"Anthropological Engagement, for Good and for Bad?

Posted by on November 24th, 2008
Stored in Anthropology

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Anthropological Engagement, for Good and for Bad?

SAN FRANCISCO – At the American Anthropological Association’s annual meeting, which ended Sunday, the official theme was “Inclusion, Collaboration and Engagement.” That final word – “engagement” – inspired lively and at times prickly debates and discussions, with sessions and meetings focused on the Human Terrain System and other controversial forms of collaboration with the U.S. military, secret research, and a planned comprehensive review of the association’s decade-old Code of Ethics.

Other forms of engagement discussed were less controversial and included the need for anthropologists to apply their talents in real-world settings and to better interact with the publics that support their research.

Among these discussions and others, questions of what it means to be a public intellectual, what it means to be an engaged scholar – and which forms of “engagement” are to be encouraged and which might be flat-out unethical – dominated………….


seminar: the Dialogic of Collecting, Exhibition Making and
Kunstkritikk.no – Oslo,Norway
In the last decade or so the relationship between anthropology and aesthetics has come into focus. A number of new books have been published on the

Culture Matters takes out first annual blog award

By gregdowney

Last night in San Francisco, at the annual meeting of the American Anthropology Association, the brain trust behind Savage Minds handed out awards for the best online anthropology sites. Culture Matters took out the coveted Can of Spam (seriously… I have to bring a can of Spam through Customs) for the Most Excellent Blog. I’m sure everyone else who contributes to Culture Matters would join me in thanking folks for voting for us, but more importantly, for coming back to our site, posting your comments, and checking in on what we’re doing.

Ethnographic Study: Social Websites Important For Childhood Development

By Lorenz

Many adults worry that children are wasting time online, texting, or playing video games. In the first in-depth ethnographic study of its kind, researchers of the Digital Youth Project found that the digital world is creating new opportunities for youth to grapple with social norms, explore interests, develop technical skills, and experiment with new forms of self-expression.

Awards Ceremony Reminder and Winners!

By ckelty on Open Access Open Source

Just a reminder that there will be a mini-ceremony and Savage Minds sit-in in the Lobby of the conference hotel Saturday at 6pm. I’ve been scouring the Fishermans Wharf tourist shops for quality prizes. In the interest of having some award recipients present (and since the results aren’t exactly secret), it’s time for a pre-announcement. And the winners are….

Most Excellent Blog
Runner up: Anthropologi.info
Most Win: Culture Matters

Most Excellent OA Journal
Runner Up: Cultural Analysis
Most Win: Anthopology Matters

Most Excellent Blog or Journal that does not end in “Matters” (The Category formerly known as Most Excellent Unclassifiable Digital Thingamajob)
Runner Up: Digital Anthropology
Most Win: Neuroanthropology

Neuroanthropology best anthro blog not ending in ‘Matters’

By gregdowney on general

Like Daniel, I’m at the San Francisco meetings of the American Anthropology Association, where we’ve been busy plotting the future of this site and other projects (more on these soon). But I wanted to stop to thank you all for your support in the voting for the First Annual Anthropology On-line Awards (or whatever the title officially was). Last night, in an awards ceremony that can only be described as soulful and heartfelt, in a hotel lobby surrounded by people who were unaware what was going on, the very good folks from Savage Minds, the ‘papa bear’ of anthropology blogs, gave out their first annual awards. The winners were:

Digital projects aimed at immigrants in Germany: an anthropological study

By John Postill on Latour

I was recently at the University of Bremen where I had the pleasure of examining a PhD thesis by Oliver Hinkelbein entitled Strategien zur digitalen Integration von Migranten: Ethnographische Fallstudien in Esslingen und Hannover. Hinkelbein defended his dissertation very successfully and was awarded a magna cum laude degree.

Anthropology and espionage

By John Postill on Zapatistas

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 From BBC Radio 3 site via Anthropologist About Town blog

China: Mummies and the fight for Uighur sovereignty

By Xeni Jardin

A fascinating piece by Ed Wong in today’s NYT on the role archaeology — specifically, a set of mummified human remains — plays in the conflict over independence for one of China’s ethnic minorities. Snip:

Gerald Sider: “Can Anthropology Ever Be Innocent?”

By 1d4watchman on surveillance

My thanks to the new magazine, AnthroNow, for placing the article by Gerald M. Sider online in its current issue (vol. 1, no. 1, April 2009), titled: “Can Anthropology Ever Be Innocent“. This turned out to be quite a valuable and relevant article for me, in helping me to reconfigure what ethnography can mean, and what it might look like, in the shadow of the national security state and the so-called “long war against extremism” (which, of course, exculpat
es American state extremism). My sole function below is to produce a list of the sections I extracted that strike me in particular as most important to my own work, with occasional commentary. Sider’s words are in block quotes, and all bolding is mine unless otherwise noted.

Andy Clark & Michael Wheeler: Embodied cognition and cultural evolution

By gregdowney on niche creation

The Cognition and Culture website has posted a link to the new edition of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B on ‘cultural transmission and evolution of human behaviour.’ I wanted to comment on just one piece on embodied cognition and cultural evolution, by philosophers Michael Wheeler and Andy Clark (unfortunately, Philosophical Transactions B is behind a subscription wall, although there’s a one-page ‘free preview’ [ouch] here). The Cognition and Culture website has the table of contents posted here. I was vaguely familiar with Michael Wheeler’s work before this piece, but Andy Clark (it’s not much of a profile) has written some of the work that’s most influenced my thinking about the effects of varied skill acquisition on cognition, especially his remarkable book, Being There: Putting Brain, Body and World Together Again (Amazon listing).

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