WAPA Event Archives: 2009-10

Sunday, September 13: Welcome Back Fall Party

Location: Home of Rob and Kate Winthrop
130 10th St. NE, Capitol Hill
Washington, DC 20002

Every Fall WAPA gathers and gets reacquainted with old members and new friends. Join us for the annual WAPA Welcome Back Fall Party on Sunday, September 13, 2009 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the home of Kate and Rob Winthrop, 130 10th St NE, on Capitol Hill just off Mass. Ave.

This will be a traditional WAPA potluck, open to WAPA members, potential members, and friends.


Rob and Kate will provide some beverages, paper plates, napkins, utensils, ice, etc. Participants please provide:

Appetizers: Those with last names beginning G-L

Salad: Those with last names A - F

Main Dish: Those fortunate few with last names S-Z

Dessert: Those with last names M - R


Go to MapQuest or another direction finder for specific directions, or click here to see a neighborhood map.

From Virginia, follow 395 into the city, exit at 6th St. SE, go north and then veer right onto North Carolina Avenue, then go left (north) onto 10th St for a couple of blocks. The house is just past Massachusetts Ave.

From Maryland, in the simplest but longest route, you can take Central Avenue towards DC off the Beltway past RFK Stadium and onto East Capitol St. SE. As you go around Lincoln Park, head off onto Mass Ave. for a block, then right (north) on 10th St. Better still, devise your own route from your location.

From DC, head to Capitol Hill, go past Union Station on Mass Ave. NE, then left on 10th St.

Metro: The nearest Metro stations are Eastern Market (about 6 blocks) and Union Station (about 10 blocks).

We look forward to seeing you there and kicking off another great WAPA year!

Tuesday, October 6: Revitalizing and Preserving Endangered Indigenous Languages

Sumner School, 7 pm. Dinner at 5:30
Speaker: Susan D. Penfield, Program Director, Documenting Endangered Languages Program

By some estimates, at the present rate the world is losing a language roughly every two weeks. The Documenting Endangered Languages Program at the National Science Foundation was, "Made urgent by the imminent death of an estimated half of the 6000-7000 currently used human languages..." Speaking communities are making efforts, through a variety of means, to revitalize and bring back into use these mostly indigenous and unwritten languages. A level of activism is called for to raise awareness both locally and in broader contexts about the high cost of language loss, not just to communities individually but to all humanity.

At present, the efforts to ensure linguistic diversity are heavily divided between documenting and revitalizing endangered languages: Linguists have responded by carefully documenting, using new audio and video digital recording technology, rigorous analysis and the appropriate archiving of language data. Communities have responded by seeking ways to revitalize--actually teach and use--the languages again. Ideally, the documented language data provided by scientists form the basis for strong revitalization activities called for by the speaking communities. Documenting endangered languages invites participation from not only linguistics per se, but computational and theoretical linguistics, field and applied linguistics, but also applied anthropology, education, and policy (language rights).

This interaction between researchers and communities has led to a shift in power, in many cases, where communities of speakers are taking charge of the language-based activities and getting the training needed to work on their own languages. This talk addresses how speaking communities can be better served by the scientific community through training, materials development, and funding support. Susan believes building community capacity to work on their own heritage languages is the only way to fully restore the vitality of endangered languages. Team efforts are needed and team building is a serious consideration for most projects involving research in community contexts.

What works in revitalizing languages continues to be a bit of a mystery – there are some success stories to be told but in most cases, it is still unclear what counts as real success. For example, is success marked when one new fluent speaker is created? Or is it considered success when a new immersion school is created and thirty first graders begin to learn the language? Issues arise as to what version of the language should be taught and what is most important to save (legends, stories or simple conversation)? The process of making decisions related to documenting language is often guided by scientists, but ultimately rests with the community of speakers who are responsible for the sustainability of the language.

Susan D. Penfield is currently the Program Director for the Documenting Endangered Languages Program, which is an interagency partnership between the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Smithsonian Institution. Dr. Penfield received her Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in linguistics (1980), where she continues as a researcher affiliated with the Department of English, the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching Ph.D. Program, the Department of Linguistics, the Department of Language, Reading and Culture, and the Southwest Center. She is also a frequent instructor for the American Indian Language Development Institute, a summer training program for Native Americans who are involved in language documentation and revitalization of their heritage languages. For over thirty years, Dr. Penfield has been a consultant working with the Colorado River Indian Tribes (Parker, Arizona) in language teaching, research and preservation related to the indigenous languages of that area, Mohave and Chemehuevi.

Relevant Links:

DEL/NSF website: http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=12816

Press Releases (funded projects) http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=104138&org=SBE&from=news

NEH / DEL website (sample proposals) http://www.neh.gov/grants/guidelines/del.html

Nkwusm School Website: http://salishworld.com/ (an example of one community's response)

Teaching Indigenous Languages: http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~jar/TIL.html

Endangered Language Documentation Program: http://www.hrelp.org/

Sunday, November 1: Ruth Cernea Memorial Lecture: "The Anthropology of Jews and the Jews in Anthropology"

Katzen Arts Center, American University, 3 p.m. SHARP!  PLEASE BE SEATED BY 2:45 p.m.! (Remember that clocks fall back 1 hour on Nov. 1)

Speaker: Jonathan Boyarin, Leonard and Tobee Kaplan Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Jonathan Boyarin, PhD, JD, is the slated speaker for the special Ruth F. Cernea Memorial Lecture at the Katzen Arts Center's Recital Hall. A reception will follow. The lecture also serves as the November gathering for WAPA.

The Memorial Lecture honors the late Ruth Fredman Cernea, PhD, a cultural anthropologist and scholar of the Jewish Diaspora, and the author of several books on Jewish culture, symbols and history. She was also a past president and long-time active member of WAPA. More than 20 years of research and interviews went into her most recent book, "Almost Englishmen: Baghdadi Jews in British Burma" (2007). Her other books include "The Great Latke-Hamantash Debate" (2006), "The Passover Seder: Afikoman in Exile" (1995; original 1981), and she was the long-time editor of the "Hillel Guide to Jewish Life on Campus," an annual guide for the national Hillel Foundation.

An anthropologist and lawyer, Boyarin's research and writing combine both specialties in the exploration of new pathways in the study of Jewish, including Yiddish, culture. He is the author or editor of 13 books and numerous articles on such various topics as Jewish culture and identity, communities of the Diaspora, the relation between Jewish history and Jewish cultural studies, Yiddish language and culture, critical theory, and medieval and early modern Christianity. His books include "Thinking in Jewish," "Palestine and Jewish History," and "Powers of Diaspora."

This is the first time WAPA has honored the memory and research of a departed member by organizing a public memorial lecture and it speaks to the place that Ruth holds in our hearts. The lecture is being supported through donations by WAPA members and also a number of co-sponsors. They include the American University Department of Anthropology as well as the University of Maryland Anthropology Department, the University of Maryland Hillel Center, the Hillel Foundation for Campus Jewish Life, and the US ASEAN Business Council's Project for Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue. Additional support is provided by the University of Chicago Press.

Should you wish to join us in contributing, please see the information page about the lecture.

The Katzen Arts Center is located at 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW, off Ward Circle at the corner of Nebraska Avenue NW, on the campus of American University.

Tuesday, December 1: Freedmens Cemetery, Alexandria, VA

Sumner School, 7 pm. Dinner at 5:30, Beacon Hotel
Speaker: Dr. Eric Larsen

The Contrabands and Freedmen's Cemetery, located on the southern edge of the City of Alexandria, Virginia, was established out of necessity during the years of the Civil War. A new burial ground was needed to accommodate the growing population of escapees from slavery that came to Alexandria during the War. During the years of its operation (from the start of 1864 until early 1869), some 1,800 individuals were buried in this cemetery. After the War, the government abandoned the cemetery and the grounds stood largely neglected through the end of the 19th century. The cemeteries boundaries met encroachments by the city's development during the late 19th and early 20th century. Over subsequent years the cemetery came to be "forgotten." Some forty years later, the cemetery found its way back into public memory and is currently in the process of being redeveloped by the City of Alexandria as the "Contrabands and Freedmen's Cemetery Memorial."

Eric Larsen has worked as an archaeologist in the Mid-Atlantic region for over 20 years. He worked a number of years at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, and then with the Archaeology in Annapolis Project on the Courthouse Site, an African-American neighborhood. Eric received his Ph.D. from SUNY at Buffalo while working on the Courthouse Site. Since that time he has been working on sites in and around the Washington DC area. Eric's work has focused around Landscapes of Identity and Landscapes of Memory. The Freedmen's Cemetery Site has provided an opportunity to examine the relationship between space and identity.

A report on the Freedmen's cemetery was published in 2008 in Alexandria Archaeology, Vol. XXV, No. 2. More information can be found at http://oha.alexandriava.gov/archaeology/ar-freedmens_briefhistory.html.

Sunday, January 10: Holiday Party

The annual WAPA Holiday Party is scheduled for January 10, 4 to 8 p.m., at the home of WAPA President Stan Yoder, 216 St. Lawrence Drive, in Silver Spring.

Roast turkey, vegetarian options, and a few other dishes will be provided. WAPA will also provide drinks and supplies. WAPA members can bring a guest, and visitors are welcome. Come see old friends and make new ones.

Members are invited to bring an appetizer, salad/side dish, or dessert as follows:

Appetizers: Those with last names that begin with A-H
Salad/side dish: Those with last names that begin with I- R
Dessert: Those with last names that begin with S-Z

Time: January 10, 2010, from 4:00 to 8:00 PM

Location: 216 St. Lawrence Dr., Silver Spring, MD 20901, in the Woodmoor neighborhood, near the intersection of University Blvd. and Colesville Rd, just a quarter-mile outside the Beltway.
You can click here to see a map; if that does not work, try a search engine.

For questions please send a message to wapapresident@yahoo.com. The party is the January event; regular meetings will start again in February.

Tuesday, February 2: Anthropology Masters Careers: What the Data Show

Sumner School: Meeting at 7, dinner at 5:30 p.m.

Speakers: Shirley Fiske, CoPAPIA Survey Team Leader;
Terry Redding, Survey Coordinator

Is anthropology really a viable career choice for Masters graduates? Do graduate schools prepare anthropology MA students with the education and skills they need to succeed in the real world? Are there typical careers or employers for Masters grads? Where do anthropologists work? Do PhDs make more than MAs?

So many questions, so little time. Join us for a presentation describing survey data gathered on careers and education in anthropology. During the summer of 2009, the AAA Committee on Practicing, Applied, and Public Interest Anthropology (CoPAPIA) conducted an online survey to determine career trajectories for anthropologists. Data based on 758 North American respondents will be presented, including these tidbits:

The older the respondents were, the more likely they were to agree that their degree plays a significant role in their job satisfaction.

The second-highest-ranked job skill that MAs needed, second only to qualitative skills in general, was technical writing.

The more anthropologists earned, the more likely they were to use outside job skills.

Male archaeologists were four times more likely to agree than females from other specializations (outside of archaeology) that their professional organizations meet their needs.

Join us for a sneak peek to see what other revelations are shown by the survey, which has yet to be publicly released, and to discuss how these data should be interpreted.

Information about the survey can be found at http://www.aaanet.org/cmtes/copapia/MAalumnisurvey.cfm.

Tuesday, March 2: Teaching Evolution in Science Classrooms

Sumner School, 7 pm. Dinner at 5:30

This panel will examine the challenges of teaching evolution in collegiate and pre-collegiate classrooms within the current sociopolitical context of US culture. Of particular focus will be presenting the concepts of evolution in regions of the country where they may not be particularly well received for religious and other reasons.


(Panel Organizer) Alison S. Brooks, Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs, George Washington University, Research Associate, Human Origins Program, Smithsonian Institution

Jonathan Davies, Einstein Fellow, U.S. Department of Energy, Biology and Geology Teacher, West Linn High School, Oregon

Carolyn Gecan, Science Teacher, Thomas Jefferson High School, Fairfax County, Virginia

Kirk Janoviac, Einstein Fellow, U.S. Department of Energy, Biology Teacher, Indiana

Briana Pobiner, Science Outreach and Education Program Specialist, Human Origins Program, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

Ruth Selig, Senior writer/editor, Office of the Secretary, Smithsonian Institution; AnthroNotes Editor; and former Co-Director of the Anthropology for Teachers Program, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

Tuesday, April 6: A Special Exhibit Tour at the NMHN, "Written in Bone: Forensic Files of the 17th Century Chesapeake"

Meet at the Smithsonian Institution's Natural Museum of Natural History, inside by the elephant, at 6 p.m.
Guide: Kari Bruwelheide, Forensic Anthropologist and Co-Curator

A special event will constitute our April meeting; WAPA members and friends will meet at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History for a special tour of the current exhibit, "Written in Bone: Forensic Files of the 17th Century Chesapeake."

In Written in Bone, human anatomy and forensic investigation provide intriguing information on people and events of America's past. This exhibition examines history through 17th-century bone biographies, including those of colonists teetering on the edge of survival at Jamestown, Virginia, and those of wealthy and well-established individuals of St. Mary's City, Maryland. At no other time in our history have we had the technological capability or opportunities that are now available to help us tell this tale.

Reservations are required; as you know the guards are quite strict. Please email Eleanor King to reserve your spot by Thursday, April 1, at emking@howard.edu.

6 to 8 p.m., NMHN

Tuesday, May 4: Turning the Tide in Climate Change

Speakers: Shirley J. Fiske and Janet Chernela

Sumner School, 7 pm. Dinner at 5:30 at the Beacon Hotel

We are extremely fortunate to have two very experienced experts speak on the subject of climate change and the shifting perspectives of both specialists and the public. Shirley Fiske and Janet Chernela will provide complementary views on climate change research and policy formation.Shirley Fiske and Janet Chernela will provide two complementary views on climate change research and policy formation.

Shirley Fiske will focus on the domestic development of climate change as a popular phenomenon, starting with current public perceptions of climate change which recently dramatically changed, and working backward to start at the beginning –with a brief historical look at the development of domestic policy from her perspective on having participated in its multiple phases both in the executive branch in National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and in drafting and conceptualizing Congressional initiatives and bills. The phenomenon of climate change has moved from "global warming" to the more neutral "climate change" in the Bush Administration, and from voluntary policies to the pursuit of cap and trade policies. She will focus on the human dimensions and what anthropologists have been doing in climate change and weather research, an area that is rapidly growing and changing, the carbon offset debate and where we are on current legislative and regulatory status of carbon and prognosis in general, and a brief look at projected impacts in the Chesapeake Bay.

Janet Chernela will take us to the contemporary meetings of the UN Council of Parties (COP) that met in Copenhagen in December 2009. A number of anthropologists were able to participate in the historic meetings--more than any other COP meeting. Janet will provide provocative insights into the meeting itself, the creation of boundaries and the permeability of boundaries, between the "parties" and the non-ratified participants. Janet will discuss the language of the COP, particularly the usage of terms "adaptation" and "mitigation," and the resource implications for populations worldwide. She will emphasize the much-discussed REDD process and provide views on that program for indigenous peoples and forest peoples.

Shirley J. Fiske is an environmental and policy anthropologist with 21 years working in executive and legislative branches of the federal government. Dr. Fiske worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the Office of Policy and Planning, and subsequently the research arm of NOAA, the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR). She directed a number of program areas in the National Sea Grant College Program, including social sciences, marine policy, education, and marine extension. She was director of the Sea Grant Fellows Program (Dean John A. Knauss Fellows Program) and the Outreach program director. In her role at NOAA she was able to help promote social sciences and anthropology applied to some of the nation's most challenging environmental and natural resource issues: moving from federally regulated open access marine fisheries to individual property rights in ocean resources, and understanding and addressing the human dimensions of global climate change, among others. In addition, Dr. Fiske worked for six years for Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), who served on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, whose jurisdiction includes energy, climate change, public lands and national parks. Dr. Fiske is currently Adjunct Professor for the Department of Anthropology at University of Maryland, and lectures and writes on global climate change, carbon offsets, ocean policy, coastal resources and marine fisheries communities and policy. Her PhD in anthropology is from Stanford University, and she previously was on the faculty of University of Southern California's School of Public Administration.

Janet Chernela is a Professor of Anthropology and Latin American Studies at the University of Maryland. She received her degree in Anthropology from Columbia University in 1983. Chernela began her career at the American Museum of Natural History, where she worked for ten years, and where she developed her specialization in indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin. In 1980 Chernela joined the faculty of INPA, the National Institute of the Brazilian Amazon, a federal research institute in Manaus, Brazil. Since that time she has taught anthropology and served as a consultant for international NGOs and scientific institutions, including The Nature Conservancy, Cultural Survival, and the Ford Foundation. In her book, A Sense of Space, and numerous articles and chapters, Chernela has discussed indigenous knowledge, grassroots conservation, gender, and language. She is former Chair of the Committee for Human Rights of the American Anthropological Association and in that capacity served as a member of the AAA Task Force on El Dorado in which the allegations of ethical misconduct among the Yanomami were evaluated. She attended the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and published on that body and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Anthropology News in 2005. In 2009 she organized a meeting of environmental anthropologists at the Copenhagen Climate Summit; the collaborative findings of that team's efforts to rethink "event anthropology" will be published this spring.

Sunday, June 6: Summer Outing To Mt Vernon: A Spirited Outing to an Historic Distillery

J12:45 pm, Mt Vernon Distillery

Plans for the WAPA Summer Outing are being finalized, and will include a tour of the Mt Vernon distillery, with the site archaeologist as our special guide, followed by an optional tour of Mt Vernon and/or the surrounding out buildings, to be followed by lunch at the nearby Cedar Knoll Restaurant.

The three-part schedule for June 6, which will be maintained with all possible timeliness, is as follows:

12:45 p.m.: Assemble at the Mt Vernon distillery, which is about 3 miles from the Mt Vernon estate itself. Our guide, Mount Vernon archaeologist Esther White, will meet us there and give us a tour of the distillery and the gristmill. The distillery is located at 5513 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, just before the highway meets Route 1 (map to come), so continue past the main entrance to Mount Vernon for three miles or so until you reach the distillery. (Esther hinted that there may be samples). Everyone will pay their own way in ($2; be sure to tell them you are with WAPA). Once inside, look for Laurie.

General information: http://www.mountvernon.org/, or meeting place: http://www.mountvernon.org/visit/plan/index.cfm/pid/356/

About 2 p.m.: After this tour, we will proceed to the main gate of the Mount Vernon estate, where we will enter as a group. Esther will then give us a tour of the slave quarters on the grounds.

3-4 p.m.: We can tour the estate on our own or Esther will give us a tour of some of the outbuildings or museum.

4 p.m.: We will assemble outside the main gate to go to the Cedar Knoll Inn nearby (by car). The Cedar Knoll Inn is located just off the G.W. Parkway at 9030 Lucia Lane, Alexandria, about 1.7 miles north of Mt Vernon (703-799-1501). (http://www.cedarknollinnrestaurant.com/)

We will split the cost for dinner, and will pay for our beverages separately. WAPA will pay the tip.
The entree choices are:

Roast Duck With Grilled Fruit Succulent roasted duck in a Cognac sauce, accompanied by sweet grilled fruit and served with rice

Southern Pecan Crusted Salmon Baked salmon topped with toasted pecan and served with red bliss potatoes and vegetables

Savory Spinach & Farfalle Pasta Cream based pasta tossed with mozzarella cheese, spinach and toasted pine nuts with chicken (add $4)

If you would like a vegan meal, you MUST contact Laurie as soon as possible and she will work out a viable vegan option with some kind of protein; unfortunately, if you don't provide adequate advanced notice, you cannot be guaranteed a vegan main dish.

The entrees will come to about $22 all told, which does not include drinks.

What you need to know:

  • We will have a special group rate to both sites, but we must enter together at Mt Vernon itself.
  • The cost is $2 for the tour of the distillery and gristmill (if you also go to the main estate).
  • The cost of entering the main estate is $13. WAPA will pay the price of admission for students.
  • While we are at the distillery/gristmill, you must give Laurie Krieger the $13 per person for entrance to the main estate, because she must pay for everyone so that we can go to the head of the line and enter Mt Vernon as a group, at the group rate.
  • Please email Laurie at laurie_krieger@hotmail.com by June 1 with your menu choice to give the restaurant advanced notice. If you don't email, you may still come, but may not get your entrĂ©e of choice.
  • Of course you may come for all or any parts of this three-part WAPA outing--but it will help greatly if you let Laurie know, at the above email address, that you are coming and how many people are accompanying you.


Directions From Washington, D.C. / Memorial Bridge
Cross the Memorial Bridge, heading toward Arlington National Cemetery. While you are on the bridge, get in the center lane. At the circle on the Virginia side, go to the right, following the sign George Washington Parkway (do not head to Arlington Cemetery). Just after the circle, take the left hand exit, marked Parkway South/Alexandria/Mount Vernon. Once on the Parkway, follow the signs to National Airport and continue south, through Alexandria. The Parkway is renamed Washington Street in Alexandria. Mount Vernon is eight miles south of Alexandria, located at the large traffic circle at the end of Parkway.

Directions From Washington, D.C. / 14th St Bridge
Cross the Fourteenth Street Bridge, heading to Virginia. While on the bridge, move to the far right lane. Take the second exit on the right, which is marked National Airport/Mount Vernon. Once on the Parkway, follow the signs to National Airport and continue south, through Alexandria. The Parkway is renamed Washington Street in downtown Alexandria. Mount Vernon is eight miles south of Alexandria, at the large traffic circle at the end of Parkway.

Directions From the North (Frederick, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Bethesda)
Travel south on Interstate 270 to Interstate 495 (the Beltway). Follow the beltway south to Virginia. As you cross the American Legion Bridge over the Potomac River, get in the right lane. Take the first exit in Virginia, marked George Washington Memorial Parkway. Follow the George Washington Parkway south for about 30 miles, which takes you directly to Mount Vernon. The Parkway is renamed Washington Street in Alexandria, and Mount Vernon is eight miles south of Alexandria, at the large traffic circle at the end of the Parkway.

Directions From the West (Reston and beyond)
Travel east on Interstate 66 to Interstate 495 South (the beltway). Follow the outer beltway which becomes Interstate 95 North (headed towards Baltimore). Turn off at exit 177B, Route 1 North, marked Alexandria/Mount Vernon. Once on Route 1, make the first right turn, onto Franklin Street. Turn right again at Washington Street, which is marked for Mount Vernon. Washington Street becomes the George Washington Parkway as you leave Alexandria, and Mount Vernon is eight miles south, at the large traffic circle at the end of Parkway.

Public Transportation/Carpooling

Driving is best. Park at the distillery first, then we drive back to Mt Vernon, then on to the Cedar Knoll Inn.

Contact us to coordinate with a carpool. Carpoolers will leave from the Huntington Metro Station (the end of the Yellow Line ) no later than 12:30 p.m.

For those of you who want to come to dinner but skip the Mt Vernon stuff, and need a ride, take public transport to the gate of Mt Vernon and be ready to part the for the restaurant at 4. Let someone know you are coming so we know to look for you!

Public Transport: If needed, from Huntington Station, catch Fairfax Connector Bus #152, which stops at Mt Vernon after about 40 minutes. The fare is $1.45. (need to see if they stop at/near distillery).

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