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Spring 2006 Colloquia

Spring 2006 Anthropology Program Colloquia
- and special events -

The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street
New York, NY 10016

All colloquia take place on Fridays, 4:15-6:15 in Room C198 (concourse level) unless otherwise noted. Following the colloquia, light refreshments are served in the Brockway Room, Rm. 6402 in the Anthropology Department. Note days and time of other special events.

Friday, February 3
Sydel Silverman

“An Illustrated Talk on Hollywood and American Anthropology at Mid-Century”

Sydel Silverman is Professor Emerita, Department of Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center.

Friday, February 10 - No Colloquium (Lincoln's Birthday weekend)

Wednesday, February 15
Thomas Frank and David Harvey

“A Conversation in the Humanities”
Please note time: 6:30-9 pm, Proshansky Auditorium

Thomas Frank is founder and editor of the Baffler, a Chicago journal on cultural politics. Professor David Harvey is a geographer and a Distinguished Professor of the Department of Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center.       

Sponsored by the Center for the Humanities

Friday, February 17 - No Colloquium (President's Birthday weekend) 

Friday, March 3
Victoria Sanford

"Buried Secrets:  Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala"

Victoria Sanford is Assistant Professor at Lehman College’s Anthropology Department and a recent Rockefeller Fellow at the Institute on Violence and Survival at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy.

Based on field research in the Achi-Maya village of Plan de Sanchez since 1994, Dr. Sanford chronicles the journey of indigenous survivors of the Guatemalan genocide from the exhumation of clandestine cemeteries in their village to their Inter-American court case against the Guatemalan government as they seek truth, justice and community healing.

Friday, March 10
Julia Elyachar

"The State, Markets, and the Politics of Value in Cairo"

What happens when the market tries to help the poor? In many parts of the world today, neoliberal development programs are offering ordinary people the tools of free enterprise as the means to well-being and empowerment. Schemes to transform the poor into small-scale entrepreneurs promise them the benefits of the market and access to the rewards of globalization. Markets of Dispossession is a theoretically sophisticated and sobering account of the consequences of these initiatives.  

Julia Elyachar is Research Fellow, Institute for Anthropological and Spatial Studies, Scientific Research Centre, Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia and Visiting Research Fellow, Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, New York University. Author, Markets of Dispossesion: NGOs, Economic Development, and the State. (2005)

Thursday, March 16
Elaine Scarry and Vincent Crapanzano

“A Conversation in the Humanities”
Please note time: 6:30-8:30pm, Segal Theater, First Floor

Sponsored by the Center for the Humanities

Literary theorist and cultural critic Elaine Scarry is the Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and General Theory of Value for the Department of English Department of English, Harvard. Vincent Crapanzano is a Distinguished Professor in the PhD Programs in Anthropology and Comparative Literature at CUNY Graduate Center and is a recent Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin.

Friday,  March 17
Christa Salamandra

"Among the Producers: Global Processes and Syrian Television Makers"

Christa Salamandra is Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology at Lehman College, City University of New York.

This presentation explores the recent expansion of the Syrian drama industry, based on preliminary fieldwork among cultural producers. Privatization and regionalization have spurred transformations within the industry, reflecting those taking place within Syrian society and the Syrian polity more generally. The proliferation of television products, channels, and audience access necessitates a rethinking of ethnographic approaches to Arab television. Field research within an industry that increasingly encompasses entire artistic and intellectual communities provides one answer to the methodological challenges emerging from transnationalism.

Friday, March 24
Jane and Peter Schneider Festschrift

“Jane and Peter Schneider: A Presentation of the Journal of Modern Italian Studies in Appreciation of Their Work”

Michael Blim – CUNY Graduate Center
Sally Booth – Dowling College and Ross School
Jeffrey Cole – Dowling College
John A. Davis – University of Connecticut
David Kertzer – Brown University
Marta Petrusewicz – Hunter College

Please note time and location:
Segal Theater, first floor

Friday,  March 31
Natasha Dow Schüll

“Dependency by Design: Autonomy and Compulsion in Digital Gambling”

Dr. Natasha Dow Schüll
is a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, Columbia University.

Friday,  April 7
Josephine and Alan Smart

“From Peasants to Petty Bourgeoisie and Capitalists: Class Transformations in Post-1978 Guangdong, China”

Josephine Smart
is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Calgary. Alan Smart is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Calgary.

There are many far reaching consequences of the economic reform initiated by Deng Xiaoping in 1978. Many are intended outcomes such as the intensification of rural industrialization and urbanization in selected coastal regions designated as Special Economic Zones, and the massive internal labour migration involving over 100 million people that supplies the much needed labour to work on public projects and factories in these rapidly developing regions within the country. The Pearl River Delta of Guangdong is a prime example of the rapid economic development in post-1978 China driven by foreign direct investment as well as domestic investment. Other outcomes are either unintended or unanticipated; one of these is the emergence of class formation and class-based inequality. This paper will drawn upon over 10 years of ethnographic research in the Pearl River Delta region to address the processes of class formation in post-1978 Guangdong, and to raise some questions about the political meanings of class in socialist China today and how it may contribute to the future stability or instability of Chinese society.

Friday, April 14 - No Colloquium (Spring Vacaction April 12-23)

Friday, April 21- No Colloquium (Spring Vacaction / SANA Meetings April 20-22)

Friday, April 28
Alexei Yurchak

"Bioaesthetics and the Politics of Indistinction: Russian Artists at the End of Socialism."

Alexei Yurchak
is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Friday, May 5
Troy Duster

"The Molecular Reinscription of Race: From Clinical Medicine to Ancestral Markers and Forensics"
At the March, 2000 news conference at the White House, where President Clinton and Prime Minister Blair jointly hosted and celebrated the completion of the "first draft" of the full map and sequence of the human genome, and Francis Collins and Craig Venter stepped forward to agree on one thing -- that the Human Genome Project provided definitive evidence that racial categories have no meaning at the level of the DNA.  The oft-quoted figure of "we are all 99.9 per cent alike" at the DNA level became a mantra for the next few years. 
However, at the same time, there was a "turn to difference" in the new fields of pharmacogenomics and pharmacotoxicology, aided by supercomputers and the capacity to do SNP profiles of the (at least) 3 million points of difference between any two individuals -- at the DNA level.  This has generated a huge debate, culminating in the approval by the FDA in late June of the first race-based drug, BiDil, about the role of race in clinical medicine.  In addition, the whole arena of "ancestral informative markers" has burgeoned, both as "recreational" knowledge about ancestral origins, but as well in forensics, as a means of predicting the race of a crime suspect based upon tissue samples left at a crime scene.  These converging developments are ushering in a new era of the reinscription of race as a category in biology, clinical medicine, and forensics, and the implications for social science and public policy are significant.
Troy Duster is past president of the American Sociological Association and director of the Institute for the History of the Production of Knowledge at New York University, where he is a professor of sociology. He is also a chancellor's professor at the University of California at Berkeley. His books include Backdoor to Eugenics (Routledge, 2003).