Anthropology has, and will continue to play roles in unexpected ways. According to an article by Business Insider this year, major companies such as Google and Intel have hired anthropologists, and Microsoft is the second-largest employer of anthropologists in the world.(...) “Anthropology also offers insight into the shared aspects of humanity,” Douglas said. “We are all at some level concerned with the same things … anthropology looks at the universal need for meaning in our lives and the different ways that humans have gone to satisfy that need.”
The internationalization of higher education has become a reality for many, with a systematic increase in both shorter-term student mobility and full-degree mobility in many parts of the world. This plays a key role in enhancing intercultural competencies and understanding, and ultimately enhances the quality of higher education through the introduction of global perspectives in curricula.
As an umbrella organization for 47 national unions of students in 39 countries, the European Students’ Union (ESU) represents over 11 million students in Europe. Internationalization is a main area in our work in representing and promoting students’ social, economic and cultural interests.
Key internationalization issues for ESU involve balancing student mobility flows, making mobility a real possibility for all students through improved access strategies, implementing full portability of student financial support and increasing the amount of financial support given to mobile students, as well as guaranteeing the fair and equal treatment of international students.
The last point is often linked with a principle discussion about the motivations and financing of the internationalization of higher education. Fundamental to all of our work is the active engagement and recognition of students as essential stakeholders in the governance of higher education.
UC Berkeley anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes has been honored by the American Anthropological Association with its first ever Anthropology in Public Policy Award for her trailblazing work shedding light on the dark practice of human organ trafficking.
The award, recognizing anthropologists whose work has had a significant and positive influence on government decision-making, was announced at a recent American Anthropological Association conference in Chicago.
UC Berkeley anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes is shown here talking with Alberty Alfonso da Silva in the Recife, Brazil, slum he called home before after being transported to South Africa to sell his kidney to a recipient flown there from New York City. (Photo by John Maier.)
In 1999, Scheper-Hughes, director of UC Berkeley’s medical anthropology program, helped found the Berkeley Organs Watch project. It monitors the organ-transplant trade for abuses among the transnational networks that connect patients, transplant surgeons, brokers, medical facilities and live donors, who often live in the poorest parts of the world.
Cyborg anthropology is the study of the interaction between humans and technology, and how technology affects culture. Mobile technology allows one to stand almost anywhere in the world, whisper something, and be heard elsewhere. These devices that live in our pockets need to be fed every night require our frequent attention. In only a few years these devices have become stitched into the fabric of our everyday lives.
Last July, at the EASA conference in Paris, I noticed that there seemed to be dozens of papers in the program with the word “neoliberalism” in their title. I wondered whether “neoliberalism” had become the new black for discussions of power and domination, taking over the role that globalization used to have, back in the days when it struck fear into the hearts of academics who were afraid that it would spell the end to global diversity.
It seems that I wasn’t alone. The EASA journal, Social Anthropology, have been running a debate about neoliberalism over several issues in 2012 and 2013. Earlier this year I was invited by David Picard to co-convene a pannel on anthropology’s obsession with neoliberalism at the conference of the Associação da Antropologia Portuguesa. So, this week, we converged on Vila Real to just that. Our co-panelists, Gabriela Vargas Cetina andSteffan Igor Ayora Diaz, flew over from Yucatan especially to debate this curious topic.
David opened our session with some philosophical meanderings. He pointed out that, on the one hand, anthropologists criticize change, while on the other, anthropology of science is based on ideas that are core to neoliberalism–the freedom to move, have ideas, communicate, and so on. When it first appeared in the 1930s, neoliberalism was far more about individual freedom than it was about the policies represented in the Washington Consensus.
Since 2005, the global production of oil has remained relatively flat, peaking in 2008 and declining since, even as demand for petroleum has continued to increase. The result has been wild fluctuations in the price of oil as small changes in demand set off large shocks in the system. In today's issue of Nature, two authors (the University of Washington's James Murray and Oxford's David King) argue that this sort of volatility will be all we can expect from here on out—and we're likely to face it with other fossil fuels, as well.
Academics are now urged to blog. We are told that having to write for ordinary readers will help us to write in plain English, clarify our ideas, enhance our reputations and expand our knowledge as well as our audience. Blogging is presented to us as a way to bridge the apparent divide between academia and everyone else.
We both blog and unlike many of our colleagues we don't need to be convinced that it is worthwhile. However we were less convinced that the academic bloggers we encountered were all in it for reasons of public outreach, or to refine their thinking, and we certainly weren't convinced that they wanted fame. So we set out to have a preliminary look at what was going on in academic blogs.
We had a number of challenges in setting up this small-scale study. We had no funding so interviews were out; we had to rely on published blogs alone. And we had to decide what counted as an academic blog. This was not as easy as you might think, given the growth of professional and managerial roles offered inside universities today, which often involve some kind of research or teaching. We opted for the blogger who stated an institutional affiliation, had some kind of academic purpose and was connected to other academic blogs. We called the bloggers who weren't professors, lecturers or fellows 'para-academics'. We couldn't get a representative sample as there is no handy index of blogs, the numbers change all the time, and frankly, there were just too many. And because we speak English, our choices had to be blogs we could actually read.
Anthropologists are the new corporate must have. Once seen as a dying area of academia, anthropology is now booming - and technology companies are among their biggest employers. (Yay for #anthropology!
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