The November issue of Anthropology News will include several commentaries, as well as teaching strategies and a photo essay, highlighting current anthropological work on aging, the life course and eldercare. In anticipation of the issue, we feature here a brief article by Maria Cattell, research associate at the Field Museum of Natural History and president-elect of the Association for Africanist Anthropology, on family dynamics of intergenerational support in Kenya. Please post your comments below.
Intergenerational Support among Luyia of Western Kenya by Maria G Cattell (Field Museum)
A big question everywhere in this graying world is “How can we care for our old people?” Among Luyia in western Kenya, and throughout sub-Saharan Africa, families have tried to provide care for the elderly as best they can. Even so, one hears much nonsense about African families disappearing, even from Africans who know how deeply they themselves are embedded in kin networks where people are always asking each other for help.
In this 2004 photo, Paulina is giving great-granddaughter Didi a chicken, as Luyia grandmothers like to do. It is city girl Didi’s first visit to her rural homeland with her mother Frankline. As her granddaughter, Frankline was among the many children Paulina raised over the decades. In 2004 Paulina was 80 but still had a grandchild in her home—not an unusual situation for Luyia grandmothers, for various reasons. This picture thus inspires us to recognize that it’s not just the elderly who need care. It leads us to ask: “How do old people take care of others?” and it helps us realize that intergenerational support goes both ways.
On Oct. 7, 2009, the House Natural Resources Committee held an oversight hearing on the implementation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Passed in 1990, NAGPRA “provides a process for museums and Federal agencies to return certain Native American cultural items–human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony–to lineal descendants, and culturally affiliated Indian tribes and native Hawaiian organizations.” The panel included the Deputy Director of the National Park Service David Wenk, Susan Bruning of the Society for American Archaeology, representatives of the Tribal Nations, and others. Continue reading “House NAGPRA Hearing”
If you’re a fan of Cultural Anthropology (CA), but four issues a year just isn’t enough, make sure you check out the journal’s website at http://culanth.org/ In addition to supplemental materials that go along with each regular issue, the site periodically features Virtual Issues that gather articles from past issues of CA. The latest virtual issue … Continue reading New Virtual Issue of Cultural Anthropology: Security
CounterPunch’s “Pulse of the Planet” series continues with Barbara Rose Johnston’s “War, Peace and the Obamajority.” The series, which draws attention to critical issues in human rights and environmental policy, was initially derived from conference papers delivered at the “Pulse of the Planet” panel during AAA’s 2008 annual meeting in San Francisco.
An expert on the lingering effects of radioactive contamination and the devastation it has wrought upon both land and people, Johnston highlights the importance of the 2009 Hiroshima Peace Declaration. The Declaration reaffirms the will of the hibakusha and the majority of the world’s nations and people to end nuclear proliferation and suffering. It stresses President Obama’s commitment to work towards nuclear disarmament, and his assertion that the US, as the only nation to deploy nuclear weapons in combat, has a “moral responsibility” to do so. The Declaration calls this unified group of advocates the “Obamajority.” Continue reading “Pulse of the Planet #12”
Michael Galaty is the recipient of the Archaeological Institute of America’s 2010 Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. Galaty is an anthropology professor at Millsaps College and AAA member. The award will be presented to him at the AIA annual meeting in January. For more on the award, read the full press release. Congratulations! Continue reading Anthropology Professor Receives Teaching Award
Anthropologist Susan C. Scrimshaw, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and former President of the Society for Medical Anthropology, will be formally inducted into office as ninth president of The Sage Colleges on Friday, Oct. 23, 2009. Congratulations, Dr. Scrimshaw! The inauguration ceremony culminates a week of community-focused events highlighting Sage’s excellence in academics, … Continue reading Anthropologist Scrimshaw to be President of The Sage Colleges