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This month we’ll take a look at the candidates.
Today’s feature are the candidates for undesignated seat #5 of the Committee for Human Rights (CfHR). Responsibilities of the committee members include:
- To assist in organizing human rights forum, sessions, workshops or other events at AAA Annual Meeting;
- To consider and respond to cases of alleged human rights abuse;
- To educate anthropologists on human rights;
- To educate policy makers and others outside of anthropology on anthropology’s perspective and contributions to human rights;
- To work in coalition with other professional and human rights organizations to promote human rights.
Click here to learn more about the Committee for Human Rights.
K. Anne Pyburn
I am interested in serving on this committee because I have an academic interest in the relationship between heritage and human rights and would like to encourage more of my peers with an interest in heritage to move from postcolonial critique to political activism. As a student of research ethics, economic development and cultural property I am aware of the potential for good intentions to inspire neocolonialism and familiar with the often spectacular failures of top-down development programs. But it seems to me that the remedy for these errors as well as the impetus toward activism lies in anthropology and that it is unfortunate that our professional reticence has allowed programs and policies to be set without the benefit of anthropology. As a member of this committee I would work to raise awareness of human rights issues, which is the committee charge, but would emphasize reasoned consideration of strategies that have been or might be successful in addressing human rights violations. I would also promote discussion and debate through forums and workshops about the meaning of activism within the several subfields of anthropology and the responsibility entailed in the privilege of being an anthropologist.
Working for human rights means working for the rights of all: women, men and communities in the broadest sense. Civil rights, economic and environmental justice, rights to land and life are all part of this package. There is little about anthropology, and of all of its subdiscipines that doesn’t touch on, provide evidence for, or help unravel the puzzle of human existence, contributing to the application of anthropological perspectives in active support of human rights issues. As an applied cultural anthropologist, I have worked with this directly, in Chiapas, Mexico with the Zapatistas, where human rights violations are identifiable and vivid. Closer to home, work in Canyon de Chelly has emphasized the right of the Dine (Navajo) to land and culture. More recently, I am involved with the battle for ‘civil fracking rights,’ as New Yorkers and others fight for home rule and the ability to maintain their lives and environment. As a member of the AAA Human Rights committee, I will work to make sure anthropological knowledge informs and influences policy surrounding all dimensions of the struggle for human rights.
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