El gobernador de Florida declara la antropología una pérdida de tiempo e inversión

Se ha formado un revuelo en el estado de Florida ante las declaraciones sin fundamento del gobernador Rick Scott menospreciando el valor científico y aplicado de la “ciencia de la cultura y de la humanidad”.  En expresiones hechas dos días atrás (http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/scott-florida-doesnt-need-more-anthropology-majors), Scott recalcó que su gobierno no invertiría en el desarrollo de la antropología, pues la misma no ofrece oportunidades de empleo a quien la estudia.  En cambio, sus esfuerzos seguirán dirigidos al desarrollo de las ciencias y las matemáticas.

Inmediatemente, los departamentos de antropología, tanto de universidades públicas como privadas, del estado y la Asociación de Antropología Americana  (AAA) reaccionaron (Anthropologists on the Offensive – University of South Florida), argumentando que las declaraciones de Scott no mostraban sino un desconocimiento inmenso del rol importantísimo que esta disciplina está jugando hoy día en  el desarrollo de estudios científicos e implementación de programas en áreas tan diversas como la medicina, la salud pública, la educación, el urbanismo, el turismo, la ingeniería, el medio ambiente y las ciencias naturales–todo esto sin contar otras tantas contribuciones a discusiones más amplias sobre derechos civiles y humanos, manejo de recursos culturales y diversidad humana (biológica, lingüística y cultural), en el pasado y en el presente.  Igualmente importante son las destrezas y técnicas que la antropología provee a estudiantes y estudiosos de otras disciplinas como son los análisis cultural comparativo, de discurso o de redes, la observación partícipe, y el método etnográfico entre otros.  No es difícil encontrar estudiantes de otras áreas que exalten lo aprendido en sus clases de antropología y compartan la importancia de tales cursos en abrirle los ojos a la complejidad humana, social y cultural.

El ataque de Scott podría descartarse como un error ingenuo de parte de un político que está ajeno a lo que ocurre a su alrededor más allá de sus intereses de campaña (y de bolsillo). Sin embargo, son estos comentarios los que ponen de manifiesto la ideología empresarial que sigue acechando a las universidades públicas alrededor del mundo, muy en especial aquellas áreas académicas que “parecen” no rendir un fruto económico satisfactorio–hoy es la antropología, pero mañana pudiera ser el periodismo, las bellas artes o los estudios latinoamericanos.

Me parece que el problema más grande en esta controversia es la desvalorización de la educación integral y su transformación de un bien social a un bien meramente económico.  Lo que es peor, la comercialización de la educación plantea la compartamentalización del conocimiento en unidades discretas rentables que pueden ser aisladas entre sí para el consumo de los y las ciudadanas.  De tal forma, que dicho producto pueda ser maximizado en el sector laboral–también decidido por las necesidades del mercado.  Sin embargo, esta racionalidad contradice numerosos estudios que muestran la interconectividad del conocimiento tanto a través de la inter-, intra-disciplinariedad, como a través de la síntesis de experiencias compartidas y la resolución de los conflictos que emergen del diálogo entre múltiples perspectivas.

Probablemente el señor Rick Scott no cambie su visión discriminatoria y miope en contra de la antropología y otras disciplinas de “bajo” rendimiento económico, sin embargo, eso no puede desalentar a los y las apasionadas de la disciplina que continúan trabajando para hacer de Florida y otros lugares mejores sociedades.  Por ello, reproduzco aquí una lista de antropólogos y antropólogas formados en la Universidad del Sur de Florida (USF) y los proyectos en los que están involucrados/as.  Esto es solo una pequeña muestra, compilada por los y las estudiantes de USF–somos muchos más!!

Además, aquí les dejo un enlace donde pueden seguir al detalle la cobertura mediática en los pasados días, incluyendo periódicos, blogs y otros medios electrónicos (http://blogs.plos.org/neuroanthropology/2011/10/11/florida-governor-anthropology-not-needed-here/).

Elizabeth McCoy: I am an Archaeologist, trained at the University of South Florida.  My research is on improving how Florida’s State Parks manage and interpret cultural sites located on state lands.  I work directly with park managers, local tourism bureaus, and Department of Environmental Protection officials to develop strategies that will increase park visitation and revenues, decrease park operating costs, and improve the visitor experience for all Floridians.  I use the latest technology to document sites and create a digital presence for Florida’s state parks so we can continue to protect and celebrate some of Florida’s most unique resources. 

Ethel Saryee: I am an anthropologist that has begun work with South Florida Refugees. Florida is the largest refugee relocation center in the United States that currently relocates 27,210 persons annually.  These refugees become Florida residents. Adverse health conditions due to persecution in their home nations puts refugees at higher risk for negative health outcomes such as chronic diseases. I am working with the departments of health to help gather data that will inform programs to help refugees maneuver the complex food systems and barriers in hopes to reduce chronic disease. This is anthropology because I use statistics and people’s voices from the communities to identify the best ways to reduce risky health behaviors and structural barriers. By doing this I hope to decrease the cost and burden of chronic disease for the state of Florida and to increase the quality of life for Florida residents.

Elizabeth Danforth.  I am an Anthropologist trained at the University of South Florida.  I am currently working to create effective services for people with disabilities who have experienced sexual abuse.  People with disabilities have unique cultural and structural factors which define their lives, and risks in regard to sexual violence.  They also have unique healing processes, and unique perspectives on the services they need in response to abuse.  I am currently conducting an ethnographic needs assessment, based in part on methods pioneered by anthropology faculty at the University of South Florida.  The programs developed from this anthropological needs assessment will serve as a national model for disability support organizations and trauma services.   

Carylanna Taylor: I am an Anthropologist, trained at the University of South Florida. I have worked with an interdisciplinary team through the USF Sustainable Communities field school to access hurricane preparedness among mobile home and immigrant populations in Ruskin County. My research with Honduran immigrants in Florida and New York documents the contribution that Floridians make to international community development and natural resource management efforts.

Gina Larsen: I am proud to call myself an Anthropologist, trained at the University of South Florida. I am working on a large-scale grant with other anthropologists, biologists, and geographers, focusing on how the redistribution of groundwater from rural areas of the Tampa Bay region to urban areas affects both humans and the environment (lakes and wetlands). This is anthropology at work because local resident voices are the basis of the research, as in-depth interviews with residents are a key component of our study. Our highly interdisciplinary research team is conducting important work in Florida by measuring the health of local ecosystems and sharing local resident views pertaining to the way our water is managed.

Janelle Christensen:  I am a Medical Anthropologist, trained at U.C. Santa Barbara and the University of South Florida.  My research is on improving hurricane preparedness for families who are caring for someone with dementia in Florida.  I am collaborating with a Florida based agency, Alzheimer’s Community Care, to help caregivers improve their disaster plans.  This is anthropology because I have gone to live and work with the people from whom I want to learn.  I use scientific methods and mathematics in my research design, but I put these findings into context by talking with the people my research is supposed to help.

Jason E. Miller: I am an Anthropologist, trained at the University of South Florida. I moved to Florida specifically because Florida was one of only a few states that offered a degree in Applied Anthropology. In that time, I have received grants, gotten jobs, purchased a house and contributed to the economic success of this state in many other ways. My own research is focused on helping Florida parents, children and families of many different backgrounds experience a better quality of life, a strong education and access to state-of-the-art health care. Anthropologists are uniquely suited to do this kind of work because we work to understand people and the social systems in which they live. In my work, I facilitate conversations between parents, youth, schools, health care providers and other community groups to bring about positive social change. These groups often have similar goals, but do not always speak the same “language.” The work of the anthropologist is to help bring these constituencies together and build a stronger community.  

Maressa Dixon: For nearly a decade, anthropologists at the University of South Florida have been awarded millions of research dollars from the National Science Foundation to conduct research on the reasons students enter and stay in rigorous STEM fields. If STEM education is important, knowing what draws students to these fields and makes them successful is even more-so. Currently our work at the Alliance for Applied Research in Education and Anthropology (USF Tampa), lead by Dr. Kathy Borman, investigates the factors within Florida’s career academies and accelerated programs that influence students’ STEM course-taking throughout high school and into college and career. We talk to people and observe in schools to understand what is working and what needs improvement, and then we combine these findings with statistical analyses of larger populations to understand to what extent these trends are reflected in different areas of the state. In essence, we have dedicated our work to improving the very STEM education programs that have only recently become a priority to policymakers in the state.

Margeaux Chavez:  I am an Anthropologist, trained at the University of South Florida.  I work for the Alliance for Applied Research in Education and Anthropology (AAREA) at USF. As an organization, we collaborate with the Florida Department of Education, United States Department of Education, various Florida school districts, and the National Science Foundation. This organization has created jobs and brought millions of dollars to our communities. Our multi-disciplinary team researches STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) based curricula and programming in the state of Florida from kindergarten through college. This is anthropology because we work as an interdisciplinary team, using qualitative and quantitative scientific methodology to investigate and evaluate the impact of the educational reforms paid for by tax dollars. We use science to help solve the problems facing our communities. The statistics/ data used by Rick Scott to extol the virtues of STEM education at the expense of other disciplines are brought to you by anthropologists. 

Melissa Pope: I am a Biological Anthropologist, trained in Applied Anthropology at the University of South Florida. My research is on estimating the amount of time between when a person dies and when the body is discovered.  This research helps to reconstruct events surrounding unexpected deaths, and is particularly critical in cases of homicide, where the time of death is essential to establishing investigative leads and helping solve a crime. Estimating when a person died is highly dependent on the geographic region and the social context. I collaborate with local law enforcement agencies as well as the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office so that my research will better assist them in forensic investigations within the Tampa Bay area.  All forensic evidence is subject to the judicial system’s high standards for admittance into court. It is imperative that my research is quantified, accurate, reflexive and relevant. Therefore, my research is not only scientific, but also has broader application to the forensic community and the greater public.

Nolan Kline: I am an Anthropologist trained at the University of South Florida.  My research has focused on access to health services among agricultural workers in Florida. I have collaborated with faith-based organizations to understand how they aid needy populations that have few primary care options available to them.  This is anthropology because I look at how non-government organizations help populations that cannot access regular health services.  These populations ultimately visit emergent rooms when their health needs are greatest and most costly.  In my work, I have used structured interview techniques and food security surveys to measure poverty and understand how faith-based organizations provide care to people who cannot afford health insurance, and how these organizations save our entire health system money by treating patents before they end up going to an emergency room.  

Robert Cowherd:  I am a Medical Anthropologist, trained at the University of South Florida. In the past year I have done research with a Florida-based agency that has helped improve access to healthcare for Farmworkers in the state of Florida. This is anthropology because I have worked along side farmworkers and medical practitioners to understand both the needs of the farmworkers and the barriers to care faced by the medical community serving this population.  Using the scientific method, advanced statistics and interviews with farmworkers, nurses and doctors working in the field, I was able to make recommendations that resulted in improved medication distribution and the implementation of a diabetes education program. 

Robert D. Bowers:  I received both my B.A. and my M.A. in Applied Anthropology at the University of South Florida.  I research poverty, race and homelessness.  I have worked on assessing a homeless shelter program to improve outcomes for their clients.  As an applied anthropologist, I am an advocate for the poor and I work to expose and fight racism.  I also have training as an archaeologist and I am currently helping to do bone chemistry analysis on cold-case skeletons found in Hillsborough County. This will help to provide information to identify the individuals and hopefully bring closure to the cases.

Wendy Hathaway: I am an Anthropologist, trained at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida. My current research is on improving health care delivery for veterans at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  This is anthropology because I use anthropological theories and methods to find out what is going on in veteran health care systems from multiple points of view–veterans, health care providers, and key administrators.  I use both qualitative and quantitative methods to help policy makers and health care professionals provide the best care to Florida’s veterans. 

David McCormick:  I am an anthropologist, trained at the University of South Florida who has worked both in the United States and Honduras.  I have worked on various archaeological surveys in conjunction with infrastructure development in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.  My thesis work has explored the applications of existing technology to answer questions of chemical composition.  Working in Honduras I have had the chance to work with the National Government and the Indigenous Community to foster archaeological tourism.  Most recently, I worked as a contractor for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in developing and administering training sessions for adults and adolescents on the subject of “Race” in the United States.

Charlotte Noble: I am an anthropologist trained at the University of South Florida who has worked in Haiti, Costa Rica, South Africa, as well as the state of Florida.  Like others, I came to USF to pursue a degree in Applied Anthropology; this program has a great reputation and is one of the few in the country that offers this degree.  Here in Florida, I have conducted research in a number of areas. I have worked towards understanding breast cancer support groups, as well as learning about stigma and tuberculosis, and how stigma acts as a barrier to getting treatment. Most recently, I am researching reasons for participating in a federally funded evaluation of a positive youth development program that seeks to decrease teen pregnancy, drop-out, and  uspension rates.  This is anthropology because understanding how people make health related decisions has the potential to improve the health and well-being of people in this state.

Publicado el octubre 12, 2011 en Educacion, Yo opino y etiquetado en , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Guarda el enlace permanente. 1 comentario.

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