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Nancy Gibson Presents at Anthropology Conference

Interdisciplinary studies alum Nancy Gibson presented a paper at the Society for Applied Anthropology annual conference in March 2012.

Gibson joined colleagues from University of Massachussetts-Amherst, University of South Carolina, Central Michigan University, New Mexico State University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania for a panel discussion titled, What Are NGOs Really Doing?

Gibson's presentation was titled Junk for Jesus: The Commodified Gift, Donation in a Global Economy.


Donations of used medical equipment cross the borders and boundaries of countries every day. NGOs promote this as delivering healthcare to the developing world. Much of what is received is broken, obsolete or inappropriate. These "donations" have financial and environmental costs that are paid for by the recipient organizations/countries; while the donors benefit through charitable tax deductions. Many of these items can be classified as e-waste containing neurotoxins that should be disposed of as hazardous waste rather than in open air landfills. This paper proposes a tool to analysis the costs of these donations.

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