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Why anthropologists should become journalists

By Lorenz

We need courses and programs in “Anthropology & Journalism” to help create the critical public intellectuals of the 21st century, Brian McKenna writes in Counterpunch. Such programs will help equip students with skills to popularize critical knowledge:

One thing is certain. We need a new wave of writers and journalists, unafraid to do the most radical thing imaginable: simply describe reality. Their ranks will largely come from freethinkers, dissenting academics and bored mainstream journalists who rediscover what got them interested in anthropology in the first place, telling the truth. Anthropologists have no choice. They must become media makers and journalists themselves.

Many anthropologists look skeptically at journalism. But whenever McKenna hears one of them saying “I never talk to journalists, they always get me wrong. I just can’t trust them", his mind churns, “Then why don’t you become the journalist and write it yourself?”

Anthropologist have lots in common with journalists. They can make great journalists:

Anthropologist Explores Wall Street Culture

By Lorenz

40,000 AT&T workers lost their job. This sounds like terrible news. But the stock market applauded it, sending AT&T shares up. Why? Anthropologist Karen Ho was fascinated and confused by the different reactions and wrote her dissertation about it. In July, her book Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street will come out.

Interpretive traditions

My principle contribution to the Cognitive Science of Religion has been an ethnography of an interpretive tradition, How the Bible Works, in which I developed a cognitively informed model of evangelical Christians’ use of the Bible. As extraordinary and fascinating as the Biblicist tradition is, I have always wanted to explore interpretive traditions more broadly, in terms of cognitive theory. So I am seizing my chance. This is the first installment of a series of posts on a cognitive approach to interpretive traditions.

Why we need more disaster anthropology

By Lorenz

On the 5th of December 2006, typhoon Durian hit B?n Tre province in Southern Vietnam. Close to 100 people died, more than 800 moored fishing boats sank, thousands of buildings collapsed including schools and hospitals. In her master’s thesis, Uy Ngoc Bui looks at how this event changed peoples’ lives and explains why we need more disaster anthropology.

War in Iraq: Why are anthropologists so silent?

By Lorenz

Many US-anthropologists protested against the Vietnam war in the 60s. Why have anthropologists been so reluctant to engage with the “immense tragedy” and “waste of resources by our governments” in the Iraq war, Antonius C.G.M. Robben and Marshall Sahlins ask in the current issue of Anthropology Today.

There has been much debate and protests regarding the embedding of anthropologists in Human Terrain Teams of the U.S.Army, but not about the consequences of the war for the people in Iraq. There is hardly any independent anthropological research going on in Iraq. Of the 1800 panels (11,000 papers) at the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) between 2006-2008, Robben writes, only one has dealt directly with the Iraq War:

Genetic structure in northern Europe revisited

By dienekesp

The results of the STRUCTURE analysis are quite interesting. When Finland is included (B), it is the first one to be separated from other Northern Europeans, confirming previous results. Sweden, and to a lesser degree Denmark seems to possess some admixture with the Finnish-related (red) element. The next split (blue vs. green) differentiates continental Germnics (esp. Scandinavians, and somewhat less Dutch) from Irish-British and Australians of largely British ancestry.

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