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Foreman, Cogent Chemistry, Reactor accident chemistry an update, , Foster Charles Wagley Anthony F. Early in life, he displayed a penchant for both nature and natural sciences. From Totems to Teachers New York: Thus, his emphasis on culture as a context for meaningful action made him sensitive to individual variation within a society William Henry Holmes suggested a similar point in an paper, "Origin and development of form and ornament in ceramic art", although unlike Boas he did not develop the ethnographic and theoretical implications.
Boas's biometric studies, however, led him to question the use of this method and kind of data. In a speech to anthropologists in Berlin in , Boas argued that at best such statistics could only raise biological questions, and not answer them.
It was in this context that anthropologists began turning to genetics as a basis for any understanding of biological variation. Boas also contributed greatly to the foundation of linguistics as a science in the United States. He published many descriptive studies of Native American languages, and wrote on theoretical difficulties in classifying languages, and laid out a research program for studying the relations between language and culture which his students such as Edward Sapir , Paul Rivet , and Alfred Kroeber followed.
His article "On Alternating Sounds", however, made a singular contribution to the methodology of both linguistics and cultural anthropology. It is a response to a paper presented in by Daniel Garrison Brinton , at the time a professor of American linguistics and archeology at the University of Pennsylvania. Brinton observed that in the spoken languages of many Native Americans, certain sounds regularly alternated.
This is clearly not a function of individual accents; Brinton was not suggesting that some individuals pronounced certain words differently from others. He was arguing that there were many words that, even when repeated by the same speaker, varied considerably in their vocalization.
Using evolutionary theory , Brinton argued that this pervasive inconsistency was a sign of linguistic inferiority, and evidence that Native Americans were at a low stage in their evolution. Boas was familiar with what Brinton was talking about; he had experienced something similar during his research in Baffin Island and in the Pacific Northwest. Nevertheless, he argued that "alternating sounds" is not at all a feature of Native American languages—indeed, he argued, they do not really exist.
Rather than take alternating sounds as objective proof of different stages in cultural evolution, Boas considered them in terms of his longstanding interest in the subjective perception of objective physical phenomena. He also considered his earlier critique of evolutionary museum displays. There, he pointed out that two things artifacts of material culture that appear to be similar may, in fact, be quite different.
In this article, he raises the possibility that two things sounds that appear to be different may, in fact, be the same. In short, he shifted attention to the perception of different sounds. Boas begins by raising an empirical question: He immediately establishes that he is not concerned with cases involving perceptual deficit—the aural equivalent of color-blindness.
He points out that the question of people who describe one sound in different ways is comparable to that of people who describe different sounds in one way. This is crucial for research in descriptive linguistics: People may pronounce a word in a variety of ways and still recognize that they are using the same word. The issue, then, is not "that such sensations are not recognized in their individuality" in other words, people recognize differences in pronunciations ; rather, it is that sounds "are classified according to their similarity" in other words, that people classify a variety of perceived sounds into one category.
A comparable visual example would involve words for colors. The English word "green" can be used to refer to a variety of shades, hues, and tints. But there are some languages that have no word for " green ". This is not an example of color-blindness—people can perceive differences in color, but they categorize similar colors in a different way than English speakers.
Boas applied these principles to his studies of Inuit languages. Researchers have reported a variety of spellings for a given word. In the past, researchers have interpreted this data in a number of ways—it could indicate local variations in the pronunciation of a word, or it could indicate different dialects.
Boas argues an alternative explanation: It is not that English speakers are physically incapable of perceiving the sound in question; rather, the phonetic system of English cannot accommodate the perceived sound. Although Boas was making a very specific contribution to the methods of descriptive linguistics, his ultimate point is far reaching: In other words, the perceptual categories of Western researchers may systematically cause a Westerner to misperceive or to fail to perceive entirely a meaningful element in another culture.
As in his critique of Otis Mason's museum displays, Boas demonstrated that what appeared to be evidence of cultural evolution was really the consequence of unscientific methods and a reflection of Westerners' beliefs about their own cultural superiority. This point provides the methodological foundation for Boas's cultural relativism: The essence of Boas's approach to ethnography is found in his early essay on "The Study of Geography".
There he argued for an approach that. When Boas's student Ruth Benedict gave her presidential address to the American Anthropological Association in , she reminded anthropologists of the importance of this idiographic stance by quoting literary critic A.
This orientation led Boas to promote a cultural anthropology characterized by a strong commitment to. Boas argued that in order to understand "what is"—in cultural anthropology, the specific cultural traits behaviors, beliefs, and symbols —one had to examine them in their local context.
He also understood that as people migrate from one place to another, and as the cultural context changes over time, the elements of a culture, and their meanings, will change, which led him to emphasize the importance of local histories for an analysis of cultures. Thus, Boas's student Robert Lowie once described culture as a thing of "shreds and patches". Boas and his students understood that as people try to make sense of their world they seek to integrate its disparate elements, with the result that different cultures could be characterized as having different configurations or patterns.
But Boasians also understood that such integration was always in tensions with diffusion, and any appearance of a stable configuration is contingent see Bashkow During Boas's lifetime, as today, many Westerners saw a fundamental difference between modern societies, which are characterized by dynamism and individualism, and traditional societies which are stable and homogeneous. Boas's empirical field research, however, led him to argue against this comparison.
For example, his essay, "Decorative Designs of Alaskan Needlecases: Museum", provides another example of how Boas made broad theoretical claims based on a detailed analysis of empirical data. After establishing formal similarities among the needlecases, Boas shows how certain formal features provide a vocabulary out of which individual artisans could create variations in design.
Thus, his emphasis on culture as a context for meaningful action made him sensitive to individual variation within a society William Henry Holmes suggested a similar point in an paper, "Origin and development of form and ornament in ceramic art", although unlike Boas he did not develop the ethnographic and theoretical implications.
In a programmatic essay in , "The Methods of Ethnology", Boas argued that instead of "the systematic enumeration of standardized beliefs and customs of a tribe", anthropology needs to document "the way in which the individual reacts to his whole social environment, and to the difference of opinion and of mode of action that occur in primitive society and which are the causes of far-reaching changes".
Boas argued that attention to individual agency reveals that "the activities of the individual are determined to a great extent by his social environment, but in turn, his own activities influence the society in which he lives and may bring about modifications in a form". Consequently, Boas thought of culture as fundamentally dynamic: All cultural forms rather appear in a constant state of flux Having argued against the relevance of the distinction between literate and non-literate societies as a way of defining anthropology's object of study, Boas argued that non-literate and literate societies should be analyzed in the same way.
Nineteenth-century historians had been applying the techniques of philology to reconstruct the histories of, and relationships between, literate societies. In order to apply these methods to non-literate societies, Boas argued that the task of fieldworkers is to produce and collect texts in non-literate societies.
This took the form not only of compiling lexicons and grammars of the local language, but of recording myths, folktales, beliefs about social relationships and institutions, and even recipes for local cuisine.
In order to do this, Boas relied heavily on the collaboration of literate native ethnographers among the Kwakiutl, most often George Hunt , and he urged his students to consider such people valuable partners, inferior in their standing in Western society, but superior in their understanding of their own culture.
Using these methods, Boas published another article in , in which he revisited his earlier research on Kwakiutl kinship. In the late s, Boas had tried to reconstruct transformation in the organization of Kwakiutl clans, by comparing them to the organization of clans in other societies neighboring the Kwakiutl to the north and south. Now, however, he argued against translating the Kwakiutl principle of kin groups into an English word. Instead of trying to fit the Kwakiutl into some larger model, he tried to understand their beliefs and practices in their own terms.
For example, whereas he had earlier translated the Kwakiutl word numaym as "clan", he now argued that the word is best understood as referring to a bundle of privileges, for which there is no English word. Men secured claims to these privileges through their parents or wives, and there were a variety of ways these privileges could be acquired, used, and transmitted from one generation to the next. As in his work on alternating sounds, Boas had come to realize that different ethnological interpretations of Kwakiutl kinship were the result of the limitations of Western categories.
As in his work on Alaskan needlecases, he now saw variation among Kwakiutl practices as the result of the play between social norms and individual creativity. Before his death in , he appointed Helen Codere to edit and publish his manuscripts about the culture of the Kwakiutl people.
Franz Boas was an immensely influential figure throughout the development of folklore as a discipline. At first glance, it might seem that his only concern was for the discipline of anthropology—after all, he fought for most of his life to keep folklore as a part of anthropology. Yet Boas was motivated by his desire to see both anthropology and folklore become more professional and well-respected. Boas was afraid that if folklore was allowed to become its own discipline the standards for folklore scholarship would be lowered.
This, combined with the scholarships of "amateurs", would lead folklore to be completely discredited, Boas believed. In order to further professionalize folklore, Boas introduced the strict scientific methods which he learned in college to the discipline.
Boas championed the use of exhaustive research, fieldwork, and strict scientific guidelines in folklore scholarship. Boas believed that a true theory could only be formed from thorough research and that even once you had a theory it should be treated as a "work in progress" unless it could be proved beyond doubt.
This rigid scientific methodology was eventually accepted as one of the major tenets of folklore scholarship, and Boas's methods remain in use even today. Boas also nurtured many budding folklorists during his time as a professor, and some of his students are counted among the most notable minds in folklore scholarship.
Boas was passionate about the collection of folklore and believed that the similarity of folktales amongst different folk groups was due to dissemination. Boas strove to prove this theory, and his efforts produced a method for breaking a folktale into parts and then analyzing these parts.
His creation of "catch-words" allowed for categorization of these parts, and the ability to analyze them in relation to other similar tales. Boas also fought to prove that not all cultures progressed along the same path, and that non-European cultures, in particular, were not primitive, but different.
Boas remained active in the development and scholarship of folklore throughout his life. He became the editor of the Journal of American Folklore in , regularly wrote and published articles on folklore often in the Journal of American Folklore , and helped to elect Louise Pound as president of the American Folklore Society in Boas was known for passionately defending what he believed to be right.
Many social scientists in other disciplines often agonize over the legitimacy of their work as "science" and consequently emphasize the importance of detachment, objectivity, abstraction, and quantifiability in their work. Perhaps because Boas, like other early anthropologists, was originally trained in the natural sciences, he and his students never expressed such anxiety.
Moreover, he did not believe that detachment, objectivity, and quantifiability was required to make anthropology scientific. Since the object of study of anthropologists is different from the object of study of physicists, he assumed that anthropologists would have to employ different methods and different criteria for evaluating their research.
Thus, Boas used statistical studies to demonstrate the extent to which variation in data is context-dependent, and argued that the context-dependent nature of human variation rendered many abstractions and generalizations that had been passing as scientific understandings of humankind especially theories of social evolution popular at the time in fact unscientific.
His understanding of ethnographic fieldwork began with the fact that the objects of ethnographic study e. More importantly, he viewed the Inuit as his teachers, thus reversing the typical hierarchical relationship between scientist and object of study. This emphasis on the relationship between anthropologists and those they study—the point that, while astronomers and stars; chemists and elements; botanists and plants are fundamentally different, anthropologists and those they study are equally human—implied that anthropologists themselves could be objects of anthropological study.
Although Boas did not pursue this reversal systematically, his article on alternating sounds illustrates his awareness that scientists should not be confident about their objectivity, because they too see the world through the prism of their culture. This emphasis also led Boas to conclude that anthropologists have an obligation to speak out on social issues.
Boas was especially concerned with racial inequality , which his research had indicated is not biological in origin, but rather social. Boas is credited as the first scientist to publish the idea that all people—including white and African-Americans—are equal. An early example of this concern is evident in his commencement address to Atlanta University , at the invitation of W. Boas began by remarking that "If you did accept the view that the present weakness of the American Negro, his uncontrollable emotions, his lack of energy, are racially inherent, your work would still be noble one".
He then went on, however, to argue against this view. To the claim that European and Asian civilizations are, at the time, more advanced than African societies, Boas objected that against the total history of humankind, the past two thousand years is but a brief span. Moreover, although the technological advances of our early ancestors such as taming fire and inventing stone tools might seem insignificant when compared to the invention of the steam engine or control over electricity, we should consider that they might actually be even greater accomplishments.
Boas then went on to catalogue advances in Africa, such as smelting iron, cultivating millet, and domesticating chickens and cattle, that occurred in Africa well before they spread to Europe and Asia evidence now suggests that chickens were first domesticated in Asia; the original domestication of cattle is under debate.
He then described the activities of African kings, diplomats, merchants, and artists as evidence of cultural achievement. From this, he concluded, any social inferiority of Negroes in the United States cannot be explained by their African origins:.
Boas proceeds to discuss the arguments for the inferiority of the "Negro race", and calls attention to the fact that they were brought to the Americas through force. For Boas, this is just one example of the many times conquest or colonialism has brought different peoples into an unequal relation, and he mentions "the conquest of England by the Normans, the Teutonic invasion of Italy, [and] the Manchu conquest of China" as resulting in similar conditions.
But the best example, for Boas, of this phenomenon is that of the Jews in Europe:. Boas's closing advice is that African-Americans should not look to whites for approval or encouragement because people in power usually take a very long time to learn to sympathize with people out of power. Do not look for the impossible, but do not let your path deviate from the quiet and steadfast insistence on full opportunities for your powers. Despite Boas's caveat about the intractability of white prejudice, he also considered it the scientist's responsibility to argue against white myths of racial purity and racial superiority and to use the evidence of his research to fight racism.
Boas was also critical of one nation imposing its power over others. Although Boas did begin the letter by protesting bitter attacks against German-Americans at the time of the war in Europe, most of his letter was a critique of American nationalism. For this reason, one-sided nationalism, that is so often found nowadays, is to be unendurable.
Although Boas felt that scientists have a responsibility to speak out on social and political problems, he was appalled that they might involve themselves in disingenuous and deceitful ways.
Thus, in , when he discovered that four anthropologists, in the course of their research in other countries, were serving as spies for the American government, he wrote an angry letter to The Nation.
It is perhaps in this letter that he most clearly expresses his understanding of his commitment to science:. Although Boas did not name the spies in question, he was referring to a group led by Sylvanus G. Morley ,  who was affiliated with Harvard University's Peabody Museum.
While conducting research in Mexico , Morley and his colleagues looked for evidence of German submarine bases, and collected intelligence on Mexican political figures and German immigrants in Mexico.
Boas's stance against spying took place in the context of his struggle to establish a new model for academic anthropology at Columbia University. Previously, American anthropology was based at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and the Peabody Museum at Harvard, and these anthropologists competed with Boas's students for control over the American Anthropological Association and its flagship publication American Anthropologist. When the National Academy of Sciences established the National Research Council in as a means by which scientists could assist the United States government to prepare for entry into the war in Europe, competition between the two groups intensified.
Holmes who had gotten the job of Director at the Field Museum for which Boas had been passed over 26 years earlier , was appointed to head the NRC; Morley was a protégé of Holmes. When Boas's letter was published, Holmes wrote to a friend complaining about "the Prussian control of anthropology in this country" and the need to end Boas's "Hun regime". Members of the American Anthropological Association among whom Boas was a founding member in , meeting at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard with which Morley, Lothrop, and Spinden were affiliated , voted by 20 to 10 to censure Boas.
The AAA's censure of Boas was not rescinded until Boas continued to speak out against racism and for intellectual freedom. When the Nazi Party in Germany denounced " Jewish Science " which included not only Boasian Anthropology but Freudian psychoanalysis and Einsteinian physics , Boas responded with a public statement signed by over 8, other scientists, declaring that there is only one science, to which race and religion are irrelevant.
This organization was originally dedicated to fostering friendly relations between American and German and Austrian scientists and for providing research funding to German scientists who had been adversely affected by the war,  and to help scientists who had been interned.
Boas helped these scientists not only to escape but to secure positions once they arrived. He also wrote an article in The American Mercury arguing that there were no differences between Aryans and non-Aryans and the German government should not base its policies on such a false premise. Boas, and his students such as Melville J. Herskovits one of Franz Boas's students pointed out that the health problems and social prejudices encountered by these children Rhineland Bastards and their parents explained what Germans viewed as racial inferiority was not due to racial heredity.
Boas are in part quite ingenious, but in the field of heredity Mr. Boas is by no means competent" even though "a great number of research projects at the KWI-A which had picked up on Boas' studies about immigrants in New York had confirmed his findings—including the study by Walter Dornfeldt about Eastern European Jews in Berlin.
Fischer resorted to polemic simply because he had no arguments to counter the Boasians' critique. Between and , Columbia University produced seven PhDs in anthropology. Although by today's standards this is a very small number, at the time it was sufficient to establish Boas's Anthropology Department at Columbia as the preeminent anthropology program in the country. Moreover, many of Boas's students went on to establish anthropology programs at other major universities. Boas's first doctoral student at Columbia was Alfred L.
Kroeber ,  who, along with fellow Boas student Robert Lowie , started the anthropology program at the University of California, Berkeley. He also trained William Jones , one of the first Native American Indian anthropologists the Fox nation who was killed while conducting research in the Philippines in , and Albert B. Boas also trained a number of other students who were influential in the development of academic anthropology: Frank Speck who trained with Boas but received his PhD.
He also trained John R. Swanton who studied with Boas at Columbia for two years before receiving his doctorate from Harvard in , Paul Radin , Ruth Benedict , Gladys Reichard who had begun teaching at Barnard College in and was later promoted to the rank of professor, Ruth Bunzel , Alexander Lesser , Margaret Mead , and Gene Weltfish who defended her dissertation in , although she did not officially graduate until when Columbia reduced the expenses required to graduate , E.
Boas and his students were also an influence on Claude Lévi-Strauss , who interacted with Boas and the Boasians during his stay in New York in the s. Several of Boas's students went on to serve as editors of the American Anthropological Association's flagship journal, American Anthropologist: Most of Boas's students shared his concern for careful, historical reconstruction, and his antipathy towards speculative, evolutionary models.
Moreover, Boas encouraged his students, by example, to criticize themselves as much as others. For example, Boas originally defended the cephalic index systematic variations in head form as a method for describing hereditary traits, but came to reject his earlier research after further study; he similarly came to criticize his own early work in Kwakiutl Pacific Northwest language and mythology.
Encouraged by this drive to self-criticism, as well as the Boasian commitment to learn from one's informants and to let the findings of one's research shape one's agenda, Boas's students quickly diverged from his own research agenda. Several of his students soon attempted to develop theories of the grand sort that Boas typically rejected. Kroeber called his colleagues' attention to Sigmund Freud and the potential of a union between cultural anthropology and psychoanalysis. Ruth Benedict developed theories of "culture and personality" and "national cultures", and Kroeber's student, Julian Steward developed theories of "cultural ecology" and "multilineal evolution".
Nevertheless, Boas has had an enduring influence on anthropology. Virtually all anthropologists today accept Boas's commitment to empiricism and his methodological cultural relativism.
Moreover, virtually all cultural anthropologists today share Boas's commitment to field research involving extended residence, learning the local language, and developing social relationships with informants.
Finally, anthropologists continue to honor his critique of racial ideologies. In his book, Race: The History of an Idea in America , Thomas Gossett wrote that "It is possible that Boas did more to combat race prejudice than any other person in history. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Meier Boas — , Sophie Meyer Boas — Archaeological Biological Cultural Linguistic Social. Actor—network theory Alliance theory Cross-cultural studies Cultural materialism Culture theory Diffusionism Feminism Historical particularism Boasian anthropology Functionalism Interpretive Performance studies Political economy Practice theory Structuralism Post-structuralism Systems theory.
Anthropologists by nationality Anthropology by year Bibliography Journals List of indigenous peoples Organizations. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. July Learn how and when to remove this template message. A Franz Boas reader: University of Chicago Press, The History of an Idea in America. It is possible that Boas did more to combat race prejudice than any other person in history.
Franz Boas on Jewish Identity and Assimilation". Norton and Company, Inc. The Early Years, — p. National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoirs. High Points in Anthropology 2nd Ed. How It Came to Be: John Benjamins Publishing Company. African Americans and Jews in the Twentieth Century: Studies in Convergence and Conflict.
University of Missouri Press. His student Parsons stayed behind and documented Laguna language and stories. Franz Boas, Modernism, and the Origins of Anthropology. In Prehistories of the Future: The Primitivist Project and the Culture of Modernism. In History of Anthropology , vol. Volksgeist as Method and Ethic. University of Wisconsin Press. Essays on Ethnographic Fieldwork. University of Washington Press.
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From Totems to Teachers New York: The Critique of Racial Formalism Revisited". Race, Law, and the Case against Brown v. Lay summary 30 August Defending the Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant.
Lay summary 29 September International Journal of American Linguistics. Comments Based on Iroquoian". Bulletin of the History of Archaeology. From American Linguistics to Socialist Zionism. MIT Press , Apr 15, , p. American Quarterly , Vol. Franz Boas, Burt G. Wilder, and the Cause of Racial Justice, —". Encounters Between Boas and Starr. The Museum Journal , Alfred Kroeber and Franz Boas, —". Boas was opposed to racism, as were students such as Ashley Montagu , etc.
It seems unlikely that the "father" of the modern racist theory of Lusotropicalism had ever worked closely with Boas. For example, he too presented himself as if he had been a follower of Boas ever since his student days. An Introduction to Anthropological Theories and Theorists. Presidents of the American Anthropological Association. Hodge Alfred L. Howells Wendell C. Foster Charles Wagley Anthony F. Wallace Joseph B. Casagrande Edward H. Spicer Ernestine Friedl Walter Goldschmidt Richard N.
Adams Francis L. Hsu Paul Bohannan Conrad M. Arensberg William C. Moses Jane H. Assessed contributions were kept the same. In recent years, the WHO's work has involved increasing collaboration with external bodies. There were partnerships with international NGOs in formal "official relations" — the rest being considered informal in character.
A selective reading of this document clause 3 can result in the understanding that the IAEA is able to prevent the WHO from conducting research or work on some areas, as seen hereafter.
However, the following paragraph adds that. The nature of this statement has led some pressure groups and activists including Women in Europe for a Common Future to claim that the WHO is restricted in its ability to investigate the effects on human health of radiation caused by the use of nuclear power and the continuing effects of nuclear disasters in Chernobyl and Fukushima.
They believe WHO must regain what they see as "independence". In particular, and in accordance with the Constitution of the World Health Organization and the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and its agreement with the United Nations together with the exchange of letters related thereto, and taking into account the respective co-ordinating responsibilities of both organizations, it is recognized by the World Health Organization that the International Atomic Energy Agency has the primary responsibility for encouraging, assisting and co- ordinating research and development and practical application of atomic energy for peaceful uses throughout the world without prejudice to the right of the World Health Organization to concern itself with promoting, developing, assisting and co-ordinating international health work, including research, in all its aspects.
Clearly suggesting that the WHO is free to do as it sees fit on nuclear, radiation and other matters which relate to health. In , the WHO denounced the Roman Curia 's health department's opposition to the use of condoms , saying: It also stood by its recommendation based upon its own analysis of scientific studies. In , the WHO organized work on pandemic influenza vaccine development through clinical trials in collaboration with many experts and health officials.
By the post-pandemic period critics claimed the WHO had exaggerated the danger, spreading "fear and confusion" rather than "immediate information". This response was only possible because of the extensive preparations undertaken during the last decade". Following the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the organization was heavily criticized for its bureaucracy, insufficient financing, regional structure, and staffing profile.
An internal WHO report on the Ebola response pointed to underfunding and the lack of "core capacity" in health systems in developing countries as the primary weaknesses of the existing system. The program was aimed at rebuilding WHO capacity for direct action, which critics said had been lost due to budget cuts in the previous decade that had left the organization in an advisory role dependent on member states for on-the-ground activities.
In comparison, billions of dollars have been spent by developed countries on the — Ebola epidemic and —16 Zika epidemic. The World Health Organization sub-department, the International Agency for Research on Cancer IARC , has been criticized for the way it analyses the tendency of certain substances and activities to cause cancer and for having a politically motivated bias when it selects studies for its analysis.
Ed Yong, a British science journalist, has criticized the agency and its "confusing" category system for misleading the public. He claimed that this classification did not take into account the extent of exposure: Controversies have erupted multiple times when the IARC has classified many things as Class 2a probable carcinogens , including cell phone signals, glyphosate , drinking hot beverages, and working as a barber.
The appointment address praised Mugabe for his commitment to public health in Zimbabwe. The appointment attracted widespread condemnation and criticism in WHO member states and international organizations due to Robert Mugabe's poor record on human rights and presiding over a decline in Zimbabwe's public health.
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