Sep 19, 2013
asfit001

A self-proclaimed “warrior princess” and her disgusting disregard for Maasai culture

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I was surprised to see the self-proclaimed “Warrior Princess,” Mindy Budgor, appear on a popular morning show.  And I was beyond disturbed to hear the hosts of the show shower her with praise.  Her self-righteousness and blatant disrespect of Maasai traditions is an embarrassment to all women and a threat to Maasai culture and the women who are fighting their own battles there.  People like her perpetuate suspicion of American intentions abroad and encourage similar disrespectful and damaging behavior.  People in the public eye – such as the hosts of the show – have an opportunity to expose people like her; instead they praised her as an “inspiration.”

I wandered to her website – perhaps in search of some shred of decency, a public apology for her ignorance and exploitation, or some indication that this was all a sick joke – only to find this self-important and ironic (she claims to be fighting governmental policies that threaten Maasai culture…yet she is responsible for disrupting it herself) description of her book and letters she wrote to her brother – in which she mentions her Chanel bags and Discover card – and a rep at Under Armour (apparently in an attempt to get sponsorship from the athletic wear company?!).

I was thankful to find that The Guardian article,  “Mindy’s Masai Mara adventure is an insult to us all,” gave a much more thoughtful assessment of Mindy than the morning show did.  I have written to the show and will be writing to Mindy.  Feel free to share your own thoughts with her: mindy@mindybudgor.com

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Aug 15, 2013
asfit001

Mississippi Project takes interdisciplinary approach to sustainability

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It is always encouraging to see positive, creative collaboration across disciplines, particularly when the conversation involves sustainability.  On August 13, 2014, the Summer 2013 Mississippi Project III brought together professors, scholars, and others interested in integrating sustainability in the classroom.  The workshop was led by Dr. Connie Frey Spurlock, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice Studies and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) sustainability faculty fellow; and Kevin Adkins, SIUE sustainability officer.  It was attended by a diverse group that included professors from English, anthology, and sociology departments as well as others, like Dr. Susan Murray, assistant professor in the Department of Accounting in the SIUE School of Business accounting departments, that have a shared passion for a more comprehensive approach.  “Today, it’s not just enough to ask the question of whether or not we made money,” she said. “We have to consider – people, the planet and profits – that is the Triple Bottom Line.”

Perhaps some MACSers can join the conversation next year, and grow our network of sustainability-minded scholars and practitioners.  To read more about the Mississippi Project, check out this Edwardsville Intelligencer article.

 

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Aug 5, 2013
asfit001

Celebrating our second group of MACS graduates

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 MACS grads 2013

On August 4, 2013, the second group of MACS graduates received their MA in Cultural Sustainability.  The diversity of our interests – and applicability and reach of the work we do – is evident in the various Capstone projects produced. Here are a few words about these projects, from some of the graduates themselves: Continue reading »

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Jul 23, 2013
sdickard

Student documentary featuring the Culture Scholars program by Jamie Andrew ’13

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This short documentary featuring the Culture Scholars program at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine was created by Jamie Andrew (2013). The Culture Scholars program was the topic of her Capstone project.

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Jul 15, 2013
asfit001

Traveling sustainably?

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While searching for information on travel in Costa Rica, I came across this brief list of tips for traveling sustainably in Costa Rica.  What does “traveling sustainably” mean to you?  Is “traveling sustainably” a real possibility or is the phrase an oxymoron?  What resources do you use when planning your travels, with regard to cultural and environmental sustainability?  Please share your thoughts and resources below in the comments section.

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Jun 30, 2013
asfit001

“They say that money makes the world go round – I prefer to say that people make the world go round.”

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In an article about sustainability in the Caribbean, K Denaye Hinds, the Director of Sustainability for OBM International, emphasizes the value – and necessity – of protecting and sharing culture toward both economic health and the broader goals of sustainability.  Hinds also notes that the culture of sustainability itself should be infused into the tourism sector.

Do you think tourism can be a tool of sustainability?  Is so, how?  If not, why not?

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Jun 29, 2013
asfit001

An oral history network for social change

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Another inspirational network worth checking out: Groundswell

Groundswell’s mission is “to build the creativity and power of social justice movements by providing mutual support, training, and resources in the practice of grassroots oral history.”

If you are in the NYC area on July 18, you can meet and mingle with some oral historians, practitioners, and others interested and engaged in efforts of social change through narrative.

Here are the details, as shared by Groundswells’ Amy Starecheski:

When?
Thurs. July 18, 6 – 8 pm

Where?
Washington Square Park, lawn in the southeast section of the park, which backs up on to the stage.

Rain location: Tamiment Archives, NYU. 10th Floor of Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South. Note: You will need to check in at the security desk on the far right when you first enter the building and may be asked for an ID.
What?
A chance to meet NYC-based oral historians and other practitioners using narrative/story methods to spur social change, learn about interesting local work, and socialize. We’ll spend some time hearing about each other’s stories and projects, and also discuss how Groundswellcan best support social justice oral history work in the NYC area.

Please bring some food or drink to share!
Why?
To connect with each other and build momentum for Groundswell, an emerging nationwide network of oral historians, activists, cultural workers, community organizers, and documentary artists that use oral history to further movement building and transformative social change. The mission of Groundswell is to build the creativity and power of social justice movements by providing mutual support, training, and resources in the practice of grassroots oral history. We think potlucks are key to that!

RSVP: On Facebook, if you can. Please feel free to share the event  and invite others: https://www.facebook.com/events/452726038157801/

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May 31, 2013
asfit001

Protection for those who protect our world’s unique treasures

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Conservationist Jairo Mora dedicated his time to protecting endangered leatherback sea turtles from poachers on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.  On May 30th, he was kidnapped and killed while patrolling the beach.
In the wake of his murder, people worldwide are calling for Costa Rica to respond swiftly and send a clear message that conservationists and ecotourists will be supported and protected in their environmental efforts, and threats and acts of violence by poachers will not be tolerated.
To find out more about this call to action and how you can help, please visit the Justice for Jairo page.
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May 20, 2013
asfit001

The “power of culture” for sustainable development

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The UNESCO International Congress of Hangzhou – attended by more than 400 delegates from 81 countries and 20 international organizations – released a declaration that recognizes the critical role of culture.  From poverty reduction and resource management to crisis response and sustainable development, the declaration puts culture at the center of the conversation – particularly where policy is concerned – insisting that culture be more than an afterthought or point of reference; it can and should be seen as a source of strength.

In the words of UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova: “Culture is precisely what enables sustainability – as a source of strength, of values and social cohesion, self esteem and participation. Culture is our most powerful force for creativity and renewal.”
To learn more about the declaration, check out this related article on UNESCO’s website.
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May 1, 2013
asfit001

When worlds collide: Star Wars, the Navajo Nation, and langage revitalization

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Advocates and speakers of indigenous and endangered languages use a variety of methods – from language immersion preschools to radio programs to social media – to perpetuate their mother tongues.  This weekend, the Navajo Nation will add another strategy to that list:  Dub a classic film in a native language.  Fluent speakers interested in becoming the voices of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and the like will gather this weekend in Window Rock, Arizona to audition.  Although the idea came to Manuelito Wheeler, the director of the Navajo Nation Museum, 13 years ago, work on the project began just recently with a team of five Navajo speakers translating the script in preparation for auditions.  Reuters reports that Wheeler and his team are not revealing the translations of popular quotes, but fans of the film and advocates of the language will have a chance to check out the finished product – complete with English subtitles – at the tribe’s Fourth of July celebration in Window Rock and at the Navajo Nation Fair in September.  May the force be with them as they take on this exciting project and continue to perpetuate their language and culture.

What do you think of this approach?  Wheeler mentions that, as one might expect, there are English words and phrases that do not directly translate to Navajo.  Do you think anything is lost in this process?  Does what is gained outweigh the loss?  Comment below or on our Cultural Sustainability Facebook page.

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Goucher's MA in Cultural Sustainability provides students with the training to identify, protect, enhance and work effectively with communities around what makes them unique: their traditions, ways of life, cherished spaces, and vital relationships to each other and the world. Read More

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