I am missing again. But I have a good excuse:)
AAA Annual Meeting
The 107th AAA Annual Meeting is presently being held at the San Francisco Hilton and Towers, to continue from November 19 through November 23.
SAN FRANCISCO – The American Anthropological Association’s annual business meeting was far less fiery this year than last, although issues of militarization and secret research, and tensions between anthropologists who work in academe and those who work in business or government settings, remained at the forefront Thursday night.
The association has been embroiled in debates over the ethics of secret research, such as when research findings are shared with sponsors but not with subjects or the public at large. The current debate is rooted in concerns about the Pentagon’s use of social scientists, most notably through the Human Terrain System, which embeds anthropologists with the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, while the debate on secrecy is rooted in military matters, it has broader implications for proprietary uses of anthropology research, such as for anthropologists employed by corporations.
Lets face it, a huge conference like the AAA can be overwhelming. Its pretty hard to attend a panel for a single paper, and I find I can’t really stomach more than one or two panels a day. Not to mention socializing, business meetings, looking at the books, and maybe getting out to see a museum exhibit or take in a movie. So how to manage it all without going crazy? If the AAA staff were half-way familiar with this series of tubes called the internet, they might put together a Google calendar version of the schedule. Since they haven’t, I created my own personal calendar just for the conference.
Congratulations to anthropologist Mike Wesch who was named one of the 2008 Best U.S. Professors of the Year. The coverage of the award on Inside Higher Ed cites his innovative teaching methods in a large-enrollment intro anthro class—a teaching method that he described on Savage Minds over 2 years ago. I’m a bit sad to see Mike spending so much time innovating teaching and exploring the power of the video essay, since it means less time for him to do anthropology of Papua New Guinea! So congratulations Mike and remember… you heard it here first!
The Anthropologist’s Son
Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription) – USA
By RUTH BEHAR Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro earned a Ph.D. in anthropology with an 800-page dissertation about blacksmithing in Indonesia.
Tribes of clutter
New Statesman – London,England,UK
This book sums up how far social anthropology has progressed since Henry Mayhew wrote about the skull shapes of costermongers in the 19th century.
By Magnus Course
A recent proposal to make a documentary on Shuar head-hunting has a led to a flurry of activity on a variety of lowland South America anthropology lists. The ensuing debate evolved gradually from the airing of concerns about the proposed documentary, to a more reflective discussion about what we as anthropologists want to see in popular ethnographic films. Following Steve Rubenstein’s suggestion that a good place to start is by looking at films we regard as successful and positive, several anthropologists sent lists of their favourite ethnographic films about indigenous South American peoples. Perhaps not surprisingly, the majority cited films made by indigenous peoples themselves.
“This is a break from the norm of writing about Bali", writes Laura Noszlopy enthusiastically about a new book by anthropologist Emma Baulch called “Making scenes: reggae, punk, and death metal in 1990s Bali”.
In 1996, Emma Baulch went to live in Bali to do research on youth culture. She hang out in the death metal scene among unemployed university graduates clad in black T-shirts and ragged jeans; in the punk scene among young men sporting mohawks, leather jackets, and hefty jackboots; and among the remnants of the local reggae scene in Kuta Beach, the island’s most renowned tourist area.
(via somatosphere) “Other disciplines have a magazine for the general public. Why can’t we?” Now, we have it. The first issue of Anthronow is out. The editors Katherine McCaffrey, Emily Martin, Ida Susser, and Susan Harding (they’re all from American universities) write:
I enjoyed Rex’s post about anthropology as connoisseurship, and have been thinking about it a lot. Then today, during the Remixing Anthropology session, Eric Kansa talked about how centralized search services, like Google, are eroding the power and authority of traditional information service providers. He used the tourism industry as an example, highlighting how efforts to control the staging of local culture are undermined by web 2.0 technologies, but I also saw this as a threat to the role of the anthropologist as connoisseur.
Time-Life has teamed up with Google to archive their images online. Browsing around I found this gem, a picture of “Anthropologist Franz Boas” from the cover of Time in 1936 (When he was 78). The caption reads: “He translated the world’s gestures.”
As we all know by now, Studs Terkel passed away a few weeks ago. Terkel is remembered for many things—an entertainer, a historian, an intellectual, someone whose history is intimately tied to the city of Chicago. Although few people discussed Terkel as an anthropologist it is clear that his work and vision of the world strikes very close to the center of many of our intuitions of what the discipline is about. Terkel found all people interesting, regardless of whether they were ‘interesting people’ or not. He felt that their lives were worth remembering,
Browsing through BoingBoing today I noticed a reference to the Archives d’Anthropologie Criminelle. Looking around I discovered that the entire contents of the journal l’Anthropologie Criminelle from 1886 to 1914 have been scanned and made available online. Here is a direct link to the archives.
With less than a week to go until the start of the AAA, and no time to properly pull this off, I hereby announce that we will be annoucing the winners of the 1st annual Savage Minds Awarding of teh Excellents Contest on Saturday evening at 6pm in the lobby of the Hilton. ( We’ll also make sure to announce where the party is at that point). Which means it’s time to VOTE!!!
The other day I went to the store to buy some deodorant and a new toothbrush. I do not buy these sorts of things often because 1) tooth brushes do not wear out that often and 2) like many people in Hawai’i I but things like deodorant, razors, rice, toilet paper etc. in bulk because of how much they cost. All of which is to say that I basically had little to no agenda re: the style and substance of the items I would be buying except that they would be cheap and make sure I held to the standards of first-world academic hygiene.
The Yearbook of Physical Anthropology has a tribute to the late W. W. Howells. One of his greatest achievements is certainly his meticulously collected worldwide cranial sample which is available online, and includes measurements on both recent humans of the last few millennia, as well as several earlier samples that were available to him. This sample is routinely used even today by anthropologists studying human variation, or trying to place historical hominids into context.
Yesterday’s Herald reported on a case in France in which a requested marriage annulment made by a Muslim man after he discovered that his wife was not a virgin was overturned. The article states that:
Public outrage at April’s annulment ruling forced the Government to order the case be reviewed, against the wishes of both spouses.
The groom, a Muslim engineer in his 30s whose name was not made public, sought the annulment after realising his bride was not a virgin on the night of their marriage in a civil ceremony in July 2006.
His wife, who admitted to him she had had premarital sex, said she accepted the annulment.
From a University of Queensland email circular:
Applications are invited for the position of Director of the Anthropology Museum at The University of Queensland. The appointment is part of the University’s initiative to promote the Museum nationally and internationally in the areas of public exhibition, community engagement, research and teaching.
Christina Toren is a professor of anthropology at the University of Saint Andrews. In the Encultured Brain session, she will give a talk on Inter-subjectivity and the Development of Neural Processes. The abstract goes like this:
EASA Media Anthropology Network 2nd Workshop, “Media Practices and Cultural Producers”. Barcelona, 6-7 November 2008
via Mediacciones site – see video of introduction to workshop
and keynote here
In my presentation I will develop a new understanding of cultural producers as “mediators”. In order to take the associations in the digital worlds seriously, the complexities of connections between persons and digital technologies have to be reconsidered. In respect to those complexities it does not make much sense to continue using the concept of cultural producers which was developed during WW II for specific political purposes. Instead of defining the “right” concept for the right problem,
There is now an exciting site on media anthropology built around an undergraduate course taught by Anand Pandian at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland, USA). See, for instance, their comprehensive and up-to-date Resources page. This is from their homepage:
I’m working on a sketch of a practice-theoretical model of personal media (email, mobile phones, blogs, iPods, laptops, etc.) and local leadership. The comparative research question this model is meant to address is what difference, if any, these egocentric technologies are making to the practices of local-level leaders around the world (local politicians, neighbourhood activists, ’civic networkers’, village headmen, etc.) who operate in largely sociocentric fields of practice. This work-in-progress model is based on my firsthand research experience among local leaders in Subang Jaya-USJ – a suburb of Kuala Lumpur – as well as on a reading of different literatures pertinent to this question, especially field theory, practice theory, social network analysis, media anthropology, political anthropology, anthropological theory and new media studies. I am hoping that it can shed light on similar processes unfolding in other parts of the world.
[warning this is a grumpy blogger post… it could have been written in more productive way, but anyways… ]
I was pretty excited to help some collaborators self-archive their work. Having read hundreds of blog posts advocating it, and being a strong believer in the ethical necessity of making anthro research accessible, I am sad to say that I’m very disappointed with the state of self-archiving repositories.
I started with RoMEO, a database which keeps track of self-archiving and OA policies for various academic publishers. This is the first step to finding out if you have permission to self-archive your work. [unless of course you signed away exclusivity believing the publisher would do a good job getting your work ‘out there’. ]