Prof. George Marcus spotted in Oslo:)

Lorenz talks to Prof. Marcus who is a major member of my dissertation committee. The post includes links to Marcus’ recent activities… 

George Marcus: "Journals? Who cares?"

By Lorenz

When George Marcus, one of the most influential anthropologists, was in Oslo recently, I asked him what he thinks about Open access. His answer surprised me. He said: “Journals? Who cares?” There is little original thinking in journals, no longer exciting debates, he told me. “Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. I don’t care.” He explained that “journals are meant to establish people". They are more important for one’s career.

George Marcus offered similar pessimistic views in an interview he gave for the journal Cultural Anthropology (subscription needed) in spring. Among other things, he said, that there are no new ideas in anthropology………….

Methodological Cosmopolitanism in Anthropology

By Maximilian Forte on cosmopolitanism

methodological cosmopolitanism in anthropology, is likely to invigorate the anthropological research agenda for some time. Methodological cosmopolitanism has been used as a critique of methodological nationalism. In anthropology, methodological cosmopolitanism can be a critique of an immoral methodology that treats the other as a specimen, as well as of theoretical provincialism

Derek Gregory: The Cultural Turn in Late Modern War and the Rush to the Intimate

By Maximilian Forte

Margaret Atwood and Vicente Rafael on Debt

By Kerim on Political Economy

Speaking of the financial crisis and the relationship between anthropology and economics, I thought Margaret Atwood’s editorial in today’s Times did a good job of getting us to think about debt outside the confines of the banking system. Here she talks about the role of debt in Christianity:

In many religions, for instance. The version of the Lord’s Prayer I memorized as a child included the line, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” In Aramaic, the language that Jesus himself spoke, the word for “debt” and the word for “sin” are the same. And although many people assume that “debts” in these contexts refer to spiritual debts or trespasses, debts are also considered sins. If you don’t pay back what’s owed, you cause harm to others.

Cosmopolitan Anthropology as Responsibility to the Other

By Maximilian Forte on otherness

A cosmopolitan research method and agenda would need to reckon with the primordial otherness of the humans we encounter either face-to-face or indirectly. Thereby, it would have to internalize methodologically the ethical constitution of any form of subjectivity. In this perspective, it is unethical to turn the other into an object of knowledge.

A short summary of recent open access news

By Lorenz

AAA Creates “Open Access” to Anthropological Research announced the American Anthropological Association two weeks ago. But in reality, open access is only granted to two journals (American Anthropologist and Anthropology News) and to articles that are at least 35 years old!

The Encultured Brain at the AAAs

By dlende on general

One month from today, on November 20th, Greg and I will convene our panel “The Encultured Brain: Neuroanthropology and Interdisciplinary Engagement” at the 2008 American Anthropological Association annual meeting. The meeting is being held at the Hilton San Francisco, right in the heart of the city, and our session kicks off at 8:00AM and runs to 11:45AM. We hope some of you will come!

Here is what our panel will address:

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  • Updated: Wed, Oct 22 2008 1:43 AM

Doctors complain about ethics oversight – just like anthropologists! (well, almost)

By llwynn

I have been working on an ethics teaching module and just came across this December 2007 editorial in the NY Times by Atul Gawande. Medical anthropologists might have encountered Gawande through his articles for the New Yorker or for his book of collected essays, Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science — which I think is great material to assign to undergraduates in an introductory medical anthropology class. Gawande has an anthropological appreciation for the technological, social, cultural, political, and organizational forces that shape science and medicine. Plus his writing is punchy, dramatic, and neatly wrapped up with concise morals-to-the-story that makes it easy to digest for students who are new to anthropology’s way of complicating everything, especially neat morals-to-the-story.

From Plaintiff to Donor

Chris Maynard | Brown University

Louise Lamphere, then-assistant professor of anthropology at Brown University, instructs a class at the blackboard.



Nearly 32 years after she filed a landmark sexual discrimination suit against Brown University, Louise Lamphere is giving the institution she once fought a $1 million gift. From the court house to the development office, she has had an unusual journey.

Lamphere, now an anthropology professor at the University of New Mexico, started her career as an assistant professor at Brown in 1968. When she was denied tenure in 1974 and its anthropology department declined to reverse the decision following a formal grievance, she filed a class action against the university. Lamphere, joined by three female colleagues from different departments, alleged that there was a pattern of discrimination in the hiring and granting of tenure to women at Brown.

Minerva and the Terrorism Industry: “The rule of experts as a means to covert im
perial rule”

By Maximilian Forte on terrorism

First, a video. On 27 August 2008, the U.S. Department of Defense hosted a workshop about the Minerva Research Initiative. Among the speakers was Craig Calhoun, president of the Social Science Research Council, cheerfully calling for enhanced and widened collaboration between academia and the military. Thomas Mahnken of the Pentagon is also presented as he minimizes the opposition of academics, and especially anthropologists, to Minerva (indeed, following from the debate between anthropologists and the Human Terrain System, the Minerva website’s FAQs specifically mention that Minerva is not HTS). Then we see a questioner basically being edited by a speaker, in a rush to bring questions to a close. Finally, a passive-aggressive overview of the Pentagon’s “peer review” process of applications submitted for Minerva funding. See the video here:

Hugh Gusterson: “Minerva Controversy,” and the SSRC

By Maximilian Forte on terrorism

The U.S. Social Science Research Council has launched a series of articles in a special section of its website devoted to what it calls the Minerva Controversy. Among them is Hugh Gusterson’s “Unveiling Minerva.” This is a list of some of the key points he makes in his article:

More Commentary on “Ethnography as Commentary”

By o.w. on online ethnography

Will anthropology find renewed passion and direction with the help of the internet? According to Johannes Fabian, yes it will, and obviously I agree!

Johannes Fabian’s recent book, Ethnography as Commentary, sets the stage for an internet invigorated ethnography. In it, he argues that the co-presence of author and reader, text and commentary, will develop into an ethnographic genre. His study, like mine, is based on the idea that internet technologies change the way anthropology is being presented. Specifically, he focuses on the use of internet archives and the ability to have a group of interested people interact with a text.

Accused of being CIA-spy: Anthropologist on fieldwork among Cambodian muslims

By Lorenz

Are muslim communities getting more sceptical towards anthropologists? In an interview with Phnom Pen Post, anthropologist Bjørn Blengsli tells about his research among muslims in Cambodia – “one of the fastest-changing Muslim societies in the world".

After September 11, he got arrested and expelled from the village and the district. He was accused of being one of “60 identified CIA spies". (After a letter from the Ministry of Religion and meetings with undersecretaries of state, he could continue his research.)


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