Browsing articles in "Uncategorized"
Dec 10, 2013
asfit001

An ancient village, a modern shopping center: Can heritage and development coexist?

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While developers move forward with their plans to build a new shopping complex in downtown Miami, archaeologists are looking back at the history beneath.  They have discovered that the site – one of the last remaining undeveloped lots in the area – was once quite likely a Tequesta village.  Will developers proceed as planned? Or will they see the value in protecting and sharing a piece of the past with future visitors?  Can cultural heritage and development coexist in a way that is mutually beneficial?   Share your thoughts below and find out more about the discovery and the possibilities with NPR’s article here.

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Nov 27, 2013
asfit001

Thanksgiving: The birth of – and questions surrounding – this American tradition

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Many families across the US will gather together tomorrow to feast and give thanks.  But how many have ever questioned the true origins of the Thanksgiving holiday tradition?  Indian Country Today Media asked the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Ramona Peters, to share the Wampanoag side.

As a child, what were you told about the history behind Thanksgiving?  What do you tell your own children?  Do you celebrate this holiday? If so, how?  If not, why not?  Please leave your comments below. 

 
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Oct 31, 2013
asfit001

The problem with “preserving” a living culture

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A fellow MACS graduate posted a link to Jimmy Nelson’s photography project “Before They Pass Away,” and invited thoughts from MACSers and friends.  Certainly, the title alone is enough to spark discussion; the indigenous people that Jimmy photographed are living people with living cultures.  His choice of words suggests that they have no choice, that their path has been decided and he is the “hero,” a self-proclaimed “last visual witness” to capture the images.

An interesting discussion ensued and questions of intention (the trade book he produced sells for $150.00; the collector’s edition for $8,750.00); respect  – of community and culture – particularly when you are the uninvited guest; the possibility of these photos to serve as documentation, in spite of the photographer’s egotistical approach; and authenticity (he directed the photo shoots and on more than one occasion, chose unnatural poses, required traditional dress – even for those that do not typically wear their traditional dress, and asked the people he was photographing to pose in dangerous places where they would not traditionally go, all for the sake of his photos.  The video on his website actually boasts, “Getting them exactly where Jimmy wanted them to be took patience on both sides. Sometimes it took as much as three hours to take just one picture…As always, Jimmy will not accept anything less than perfection. Once he has an image in his mind, it’s best not to stand in his way. He’s on a photographic mission.”)

What do you think of this project?  Is there any value in it?  Please leave your comments below.

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Oct 16, 2013
asfit001

Job search resources

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One of the most common questions I get asked from prospective MACS students and a question that some current students and grads may be asking is this: What kind of careers might a MACS graduate pursue?

I believe the job possibilities are as diverse as the MACS faculty, students, and network.  Just a glimpse into the faculty’s areas of interest and expertise and a quick scan of the research recent grads conducted for their Capstone projects should give you some small indication of the variety of interests, experiences, skills, and knowledge that converge in the MACS program, and some hope for equally diverse career possibilities.

If you are looking for a career related to Cultural Sustainability, here are some places to start:

Idealist 

Opportunity Knocks

Peace and Collaborative Development Network

PreserveNet

 

If you have other job search resources for fellow MACSers, please share them in the comments section below.

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Sep 23, 2013
asfit001

Cultural ingredients to sustainable living

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Is anyone familiar with Bill Pfeiffer?  Attended his Wild Earth Intensives? I came across this article and would love to hear any thoughts you MACSers might have.

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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 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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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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