Monday, March 26, 2012

Kumarian Press Preps for SFAA and ISA This Week

Hi KP Readers,

We are excited to once again attend the Society for Applied Anthropology meeting this week from March 29 - 31st in Baltimore, MD. This year's meeting invites advocates, activists, policy makers, scholars and researchers to respond creatively to the 2012 program theme, “Bays, Boundaries, and Borders."

For the first time, SFAA is hosting a book launch for first time authors, or authors who have a newly released publication looking to be showcased. This week, we will have two KP authors joining the SFAA Book Launch on March 30th: Christine Ho and James Loucky of Humane Migration and Mark Schuller of Tectonic Shifts. The authors will have five minutes to present about their book and will have plenty of copies available for buyers to purchase and get signed by the authors. This event is for attendees only, and will be an hour long begining at 7pm.

On March 28th, Mark Schuller will also be at Coppin State University in Baltimore, MD for a book signing and lecture. The book retails for $24.95, but we will offer it at 20% off for attendees. This is a free, public event. For directions and more information, click here.

KP will dive into April by attending the ISA conference in San Diego on April 1 st through the 4th. We will have plenty of books for attendees to discover, and offer a special 30% discounted rate for attendees. If you plan on being in the area, register and stop by our booth!

We are looking forward to meeting our readers at all of these wonderful events. See you soon!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Guest Author Posting By Mark Schuller and Pablo Morales: The Inside Scoop into Haiti After the Earthquake

To date, half a million Haitians displaced by the 2010 earthquake still live in camps, and at least half the rubble from destroyed buildings and infrastructure remains to be cleared. Much of the money pledged for reconstruction has yet to be spent, and the exclusion of Haitians from decision-making means there is little transparency and accountability around existing relief and reconstruction programs. Meanwhile, the United Nations has refused to admit that it is responsible for a cholera outbreak that has killed over 7,000 Haitians. And on the political front, the United States undermined Haitian democracy in March 2011 by supporting flawed elections in Haiti and used threats to overturn the results.

On Saturday, March 17, the editors and two contributors to Tectonic Shifts: Haiti Since the Earthquake will hold a panel at the Left Forum in New York that will address these problems. Titled “Accountability in Post-earthquake Haiti: Reconstruction Failures and the UN’s Cholera Problem,” the panel will feature presentations from Melinda Miles of the Let Haiti Live project at the TransAfrica Forum, Manolia Charlotin of the Boston Haitian Reporter, Alex Main of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and CUNY professor and Tectonic Shifts co-editor Mark Schuller. It will be moderated by Tectonic Shifts co-editor Pablo Morales.

The presentations will include new research as well as draw upon the chapters in Tectonic Shifts that deal with the politics of the reconstruction process. Like the book, the panel will concentrate on putting the earthquake and its aftermath in its historical and political context—even before the earthquake, the Haitian people and their economy had been devastated by foreign intervention and neoliberal economic policies imposed by the United States and other powers. As the editors note in the introduction, “Understanding the disaster means understanding not only the tectonic fault lines running beneath Haiti but also the deep economic, political, social, and
historical cleavages within and surrounding the country.”

What people see and how they understand the earthquake and its aftermath are largely determined by where they stand, their point of view. The story of Haiti’s earthquake has been told and retold in tens of thousands of blog entries, news stories, YouTube videos, and at least 10 English-language books. Given the inequalities that marginalize Haiti, particularly the poor majority, the points of view presented to date are dominated by white, foreign do-gooders, either volunteer missions or professional humanitarians. Their stories necessarily celebrate their good intentions and minimize and even denigrate the contribution of Haitians, while also often failing to fully and accurately report the many difficulties that too many Haitians still face.

Tectonic Shifts aims to fill this gap. Bringing together 46 individually and collectively authored pieces. Tectonic Shifts addresses the various levels of the emerging disaster that tend to get overlooked, ignored, or suppressed. Half of the contributors herein are Haitians—scholars, journalists, and activists— who were living in Haiti before, during, and after the earthquake. The three sections that make up the book focus, respectively, on the geopolitical structures that Haiti is a part of, the on-the-ground realities following the earthquake, and the social movements that have emerged since the disaster.

Upcoming events:

Coppin State University book lecture and signing- Baltimore, MD, March 28th

SFAA Book Launch and Kumarian Press booth signing - Baltimore, MD, March 28th

Monday, March 12, 2012

Japan Marks One Year Since Earthquake/Tsunami

Sunday, March 11, 2012 marked the one year anniversary of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Tokyo, Japan that left 16,000 dead and 3,000 missing.

On 2:46pm, local time, residents of Japan congregated at a shrine in a downtown theater to bow their heads in silence, many praying with tears streaming down their faces.

At the main event, the Prime Minister made his remarks infront of grieving patriots with the emperor in attendance, recovering from surgery:

"A lot of lives were lost ... I feel the grieving families' pain and I cannot express my sorrow enough."

Those loved and lost were honored, many said to be firefighters.

"On the surface, it is business as usual," said Nicky Washida, a British expatriate who's lived in Japan for 10 years. "We wake up, we go to work, we shop for dinner. We drink, we laugh, we care for our children. But running underneath the veneer of normality is the constant reminder that life has changed."

The event also marked the world's worst nuclear crisis in a quarter century, as a nuclear facitility was knocked offline, leading toward a meltdown chain of three reactors leaking chemical fumes into the air and contaminating water in the ocean.

Even one year later, Japan is far from the clear, with 100,000 individuals still displaced from their homes. But, they remain optimistic that they will overcome.

To read CNN's article on Japan's earthquake, visit this link.

To learn more about the 21st century's worst disasters, read Tectonic Shifts: Haiti Since the Earthquake and Dual Disasters: Humanitarian Aid After the 2004 Tsunami.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tectonic Shifts Makes Airwaves

Listen to a podcast segment with Mark Schuller, author of the new Kumarian Press release Tectonic Shifts. This is brought to you by CUNY College in New York.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the topic, book, or both!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Indian Baby Beat Down By Beaten Teen

In a New Delhi hospital, a two-year-old girl is fighting for her life as she lays in a hospital bed with severe head injuries and blows to her body the color of eggplant.

The young girl was brought in by a 14-year-old teen who claimed to be the biological mother. She admitted to slapping the child three or four times when the baby wouldn't stop crying and even went as far as biting her in the arm.

Her condition remains critical, said Dr. Sumit Sinha of the India Institute of Medical Sciences. No one knows whether she will survive or if she does, whether she will live with permanent brain damage.

This child's story is dark. The teen who found the child is the abused daughter of an alcoholic father. She ran away from home in June to get away from his violent beatings - often with a stick. She found and brought home the baby in November.

"She told authorities two people, Sandeep and Arti, forced her into a life of prostitution; that Sandeep allegedly raped her first for three days before he found her customers, according CNN-IBN. Months later, the girl met a man named Rajkumar and the two began living together in a New Delhi slum. Police suspect he, too, was sexually abusing the girl." (CNN Story: Indian Baby's Case Opens Door into a Dark World)

In the western state of Rajasthan, police eventually tracked down Munni, 22, the woman believed to be the baby's biological mother. "She had been abandoned by her first husband and sold off in marriage when she was 16 to a young man from a Rajasthani village, Sharma said. She was valued at $6,000, according to The Times of India."

Munni's son is nowhere to be found and her other daughter is somewhere in the state of Bihar.

"This sort of thing happens all too often, Prasad of the Child Welfar Committee said, and sadly, flies under the radar of a majority of India's 1.2 billion people."

This story is similar to the one told in Reluctant Bedfellows by Susan Dewey, and the video in Hollow Bodies.