Opening Plenary - I Can't Breath

Fadwa El Guindi, Ph.D.

Opening Plenary - I Can't Breath, Fadwa El Guindi, Ph.D.

Dr. Fadwa El Guindi, Retiree UCLA, former Distinguished Professor at QU, graduated from the American University in Cairo, Cum Laude, in 1960 which in 2017 honored her as an AUC Distinguished Alumna. El Guindi joined the Social Research Center (AUC), which had embarked on its most significant research project to date, The Ford Foundation-funded Nubian Project, as the then youngest researcher on the team, immersed in Nubia, south of Aswan, doing anthropological fieldwork for an entire year, prior to Nubian relocation due to the High Dam. This was among the largest anthropological expeditions in anthropology history. On the basis of El Guindi's analysis of data she had gathered, which attracted the attention of Fred Eggan and others in the US, the SRC, thanks to the late Laila El Hamamsy, funded her to go to the US to pursue her doctorate in anthropology. At UT, Austin, she followed her 'love' of anthropology by going to Oaxaca for 23 months of total immersion within more than 12 years, with the mentorship of Henry Selby, earning a doctorate in four-field anthropology. She had to resign from SRC to accept the faculty position at UCLA. She holds intensive fieldwork experience in three regions: Nubia, the Zapotec, and the Arabian Gulf. She has published 8 academic books, 3 visual ethnographies, and more than 140 research articles, many of which are published in high impact factor scientific journals, and many public pieces and Op-Eds in major venues, and was interviewed globally. Her publications appeared in English, Arabic, French, Russian, Spanish, Italian, German, and Indonesian. She strongly holds the view that scientific knowledge is critical for our survival as a species.

We are what we are because of social-cultural properties and flexible cognitive abilities. Diluting this into robotic emoticons is seductive but borrowing scientific concepts without understanding and enabling ‘voices’ without rigor is not the path. Technology is made by humans to serve humankind. We cannot humanize technology but we must make it serve us. ِAnthropology has studied the capacity and limitations of human development and achievement. El Guindi is a Fellow & Trustee at World Academy of Art & Science, Research Expert Consultant at Qatar National Research Fund, Qatar Foundation, Qatar, and Associated Scientific Researcher at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization, Bucharest, Romania. She is Founding & Senior Co-Editor of the Journal Kinship. She is former Distinguished Professor at Qatar University.