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Keeping Time: Genes, Wives, and History in Yanomami Blood Collections and the Debates about Them
Feb 21, 2008
from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
|Where||Berg Auditorium, 100 Life Sciences Building|
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Professor of Anthropology and Latin American Studies, University of Maryland
Janet Chernela is Professor of Anthropology and Latin American Studies at the University of Maryland. Dr. Chernela has conducted fieldwork among indigenous peoples in the Brazilian Amazon for over twenty-five years and is author of the book, The Wanano Indians of the Brazilian Amazon: A Sense of Space, as well as sixty articles on issues of indigenous rights and conservation policy, gender identity and language. Chernela was recently appointed to the Commission on Human Rights and Social Justice of the Society for Applied Anthropology, and elected a fellow of the same society. She is former Chair of the Committee for Human Rights of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and was appointed to the Association's Commission on Indigenous People. In 2000 Dr. Chernela was appointed to the AAA Task Force to look into allegations regarding research activities among the Yanomami of Venezuela and Brazil.
Keeping Time: Genes, Wives, and History in Yanomami Blood Collections and the Debates About Them
In this presentation I problematize the idea of the "past" in order to consider it within the contexts of differing perspectives and interests. The discussion draws examples from three cases of blood collection among the indigenous Yanomami of Brazil and Venezuela. The first is the much debated collection, made by reputable research scientists Neel and Chagnon in the 1960s. The second and third are cases of recent collections made by Yanomami nurses and medical NGOs, respectively, for purposes of health care. The paper raises a number of ethical and philosophical questions regarding the past, its meanings, and claims to it.