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16 January 2010

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15 January 2010

Haiti, poor?

via anthropologyworks by admin on 1/13/10

UPDATE 1/14: This post was linked in a story by Discovery News’ James Williams.

Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the island of Hispaniola. Following the island’s discovery by Columbus in 1492, Spanish colonialists exterminated the island’s indigenous Arawak Indians. In 1697, the French took control of what is now Haiti and instituted an exceptionally cruel system of African plantation slavery. In the late 1700s, the half million slaves revolted. In what is the only successful slave revolution in history, they ousted the French and established the first Black republic in the Western Hemisphere.

Haiti’s population of over eight million people occupies a territory somewhat smaller than the state of Maryland in the United States. The land is rugged, hilly or mountainous. More than 90 percent of the forests have been cleared. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Extreme inequality exists between the urban elite, who live in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, and everyone else.

The people in the countryside are the peyizan yo (the plural form of peyizan), a Creole term for small farmers who produce for their own use and for the market (Smith 2001). Many also participate in small-scale marketing. Most peyizan yo in Haiti own their land. They grow vegetables, fruits (especially mangoes), sugarcane, rice and corn.

Accurate health statistics are not available, but even rough estimates show that Haiti has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS of any country in the region. Medical anthropologist Paul Farmer emphasizes the role of colonialism in the past and global structural inequalities now in causing these high rates (1992).

Colonial plantation owners grew fabulously rich from this island. It produced more wealth for France than all of France’s other colonies combined and more than the 13 colonies in North America produced for Britain. Why is Haiti so poor now?

Colonialism launched environmental degradation by clearing forests. After the revolution, the new citizens carried with them the traumatic history of slavery. Now, neocolonialism and globalization are leaving new scars. For decades, the United States has played, and still plays, a powerful role in supporting conservative political regimes.

In contrast to these structural explanations, some people point to problems with the Haitian people: They cannot work together, and they lack a vision of the future.

Opposed to these views are the findings of Jennie Smith’s ethnographic research in southwestern Haiti, which shed light on the life of the peyizan yo and offer perspectives on their development (2001). She found many active social organizations with functions such as labor sharing, to help each member get his or her field planted on time, and cost sharing, to help pay for health care or funerals. Also, the peyizan yo have clear opinions about their vision for the future, including hopes for relative economic equality, political leaders with a sense of social service, respe (respect), and access of citizens to basic social services.

The early colonizers did not decide to occupy Haiti because it was poor. It was colonialism and its extractive ways that have made Haiti poor today.

Sources:

“Culturama: The Peyizan Yo of Haiti,” in Barbara D Miller, Cultural Anthropology, 5th edition, Pearson. 2009, p. 404.

Smith, Jennie M. 2001. When the Hands Are Many: Community Organization and Change in Rural Haiti. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Farmer, Paul, 1992. AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame.

Image: “Haitian Girl” by Flickr user Billtacular, licensed by creative commons.

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Jim Crow Remix

via Sentencing Law and Policy by Doug B. on 1/14/10

1617_cover The title of this post is the title of this terrific new book by my colleague Michelle Alexander that is just out from The New Press.  Here is a snippet from the text along with the the publisher's description of the work:

Jarvious Cotton’s great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Klu Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation; his father was barred by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole. —FROM THE NEW JIM CROW

As the United States celebrates the nation’s “triumph over race” with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life.  Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status — much like their grandparents before them.

In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it.  Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness.  The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community — and all of us — to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.

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Haiti: A History

via The Real Cost of Prisons Weblog by lois on 1/14/10

Op-Ed Contributor
Country Without a Net

By TRACY KIDDER
Published: January 13, 2010 NY Times

THOSE who know a little of Haiti’s history might have watched the news last night and thought, as I did for a moment: “An earthquake? What next? Poor Haiti is cursed.”

But while earthquakes are acts of nature, extreme vulnerability to earthquakes is manmade. And the history of Haiti’s vulnerability to natural disasters — to floods and famine and disease as well as to this terrible earthquake — is long and complex, but the essence of it seems clear enough.

Haiti is a country created by former slaves, kidnapped West Africans, who, in 1804, when slavery still flourished in the United States and the Caribbean, threw off their cruel French masters and created their own republic. Haitians have been punished ever since for claiming their freedom: by the French who, in the 1820s, demanded and received payment from the Haitians for the slave colony, impoverishing the country for years to come; by an often brutal American occupation from 1915 to 1934; by indigenous misrule that the American government aided and abetted. (In more recent years American administrations fell into a pattern of promoting and then undermining Haitian constitutional democracy.)

Hence the current state of affairs: at least 10,000 private organizations perform supposedly humanitarian missions in Haiti, yet it remains one of the world’s poorest countries. Some of the money that private aid organizations rely on comes from the United States government, which has insisted that a great deal of the aid return to American pockets — a larger percentage than that of any other industrialized country.

But that is only part of the problem. In the arena of international aid, a great many efforts, past and present, appear to have been doomed from the start. There are the many projects that seem designed to serve not impoverished Haitians but the interests of the people administering the projects. Most important, a lot of organizations seem to be unable — and some appear to be unwilling — to create partnerships with each other or, and this is crucial, with the public sector of the society they’re supposed to serve.

The usual excuse, that a government like Haiti’s is weak and suffers from corruption, doesn’t hold — all the more reason, indeed, to work with the government. The ultimate goal of all aid to Haiti ought to be the strengthening of Haitian institutions, infrastructure and expertise.

This week, the list of things that Haiti needs, things like jobs and food and reforestation, has suddenly grown a great deal longer. The earthquake struck mainly the capital and its environs, the most densely populated part of the country, where organizations like the Red Cross and the United Nations have their headquarters. A lot of the places that could have been used for disaster relief — including the central hospital, such as it was — are now themselves disaster areas.

But there are effective aid organizations working in Haiti. At least one has not been crippled by the earthquake. Partners in Health, or in Haitian Creole Zanmi Lasante, has been the largest health care provider in rural Haiti. (I serve on this organization’s development committee.) It operates, in partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Health, some 10 hospitals and clinics, all far from the capital and all still intact. As a result of this calamity, Partners in Health probably just became the largest health care provider still standing in all Haiti.

Fortunately, it also offers a solid model for independence — a model where only a handful of Americans are involved in day-to-day operations, and Haitians run the show. Efforts like this could provide one way for Haiti, as it rebuilds, to renew the promise of its revolution.

Tracy Kidder is the author of “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” about Haiti, and “Strength in What Remains.”
A version of this article appeared in print on January 14, 2010, on page A37 of the New York edition.
Partners in Health: http://www.pih.org/who/vision.html (at the donate page you can specify earthquake relief)

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Back-stories

via anthropologyworks by admin on 1/15/10

This list is intended to provide a guide to recent resources on culture and society in Haiti for people who wish to be better informed themselves about the context in which the recent earthquake and its devastation are occurring. With apologies, most of the journal articles are not public access.

Furthermore, we really encourage everyone to visit InterAction’s Haiti response page, which includes a variety of ways to help out.

Benoît, C. 2007. “The politics of vodou: AIDS, access to health care and the use of culture in Haiti”. Anthropology in Action 143, 59-68.

Coreil, J. & Mayard, G. 2006. “Indigenization of illness support groups in Haiti”. Human Organization 652, 128-139.

Curci, S. 2008. “Mapping Haitian history: a photo essay”Journal of Haitian Studies 142, 120-30.

Farmer, P. 2004. “An anthropology of structural violence.” Current Anthropology 453, 305-325.

Farmer, P. E. 2001. “The consumption of the poor: tuberculosis in the 21st century.” Ethnography 12, 183-216.

Farmer, Paul. 1992. AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Farmer, P. E. 2008. “Mother courage and the future of war.” Social Analysis 522, 165-184.

Giafferi, N. 2004. The violence of relations in fieldwork: the Haitian example. Terrain 43, 123-40, 159.

Guilbaud, P., & Preston, M. 2006. “Healthcare assessment study in Les Cayes, Haiti: towards a framework for rural capacity development and analysis”. Journal of Haitian Studies 122, 48-69.

Hastings, A. 2007. “Eradicating global poverty: is it really achievable?” Journal of Haitian Studies 132, 120-134.

James, E. C. 2004. “The political economy of “trauma” in Haiti in the democratic era of insecurity”. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 282, 127-149.

James, E. C. 2009. “Neomodern insecurity in Haiti and the politics of asylum”. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 331, 153-159.

James, E.C. 2010. “Ruptures, rights, and repair: the political economy of trauma in Haiti”. Social Science and Medicine 70, 106-113.

Johnson, P. C. 2005. “Three paths to legal legitimacy: African diaspora religions and the state”. Culture and Religion 61, 79-105.

Kovats-Bernat, C. 2006. “Factional terror, paramilitarism and civil war in Haiti: the view from Port-au-Prince”, 1994-2004. Anthropologica New Series 481, 117-139.

Kovats-Bernat, J. C. 2002. “Negotiating dangerous fields: pragmatic strategies for fieldwork amid violence and terror”. American Anthropologist 1041, 208-222.

Laguerre, M. S. 2005. “Homeland political crisis, the virtual diasporic public sphere and diasporic politics“. Journal of Latin American Anthropology 101, 206-225.

Landry, T. R. 2008. “Moving to learn: Performance and learning in Haitian vodou”. Anthropology and Humanism 331/2, 66-84.

Maglorie, G. & Yelvington, K. A. 2005. “Haiti and the anthropological imagination”. Gradhiva 1, 109-452.

Martin, P., Midgley, E. & Teitelbaum, M. S. 2002. “Migration and development: Whither the Dominican Republic and Haiti?” International Migration Review 362, 546-569.

Maternowska, M. C. 2000. “Clinic in conflict: A political economy case study of family planning in Haiti”. Contraception Across Cultures: Technologies, Choices, Constraints, 103-126.

Matory, J. L. 2007. “Free to be a slave: Slavery as metaphor in the Afro-Atlantic religions”. Journal of Religion in Africa 373, 398-425.

Raphael, D., Delisle, H. & Vilgrain, C. 2005. “Households with undernourished children and overweight mothers: is this a concern for Haiti?” Ecology of Food and Nutrition 442, 147-165.

Richman, K. E. 2007. “Peasants, migrants and the discovery of African traditions: ritual and social change in lowland Haiti”. Journal of Religion in Africa 373, 371-397.

Richman, K. E. 2008. “A more powerful sorcerer: Conversion, capital and Haitian transnational migration”. New West Indian Guide 821/2, 3-45.

Richman, K. & Rey, T. 2009. Congregating by cassette: recording and participation in transnational Haitian religious rituals. International Journal of Cultural Studies 12, 122, 149-166.

Schuller, M. 2007. “Invasion or infusion? understanding the role of NGOs in contemporary Haiti”. Journal of Haitian Studies 132, 96-119.

Schuller, M. 2007. Seeing like a “failed” NGO: globalization’s impacts on state and civil society in Haiti. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 301, 67-89.

Schwartz, T. T. 2003. “Children are the wealth of the poor:” pronatalism and the economic utility of children in Jean Rabel, Haiti. Research in Economic Anthropology 22, 61-105.

Shillam, R. 2008. “What the Haitian revolution might tell us about development, security, and the politics of race”. Comparative Studies in Society and History 503, 778-808.

Smith, Jennie M. 2001. When the Hands Are Many: Community Organization and Social Change in Rural Haiti. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Smith, M. J. 2007. “From Dessalines to Duvalier revisited: a quarter century retrospective”. Journal of Haitian Studies 131, 27-39.

Thylefors, M. 2008. “‘Modernizing god’ in Haitian vodou? : reflections on olowoum and reafricanization in Haiti”. Anthropos 1031, 113-125.

Vonarx, N. 2007. “Vodou, illness and models in Haiti: from local meanings to broader relations of domination”. Anthropology in Action 143, 18-29.

Ward, B., Lee, J. E., & Sung, J. H. 2007. “Using data hierarchies to identify health disparities geographically”. Practicing Anthropology 294, 29-33.

Wolff Benjamin, G. 2007. “Encouragement, consequences, honor, respect: empowering parents to transition successfully to a democratic culture”. Journal of Haitian Studies 132, 39-57.

Image: “Haiti,” from Flickr user caribb, Creative Commons.

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Who Defines You?

Give & Take

via Contexts Crawler by tim on 1/15/10

Can't VoteAccording to the Seattle Times, evidence gathered by University of Washington sociologists Katherine Beckett and Robert Crutchfield overturned the state of Washington’s law banning incarcerated felons from voting.  The case, Farrakhan v. Gregoire, was decided on January 5, 2010:

The surprising ruling, by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle, said the law violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act by disenfranchising minority voters.  The decision is the first in the country’s federal appeals courts to equate a prohibition against voting by incarcerated felons with practices outlawed under the federal Voting Rights Act, such as poll taxes or literacy tests.

The two-judge majority apparently was persuaded by the plaintiffs’ argument that reams of social-science data filed in the case showed minorities in Washington are stopped, arrested and convicted in such disproportionate rates that the ban on voting by incarcerated felons is inherently discriminatory.

The article details the sociological research in question:

[The case] was built on research by University of Washington sociologists who found that blacks are 70 percent more likely — and Latinos and Native Americans 50 percent more likely — than whites to be searched in traffic stops.

The research also showed that blacks are nine times more likely to be incarcerated than whites, despite the fact that the ratio of arrests for violent crime among blacks and whites is less than four-to-one. One result of that: 25 percent of black men in Washington are disenfranchised from voting.

The decision, written by Judge A. Wallace Tashima, said the studies “speak to a durable, sustained indifference in treatment faced by minorities in Washington’s criminal justice system — systemic disparities which cannot be explained by ‘factors independent of race.’ “

The state of Washington is appealing this ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.  To read a somewhat sociological editorial on this decision, you may also want to check out an editorial by Seattle Times columnist Jerry Large.

Voter Disenfranchisement Statistics:

voter-disenfranchisement

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An Ounce of Prevention

via About Homelessness by Liz Whitehurst on 1/15/10

"When you think about it, it really makes sense to focus on getting people back into housing faster," said Alliance president Nan Roman in Tony Pugh's McClatchy story Demand overwhelms program to prevent homelessness, out yesterday. "Instead of long stays in some homeless facility with a lot of service delivery, wouldn't a little bit of money help people stay where they are and not end up in the system at all?"

The story shows what a little bit of money can do: it helped Joseph Wright get back on his feet after he fell behind on rent. Instead of sleeping at a shelter today, he's got a new apartment and a stable teaching job.

Service providers have made the original $1.5 billion allocated for HPRP go a long way, but those Pugh talked to - in Salt Lake City, Raleigh, Washington State and Alameda County, California - all agree: the funding is not enough.

How much more is needed? The Alliance estimates that an extra $1 billion would not only help 200,000 more families, but also create about 2,000 more jobs at community organizations.

As Elaine de Coligny, executive director of EveryOne Home, a housing agency in Alameda County, Calif, said simply: "It's good money to spend."

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14 January 2010

Allegheny County Jail Collaborative: Career Opportunity

The Allegheny County Jail Collaborative is augmenting services to prepare Jail residents to leave the Jail and successfully reenter the community.  A new reentry team is being formed to assist residents and their families make these transitions.   Several positions are available now in two categories:  Reentry Specialist and Reentry Family Support Specialist.  (See below).  These positions are funded through a federal grant awarded to the Allegheny County Department of Human Services on behalf of the Jail Collaborative and are administered through the Human Services Administration Organization.  Federal funding is anticipated for three years with subsequent funding through County and private sources.

 

For a complete description of the job responsibilities and required qualifications, please click on the links below. If you have any trouble with the link, go to careerbuilder.com and search under Keyword: reentry  Location: Pittsburgh.

 

 

 

 

Reentry Family Support Specialist:  The Reentry Family Support Specialist provides assistance to men and women in the County Jail and their families/natural supports--during a sentenced incarceration and for up to one year after release.  When no family or natural supports are available, the Reentry Family Support Specialist will assist the client in developing supports in the community through peer, provider, and/or other community organizations.  

 

 

 

 

Reentry Specialist: The Reentry Specialist provides service coordination for men and women in the County Jail and their families/natural supports--during a sentenced incarceration and for up to one year after release. 

 

 

 

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13 January 2010

from POP CITY: News for the Good

$9.9 million in renewed grants bring the city one step closer to eliminating homelessness

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Some good news during the coldest days of winter: Allegheny County's Department of Human Services has received full funding from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to continue its programs to combat homelessness in the Pittsburgh area.  

"We applied for a total of close to $14 million," says Mike Lindsay of the DHS, and were granted this initial $9.9 million during the first round of funding. The money will go toward maintaining the county's current programs, including safe havens and transitional housing for homeless individuals and families. It will target those who are chronically homeless and struggle with complex housing issues, such as disabilities. 

In all, it will fund 41 separate programs through 28 different agencies.  

The remaining money that the county requested will likely come later this year and could help to fund new initiatives. "We're expecting that annoucement to come out later this year," Lindsay says.

Also confirmed: $6.7 million in stimulus funding for the county's Homelessness Prevention & Rapid Re-Housing Program, designed to assist  families and individuals in danger of losing their homes in the current economic crisis. 


Writer: Melissa Rayworth
Source: Kathy Burk/Mike Lindsay, Department of Human Services

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12 January 2010

fly

via fine little day by Fine Little Day on 1/10/10


"I got to sneeze..."


Got these flies photos from Marianne, she got it from her son, but I
don´t know where he got them from. Anyway they are genius.

Addition.
Thank you Alice for letting us know that the flie photos are from
Marcus Muhr.

This book - Tomotake, textiles dyed with mud.
Tomotake cherry and Rally Quilt. Via Lazy Jane.

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10 January 2010

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qin

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Hi,

take it easy!

Music Video: RJD2 - Work It Out
thisisrealmusic.com/watch/3040...


- Jim


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Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

take it easy!

Check out this site I found on StumbleUpon!

StumbleUpon | Discover Your Web.
Discover Favorites Stumblers
Hi,

Check out this site I found using StumbleUpon!

Music Video: RJD2 - Work It Out
thisisrealmusic.com/watch/3040...


- Jim


View now! >


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