[URBANTH-L]CPF: Critical Ethnographies of Contemporary U.S. Development

Mark A. Schuller marky at umail.ucsb.edu
Wed Sep 13 14:44:09 EDT 2006

Critical Ethnographies of Contemporary U.S. Development: New Policies,  
Practices and Institutions in the 21st Century

Proposed session for the 67th Annual Society for Applied Anthropology meetings
Tampa, FL

Foreign development in the U.S. has undergone a series of dramatic  
changes during the past few years. New policies have taken root, such  
as the abstinence-oriented AIDS prevention program, for the first time  
open to religious groups, as part of the new President’s Emergency  
Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). “Transformational development”  
accompanies a renewed focus on “fragile states” following the  
President’s National Security address naming development as the third  
pillar in the fight against terrorism. Another change in development  
practice and orientation is “performance-based management,” especially  
for health-related programs. There has been a flowering of new  
development institutions as well, such as the office of the Global  
AIDS Coordinator and the Office for Coordinator for Reconstruction and  
Stabilization (S-CRS), ambassador-level posts in the State Department.  
A new organization, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC),  
implements the focus on transformational development. Finally, in  
January 2006, the Secretary of State announced a reorganization of  
development assistance, naming a new “Director of Foreign Assistance.”

These new programs, policies, and structures have been heralded as  
more effective, responsive, cost-effective and successful, having been  
designed following lessons learned – specifically from failures – of  
the first half-century of the development experience. Are these new  
directions meeting their stated goals? What effects do they have on  
local communities? What are the unforeseen consequences? To date,  
these new directions have not been rigorously analyzed by independent,  
on-the-ground, ethnographic evaluations. This session aims to serve as  
a forum for critical analysis and discussion of contemporary U.S.  
development policies, practices, and institutions, in the spirit of  
generating new tools for policy analysis and evaluation. In addition,  
session participants will be encouraged to explore new approaches for  
community advocacy appropriate to the shifting terrain.

Interested panelists are invited to contact session organizer Mark  
Schuller at marky at umail.ucsb.edu by October 1st with a title and  
general ideas. If selected, panelists will be required to register for  
the SfAA meetings and submit a 100-word abstract by October 15th.

More information about the URBANTH-L mailing list