Darkness in El Dorado Controversy - A Decade Later

Napoleon Chagnon Speaking with Yanomami Community Members

I participated in a session about the Darkness in El Dorado controversy, “Yanomami Controversy, A Decade Later”, at the 2010 American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings, in New Orleans. Below find the description of the session (from the AAA web site), links to the papers (a work in progress) and a movie of the entire session.

Please note that the times in brackets [ ] are for the movie on the next page. Items in italic were not listed in the program, but are here to aid viewing the movie. The links for the presenters name point to their paper or slides.

Program Number: 4-0220
Type: Invited Roundtable Session
Session Title: History and Education in the Circulation of Ethnographic Knowledge in the Amazon: the Yanomami Controversy, a Decade Later.
Session Sponsor: American Ethnological Society & Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
Session Date/Time: Sat., 8:00 AM-11:45 AM
Location: Nottoway, Fourth Floor, Sheraton
Organizer(s): Leda Martins (Pitzer College), Terence Turner (General Anthropology)
Chair(S): R Brian Ferguson (Rutgers the State University of New Jersey-Newark)

8:00 AM [00:00:10]: Introduction: R Brian Ferguson (Rutgers the State University of New Jersey-Newark)
8:15 AM [00:19:20]: Presenter: James Peacock (University of North Carolina)
–:– — [00:27:42]: Discussion: James Peacock
8:30 AM [00:34:23]: Presenter: Leda Martins (Pitzer College)
–:– — [00:51:20]: Discussion: R Brian Ferguson and Leda Martins
9:15 AM [00:59:26]: Presenter: Douglas Hume (Northern Kentucky University)
9:30 AM [01:04:43]: Presenter: Dean Saitta (University of Denver)
9:45 AM [01:23:00]: Presenter: Leslie Sponsel (University of Hawaii)
–:– — [01:42:40]: Discussion: Douglas Hume, Dean Saitta and Leslie Sponel
–:– — [02:04:21]: Break: –

10:30 AM [02:13:56]: Presenter: Julie Skurski (City University of New York-Graduate Center)
10:45 AM [02:30:21]: Presenter: Kathleen Lowrey (University of Alberta)
11:00 AM [02:48:32]: Presenter: Terence Turner (General Anthropology)
–:– — [03:13:08]: Discussion: Julie Skurski, Kathleen Lowrey and Terence Turner
11:45 AM [4:00:12]: End of Session –

Abstract: More than a decade has elapsed since the AAA was first confronted by allegations of harmful and unethical conduct toward the Yanomami by anthropologists, human geneticists, and medical researchers. In the ensuing years the responses to the proliferating scandal, both of official AAA leadership and the membership at large, have taken various forms, both of action and inaction, with mixed results. There has recently been a renewed interest in the topic, within and outside academia. This roundtable seeks to open a forum for professional anthropologists to evaluate the controversy through different angles: looking at the flow of perspectives and knowledge generated by the controversy in relation to other historical controversies, to professional ethics, to studies with human and non-human subjects, and to institutional constraints and responsibilities. The session has a dual goal: (1) to bring together experts on different areas to generate fresh understandings of the underlying ethical praxis issues raised by this case and the ensuing controversy, and (2) to consider the intersects between this historical case and general ethical/praxis issues currently confronting the discipline. The roundtable seeks to make a significant contribution to rigorous conceptualizations of current and future research in the Amazon, among indigenous peoples and to foster a constructive discussion on human rights in general.