WAPA Event Archives: 2004-05

Tuesday, September 7: Forensic Anthropology and the Disappeared of Argentina

Mercedes Doretti, President of the Society of Forensic Anthropology, was the representative in the U.S. of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team. This was the first forensic team to investigate the “disappeared” in Argentina. By now, the SFA has trained all forensic teams in Latin America and has worked in more than 30 countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe. This year, 2004, marks the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF).

She will show a video produced by the SFA and discuss the field of forensic anthropology today. Based on EAAF experiences working as forensic anthropologists for Truth Commissions, Special Commissions of Inquiry, and national and international tribunals, the discussion will include a number of recommendations involving the investigation of human rights abuses.

7 p.m., Sumner School

Sunday, September 12: Welcome Back Party

Incoming WAPA president Judith Freidenberg will host a traditional WAPA potluck to start the year for members and friends.

Sunday, September 12, 4 to 7 p.m.
9A Ridge Road, Greenbelt, MD 20770

WAPA members will please help out with the afternoon potluck by bringing the following items:

Last Name:

A to M: Main or side dish-type items

N to R: Desserts or appetizers

S to Z: Breads or salads

Drinks, utensils, and related items will be provided. Bottles of wine or containers of beer (full, preferably) are welcome.

Directions: This is a bit complicated. The home is in Greenbelt, just a couple of miles outside of the Beltway. We advise using an online guide such as Mapquest.com or an actual roadmap for guidance, at there are some tricky twists and turns. It's not difficult; it just varies by your angle of approach. If you get lost the day of the party, call (301) 486-1941. If coming by Metro (Greenbelt Station, Green Line Metro), you should be able to catch a cab from the station without much difficulty.

Please RSVP by September 9 by calling (301) 405-1420, or send an e-mail message to: wapapresident@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, October 5: The Anthropology of Architecture: JAZZSPACE: A Provisional Report on the Production of Existential Place Identity

Architect William Wesley Taylor, AIA, Associate Professor, School of Architecture & Design, Howard University, Washington, DC will lead the discussion.

The critique of Modernism has resulted in an expansion of the way we think regarding with whom and what architecture should be concerned. However, to date there has been relatively little of what might be called original architectural research that might establish some collective agreement within architectural culture regarding these issues. Architectural theory, in fact, expands primarily through the appropriation of bits and pieces of other outside disciplines. It borrows particularly from anthropology, because anthropology confronts certain issues that are crucial in architectural discourse. One: what do human groups report as their perceived reality? Two: how do these perceptions condition individual and collective behavior? And, three: how do you find out about one and two?

Anthropology's response to the third issue, qualitative inquiry, has guided my own inquires into the three questions, particularly with regard to congruencies between constructs of identity and patterns of behavior. This perspective proceeds from the belief that there is much that can be learned from critical scrutinies of informal, organic processes of place production in the ways that urban populations construct spatially located identity.

The call and response rituals in jazz club performances are believed to locate particularly powerful generators of existential place identity. JAZZSPACE comprises dense transfers of spatial symbolization through ritual processes synergistically constructed by patrons and players alike. JAZZSPACE insiders are the exclusive residents of these symbolically rich spatial forms, which they construct almost entirely through the deployment of their own social-cultural resources. It is within these processes that existential place identification is established and preserved.

7 p.m., Sumner School

Tuesday, November 9: Commemorating the Underground Railroad: The Network to Freedom
Program Change

Speaker: Dr. Jenny Masur, Underground Railroad Coordinator, National Capital Region, National Park Service

Jenny Masur will speak about an innovative program, the National Park Service's National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, a program that focuses on local history in many areas of the United States where there was resistance to slavery through flight. The goal of the project is to empower local groups and draw attention to their "untold stories." That is, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman are icons, but what about all the other resourceful and courageous freedom seekers who played significant parts in realizing the Underground Railroad?

The Network to Freedom was mandated by the US Congress in 1998, and reaches out to new constituencies for the National Park Service (NPS). Today, almost 200 sites, museums, interpretive programs, archives, etc., are members of the Network. The staff consists of coordinators from each NPS region except Alaska, plus a national coordinator, and the program is largely run by consensus.

In addition to a description of the program, Jenny will discuss the incorporation of oral traditions, standards of documentation for a so-called "secret", and methods of networking.

Jenny Masur is the Underground Railroad Coordinator, National Capital Region, based at National Capital Parks-East. She served as Fulbright Professor, Seminar on Current Cultural Anthropology, Instituto Nacional de Antropología, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1990 and 2003-4.

7 p.m., Sumner School


Tuesday, December 14: Subject: (DC Urban Anthropology) Racial Inequalities in DC: Anthropologists Respond

Panel Chair: Dr. Brett Williams, Professor of Anthropology, American University

In this diverse panel, Dr. Rachel Watkins will explore the struggles of Dr. Montague Cobb at Howard University to redirect anthropologists' conceptualizations of race; Dr. Sabiyha Prince will discuss her research on police violence in DC as an urban issue; and Ph.D. student Damien Thompson will speak about his research on gentrification, displacement, and resistance in Columbia Heights. Dr. Brett Williams will examine the changing ecologies of the urban Anacostia watershed and how poor people over the last century have embodied shifting ecologies and inequalities through diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis.

Brett Williams has been living and working in Washington, DC for almost thirty years. She collaborated with students, community ethnographers, and activists on projects for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Park Service, and the Smithsonian Office of Folklore. Her research has explored gentrification and displacement, racism and poverty, the loss of affordable housing, the importance of public space, and the vibrant cultural traditions of DC. Her latest book, Debt for Sale, traces the development of the profitable business of credit and debt, from credit cards through student loans to predatory lending in poor communities.

 7 p.m., Sumner School

Sunday, January 16, 2005: HOLIDAY PARTY

This will take place at the Capital Hill home of past president Rob Winthrop, and will combine a presentation with the holiday party. A discussion of psychiatry and anthropology with Mauricio Cortina is planned.

Details to come.

Tuesday, February 1: Institutional Review Boards, Legal Requirements, and Ethical Issues (pre-SFAA program)

Speakers: Cathleen Crain and Niel Tashima, LTG Associates, Inc.

LTG Associates, Inc., works with clients large and small, public and private, for-profit and not-for-profit, to ensure they meet not only the legal requirements for protecting the people they serve but also adhere to high ethical standards. A panel from LTG will discuss responding effectively and ethically to the issues posed for practicing anthropologists by federal and other regulations governing research involving human subjects.

7 p.m., Sumner School

Tuesday, March 1: Subject: Race, Anthropology, and Public Policy

Meeting Organizer: Gretchen Schafft

Anthropologists have been the professional group which has been most involved with the discussion of race over the years, beginning as advocates of the concept and its application in society. Most recently, anthropology has advocated for the total dismissal of race as a biological concept. A panel composed of academic and professional anthropologists, a member of the AAA, and a non-anthropologist will discuss how the biological concept has changed over time, the anthropological responsibility for clarity in this area, and the continuing problems of racism in our social and political life.

7 p.m., Sumner School.
Pre-meeting networking reception from 5:30 on, at the Sumner School.

Tuesday, April 12: Subject: Gender Mainstreaming in Africa: Lessons from the Field.

Speaker: Meryl James-Sebro, Managing Director, FirstWorks International

This lecture shares experiences and field work strategies from gender research in Ghana, Kenya, Niger and Zambia between May and July 2004. The anthropologist held focus groups in 16 rural communities in these four countries, with over 900 women, men and young people.

The study, which adds to the growing body of knowledge on the positive impact of gender equality on development effectiveness, was commissioned by the Washington-based InterAction, the nation's largest alliance of international development and humanitarian nongovernmental organizations. It was directed by Susan Kindervatter, InterAction's Director of the Commission on the Advancement of Women.

Meryl James-Sebro is a development anthropologist and writer. She is the Managing Director of FirstWorks International, a consulting firm that focuses on poverty eradication, gender and empowerment, and youth development. A native of Trinidad and Tobago, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from New York University, and a doctorate in Anthropology from American University.

7 p.m., Sumner School

Tuesday, May 3:  The Washington Job Search from All Angles

Panel Organizer: Sher Plunkett

Spring is the time of year when our thoughts often turn to – eating regularly, and sleeping indoors next winter. The job market for practicing anthropologists in the Washington area is always exciting, and often volatile. The May WAPA meeting will feature the insights and experience of several WAPA members in searching for and finding jobs, and career planning and management, in our local environment. Topics will include thoughts on the current state of the market, advice for experienced as well as new job-seekers, some “do” and “don’t” tips, and perhaps some leads on where to look.

The WAPA job search panel will include members from all sides of the employment issue. Please come and share your own experiences and aspirations. Panelists include Linda Knispel (UMD MAA student and WAPA Student Board Member), John Grayzel (USAID), Connie McCorkle, (independent ) , and Terry Redding (LTG Associates, Inc.).

7 p.m., Sumner School

5:30 p.m., Pre-meeting networking reception with refreshments at the Sumner School; no dinner is slated.

Saturday, June 4: WAPA Spring Picnic

The final event of the program year, the annual WAPA Spring Picnic, will be held at the home of Jo Anne Schneider. This will be a traditional WAPA potluck to kick off the summer. Children are welcome: there is a large yard for outdoor activities.

Saturday, June 4th, 4 to 7 p.m.
1505 Baylor Avenue, Rockville, MD, 20850
Phone: 301-279-2328

WAPA members can help by bringing the following items:

Last Name:

A to G: Breads or salads

H to R: Main or side dishes

S to Z: Desserts or appetizers

Guests are also requested to bring beverages of their choice, if feasible. WAPA will provide some drinks as well as utensils, cups and related items.

Directions: There are variable directions, depending on your vector of approach. As ever, using an online map service as well for directions does not hurt.

BY METRO: Take Metro to Rockville station. There are lots of cabs to the house (it's less than $5) and city buses that run up Rockville Pike about four blocks from the house. If you take the city bus, get off at College Parkway (College Plaza across the street) and cross Rockville Pike. Walk down College Parkway for about 3 blocks. You'll pass a park, and the easiest thing may be to cut through the park diagonally to Princeton. Turn right and walk to Baylor (second right).

BY BELTWAY/270 FROM ANY DIRECTION: Get on 270 from either direction and head towards Rockville. Go to exit 6A in Rockville, Montgomery Ave./Rt 28. Coming from DC and Virginia, when you get to the top of the exit, go straight across to Nelson street. From Gaithersburg and points West, take the exit toward Rockville city center and turn left onto Nelson. Take Nelson to the third stop sign at College Parkway. Turn left on College Parkway. Turn left at the next stop sign at Princeton. Baylor is the second right.

FROM SILVER SPRING, COLLEGE PARK, WHEATON, ABOVE BELTWAY: Take Viers Mill Road to Rockville Pike. Turn right on Rockville Pike and go to College Parkway. Turn left on College Parkway (College Plaza is at the corner). Turn right on Princeton (stop sign at the bottom of the park). Baylor is the second right.

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