A&S in the News: August 8-14, 2021

Vaccine Hesitancy

The vaccinated are angry. That’s understandable but unproductive, health experts say: USA Today – Aug. 8

“If you’re going to call me an idiot … that isn’t encouragement,” Stephanie McClure, an assistant professor of biocultural medical anthropology at the University of Alabama, told USA TODAY. “You usually don’t get anywhere by attacking people.” Shaming and insulting people is “not a very effective way to promote adoption of a behavior,” said McClure, who leads the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, team for CommuniVax, a national alliance advocating for historically underserved Black, Indigenous and Latino populations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yahoo! News
Texas Today
Becker’s Hospital Review

Religiosity & Vaccinations

Archibald: The South is in need of saving: Al.com – Aug. 8

Alabama and Mississippi tied for No. 1 in a Pew Research study of religiosity a few years ago. The survey found 77 percent of Alabamians considered themselves highly religious, even if they don’t always act like it. Alabama was No. 1 – Mississippi second – in percentage of adults who said religion was “very important in their lives.” Those two states have also battled it out in recent weeks to see who would be last in percentage of COVID-19 vaccinations. It’s neck and neck. So in the meantime we’re up to all our necks in COVID-19 and hospitalizations and pandemic déjà vu. It’s not so simple as a one-to-one comparison, said Michael Altman, an associate professor of Religious Studies at The University of Alabama. But over the last few years especially, issues such as vaccine skepticism have been “stitched into the fabric of social identity” for many conservative Christians. It is a powerful force.

Succulent Poaching

Millennial ‘plant moms’ are being blamed for illegal succulent poaching across Africa: Business Insider – Aug. 9

Millenials’ obsession with houseplants may be linked to criminal heists of wild plants around the world, The Telegraph reported on Sunday…. “It is important in studies of illicit economies to be careful in how we characterize these trades and who is driving demand,” Jared Margulies, a political ecology professor at The University of Alabama, told Insider. Margulies said that the increase in illegal succulent poaching has been accelerated by social media’s ability to connect buyers and sellers.
Markets Insider
Yahoo! News
Architectural Digest
…and others

U.S. Interventionism

The complicated case of U.S. meddling in the Middle East: Inkstick – Aug. 10

The biggest explosion of instability happened soon after the Arab Spring, when several revolutions devolved into civil war. There are many different reasons why several countries spun out of control at the same time, but US interventionism had a lot to do with it. As The University of Alabama’s Waleed Hazbun argues, neoconservatives’ failed attempt to create a new regional order through the Iraq War allowed “processes of state erosion and territorial fragmentation” to spread out of control. Weapons flowed into the region, US rivals became more paranoid, and militant movements had plenty of space to build their underground networks.

Literary Hub

Watch: Nana Nkweti in conversation with Novuyo Rosa Tshuma: Literary Hub – Aug. 12

Nana Nkweti is a Caine Prize finalist and alumna of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has garnered fellowships from MacDowell, Kimbilio, Ucross, and the Wurlitzer Foundation, among others. She is a professor of English at The University of Alabama.