C E : L O N D O N , B I A N C A . "A Z E A L I A B A N K S B O YC O T T S D O L C E & G A B B AN A' S ' R A C I S T ' S U M M E R 2 0 1 3 C O LL EC T I O N ." M A I L O N L I N E . N . P. , 2 3 O C T. 2 0 1 2 . W E B . 1 0 M A R . 2 0 14 . < H T T P : // W W W. D A I LY M A I L . C O . U K / F E M A I L / A R T I C L E-2 2 2 1 8 47/A Z E A L I A- B A N K S B O YC O T T S - D O L C E-A M P - G A B B A N A S R A C I S T-S U M M E R -2 0 1 3 - C O L L EC T I O N . H T M L>.

Beyond racial insensitivity in apparel design, callous choices commonly appear in magazine editorials and designer campaigns. In a 2006 study by Jennifer Millard and Peter Grant that examined the poses of black and white women in fashion magazine photographs, the results showed that black models were significantly more likely to be portrayed in submissive or withdrawn poses, as well as much less likely to be portrayed in sexual poses that displayed their bodies more fully. Comments on sexualized advertisements aside, a subliminal message of subordination comes across when models are posed "submissively," which for the sake of this study, meant any pose that indicated the physical or psychological lowering of the model in relation to others (Millard 659-73). Identifying messages of subordination is, unfortunately, quite easy. Magazines commonly invoke racial stereotypes for the sake of photo shoots, but what feels artistic can appear offensive. When the Russian website Buro 24/7 published a picture of a fashion editor perched on a "chair," represented by a contorted,

31


Out of Fashion: Racial Diversity

the subject of race in fashion. With more equitably designed runways and work environments, fashion houses and magazines will be able to use their diverse pools of employees to make more conscientious decisions about design and editorial choices. Industry members must "walk the walk" of promoting inclusivity off the runway, as well. The industry’s only values may seem to be its dollars and cents, but its latent racism shapes pervasive biases. As fashion steps on the higher platform of a global stage, the fashion industry has a profound responsibility to consider and represent its diverse audience through its inside community and outward image.

A statement in The Diversity Coalition's letter to designers applies to both a lack of diversity on runways and the depiction of cultures in fashion photography: "No matter the intention, the result is racism" (Wilson).

new-york-fashion-week-was-chock-full-of-white-

style/22iht-22runway.8007687.html?_r=0>.

models-1326813852>.

Spindler, Amy M. “Taking Stereotyping to a New

Herald, Koda, and Andrew Bolton. “Paul Poiret

Level in Fashion.” The New York Times, 3 June 1997.

(1879–1944).” The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

Web. 25 Feb. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.

Sept. 2008. Web. 14 Feb. 2014. <http://www.

com/1997/06/03/style/taking-stereotyping-to-a-

metmuseum.org/toah/hd/poir/hd_poir.htm>.

new-level-in-fashion.html%3E>.

CONCLUSION: D I V E R S I F Y I N G T H E FA S H I O N WO R L D , R E P R E S E N T I N G T H E WO R L D

32

Lennon, Sharron J., Abby Lillethun, and Sandra S.

half-naked, and bound African-American woman, the website responded to criticism with this statement: "This photograph, which has been published completely out of context, is of an art work intended specifically as a commentary on gender and racial politics" (Walker). Images shared "out of context" and their intended purposes as mere "works of art" signify two recurring excuses made by industry leaders. However, the constant circulation of images across social media, along with the ease of "copy/paste," means that a photograph's appearance out of its context is nearly inevitable and should even be expected. Claims that photographs are simply artistic expressions are invalidated by the fact that pictures can powerfully express multiple messages; viewers do not have the luxury of always knowing a picture's backstory, but they are rather left to their own interpretations. Magazines have represented dark-skinned models as "shadows," placed African-American models in condescending roles such as maids and slaves, and portrayed Native-looking models as primitive and uncivilized next to apparently more dignified models.

"Consciousness" is the word Bethann Hardison used when I asked her about the first necessary step toward a more racially aware fashion industry. Co-founder of The Diversity Coalition and among the first African-American models who had an insider's view when runways' diversity declined, Hardison is one of the most qualified leaders in the world to speak on

Buckland. “Attitudes Toward Social Comparison as a Function of Self-Esteem: Idealized Appearance and Body Image.” Issue Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal 27.4 (2009): 379-406. Web. 11 Mar. 2014. London, Bianca. “Azealia Banks Boycotts Dolce & Gabbana’s ‘Racist’ Summer 2013 Collection.” Mail Online. N.p., 23 Oct. 2012. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2221847/Azealia-Banks-boycotts-Dolce- amp-Gabbanas-racist-summer-2013-collection. html>. Mete, Fatma. “The Creative Role of Sources of Inspiration in Clothing Design.” International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology 18.4 (2006): 278-93. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. Millard, Jennifer E. “The Stereotypes of Black and White Women in Fashion Magazine Photographs: The Pose of the Model and the Impression She Creates.” Sex Roles 54.9-10 (n.d.): 659-73. Web. 9 Mar. 2014. Quinn, Chase. “Fashion Stars Talk Race, Fashion, And The Next Steps Towards Equality.” TheGrio. com. MSNBC, 19 Sept. 2013. Web. 25 Feb. 2014. <http://thegrio.com/2013/09/19/fashion-stars-talk-

References Cited

race-fashion-and-the-next-steps-towards-equality/>.

Dries, Kate. “New York Fashion Week Was

Sinclair, Demi. “Racial Diversity on the Runway.”

Chock-Full of White Models. Again.” Jezebel. N.p., 17 The Business of Fashion. N.p., 14 Apr. 2013. Web. 11 Mar. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/22/ Sept. 2013. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. <http://jezebel.com/

Hopkins, Ruth. “Victoria’s Secret’s Racist Garbage Is Stewart, Dodai. “Fashion Week Runways Were Almost A Total Whitewash.” Jezebel. N.p., 11 Just Asking for a Boycott.” Jezebel, 12 Nov. 2012. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. <http://jezebel.com/tag/

Feb. 2008. Web. 25 Feb. 2014. <http://jezebel.

native-american-headdress>.

com/354782/fashion-week-runways-were-almost-a-

Jacinto, Nina. “Victoria’s Secret Does It Again: When total-whitewash>. Teeman, Tim. “Chanel Iman: Modeling, Racism, and Racism Meets Fashion.” Racialicious: The Intersection of Race and Pop Culture. N.p., 6 Sept.

Me.” The Times, 16 Feb. 2013. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.

2012. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. <http://www.racialicious.

<http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/magazine/

com/2012/09/06/victorias-secret-does-it-again-

article3684885.ece>.

when-racism-meets-fashion/>.

Trebay, Guy. “Ignoring Diversity, Runways Fade to White.” NYTimes.com. The New York Times, 13 Oct. 2007. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.<http://www.nytimes. com/2007/10/14/fashion/shows/14race.html?pagewanted=all>. VanderMaas, Johanna. “Models of Diverse Ages,


Out of Fashion: Racial Diversity

Races and Sizes Will Help Fashion Houses, Designers Increase Sales.” Ryerson University, 31 July 2012. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

<http://www.

ryerson.ca/news/media/General_Public/20120731_ rn_barry.html>. Venkatesh, Alladi, Annamma Joy, John F. Sherry, Jr., and Jonathan Deschenes. “The Aesthetics of Luxury Fashion, Body and Identity Formation.” Journal of Consumer Psychology 20.4 (2010): 459-70. Web. 11 Mar. 2014. Walker, Shaun. “Russian Socialite Sparks Outrage With ‘Racist Chair’ Photograph.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 21 Jan. 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. <http://www.theguardian.com/ world/2014/jan/21/russian-socialite-zhukova-racist-chair-naked-black-mannequin>. Wilson, Eric. “Fashion’s Blind Spot.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 07 Aug. 2013. Web. 11 Mar. 2014. <http://www.nytimes. com/2013/08/08/fashion/fashions-blind-spot. html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=all&adxnnlx=1394528789- uIeEgHXc2jMZZdHrEzVRYg>. Wilson, Julee. “Bethann Hardison Continues Push For Racial Diversity On The Runway, Sends New Letter.” TheHuffingtonPost.com. The Huffington Post, 05 Feb. 2014. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. <http://www. huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/05/bethann-hardison-letter-fashion-diversity_n_4732209.html>. Wilson, Julee. “Dolce & Gabbana Black Figurine Earrings And Dress, Are They Racist?” TheHuffingtonPost.com. The Huffington Post, 26 Sept. 2012. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost. com/2012/09/26/dolce-and-gabbana-racist-earrings-_n_1914455.html>. Wilson, Julee. “Fashion Designers Accused OfRacism In Letter.” TheHuffingtonPost.com. The Huffington Post, 06 Sept. 2013. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/06/ fashion-designers-racism-letter-bethann-hardison_n_3880363.html>. Woods, Vicki. “Is Fashion Racist?” Vogue July 2008: n. pag. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. <http://www.vogue.com/ magazine/article/is-fashion-racist/#1>.

33


Revisiting Public Educ ation: Closing the Achievement Gap in U.S. S chool s

MEGAN GLASMANN

Growing up, I learned to appreciate my education. While I attended one of the best public high schools in the state of Utah, my dad taught at one of the most low-income area high schools in the state. Every night at the dinner table, my dad would tell my family stories of teaching his students. He’d share the challenges and the highlights of the week over his home cooking, and I quickly began to understand how much of a difference education can make, as well as how important teachers are in the lives of the students they teach, particularly when students are struggling with issues at home or have some form of learning disability. By the time I was a junior in high school, I had enrolled in an anthropology class and one of the focuses of the course was to write a “mini-ethnography” about a local sub-culture of interest. I decided to focus my project on the differences in education and achievement between my high school and the one my dad taught at to better understand how education changes the life paths of students. I interviewed multiple students and faculty members at both schools, finding myself enraptured in the passion that the teachers had about their students. Then, during my 2013 fall quarter PWR 1 class I found myself returning to the concept of education, drawn in again by how much it can change the lives of minority and low socioeconomic back-

34

ground students. I returned and did more in depth research at both high schools, interviewing additional teachers and students in an attempt to gain further insight into why teachers are so important. The resulting paper is a reflection of my research concerning the different factors that influence education, but more importantly it is an attempt to bring expectations and teacher influence to light, as one great teacher can inspire countless students towards believing in their goals and reaching their dreams.

groups” (Ravitch). Subsequently, the public schools system, which was originally implemented to “promote social equity through equal access to education,” has from the start shown disparities between different racial and socioeconomic status groups (Hallinan).

The achievement gap, also known as the education gap, “has always existed, as long as the nation itself has existed, because of the differences in the socioeconomic conditions of different racial

Although statistics reveal significant differences in the achievement gap based on race, the category of race is not in and of itself critically analyzed in such studies. For example, while Terman’s biological

R AC E & S O C I O E C O N O M I C S TAT U S

In 1996, 17 year-old black students tested at the same level of reading proficiency as 13 year-old white students on the Astronaut. Fashion designer. Racecar National Assessment of Educational driver. Doctor. As kids, Americans are Progress (NAEP) test, averaging similar told that they have the opportunity to do results in the mathematics, science, and anything and become anyone. Despite the writing sections (Hallinan), and tested at the same reading level again in 2012 undeniable charm and positivity this message delivers, it is unfortunately false. (“Reading Age”). This lack of improvement Without a quality education and a straprovides insight into the still persisting ight shot to college, many students do not gap, revealing that it is a much deeper, stand a chance to chase their dreams. By more culturally rooted issue than originally thought. Even if the gap were understanding the specific factors that influence student academic success such narrowing at the same rate as it was as race, socioeconomic status, teacher during the 1960’s, it would still take expectations, and stereotype threat, another 60 years for the reading gap several solutions can be considered in and a little over 100 years for the matheclosing the achievement gap. matics gap to close (Ravitch).


Revisiting Public Education

determinism theory was long thought to explain the reason for the gap, race itself is not the cause for the education gap; instead this racial gap may be concealing other confounding factors, such as its high correlation with socioeconomic status. This is not to say that a class determinism theory has replaced the biological determinism theory; instead the gap is a result of the many factors that are a part of socioeconomic status differences, including parent involvement, quality of teachers and schools, and the availability of resources. Considering that socioeconomic status is one of the most highly correlated factors to the achievement gap, it is interesting to note that in 2011 the black poverty rate was 35 percent for children, the same rate it was in 1968 (Ravitch). Research done by Stanford sociologist Sean Reardon has further proved the importance of socioeconomic status in regard to education success, showing that the gap between poor (10th percentile of income) and wealthy (90th percentile of income) children’s test scores has increased by close to 40 percent and is more than 50 percent larger than the gap between racial groups (Reardon). This trend reversal may be due to the increase in early childhood education programs and the inability of lower socioeconomic areas to gain access to quality education; thus without social reform to reduce poverty and provide early childhood education, the achievement gap will be evident the first day of school and only widen as the years progress (Ravitch).

aware of their socio-economic disadvantages, making them more likely to do poorly on tests as they are concerned with the stereotype and less focused on the test itself, ultimately leading to self-fulfilling prophecy. This prejudice induced achievement gap, or “Pygmalion Effect,” was originally studied by Robert Rosenthal in 1968, whose theory was brought to life in his study of randomized bloomers in the elementary school setting, showing the importance of teacher expectations in student growth (Rosenthal et al). This same concept of subconscious differences in treatment of students is applicable to the high school setting, because while educators attempt to treat all students equally, it is psychologically ingrained to “thin slice” people based on their outward appearance and characteristics such as gender, race, ethnicity, and dialect; thus forming unintentional expe- ctations of students that may affect their subsequent success in the classroom (Ambady).

In an interview done for this study with Utah Kearns high school Career and Technical Education (CTE) educator Tom Glasmann, teacher expectations were discussed. When asked about how the background of a student influences his teaching in the classroom, Glasmann stated that he modifies his teaching behavior according to information he receives about a student’s background such as whether or not they have an abusive family or a mental or physical handicap. Similarly, Park City high school math teacher Deb Alcox stated in an interview done for this study that when T E AC H E R E X P E C TAT I O N S & S T E R E O T Y P E T H R E AT she is familiar with a student’s background, she attempts to “bring [it] into the topic that we are discussing so […] It has been suggested that some of the differences in grades and achievement in some type of their background [is integrated into the lesson] to engage math and reading comprehension them into where we are going with the between black and white students are caused by stereotype threat. This under- topic.” By understanding teacher expeperformance in individuals is not due to a ctations and their role in the classroom, educators will be more effective in stereotype itself being true, but its psychological threat to students who are motivating disadvantaged students

to succeed, countering outside influences that hinder student achievement. SOLUTIONS: CHANGING S O C I E T Y VS . C H A N G I N G THE CLASSROOM

“In general, kids do not want to fail. [They] do not take pride in getting a zero on an exam” (Ravitch). Given the complexity of the factors that influence student academic success, it is apparent that no singular solution will close the achievement gap. That said, it is possible that some solutions are more sustainable or effective than others. By employing a combination of strategies that attempt to understand the achievement gap in a way that takes into consideration issues of access, and socioeconomic inequality that often emerge through histories of racial inequality, it may be possible for the disparity in the achievement gap to be tightened. TESTING

Despite previous attempts at closing the achievement gap through the implication of standardized testing, it seems as if little progress has been made. While necessary to document the incremental growth in national reading, mathematics, science, and writing proficiency, these federally mandated competency tests are daunting and often contain culturally biased material. As students are increasingly taught to the test instead of toward real world application of material, classes become seemingly underwhelming and unimportant. For many teachers, students’ learning is more important than scoring well on a state or federally mandated test, which brings frustration to educators due to their inability to change curriculum to better fit student needs. While such tests provide an opportunity to comp0 are schools, and hold both teachers and schools accountable for student education, it does not provide a solution to the problem.

35


Revisiting Public Education

PA R E N T I N VO LV E M E N T

Another possible solution to the achievement gap is to increase parent involvement. Often considered one of the more overlooked achievement gap influences, parent involvement is a very important factor in determining the future academic success of a particular student, and according to the 2001 Michigan Department of Education, “86% of the general public believes that support from parents is the most important way to improve the schools” (“What Research Says About Parent Involvement”). In a 2012 interview done as ethnographical research, Kearns high school CTE teacher Edie Leavenworth stated that a majority of her students come from difficult family situations, stressing that students succeed “as long as there is [someone] really involved in the kids' life […but when] no adult has time to [be involved, educators] notice the big change.” Several decades of research done by the Parent Teacher Association shows that increased parent involvement is correlated with higher grades, test scores, and graduation rates in addition to better school attendance, increased motivation, and better self-esteem. It is also correlated with lower rates of suspension, decreased use of drugs and alcohol, and fewer instances of violent behavior.

36

If parent involvement were addressed as a solution to the achievement gap, changes would need to be made to inform parents or caregivers of their significance in shaping the future educational success of their children early on. Unfortunately this solution is a social problem that would prove difficult to solve due to the high correlation between low socioeconomic areas and low parental involvement. More often than not, parents of students in lower income areas are required to work multiple jobs, and this commitment means they have less time to be involved in the lives of their kids. This sacrifice is one many parents must make at lower income schools such as Kearns high, so

until the societal problem of poverty is resolved, parent involvement will continue to be a lopsided solution.

help, latency, delving, and higher-level questioning. Feedback includes affirm/ correct, praise, reasons for praise, listening, and accepting feelings. Personal regard includes proximity, T E AC H E R E X P E C TAT I O N S & I N T E R AC T I O N S : courtesy, personal interests and compliC H A N G I N G B E H AV I O R S ments, touching, and desisting. All of the categories included in the training The type of sustainable solution academ- program are based off of behavioral ics and policy makers are looking for may changes in educators; therefore, a federally implemented policy should be found in the schools themselves. Research done by Sanders and Hanushek include a similar model. By providing teachers and possibly administrators with has shown that “teacher effectiveness is the necessary training and background to the most important in-school factor affecting student learning” (Rotherham). better understand all students in all situations, the classroom will become a more In order to ensure good teachers, it is effective learning environment, promotimportant that teachers have “the ing academic achievement and sparking background and training to be able to student interest in school subjects. relate to the students who are in front of them, even though they may be ethnically or racially different […from them]” F I N A L T H O U G H T S (Ravitch). This sort of training would involve more than just a degree in eduIt is apparent that the achievement gapis cation; therefore an educational reform in a deeply rooted issue in American society. policy would be necessary at the state or Stereotype threat, or the underperformance of students who feel threatened by federal level to inform educators about an existing label that suggests they will the best ways to approach students of not do well due to some part of their different backgrounds and family situations, as well as how their expectations identity, causes test scores of minority students to drop below white students of directly influence student success. similar educational background, and race and socioeconomic status continue to The Professional Development Office at remain tightly correlated with test score Arlington Public Schools has developed differences. While researchers no longer such a program. The training program, believe there is a biological culprit at play, known as Teacher Expectations & Student Achievement (TESA), has it is important to understand the effect of effectively improved teacher-student culture and background on a student’s interactions by “raising awareness of academic success. Family involvement how teachers' expectations affect stuand socioeconomic status remain highly dents' performance,” thereby improving influential counterparts to achievement, “student achievement and classroom creating an entanglement of societal climate” (“Professional Development”). problems with education and further In a 2000 survey of teachers that had complicating any possible solutions to previously undergone the TESA training, the historically significant concern. State results indicated that the TESA program and federally mandated competency tests training was very useful in the classroom continue to measure student scores, but for teachers and school administrators fail to close the gap. The most plausible alike (Cantor). In the program, educators solution to consider is changing teacher are informed about three areas of interest: expectations with the implementation of response opportunities, feedback, and state or federally funded training propersonal regard. Response opportunities grams, based off of the TESA training include equitable distribution, individual program originally introduced and used


Revisiting Public Education

by the Arlington Public Schools system. By training educators how to connect classroom material to student interests, and provide positive feedback to each student individually, the public schools system will begin to change for the better. Classroom environment and teacher expectations play an enormous role in the academic and social success of students. Therefore, it is very likely that the achievement gap would narrow if disadvantaged individuals were provided with more opportunities to engage in their learning process and receive praise from teachers. With the closure of this gap, students would have a real opportunity to chase their dreams of becoming doctors or fashion designers due to the world of difference a quality education and quality teachers can make.

Michigan Department of Education. What Research Says about Parent Involvement in Children’s Education in Relation to Academic Achievement. March 2002. Hannaway, Jane and Andrew J. Rotherman. Collective Bargaining in Education and Pay for Performance. National Center on Performance Incentives. February 2008. Teacher Expectations & Student Achievement (TESA). Arlington Public Schools, Professional Development Office. October 2011. Cantor, Jean; Kester, Don; Miller, Anita. Amazing Results! Teacher Expectations and Student Achievement (TESA) Follow-Up Survey of TESA-Trained Teachers in 45 States and the District of Columbia. Institute of Education Sciences. Aug. 2000.

Ravitch, Diane; Harris, Angel; Roberts, Rebecca. “What Works To Close The Education Gap”. NPR. 22 Aug. 2011. Hallinan, Maureen T. “Sociological Perspectives on Black-White Inequalities in American Schooling”. University of Notre Dame, Sociology of Ed 2001; 50-70. Reading Age 17 Results. NAEP. 2012. Reardon, Sean F. The Widening Academic Achievement Gap Between the Rich and the Poor: New Evidence and Possible Explanations. In: G.J. Duncan, R.J. Murnane, eds. Whither Opportunity? Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children’s Life Choices. Russel Sage Foundation, 2011:91-116. Rosenthal, Robert and Lenore Jacobson. Pygmalion in the Classroom: Teacher Expectation and Pupils’ Intellectual Development. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1968. Ambady, Nalani and Robert Rosenthal. “Thin Slices of Expressive Behavior as Predictors of Interpersonal Consequences: A Meta-Analysis”. Psychological Bulletin 1992; 111:256-274.

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The Problems Facing Pamukkale’s Conser vation

T he Problems Facing Pamukkale’s C onser vation:

PERI UNVER

A Glimpse into the Turkish Government’s Stance on Environmentalism and the Politics of UNESCO

turning into a muddied brown. Pamukkale draws many tourists to Turkey each year (UNESCO). It is pollution from this tourism that endangers the previously white “cotton castle” and has led to a great amount of damage at the site (Ekmekci). Many natural and even cultural sites are cordoned off whereas people sit or swim in Pamukkale’s very waters (UNESCO). Pamukkale is a destination that is sought-after by Turks and nonTurks alike. Tourism at Pamukkale has been incredibly lucrative and so hotels and a road were built fairly recently, in the mid-1900s. Motor bikes were even allowed on the slopes (Hecktic Travels). In 1988, Pamukkale-Hierapolis was annoPamukkale means “cotton palace” in Turkish and it is not difficult to see where unced a World Heritage Site by UNESCO the name comes from after looking at the (UNESCO). The hotels and road were idyllic, almost dream-like white terraced destroyed but the damage had already been done (Ekmekci). Presently shoes are basins of water and calcified waterfalls. not allowed on the site or in the water but Pamukkale is located in the Denizli it is debatable as to whether these new Province of Turkey, in southwestern Turkey, or what is also known as Western rules are enough. Artificial pools have also been built, lending to a sort of disnAnatolia or the inner Aegean region of eyfication of the site (Republic of Turkey Turkey (UNESCO). Pamukkale’s white Ministry of Culture and Tourism). color comes from calcium carbonate This paper will focus on one particular deposits and it was created thousands Why did it take so long for UNESCO to site in Turkey, Pamukkale, or “cotton of years ago (UNESCO). When I visited declare Pamukkale a World Heritage Site? castle” in Turkish (UNESCO). In order many years ago I remember gazing at to examine the threat Pamukkale faces Pamukkale with a sense of awe and wond- Turkey itself was not inducted into the conservation-wise a few issues must be ering how such a surreal landscape could convention until 1983, a good 11 years taken into account. These include the exist in reality. However, even when I saw after the convention’s start in 1972. current political situation in Turkey as Pamukkale, which was probably about 15 well as Turkey’s history with environmen- years ago, its famed pure whiteness was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first President of Turkey, famously stated in 1935, “It is necessary that the people themselves who are the real owners of our historical and national monuments become the protectors of antiquities” (Clinton). Conservation as a fully realized and actionable idea has only come to light recently in Turkey. In the Republic of Turkey, environmental issues have not always been top priority. Turkey grapples with a complex history with conflictual notions of cultural heritage and a citizenry living its everyday existence living amongst ancient sites. This tug of war between old and new is in fact taken for granted and is normalized. The 2012 protests in Turkey’s Gezi Park started as an environmental activists’ sit-in and turned into public resistance and outcry against oppression by the Turkish government (RT News). As the protests illustrated, questions of rights and decisions about natural and cultural heritage sites become intermingled in a nebulous cloud of culture and politics.

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tal conservation, the draw Pamukkale has in regards to tourism, and UNESCO’s problematic World Heritage Committee that determines the list of world heritage sites as well as world heritage sites in danger. I argue that Pamukkale must be acknowledged as an endangered site and must be protected with stricter regulations. It may even meet the requirements of being a site of world heritage in danger. I will use a variety of ways to try and develop this argument by drawing on different works and even interviewing someone who specializes in the field of Turkish studies.


The Problems Facing Pamukkale’s Conser vation

While the sites of Troy and Catalhoyuk are listed as cultural world heritage sites, Pamukkale is listed as a “mixed” cultural and natural site along with Goreme National Park and Cappadocia (UNESCO). Whether this label is hindering the progress of conservation at Pamukkale is still to be determined. One thing that is certain, though, is that Pamukkale as we know it will not be around for future generations to see if its current state continues and regulations are kept the same.

In order to better understand the problems facing Pamukkale’s conservation we must examine Turkey’s history of environmentalism. From the mid-1990s onward Turkey has had great economic growth (Energy Information Administration). With economic growth, however, came the problem of increasing environmental destruction. A Ministry of Environment was not created until 1991 and the “Environmental Law” passed in 1983 is very broad and general (Energy Information Administration). In the last few years alone, the Turkish government has changed environmental laws infringing on Turkey’s protected areas in promotion of “development,” including tourism (Sekercioglu). It is nearly impossible to protect natural sites when tourism is placed above conservation. These changes, along with the decision to make the members of the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TUBA) appointed by government instead of their peers in the scientific community came without any public debate (Akcay). In a paper published just in 2011, Professor Cagan Sekercioglu adamantly states that this is the worst time ever in Turkey’s history of environmental degradation. In Sekercioglu’s paper, biologists from both Turkey and the U.S. urge a “culture of conservation” that perhaps could be tied to Turkey’s history, “a source of national pride,” in order to take hold (Robbins). Turkey ranks 140 out of 163 countries when it comes to conservation (both habitat and biodiversity) (Sekercioglu). Along with more oil importation, both air and ocean pollution, and higher energy consumption, tourism is also contributing to environmental degradation in Turkey (Energy Information Administration). Due to these circumstances, Pamukkale is therefore susceptible to damage as a natural site. The greatest problem with UNESCO perhaps is the World Heritage Committee’s concern with politics.

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The Problems Facing Pamukkale’s Conser vation

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As Professor Lynn Meskell states, “Throughout recent World Heritage Committee meetings, national agendas have come to eclipse substantive discussions of the merits of site nominations and the attendant issues of community benefits, the participation of indigenous stakeholders, or threats from mining and exploitation” (Meskell). In the 2010 audit of the Committee it was shown “that the Committee’s decisions had increasingly diverged from the scientific opinions of the Advisory Bodies, contributing to a drift toward a more ‘political’ rather than ‘heritage’ approach to the convention.” Moreover, agreements are seldom reached without an exhausting amount of time and attention to minor details. In recordings of the proceedings representatives of different nations are arguing about the wording of particular phrases and even disagreeing about the use of one word alone (Meskell). This idea brings to mind the question of whether Pamukkale would even be better protected if it were put on the list of world heritage sites in danger. Is it just another trick of jargon; is it just words on a piece of paper? Turkey is failing in a number of ways when it comes to meeting UNESCO’s requirements for sites: “Governments that ratify this Convention also recognize that they have a duty to protect these sites of exceptional value and conserve them for future generations” (UNESCO). Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s speeches give away his position on environmental and conservation issues in Turkey. Just recently he declared “Everything can be sacrificed for roads,” in response to environmental activist protests against the development project which would build a third Bosphorus bridge (RT News). Prime Minister Erdogan also plans to have a road built through Ankara’s Middle East Technical University. Erdogan stated in his speech, “Even if there is a mosque in front of a road, we would demolish that mosque and rebuild it somewhere else,” which is ironic considering Erdogan has been the driving force taking Turkey as a secular

nation into a more religious state (RT News). Instead of encouraging debate he has called the environmental activists “uncivilized bandits.” “We won’t stop because somebody says so. Bandits used to block roads in the past, now modern bandits are blocking the roads” (RT News). There is some inconsistency or discrepancy between Erdogan’s words outside of Turkey and his words and actions in Turkey. Lastly, I thought it might be useful to gain a different perspective from someone who has studied and worked in Turkey and who traveled to Pamukkale in the past year. Beril Unver is Senior Programs Officer at the Pacific Council on International Policy, an organization that focuses on international policy issues. In her previous capacity as a Congressional Liaison in Washington D.C. she also led numerous high-level delegations to Turkey in order to promote stronger U.S.-Turkey relations. Her fields of expertise include Middle Eastern affairs, international conflict resolution, and nonproliferation studies.

currently working to uncover a large group of homes and stores that were very well preserved under mounds of soil over centuries and claim that after all stones are uncovered this site will be larger than Pompeii, currently one of if not the largest and best preserved ancient Roman sites in the world. Ephesus is home to one of the seven wonders of the world, the Temple of Artemis. When I visited Pamukkale with a friend there was one uniformed guard who stood watch over the part of the hill with the most pools, the section most popular with tourists. He warned people to take their shoes off, but aside from that could not keep watch of all sections of this site. Pamukkale is a less visited, less known historical site in Turkey. Also, due to its location in the middle of a town rather than being surrounded by a pedestrian walkway or nature reserve it is not clearly demarcated as a site deserving extra care and protection.

Turkey’s history has been full of encounters of cultural heritage at times in conflict and is defined by a push and pull between old and new. How can the living Peri: Why are sites like Hagia Sophia and be reintroduced into the conversation Ephesus (which is on the tentative list) seemingly better protected than other sites, with these sites, then? Many obstacles threaten the conservation of Pamukkale like Pamukkale? as an important natural and even cultural site. In order for Pamukkale to receive the Beril: The Haghia Sophia was once a Byzantine church that was later convert- conservation it deserves, issues such as the current Turkish government’s stance ed to a mosque, and then made into a on environmental activism as well as museum by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk shortly following the establishment of the UNESCO’s limitations must be considsecular Turkish Republic. It was Ataturk ered. Environmental activists in Turkey must not be silenced any longer and the who had the prayer rugs removed and government must be willing to make commenced the restoration of the changes. Stricter regulations should be building to its more original form. The placed in order to protect Pamukkale restoration of the Haghia Sophia was propelled further by being placed on a list from the encroachment of tourism and it should be placed on the list of world of the World Monuments Fund. The heritage sites in danger. Only then will it Haghia Sophia is a site of religious have a chance to survive. significance for Greek Orthodox practitioners; accordingly it is held in regard and deemed a historical treasure by more than just Turks. Ephesus likewise is the site of a former Roman city that was a major trade center. Archaeologists are


The Problems Facing Pamukkale’s Conser vation

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Author Bios

JOE GETSY

John “Joe� Getsy is a junior from Philadelphia majoring in Human Biology with a Notation in Science Communication. Outside of academics, Joe is a musician, a member of the Stanford Band, a brother of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and a nature enthusiast.

N I K H I TA O B E E GA D O O

L AU R E L F I S H

Laurel Fish is a graduating senior from Spokane, WA. Her academic interests include immigration politics, social movements, and human relationships with the natural environment.

Nikhita Obeegadoo is a sophomore, double-majoring in Computer Science and Comparative Literature. She is a published novelist and is passionate about using literature to create intercultural connections and meaningful social change. Her interests also include history, journalism, developmental economics and traveling.

B R I A N N A K I R BY

Brianna Kirby transferred to Stanford in 2011 with an AA in Spanish Language from the City College of San Francisco and training as a professional photographer from the Hallmark Institute of Photography in western Massachusetts. She is a 2014 candidate for a BA in Cultural Anthropology with Honors, with a minor in Modern Languages (Spanish & Italian). After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in early childhood development.

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Author Bios

PERI UNVER

Peri Unver is a Senior majoring in Anthropology. She will be Co-Terming in Anthropology next year. Peri is interested in gender issues and disability studies and is passionate about writing, film, and her puppy Pilgrim.

M E GA N G L A S M A N N

Megan Glasmann is part of the class of 2017 at Stanford University, pursuing a degree in Psychology and competing for the Stanford Varsity Track & Field Team. She is passionate about education and how psychology can provide solutions to the achievement gap.

K I N JA L VA S AVA DA

Kinjal Vasavada is a freshman at Stanford, and a prospective human biology major. Her academic interests span many disciplines including biology, computer science, and global politics. In her leisure, Kinjal enjoys playing tennis and badminton as well as skiing, photography, and martial arts.

JENNA SHAPIRO

Jenna Shapiro is a freshman at Stanford who is interested in fashion design and other creative outlets, the powerful implications of media, racial and gender equality, and women's empowerment, all of which converge in "Out of Fashion: Racial Diversity."

N ATA L I E S H I E L D S

Natalie Shields is a graphic design senior from Seattle, WA studying at the Rhode Island School of Design. She is an obsessive sports fan who loves to exercise and make books. Credit: Cover design and editorial layout.

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contexts

sta n fo rd u n d erg ra d u a te res ea rc h j o u r n a l i n a n t h ro po lo g y spring 2014

Contexts is a peer review journal designed to allow Stanford undergraduates to share, discuss, and reflect on anthropology-informed thought and research. For questions, comments, or to get involved, please email us at stanford.contexts@gmail.com.