March 2011 meeting

  • 01 Mar 2011
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Charles Sumner School

“Cultural Sameness” and “Cultural Otherness”:  Benefits and Drawbacks in Applied Anthropological Work

Presenters: Michael Cernea, Lucy Cohen, Laurie Krieger, Gretchen Schafft, and Stan Yoder

1 March 2011

Sumner School, 7:00 pm

Dinner, Beacon Bar and Grill, 5:30 pm

Throughout much of the history of anthropology, students were expected to conduct fieldwork in cultures and societies not their own. That expectation shifted somewhat several decades ago, and students are able to do fieldwork in their own culture and society as well as in others. This panel discussion, led by Michael Cernea and assisted by Stan Yoder, will consider what is gained and what is given up in working in one’s own culture and society, or in a quite different one, with an emphasis on exploring the effects of “Cultural Sameness” and “Cultural Otherness" in the professional work of applied and development anthropologists. The discussion will continue the examination of issues that were raised following the Memorial Lecture in honor of Ruth Fredman Cernea in November of 2009.

Also participating in the panel will be several people who work in applied anthropology: at least one working overseas and the other working domestically. The panel will explore the situations in which the work and insights of an indigenous anthropologist would be most effective, and those in which an anthropologist from the outside would be most effective. A description of the background to the panel's topic and its relevance may be downloaded here (pdf document).

Dr. Michael M. Cernea is Research Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at George Washington University (GWU) and non-resident Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution in Washington. He worked for over 20 years at the World Bank as the institution’s Senior Adviser for Social Policy and Sociology.

Dr. Lucy Cohen is professor of anthropology at the Catholic University of America. She has conducted fieldwork in many countries in Central America, South America, and the USA.

Dr. Laurie Krieger is Senior Advisor, Health and Social Science, The Manoff Group. She has conducted fieldwork in more than 20 countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Dr Gretchen Schafft is Public Anthropologist in Residence at American University. She has done extensive fieldwork in Germany and in the USA.

Dr. P. Stanley Yoder is Senior Qualitative Research Specialist at Macro International (aka ICF Macro). He has directed studies related to health and illness in more than 20 countries in Africa.

Meeting:  Charles Sumner School, corner of 17th St and M St NW, Washington, DC

How to get there:  The Sumner School is located at 1201 17th St NW (corner of 17th St and M St NW).  The entrance to the meeting area is on 17th St under the black metal stairway. Directions from Metro Red Line: From Farragut North station, take either L St exit, walk one block east to 17th St, turn left and walk 2 blocks north.

Dinner:  5:30 pm at the Beacon Bar & Grill (one block north of Sumner School).  All are welcome.

How to get there:  The Beacon Bar & Grill is in the Beacon Hotel located at 1615 Rhode Island Ave NW (corner of Rhode Island and 17th St).  Directions from Metro Red Line: From DuPont Circle station, take the south/P St exit, then walk 2 blocks southeast on Massachusetts Ave to 17th St. Cross 17th St and turn right (south) for two short blocks. From Farragut North station, take either L St exit, walk one block east to 17th St, turn left and walk 3 blocks north.

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