[URBANTH-L]Reply to need for useful urban anthropology

Art Hansen art.hansen at mindspring.com
Sun May 1 11:06:22 EDT 2005

To my anthropological colleagues:

There are many ways for applied anthropologists to engage in “meaningful” applied anthropology. Admittedly, some projects and interests seem more esoteric than others that appear to be immediately applicable to urban engagement.
Let me draw your attention to a project that is immediately applicable in the US and has been ongoing in a number of urban (and rural) areas in the US for several years. This study is spearheaded by Elzbieta Gozdziak and Susan Martin at the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown and looks at international immigration into “new” settlement sites and the responses of residents, communities, CBOs, NGOs, and authorities in the sites. 
This is a clear expression of globalization in terms of increasing international migration and is having significant impacts in many areas of the US that were previously little impacted by international-multicultural issues. The study has been presented at different SfAA conferences as well as at international conferences and has resulted in one book with more publications forthcoming.
This is really interesting intellectually because of its relevance to many debates and puzzles: the enclave debate, how immigrants reestablish livelihoods, networks, refugee resettlement, differences and similarities in responses among different types of immigrants (refugees, legal, and undocumented), local versus national and community versus agency control of siting new arrivals, etc. This immigration is also of immediate social and political concern. 
In terms of immediate applicability, let me speak only from my personal involvement in this study. I have been the principal investigator for the metropolitan Atlanta region, a place where historically (and still to a great extent) issues of integration are clearly in terms of black and white. However, the terms have shifted and expanded to include a wide variety of other nationalities and languages (especially Spanish), a change that confronts many communities, agencies, and authorities with the necessity to rethink historic precedents. I became involved in this because it became known that I was someone who was actually studying this phenomenon and had statistics and other useful information. Aside from being asked to participate in town meetings and workshops addressing the concerns arising from an increasingly international population, different local and state authorities have been asking me for information and to help them personally prepare to participate in debates and decision-making. 
Art Hansen
Clark Atlanta University
Atlanta GA
art.hansen at mindspring.com

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