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9. ANT204H1 March 20.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Saul Cohen

What Does Anthropology Contribute to Discussions of Human Rights and Social Justice? A. Essay/Human Rights - Development and conservation o Practices of these that are inherently problematic o Revisiting these within the essay questions o Readings this week: three readings that have been chosen that offer a huge variety o We cannot impose on anyone else a particular world view. We have to see cultures I their context as equally valid as our own.  Imposing a view on someone else, universalistic approach, is problematic  Liberal/neoliberal model of the individual: all very individualistic. Value individual. Personal worth determined by one’s own personhood  Only someone in relation to someone else: as soon as we cut all social relations, we cease to exist. In particular idea of western individualistic notion of personhood, this isn’t true  Other cultures do not see this way  Don’t come into existence until you are in a relationship with someone else  Professor/students. Two entities first. Do not actually become who we are until we engage in social relations. Numerous subjects in textbook  I am blank’s son. I am who I am because of an inherent relationship to mother and large kinship network. Kinship and naming gave particular location In social world  Second essay question. HOW DOES individualism translate into human rights?  People who think of themselves as social networks vs. individual networks - Debate. Human rights. Use of human rights discourse, taking language and manipulating it or otherwise, Is used to justify interventions, while at the same time ignoring things we might consider fundamental. o Ex. Colonization. Western nations benefitted greatly from cheap resources, cheap labour, from places former colonies now considered underdeveloped. o Global system based on inherent injustice, but from this point forward now being treated equally? o Human right not to be subjected to pollutants? See complexity in each issue o Right to development? Seen problematic nature of word and interventions of development. Not arguing for or against, but something like this has life of its own and needs to be understood in nuanced way to see how word does what we want it to do o Ideas of human rights. - First essay question: human rights paradox o IMPOSING PARTICULAR way of understanding the world – one we feel comfortable with o Within parameters of this, can you find anything that interests you? o Won’t necessarily be a solution. HOW are they worked out? - Second essay question: notion of individual can be problematic? - Third essay question: response to Riles’ article. o Even human rights professionals are not so naïve as to think that human rights are fixed and natural and unchanging. They KNOW this isn’t the case. But for the purposes of the human rights industry, they have to ignore that o Inherent contradiction and problem that human rights language cannot be easily translated into the social actuality of people’s lives o Once it became institutionalized, it became an absolute to be applied generally as opposed to case-to-case, similar to development B. Evolution of a thesis statement - Starts with an idea o Ex. Participation in class is important o Result after having read material, lectures, notes, tutorials - After general statement, push the idea further o Ex. Participation in class is important to improve your understanding of the material because it forces students to think about the material o Answering WHY this is important, what is worth exploring about this? o Clarify the terms in your topic  Important = improves students understanding of the material  Participation = speaking in class as opposed to listening, etc  Thinking = rephrase the material in your own words and relate it to your own experiences - HAVE to underline thesis – what you are arguing in the essay - Provide context beforehand - After thesis statement, ass a “road map” – what the essay will explore and argue throughout the essay o Ex. Active listening, a more advanced thought process, and better retention - Final exam: engagement into thinking as well o Same notions applied to essay are significant throughout the course C. Conservation and violence - Violence tends to be endemic to conservation history a. US history o How did the development of Niagara Falls impact the way conservation was practiced in Africa?  At some point, around late 18thcentury, European dignitaries came over  Taken to some of the US sites  Dignitaries: imagine if falls was nested in beautiful natural setting. Americans were embarrassed  Development and nature don’t go together; detracts from experience of natural  Idea of wilderness becoming predominant  Americans decided they wouldn’t let it happen again  Yellowstone natural park o Cannot have development. Withdraw “settlement, occupancy, or sale…” , anyone settled there “considered trespassers” o Was not natural wilderness or virginal land, but occupied and managed land. o Violence: cause harm to others by physically locating them, beating them, jailing them; idea that humans are destructive to nature o Nature and humans as separate o Ideal was seen as a way to conduct conservation b. British history o What historical factors helped shaped a vision of Africa as an Eden, a wilderness and wilde?  “Myth of wild africa”  West and Britain represented the rash, sophisticated, developed, Africa represented the savage; closer to animals  Exaggerating the explorers  Need to exaggerate stories in order to sell?  Myth of wild Africa starts to resonate in European psyche  The Rinderpest misunderstanding (1890’S)  Disease that affects cattle and wildlife; decimated continent  Wipes out 80-90 percent of cattle and large number of wild animals  Human populations are low, wildlife populations low  Over next few years, grow at faster rate o At this point, Europeans begin to come and document this o Unbelievable amounts of wildlife visible on planes of Africa o Human populations start to grow, cattle population grows thin, competition between humans and wildlife o Human conservations interpret this as how its always been, the natural way, and now humans are starting to decimate these populations o Want to intervene now o Particular historical juncture interpreted through lense rather than understanding particular juncture  Imperial hunter vs. barbaric poacher  Hunt is an important part of British ethic? Taken very seriously  Symbolic event for colonial British mentality: sign of civilization, nature, sport, sport because animals are given fair chance to escape, gendered notion  Indigenous local African hunting is seen as cruel and barbaric o Indiscriminate: threaten viability of species, threaten huge herd o Primitive poaching and hunting is outlawed but colonial hunt is allowed o Some of the earliest advocates of conservation were hunters – ironic  British aristocrats lose their land th  Enclosure movement (18 /19thcenturies) th  Social/political/economic upheaval of early 20 century  Loss of English countryside  SPFE  Colonial ideology: empire’s garden  Aristocracy in England start to have upheaval  Enclosure movement: nature Is large estate in country surrounded by open fields, “nature”  These estates surrounded by villages; the peasantry  To make way, whole villages were raised and uprooted for aesthetic sensibility  1890’s, aristocracy losing economic power, cannot uphold these estates  Turned their gaze to places such as Africa. Colonies extensions of colonial power. Empire’s garden = Africa. c. State violence o Fortresses and fines approach  Way in which conservation was understood: get people out of area, imprison them, not allowed to go back  Imprisoned for either poaching or trespassing. Use violent means to accomplish displacement o Fines o Displacement - The displacement debate of Central Africa d. Chapin o ANT204 Lecture 10 A Final Debate? Human Right and Social Justice March 20, 2013 Essay Questions and Guidelines Walkthrough • Purpose of this Essay ◦ Went through various topics related to the essay questions. Anthropologists were approached with a culturally relativistic idea of “universality” by NGO's and asked what they thought: Anthropologists did not agree with the model presented. However the organizations went ahead anyway. Used a universalistic approach that ignored the cultures they were intervening in. Western history comes from enlightenment thinking, neoliberal thinking – this idea of individual person-hood is completely nonsensical and inapplicable in many other cultures. In many cultures you're only someone in terms of your relation to someone else. In many cultures you do not even come into existence until you come into contact with someone else and have a relationship with them, therefore the Western individualistic neoliberal model will not be effective when used in these other cultures. ◦ While anthropologists were excluded from these organizations, they have still been working on exploring these different cultural models and engaging with these complex issues. People say “anthropologists have avoided these hard questions”, but their dialogue was just not acknowledged in these large institutional spaces. Some anthropologists support human rights/conservationist groups, some vehemently oppose them, some are more balanced. ◦ What about the idea of reparations for colonization? What about the western world undergoing centuries of benefit at the expense of their colonies? There have been years of inherent social injustice, but from now on we're just going to view and treat everyone “equally”? ◦ Everyone has the “right” of development? What about the extreme damage development has on the environment, and on other countries? ◦ Is it advantageous for indigenous groups to use these human right's groups language to “play the part” for benefits? There are lots of benefits, but consequences as well – especially when they stop playing their parts. What do you think? ◦ Human rights needs to be understood within the particular context in which we find it. • Question 1 ◦ Do any of these questions and topics interest you? You're not solving these issues, you can't. But can we engage somewhere here. There won't necessarily be a solution to these questions. • Question 2 • Question 3 ◦ even human rights professionals are not so naive to think that human rights are fixed, universal and unchanging, but for the purposes of the human right's industry and translating these things into policy and teaching and practice, they have to go along with it. Once human rights becomes institutionalized (conferences, NGO's, journals, policy, etc) you suddenly have to work within absolutes. Conservation and Violence • American History • How was the conservation of Niagara Falls related/destructive to Africa? ◦ In Niagara you see hotels, casino's, tons of development – not a very “natural” wonder of the world ◦ late 18 century, EU dignitaries were hosted by US government and were taken around the Niagara site – the EU dignitaries said “it was amazing, but boy did you screw this up” – imagine if it was nested in a beautiful natural setting, not gross waffle houses and cheap motels – development detracts from your experience of the natural, development and nature don't go together ◦ Yellowstone Natural Park Act if Dedication (1872) – US said they must remove everyone living in the park. However Yellowstone was not untouched virgin land, many people lived there. The aboriginals living there were forced out, arrested,
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