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President Carter Endorses New Book

UC Riverside Scholar Edits New Book on Human Rights

Former President Jimmy Carter Provides Praise for the Content and Approach

(April 9, 2004)

Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez Enlarge

Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — UC Riverside Professor of Anthropology Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez has teamed with Carole Nagengast, a fellow anthropologist and human rights leader, to edit a book that merges human rights activism with academic methodology.

Former President Jimmy Carter, a noted human-rights activist himself, has supported the innovative design and content of the work.

The book, Human Rights: The Scholar as Activist, is composed of original work written by anthropologists and human rights researchers using multiple disciplinary approaches in anthropology to better understand human rights issues. Nagengast is professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology of the University of New Mexico, while Vélez-Ibáñez directs UC Riverside’s Ernesto Galarza Applied Research Center. The book, published by The Society for Applied Anthropology, is part of its Monograph Series and scheduled for release April 25th.

“What the book does is to apply multifaceted theoretical and methodological approaches to the question of human rights,” Vélez-Ibáñez said. “The book seeks to give a human face to the issues of human rights by providing case studies from around the world. The work joins a scholarly template with a human rights template to create a different way of approaching central core economic, political, social, and cultural issues in human rights.”

Nagengast, a former Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International, USA, devised the idea for the book, a work the two editors hope will lend more academic credence to human-rights studies, and inspire other academic researchers to investigate human rights issues.

“The subjects stretch from human-rights studies in Bosnia, to studies of the indigenous people of Brazil,” said Vélez-Ibáñez. “We believe that along with the legal, social and political points of view that accompany human-rights issues, it’s absolutely imperative that we also employ rigorous methodologies in these discussions and research.”

In a cover blurb for the book, former President Carter wrote:
“This volume will help to synchronize academic scholarship and human rights activism, inspiring professionals to adopt multi-disciplinary approaches to human rights issues. We at The Carter Center have been committed to blending scholarship and action for more than 20 years. Texts like Human Rights: The Scholar as Activist offer indispensable analysis that will guide human rights scholars and advocates for years to come.”

The book is another in a series of books and projects Vélez-Ibáñez has been involved in since earning his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, San Diego, in 1975. Much of his work has involved contemporary study of Mexican and Mexican-American populations, migration, and in general how humans cope in modern environments affected by so many social and environmental factors.

Vélez-Ibáñez is the author of numerous research articles and five books, including Border Visions: The Cultures of Mexicans of the Southwest United States and Rituals of Marginality: Politics, Process and Culture Change in Central Urban Mexico.

Vélez-Ibáñez served as Presidential Chair in Anthropology at UCR from 2000-2002, and in 2003 was honored with The Bronislaw Malinowski Award by the Society of Applied Anthropology, citing his work as an outstanding social scientist who has dedicated his career to the goal of solving human problems.

He is an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society of Applied Anthropology, and the American Anthropology Association, and former Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford.

Vélez-Ibáñez is now working on two projects in the Coachella Valley, one concerning environmental home-health concerns and another on human assets in the Eastern Coachella Valley.
Book CoverEnlarge

Book Cover

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