Previous Events, 2004

Fanaticism: Issues of Definition, Changing Forms and Major Messages
March 24, 2004

Volker Kaiser
Lisa Aronson
Daniel Lefkowitz
Yuri Urbanovich
Holly Donahue

Moderated by R.S. Khare, Center Director

“On the Origins of Fanaticism — Approaching a Definition”
Volker Kaiser, Associate Professor, German Department

The presentation reflects on a variety of social, political, ideological and psychological sources in order to describe and delimit the complex phenomenon of fanaticism. It will draw on several texts from authors representing various disciplines, centuries and nationalities. Among them are Voltaire, Camus, Cannetti, Arendt and Hoffer.

Palestinian Women Suicide Bombers”
Lisa Aronson, J.D., Ph.D., Director of the Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction, School of Medicine, UVa

Lisa Aronson will discuss some of the psychological forces which create the phenomenon of Palestinian women suicide bombers including the concepts of “martyrdom,” traumatized parenting, and religious extremism.

“From Fanatical Fringe to Mainstream Model–and Back?”
Daniel Lefkowitz, Assistant Professor, Departments of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Languages

Drawing on the example of the history of political and religious zealotry in Israel, Daniel Lefkowitz raises the question of what happens when marginalized discourses of fanaticism come to pass for mainstream norms.

“Fanaticism and the inability to mourn large-group traumas:
The case of Chechnya”
Yuri V. Urbanovich, Lecturer, Department of Politics

For almost two centuries since their conquest by the expanding Russian Empire, Chechens have been transmitting accumulated grievances from one generation to another. Recent conflicts between Russia and Chechnya were primed by a revival of traumatic historical memories. This case study demonstrates how, under certain circumstances, unmourned large-group traumas are translated into violent behavior bearing certain features of fanaticism.

“Defining Fanaticism: A South Asian Perspective”
Holly Donahue, Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology

Based on linguistic materials from Hindi and Urdu, Holly Donahue will make suggestions about the historical basis of ideas about fanaticism in South Asia. A South Asian perspective adds different nuances to the concept of fanaticism, as well as offering internal critiques of the phenomenon.

Cultural Lens: Student Photography Showcase
Thursday, April 8, 2004
7:00 PM
Kaleidoscope Center for Cultural Fluency
Newcomb Hall Third Floor, former Informal Lounge

Featuring the Photography of:
Jennifer Beyer, CLAS IV
Amber Marcum, CLAS IV
Leslie White, CLAS III

HIV in Context: Images, Expressions, and Interpretation
October 27, 2004

Lisa J. Stewart
Holly Donahue
Leslie White
Jalan Mandi
Shubha Venkatesh
Nidhi Sachdeva
Prof. Hanan Sabea
Prof. R. S. Khare


“Narratives of Denial: Magic Johnson, National Politics & HIV”
Lisa J. Stewart, Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology

The paper examines the denial of the HIV crisis in the U.S. across class, race and education distinctions through two perspectives. How is it that despite the gaping distance between the positions of wealth and authority of a low-income, uninsured Virginian woman and the Vice President, their perspectives refract and reproduce multiple levels of denial about the epidemic?

“Media and the Complexities of Advocating HIV Awareness in North India”
Holly Donahue, Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology

My presentation will focus on a youth entertainment program produced by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) in Uttar Pradesh, NorthIndia. Given contemporary cultural norms about expressions of sexuality, what challenges did this international team of radio producers face in attempting to bring discussions about HIV into public discourse? I will address issues relating to entertainment value, standards for radio broadcast, and political disagreements about advocating safer sex versus advocating abstinence.

“Hii ni Dunia: Youth perspectives on poverty and HIV in Kigoma, Tanzania”
Leslie White, Undergraduate Student

Leslie White traveled to Tanzania a second time to research the impact of structural adjustment and foreign debts on HIV prevention. She focuses on the problems presented by declining public services such as health are and education, increasing privatization, and urban labor migration. She uses youth street language, sayings, and songs to narrate this context of HIV in Tanzania’s urban centers. Leslie’s aim has been to understand why young people continue to contract the disease despite widespread awareness efforts.

“Understanding Sexuality and Concepts of Adulthood: a Case Study of Ugandan Youth”
Jalan Mandi Washington, Undergraduate Student

I spent approximately 6 weeks in a small village in Uganda working with a UVA alumni and professor of Anthropology at WashingtonUniversity studying sexuality in adolescents. I spent time working with a small focus group at a secondary school, interviewing and shadowing public health officials at non-governmental organizations, at a local hospital, and attended and participated with youth sessions at a Family Planning organization. Participant observation was done at local discos, a concert, and at the Miss Uganda Pageant to get an in depth and personal understanding of the climate in which many youth relationships grow.

“HIV/AIDS in India: The Context of Culture, Poverty and Urban Life”
Nidhi Sachdeva and Shubha Venkatesh, Undergraduate Students

This presentation aims to illuminate truths about the paradigms of traditional Indian culture in relation to sexual diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and how societal stigmas about these diseases are exacerbated through poverty and urbanization. The focus here is on Bangalore, located in the south Indian state of Karnataka, and on the high risk populations of Commercial Sex Workers (CSWs), the migrant trucker population as well as the permeation of HIV/AIDS from these traditionally high risk groups to the general population.

Discussion and Commentary

Assistant Professor Hanan Sabea and Professor Ravindra Khare, Department of Anthropology

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