Daniel N Irving,
Not Just Black and White: An Ethnographic Study of Racial Discrimination in Cuba
Caribbean nations and people are constantly attempting to reconcile the modern concerns of economic development with the legacy of colonialism and slavery. Lacking remittances from relatives living abroad, and still coping with a history of racial prejudice, many Afro-Cubans are increasingly marginalized in this new era of unemployment and the dollar economy. During my fieldwork in Cuba, I focused on reflexivity between this economic situation for Afro-Cubans and the national ideology that profess racial equality and a single Cuban identity. This ideology conflicts with the reality of race-consciousness and fails to explain the vibrancy of Afro-Cuban sub-cultural institutions and communities. In this paper, I examine the interactions between the dialects of race and class - in the context of individual lives in a Cuba attempting to assert itself in the developing world.
Debra Hannah, University
You're Not My Mom!
The Questioning of Rules, Values and Norms in a First Year Inner-city Charter School
The study of a first year inner city charter school, this paper explores the profound power struggle that occurred therein, when strict behavioral expectations established to elicit obedience evoked rebellion instead. Rules were complex and their true breaking points vague, however broken rules were ensued by respective punishments and were mostly consistent; therefore not impossible to follow. It is asserted that the children did not break the rules because of their inability to comply, but as a result of their interpretation that the rules labeled their identities as fundamentally undesirable. This is explored in the areas of noise level, speech and conflict resolution.
Jennie Woods, Christopher
An Ongoing Ethnographic Look at Paganet and CERC's Pagans
This presentation summarizes an ongoing ethnographic study of a group of Pagans in South-Eastern Virginia. The usefulness of standard anthropological typologies for characterizing the beliefs and actions of the participants is questioned. The task of anthropology to interpret and explain the group in a manner that reduces prejudice and defensiveness is emphasized.
University of Rochester
The Formation of Sisterhood: The Bonds and Spirituality Within a Support Group forHIV Positive Women in Rochester
I had chosen to do research on an HIV positive support group for women based on my own interests and concerns. I never could have expected the wonderful experience about which is explained in my paper titled, "The Formation of Sisterhood: The Bonds and Spirituality Within a Support Group for HIV Positive Women in Rochester." The paper explores how a support group structure allowed for healing within a group of HIV positive women. It explains the noticeable bond that the ladies of the group share with each other. It also explores the influence of spirituality on the women's sense of healing, representing the presence of a higher being. Based on over two months of research, these ideas are explained and supported with actual ethnographic field notes, first-hand accounts and quotes supporting each idea. My intention is to enlighten the reader on the wonderful workings of the women of the group.
Ilka Datig, University
The Process of Cultural Representation: Tibet's Position in America Media
My paper entitled 'Culture in Crisis: Cultural Representations of Tibet in Western Media' explores the complex issues surrounding the process of cultural representation which takes place through media. I address the politics that go into the process of choosing which culture to represent, how representations cannot be held as authorities because they will always reflect the impulses of the creator, and what effect the media can have upon a culture in crisis. I discuss how images of Tibet in movies and literature have created social ideas about it, and how they influence opinions regarding the current political
situation. This paper fits into the current debate about the creation of indigenous media by Tibetan refugees in exile, and I argue that the media needs to be more careful about how it represents a culture in an incredibly uncertain political, religious, and cultural situation.
Anna Barnes, University
The Construction of Community Within a Non-for-Profit Social Organization
Community, or possessing a shared goal and a feeling of togetherness, amongst members of specific groups can be understood through my research conducted at the Sojourner House for women located in Rochester, New York. While spending four hours a week at the non-for-profit organization as a holiday intern, I observed many ways in which community was formed. Most importantly, I observed how volunteers and staff work together to provide the most engaging and supportive community for the women and children who live in the home.
Megan Lee, Union
Women's Roles in Fijian Society
This paper advances Mead's long-standing interest in understanding gender roles from a cross-cultural perspective. The social structure of Fijian society revolves around a share-and-care mentality in which individual needs and wants are met through the larger kin group. Each individual is required to perform within his or her assigned social role. Ideally, individuals' personal needs are met through, and they feel satisfied by contributing to the larger group. However, there are some categories of people who do not feel that their needs are met through this social structure. People like young, married women do not feel that they have the ability to willingly contribute to the larger society and therefore do not feel the benefits of the share-and-care mentality. Instead, they often feel restricted and constrained by their roles as wives. As new members of their husband's kin group, they do not have high social status. Their actions are dictated to them by those who have higher status than they do. With little ability to freely contribute to the larger society, many feel constrained by their role and do not feel like valuable members of the kin group and social system. As a result, some young married women try to find ways to gain a degree of autonomy over their own lives while still performing in their required role.
Andrew Spitz, Union
Religion and Communalism in a Fijian Village
This paper contributes to Margaret Mead's exploration of the influence of a Pacific cultural emphasis on community on individual lives. During a anthropological term abroad in Fiji in 1999, I lived in a Fijian village and explored the significance of religion in village lives and for individual villagers. I found that the Methodist Church dominated village life. Villagers saw the Methodist church as enforcing correct social behavior much as ancestral spirits (the "vu") had once done. They suggested that since Fijian society had long ago strayed from the "straight path" laid down by the vu, villagers had no choice but to ally themselves with another source of spiritual power, the Christian God. Speaking with individuals suggested that they viewed themselves as being full of evil impulses and in need of a strong religion in order to control these impulses. Many people also left the Methodist church to join evangelical Protestant churches because they believed that Methodism did not offer an active enough faith to control the strong aggressive urges within them. I use this material to argue that Mead was wrong in suggesting that a Pacific cultural tradition emphasizing community in Samoa produced individuals who did not experience tensions about the demands of society. Fijians saw themselves as always in danger of not meeting the demands of society and in need of a strong religion to keep themselves in line.