Anthro roundup: Savage Minds at Five, news from Human Terrain System etc…
New Open Access Journal: Anthropology Reviews: Dissent and Cultural Politics (ARDAC)
Is this one of the first real web2.0-journals in anthropology? A new Open Access journal was launched: Anthropology Reviews: Dissent and Cultural Politics (ARDAC)
Five years of Savage Minds: Its the Content, Stupid
On May 15 2005 Kerim posted the first entry on Savage Minds ? a blog which in the past 5 years has grown to over 1,500 entries and over 12,000 comments. Although its hard to make time to blog when you are raising twins and applying for tenure simultaneously, I didn?t want to let the opportunity of our fifth anniversary ? ?wood?, apparently ? go without taking a moment to reflect on what a strange and wonderful experience this blog has been.
When we began this blog five years ago we thought (if I can remember correctly) that the anthropology blogosphere was slowly coalescing and we wanted to have a hand in shaping in it. This was the period after the first full flowering of blogging, before the term came to mean either ?narcissistic discussion of laundry? or ?pugilistic political commentary? ? a time when blogging seemed to offer a kind of rich, substantive intellectual debate that the academy promised but often didn?t deliver, and that people who were erudite but uncredentialed craved.
Musings about the Theft of Culture from Anthropology
Some years ago, I asked the question, ?Who Stole Culture from Anthropology??in Anthropology News. I raised the question because many anthropologist had complained to me since about 1987, about how they had trained ?too many? anthropologists with the result that they were unemployed. The discipline seemed to be in a perpetual depression, wallowing in its own insecurities, seemingly like no other. This bothered me though, even though I am a victim of this insecurity. Indeed, it was in 1987 that I first applied for graduate study in Anthropology because I thought the subject of culture?which anthropology has a special claim on?was among the noblest. My application was rejected, and I was told by some old grizzled anthropological veteran that I was lucky not to be going into the field since, after all, there were too many anthropologists, and no one really cared about culture anyway.
Changing Fortunes in Washington: The Evolution of House Armed Services Committee Reports on the Human Terrain System
Recycled news?because it?s always tastier when it?s refried. At different times on this blog over the past two years we have quoted the House Armed Services Committee on its views of the U.S. Army?s Human Terrain System. The latest report is causing some to wonder what is really being said, and how to interpret it. From the point of view of the American Anthropological Association, the HASC has issued ?a stinging rebuke;? for Kerim at Savage Minds, ?It ain?t over, but it seems like HTS is at least ?on hold? for now;? for Noah Schachtman at Danger Room, this means that the HASC ?puts the brakes on ?Human Terrain??; one of the comments on the Danger Room post says ?this is neutral news, not negative;? for Inside Higher Ed, this simply ?raises questions?: ?the House Armed Services Committee included language in its version of the military authorization bill that raises questions about the Human Terrain System?and suggests that funds could be cut off for the program if the Pentagon doesn?t take certain actions;? for Spencer Ackerman at The Washington Independent, this news shows that the HASC is ?displeased? with HTS. Put it all together and you get: stingingly neutral displeasure that raises some momentary questions, maybe, maybe not.
Human Terrain System Video News: John Stanton, and the AGS Bowman Expeditions in Mexico
While still small, the number of YouTube videos that pertain in some way to the U.S. Army?s Human Terrain System (HTS) is growing, and one can find a neatly arranged selection (which for some reason bears the exact title of one of my articles), on the World News Network. I will focus on only two, having myself created and presented some of the others that are available and that already appeared in past posts.
The Pentagon?s ?Other? Human Terrain System?
In connection with my report, ?Mapping the Terrain of War Corporatism: The Human Terrain System within the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex,? and with some relevance to my other report, ?Multiplying Human Terrain Dreams of Victory and Fortune,? an official in the U.S. Government contacted me, and I promised to neither identify the person, nor subject him/her and the notes provided to a public lambasting. Indeed, there is no need for either, this is intended simply as information to broaden our knowledge of how ?human terrain? is played out in the U.S. military, and why the Human Terrain System (HTS), as such, no longer occupies an exclusive position.
Crowd-questioning Corporate Ethnographers
We have the honor of interviewing business anthros Grant McCracken and Barry Dornfeld. By we I mean you.
Barry wrote a groundbreaking text in the anthropology of media production: Producing Public Television, Producing Public Culture. Twelve years after its publication, Dornfeld?s book remains the deepest description of television production and the tense conflicts that happen when do-gooder social science meets a ruthless profit motive. If you?ve ever been frustrated with how nonfiction TV networks (Discovery, Nat Geo, Travel, Animal Planet) take our scientific issues and make them into titillating edutainment then this young classic should find itself tattered and dog-eared on your desk. Today he is a corporate anthropologist at the Center for Applied Research.
Academia, Anthropology, and HTS: Two Recent Posts Worth Reading
First, read through this post over at Savage Minds. Be sure to read the comments as well. Then, go read this post over at Zero Anthropology.
What is HTS? How should anthropologists deal with the ethical and political issues that arise with this program? Is an aversion in HTS merely a retreat to the Ivory Tower of academia? Have anthropologists who are speaking out against HTS jumping the gun?
Photographs and Anthropology: Context Matters (Take 2)
from ethnografix by Ryan Anderson
?Grad Student Socialization in Anthro? Volume Free Online
A Michigan Discussions in Anthropology volume (#18) on anthropology graduate student socialization is now available free for download through the University of Michigan Library. Eli Thorkelson?s chapter ?Experience, Reflexive Socialization and Disciplinary Order in Anthropology? introduces the volume. He notes of contributors,
Time Line and FAQ for the Human Terrain System and Responses by the Network of Concerned Anthropologists and the American Anthropological Association
Knee Jerks, and Just Plain Jerks
Recently on Savage Minds a number of uninformed assertions have been voiced by some commentators, to the effect that both the Network of Concerned Anthropologists (NCA) and the American Anthropological Association (AAA) instantaneously condemned the Human Terrain System (HTS) in the same month that it was publicly announced, allegedly (and wrongly) in October of 2007. This alleged ?fact? has been dressed up by others, and unduly dignified, as an example of a rush to judgment, which is then posed as going against basic ethnographic principles and thus an indictment of the critics of HTS. In relatively short order, those who would accommodate the militarization of anthropology?ever since Savage Minds spoke of ?Cultural Operations Research Human Terrain? back in December of 2006?confuse various issues and make some very specious arguments that will now be countered point by point. Particularly problematic are:
AAA Challenges Questions on US Census
In a letter sent to the Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division of the US Census Bureau today, AAA President Virginia Dominguez expressed concern over language questions in the US Census. Specifically, President Dominguez challenged the terminology (?linguistically isolated?) the Census Bureau uses to describe the language abilities of those who speak languages other than English in the home.
The Anthropology of Suicide – World Suicide Prevention Day
(draft) It was around four months ago, I received the message of my friend?s sudden death. ?Nobody knows”, I was told, ?why she stepped in front of a train”. Afterwards I often wondered if her life could have been saved if we all had known and talked more about so-called mental health issues.
HTS? MAP HT Failure: People Not Being Paid, MAP HT Cost Overrruns
from OPEN ANTHROPOLOGY by John Stanton
Human Terrain System: Senior Managers to Paris, Security Clearance Troubles
NOTE: this is an update on a previous report??HTS? MAP HT Failure: People Not Being Paid, MAP HT Cost Overrruns??and should be read in conjunction with that.
?These people will scrimp to save dimes when it comes to actually paying employees ? but Steve Fondacaro and Montgomery McFate can blow a fortune in Paris attending some software meeting. Amazing!?
?Some more lunacy from the Human Terrain System Files?
At the end of January 2010 there was another panicked document signing moment that is all too common within HTS. Usually it is because someone is trying ?to cover their ass once again,? say sources. For example, many in the program were apparently given a document titled DD 2356 ?DOD CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OVERSEAS EMERGENCY ESSENTIAL (EE) POSITION AGREEMENT? forms that had to be signed immediately, scanned, and sent to the program manager forward.