Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Funding shortage holds back research in culture: Dr Susan Keitumetse

In an interview done with Research Africa concerning anthropology funding, ORI Research Scholar, Dr. Susan Keitumetse, cited lack of funding as making anthropology research a nightmare for scientists. According to her, "the field is not yet regarded as a priority by funding bodies. This is more prevalent in Africa where there is a lack of awareness of its potential to contribute to poverty alleviation (Botswana included).” Topics researched by African anthropologists include the use of cultural heritage to promote the growth of tourism. Leslie Aiello, president of the US based Wenner-Gren Foundation , maintains that the lack of funding is not confined to Africa.“Anthropology does not enjoy the level of funding characteristic of many other disciplines. The great majority of funding that is available is government funding that supports academics in their own countries,” she says. However, funding for projects is critical for raising awareness and interest in the discipline in Africa, Keitumetse says. The question is where to get the money. Most funding in the field is for training. But there are some research funders. The Wenner-Gren Foundation, which specifically funds academic anthropology, spent about US$600,000 on research and conferences in Africa last year. The programme includes the Wadsworth African Fellowships and Research Grants.

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